I have always felt blessed w.r.t my friends. They replaced my non-existent family, became my guardian angels, and helped me overcome some of my biggest troubles. Their friendship has stood the test of time, weathered the storms of life & is still going strong. I haven’t met some of them in as much as a decade, but the connection is rock-solid.
These are the ladies & gentlemen to whom I owe my strength, life & sanity.
In no particular order:
1. Meenakshi Iyer (Mumbai) – We were competitors in college. She has come up with an Indian lawyerish drawl but still is a little girl at heart. Now a banker and a mom, she has her head firmly screwed on her shoulders. Need practical advice anyone?
2. Rohini Bangera (now Doshi, Mumbai) – Sweet & innocent!!! Now a harried housewife in a joint family, she talks straight to your face. Naive but incisive, she has been the most successful in keeping the romance in her life alive. She has wanted to kill me since college days. Lessons in love, perhaps???
At 21, Rohini & Meenakshi offered to put my life back on track, after my train derailed suddenly. And they did….
3. Meera Rajamani (now Sarma, Mumbai/Bangalore) – A surprising and a fierce ally, she has proved the mettle of her friendship is the finest. I have laid my heart bare in front of her, and she understood every single emotion. Without judgement, with honesty. Now a mother of 2 strapping boys, she can glance into your soul.
4. Sudha Devadiga (now Gandhi, Mumbai) – The best human being ever!!! Fortunate enough to know her since 6th form, my Noble prize for friendship & humanity goes to her. She is someone who will help you when you need it the most & then disappear. Quiet & gentle, she is a working woman & a mother. Everyone needs an angel like her in their lives.
5. Saurabh Gunderia (Mumbai) – He was in 6th form when I was in 10th. I used to knot his tie for him everyday, now I tie him a “Rakhi’. The only guy who succeeded in winning the position of “Brother”, when my own died. Struggling with his own problems, he has never backed down. Supported me to the hilt and has done more than any blood relative could/would. Life’s been dealing him bad eggs, but he is going strong. Way to go, bro!!!
6. Samit Kadakia (California, I think) – The man, the machine!!! He is so focused, he almost got tunnel vision. 🙂 He is a shining example of how hard work & determination can get you places. An NRI, he probably saw me as a baby. We haven’t really met as grownups, but he is a strong pillar in everyone’s life. Always behind the scenes, sometimes I didn’t even know that he had smoothed out my path. Married to a very very very nice lady, he has proved to be the strongest link in my life..Every gal needs a man like him in her life…
7. Shana Shah (London) – A grandmother!, she is Her Majesty’s tax officer. She was a friend of a friend. We bonded one drunken night 🙂 and that bond has stayed super strong. She has been an incredible support for her children & friends. I wish she had been my mother but I am thankful she is in my life. Heaven knows if we will ever meet again, but I know I will lobby with God to put me closer to her in my next life.
8. Sangita Tailor (Luton, UK) – My dad called her ‘Shongitabehn’. She was the kindest person to me in a foreign land. In her, I found my other sibling. Like a true elder sister, she looked after me. Shopped for vegetables for me, clothes, gave me yummy ghar ka khana, took me out on family outings and generally guided me during my initial relation with my husband, Bish. And she is so funny!!! Always ready for a laugh, she made tedious work at ABB, Luton a joy. She was the only one who has cried on being separated from me. 🙂 Loving & caring, that’s who she is!!!
9. Jagruti Bahl (now Sarkar, Pune) – A very sweet Punjabi kudi. Her enthusiasm & zest for life rivals mine. We met in a park due to our daughters (both daughters are born a few days apart, and we share the same birth month).We were barely together for a few months, but she has forged a link of a lifetime. Ignoring her own pain, she runs to assuage others’ pain. A heart of pure gold.
10. Prasad Manohar (Pune, US) & Vinod Chavara (Mumbai & God knows where) – Anyone who has worked in Choudhury International, knows these two names go together. I met them when I was at my lowest in life. Numb and dazed, I was hurtling through life, when these two individually gave me strength. They both somehow pulled me out of an abyss & got me going. Vinod had asked to be my brother, but I requested friendship. And he has been a rock-solid friendship. Have lost touch with Vinod, but I hope you know you made a big difference in my life. Prasad is desperate to get rid of me :), but I have my clutches on you my friend. Both sweet, caring and good boys, married to very sensible girls, I wish them the best in life..
Some other people who influenced, inspired, moved me or were simply there.
Priya Das (now Arun, Mumbai), Samiksha (Seth) n Sheetal Desai (Mumbai), Sheetal’s mom, Mrs Desai, Cheryl Dias (Canada), Purvi Mehta (Mumbai), Aditi Chowdhury (US), Vaishali Dighe (US).
Thank you all for your incredible love and support. God bless you all!!!