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Never home alone

Rochelle Pinto on cultivating friends in a new city.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2009 19:45 IST
Rochelle Pinto

Making the decision to come to Mumbai to study was an easy one. I had always wanted to be independent; something that pleased my parents but worried my relatives.

The biggest question was — would I find a similar group of great friends like I had back home? I’ve been lucky to always be surrounded by fun pals. I couldn’t imagine life any other way.

The first day of college was a morale booster because the other students followed the same line of thought. Although apprehensive, the excitement over making new friends, pushed us into letting our guards down.

In a crowd of about 50, it’s easy to look at past prejudices and pet peeves objectively.

But just as our seniors had warned us, once the group projects started, many of us soon found ourselves on opposite sides of
the room.

My new family

From one big, happy family, we were quickly divided into little factions. Each group marked their territory, in class, in the cafeteria and in their pursuits of fun.

And that’s when I met my new family — a balanced mix of city kids and lost souls from out of town . This friends’ circle has seen it all.

From crazy house parties (one party even got us evicted from our apartment) to all-night projects, we were inseparable.

What made the mix even more fun was that each one fulfilled an essential role. We had our own trouble-shooter, big brother, perennial optimist and shopping directory.

We even had a foolproof plan — anyone who wanted to woo someone from our gang had to charm the entire group first.

Friendly voice

We’re still in touch and our equation hasn’t changed. This proxy family structure means that no one is ever without a place or a crowd to spend special occasions.

People back home in Goa, often comment that life in Mumbai is too fast and one doesn’t have time for others.

While that may be true, the city has given me a chance to discover some of the greatest friends. And no matter how far we go, we’ll always have a friendly voice, which is just a phone call away.