I made a resolution this year that when I felt something was wrong, I would make sure that I voice that opinion. I’m speaking out now.
After more than a decade of friendship, of ups and downs, of cramming for exams and scrounging for projects, of late-night Maggis and late-night movie shows, of early morning coffee and CDs played on my computer, we’ve done it all. You were always the quiet and shy one and I would be the brash one, speaking out for when you when you clammed up! You would goad me into asking the teachers for an off if you didn’t feel like attending class. I would do it.I used to bargain for you when you went shopping (remember the time you liked a particular pair of shoe but didn’t want to pay more than 100/- for it? I haggled with the shopkeeper for it the next day, insisting that I wanted that very pair, even though it was a size small for me. He must have thought me a nut-case, buying shoes that don’t fit!). I could have left you to fight your own battles but I didn’t.
And this is why, I blame myself as much as I blame you for what I feel about the status of our friendship now.
For the last few years, I’ve realized that the equation of our friendship has changed. I’m not sure if you realize when exactly this change came about but I can pinpoint the exact time frame – August 2005. I’m sure this date must have triggered some dormant memories. Dormant for you but not for me. Because I remember the days that followed after that very well. Days, that didn’t turn out too good or favorable for me.
Before I go into the specifics, I’ll let you on a secret. You are a joy to be with – when you are not in the circle of your family. Maybe that’s why the first year of college with you was so much fun. You were gay, unabashed, spoke your mind and were a riot. In the second year, your family settled in town and you moved in with them. Though you were still fun to be with, you weren’t as gay and unabashed as before. Cautious, is what you were. You were careful about what you said and did. I did irk me a bit, but then, I wasn’t so into dissecting personalities.
Honestly speaking, over the last few years, I’ve thought a hundred times about breaking ties with you. I realized that my friendship meant nothing to you. You never really were around during my bad times and when I was around for you, I was reprimanded by your family while you stood by meekly. You neither defended me nor apologized later for the insults I had to bear. At one point, I realized what a grave mistake I had made by taking your side when you came to me for help. Remember this line. You came to me. Till then, I had NO IDEA what was brewing. I had NO IDEA what trouble you were in. I was about to leave town to return God-Knows-When and there you were, sobbing buckets. I did the best I could, FOR YOU. I stood up for you when there was no one besides you. I faced your family FOR YOU.
And that, in Aug 2005 was my biggest mistake.
For years after that, your family has been more than rude to me. Maybe you didn’t realize it. Or just maybe, you realized and chose to keep quiet. Like always. Even before Aug 2005, when results came out in college and I was interrogated on my marks in each subject. Like the time I got my first job and I was asked to give a salary break-up description. Like the time, after a late evening show, I waited with you at a lonely bus-stop till your parents came to pick you up, since no autos were going your way (I could still hail down autos going my way). At 11:30 in the night, when your parents finally came, you hopped into your car and drove away, leaving me alone on a deserted stretch of road. Neither you nor your parents realized the slight. For a whole 10 minutes after that, I stood there in shock, my mouth agape. I waited, because I thought you guys might come back to pick me. My house was after all, almost half-way through to your’s. You didn’t come back (didn’t it bother you one bit that I waited there at the bus-stop for your sake?! Didn’t you owe me anything??). Somehow, when I reverse the position and think of you in my place, I KNOW that my dad would have driven you home even if your house was in the other end of the city. Sure he would have given us an earful, but that would have been out of concern for our safety. For days and years after that, you acted as if that incident didn’t happen. You never acknowledged, nor apologized.
Around 12 am, I finally gathered the guts to call the BF, who woke up from his slumber and drove halfway across the city to drop me home. He gave me a tongue lashing throughout the ride. I didn’t deserve that flak. What surprises me is that when you have to be dropped at the airport at an ungodly hour, your parents called up the BF and asked him to do the needful. Not requested, mind you, just told him to do so. Somehow, their daughter is precious, but someone else’s isn’t?! If we weren’t old buddies, the BF wouldn’t have. But frankly, he isn’t as heartless.
It hurts me terribly as I type this. I’ve been meaning to vent it out to you personally over the years. But then again, I realized that being vocal isn’t your strength. Instead of a discussion, I would be talking to a statue. You would sit patiently, waiting for me to get over and offer nothing in return. Not even the benefit of a good yell. Even as you read this, I don’t expect a reaction. I’m a little miffed that I’m taking the cowardly path and writing this down instead of confronting you. I can’t help it. I just have the consolation that maybe, someday, you will read this post.
I really cannot carry this load anymore. Each time I decided to severe ties with you, the BF calmed me down and pointed out that this lifetime was too short to hold grudges. He’s right. So even though I was insulted a hundred times, even though I vowed never to step into your doorway again, I did. Each time I did it for you. You are aware of the first time the insults started. This was when your mom called me and another friend to reprimand us for being a wrong influence on you.
Wrong influence?! You were 25+ at that time. Not a teenager!
What was our crime?? We had boyfriends. I went ahead to marry mine. The other one is yet to marry hers. But do you remember the actual accusation?? I do. It was implied, directly that I pushed you into doing what you did. That I was the one who initiated the actual problem. I vehemently denied the accusation and looked to you for help. You sat there meekly, letting your mom do all the talking. We understood that with deference to your mother you would not be able to say anything. But what about later?? Wasn’t an apology due from your side? At least a confession that you agree we were misjudged and wrongly accused! You gave away nothing. It was almost as if along with your mother , even you were convinced that we were at fault! For months after that, I and the other friend wondered where we went wrong. How could your actions be cleanly dumped on our shoulders?? We weren’t even aware what you were up to!! What hurt more, was the way you used us.
