It is a common remark to hear "we like to celebrate with family and friends". Friends ? The people who stand by us and support us when families don’t. The people who encourage us when our very own flesh and blood have lost faith in us.The people that warm a certain part of our soul .Are they mirrors of ourselves ?They bring us a smile, pat our shoulders, and bring sense into our lives when we don’t see it. They save us from blunders and call us crazy at times. They may not stay within driving distance and they may have been out of touch but it only takes a call or an email to be with them when distance seems to be a hurdle. They are never away.
K, B, R and S were four guys whom I met in my first year at college. I was standing with my other girl friends, when another friend D introduced us to each other. I immediately noticed K and R were very good looking and handsome men. B and S were the first athletic people that I came across. I was taken in by all of these, but mainly by their sense of humor. What else can you expect from someone who had just turned 17? Though we never took any classes together we would hang out. They grew on me. And may be I grew on them. We had fun in each others company.
Their parents were great hosts and we felt very welcome at their homes even when we went in for lunch unannounced. I don’t recall many specifics but each one would bring out the best in each other and sometimes the worst. We discussed, debated, disagreed and played very hard. One incident that is vivid in my memory is my 20th birthday. I had graduated from college and was distraught and still figuring out my next step in this world. We got together without any preplanning. It was as if it was a premonition that they knew I would be at the train station. I was on the way home after running an errand and they picked me up at the station - Just the five of us and the friend, D who introduced me to them. In the two hour of togetherness they gave me wings to fly and a renewed sense of courage, and a message that good wine comes in old bottles. As time passed each of us moved onto other pastures and met occasionally .
Very soon I left the country. A new marriage, a new country, school, work kept me on my toes. Meanwhile I tried to get in touch with K, B,R and S but their phone numbers had changed. Back then there were no face books, you tubes and Google was still in its nascent stage and no luck searching them on Yahoo lists either. I had lost in touch with them for five years by then. One day when I was reading a news article, I came across a name which was very similar to D’s husband. Thanks to the internet I found out the address of the company that he was working with. When I called he was attending a family function and seeing a strange number on his cell phone, picked up the call. He beamed on hearing my voice and couldn’t wait to pass on the number to his wife D who in turn gave me the phone number of all the four. Within hours I called each of them – K, B, S and R. They couldn’t believe their ears and the minute I said hello – they responded with excitement ringing in their voice .They verified it was me, "Is that you ?" and asking me other funny questions – their humor rising in each of them and making me laugh. My telephone bill was rising every minute and that month it went through the roof. We have kept in touch ever since.
They have beautiful wives and children. It is now nearing a decade that we have met. When I called K’s house – his beautiful wife picked up the phone. After our initial greetings and other friendly enquires I asked “Can I speak to K? She said, of course, you should not be asking to talk to K; you should be demanding that the phone be given to him. I was touched by his wife’s words. I now share a special bond with their wives. We have kept the flower of friendship alive even when we have spread ourselves.
Image: Valanne's photostream