We were invited to your wedding and though the BF would be missing out on an extremely crucial office meet, against our better judgment, we agreed to go. The other two friends’ family kept a condition that they would allow their daughters to travel the distance only if me and BF also came along. For their sake, we agreed to come. Since we couldn’t leave the kids behind, I dragged them along too. That was another terrible mistake. In the peak of summer, you were magnanimous in giving us a dorm that was without air-conditioning. Your reason of keeping the four of us together lacked substance. How exactly do you suppose the other two girls would have managed to change clothes or sleep with the BF in the same room? With the blistering heat outside, the friends were kind enough to adjust for the BF’s sake so that he didn’t have to step out in the heat each time. Not only that, the dorm was converted into a dining area, with breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet throughout the day. The workers would come early in the morning for setting up the tables and would walk in till late at night after the last of the dinner was cleared up. Your guests would linger on, chatting. We didn’t get a moment’s peace or privacy throughout the day. The children didn’t get a decent hour’s sleep(at the age of 1.5 years they deserved it though). The heat made my daughter ill. When we requested for a room change, we were told that none were available. This was before the last batch of your friends turned up on the day of the wedding. They got AC rooms, by the way. The BF suggested that we move out to a better hotel outside, but on discussion with the others, we collectively thought that it’d be rude to your family. Surprisingly, no one from your family was considerate about us. Frankly, only because all four of us protested vehemently that the dorm wasn’t converted into a bar for the daru-party planned for later on the wedding night.
I doubt you can feign ignorance about all this, or maybe you can. I really don’t know anymore.
All I know is that your family has treated me beneath your status, class, whatever!! You, in turn, have treated me more like an errand boy than a friend. In fact, I wouldn’t mind running the errands, its just that your acknowledgement of my efforts doesn’t exist. Each time you need something you give me a call. Each time I decide I wouldn’t do it anymore and then I give in. I end up at your doorstep to help you out.
When you came to town this time, you called me up to get a lady to help with the massage. On my kid’s birthday, leaving the preparations behind, I came with the said lady to your house. What did I get for my efforts?? Just a lot of flak on how massages are useless and not really needed. I think you should have had this conversation and come to a decision with your mother before calling me. I didn’t need to make an attempt to convince her on why exactly it would be good for you. With the first word of dissent from her side, I could have walked out. I didn’t. For YOU. Because I knew it would do you good. Because I knew you needed it. You kept quiet while I argued your case with your own mother!!! Your silence is what irks me the most!!
When I suggested places where you could buy diapers for cheap, I was told rather rudely by your mom that they could be bought for the same rate at other places. Made me whack myself for even bringing up the suggestions for you. I’ll never learn, I guess. I did keep my distance from you after that. Each visit to your house leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth.
Now tell me, how do you expect me to react when you send me a message and ask me to deliver 150 diapers of varying sizes, from the very place I had suggested before, at your doorstep before you leave town? How exactly do you suppose I’m expected to carry out the feat?? Take an off from work to travel to the heart of the city? Strap the huge packs on my scooty and travel right across the city? What would I get in return for all my efforts?? Why should I do it??
Let me remind you again. I’m NOT your errand-boy. I’m a married woman who works full time and has two kids to boot. Your assumption that I’ll always be available at your beck and call is highly misplaced. However terrible your circumstances, they aren’t so bad that you can’t call up JustDial, take the number of BigBazaar and have the diapers delivered to your home. By the way, you do have other friends in this city, don’t you (the ones we lovingly call your ‘AC friends’)? Why don’t you ask them for these favors? But you won’t, I’ll tell you why? Because you care for what they might think. You are apprehensive of approaching others, whereas with me, you simply call up and order. Words like ‘Please’, ‘Thank You’ or ‘Sorry’ were never a part of your vocabulary. After all these years, I don’t expect them either.
The only person who’s hurting right now is me. I never expected it to reach a situation like this. But I’m sorry to say, it was long due. I’m tired of taking insults from your family and grinning through it. I’m tired of being treated like a sidekick. I’m upset that along with making me run errands, you have no qualms in expecting my husband to do the same.I’m upset that in all these years, you kept quiet when you shouldn’t have. You may argue that this is the way you are. But darling, I’m tired of standing up for you when you cant stand up for yourself. Its a pity you allow your parents to run your life even now. I know for sure that your mother disapproves of me. I don’t want to continue this farce of being friends when your expectations from me are solely based on what I can do for you. Try to remember, when was the last time you did something for me, however trivial?!
I’m not sure when you will read this or whether you ever will. I don’t care. Whenever you do, please remember, it is harder on me as I write this than it will be on you as you read. The first draft of this post was much scathing. But like the BF says, this lifetime is too short to carry grudges. I don’t want to carry that weight. If you are upset over this post, I’m sorry, it couldn’t be helped. If you want to burn the bridges, then call me. If you value even a percent of our friendship, call me and let me know if you realize the injustice meted out to me. The ball is in your court now. If you don’t call, its okay. It would be something that I would expect from you.
But for once, break the mould. Surprise me. Speak up!
I wish you and your family all the happiness in this world. May you enjoy your new city and your new life.