Buddies..

MM asked a question on her blog, whether we still have a best friend, like the kinds we had in school…this kind of opened a floodgate of emotions and feelings in me and it came close on the heels of KT asking me why I didnt still cultivate and nurture friendships…

I had a ” best friend”, A, perhaps for the first time when I was around 11…this was a time when things were hunky dory for me…there werent too many worries in the world…I was only hassled about having to study, preferring to spend time reading, TV, music etc…we hung out all the time in school, went to the movies together (with our mommies and younger siblings in tow!)…and then I also became closer to another girl, D who is now the closest I have to a best friend today. It was a simpler life, a smaller town…

Moving to Madras opened me up to a whole new set of people…now even though I was from a smaller town, I wasnt too far behind in terms of mental compatibility with the people around me was perhaps even more advanced mentally than loads of people…it was no culture shock or any such thing…but the issue was that it was around this time that my world began disintegrating….

The official reason for our move was that my granddad had passed away and as it was to take care of him that we’d moved to the small town it was no longer necessary for us to remain there, plus my ma could get back to her job…I’m sure my mom knew that it wasnt just as straightforward as this, but yeah she had no idea how bad it really was…but me being still that trusting 14 year old had no reason to believe otherwise and was very happy to get out of there…the only things that I knew I’d miss were my friends..my school where I was this popular girl and our lovely house…well a bungalow is more like it…we had just finished building our dream home..where no expense was spared as this was the “lifetime investment”..we had lived there barely a year…

The rude shock we had was when we moved to this tiny grubby apartment..in a not so great neighbourhood….we had entered hell…Things began to slowly unravel…my ma started work, it wasnt even a full time job..paying a measly Rs 3000 per month…my dad’s income came in trickles…and then came his brainwave…he’d do a course in IT that would cost Rs 2 lakhs and as we didnt have money he’d sell off the house and use the funds to pay for the course and pay off the housing loans and stash away the rest…The course was paid for and abandoned, the debts remained and the stashing away became gambled away…and the daily drink became one too many drinks everyday…We were left with this: One alcoholic man with a serious gambing addiction, one woman with a degree that has very restricted scope for employment, the one option in Madras able to offer her a part time position that paid very little..two confused school going children…

This was the beginning of my withdrawal…I was very ashamed of inviting people into my house…I couldnt answer questions about my dad…where he worked, what he did, this was from my new circle…as regards the old circle..there were questions on what happened to our house, had we bought a new one, the obvious shock when people saw our place…it was traumatic to say the least..I still remember my birthday that year….how I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed…and I remember the look of helpless dismay on my mother’s face and the look of confusion on my little brother’s face…he had done some minor thing that triggered off my tears and couldnt understand why he had upset me so much…Deception was my way of handling all of this..harmless lies here and there to mask glaring gaps in our lives…I stayed away from people never letting them get close enough to ask personal questions…no money meant no outings, coffee with friends, parties, nice gifts, canteen treats, fancy music CDs, posters in the room, different kinds of nail polish…I ceased to be that regular teenager and instead morphed into a serious girl who was focussed on doing well in acads…went from one class to another…generally shone in school from that perspective…so I cultivated this image of this moderately cool girl who was good at her work…I was not the nerdy studious child, but was neither this uber cool girl…I found this middle ground somewhere and stayed there….so naturally there were no best friends…I kind of lost touch with A and slowly got closer to D, but never close enough to pour my heart out…But at this point I drew closer and closer to my mom…my mom was the only one who knew what was going on and we supported each other..giving each other strength and the moral support to carry on with life and put on a brave face in dealing with the blows life was dealing us..

Things worsened and my dad could still not keep off the races and he began borrowing in order to be able to gamble…when they reached very messy proportions my mom put her foot down and insisted that he check into rehab…At the rehab, there was a family counselling session and the counsellor asked me who my friends were and whether I shared stuff about our troubles with them…When I said no and that my mom was my only friend..she asked my mom to watch out for me because was giving too many glib rehearsed answers and that I was taking all of this worse than I was letting on…

College was a worse nightmare….worse than school because of the innate nature of friendships and the general hanging around that it involves..I could never afford the fancy clothes, accessories…the inequality was even more glaring here….so I fell back on my acads, my CA, my music practice and a lot of stuff that kept me occupied all the time…

Then I joined my internship and KT stumbled onto my life….he ripped apart my facade and made out that there was some demon that I was battling with…he even realised that I was playing a double game…I was outwardly this cool, confident, easy going performer…but deep down inside there was this insecure scared person..I found myself finally able to talk about my troubles to someone other than my immediate family and was really grateful for the support he gave me…he was able to offer me a shoulder to cry on..to bounce off ideas..to just listen when the going got tough…and finally we were people that had no secrets from each other…we had each other’s interests at heart…we were….best friends….For the first time in my life I knew what it was to have a best friend in the true sense of the word…that our relationship has moved on ahead and that we’re now married is another matter altogether…but we still remain best friends…the only really close friend for me at least…I cannot even begin to talk about how much I am grateful for his presence in my life…he has basically returned the sanity into my life, he is the calming factor in my highly panicky existence…

Things have largely stabilised money wise now…my dad still drinks and still gambles, but the fact that the money flows more freely lessens the blow….the number of issues we deal with has lessened…I am way more secure now, have come into my own, my identity is mine…the skeletons in my closet matter lesser and lesser now…but I find myself unable to mingle freely with people…there’s always that distance I maintain, I don’t find the need to friends to hang out with or spend time with..I’m happy with keeping to myself, being around KT, my mom, my brother….It’s become my nature now…the cloak that I used to wear, I can now not differentiate it with my own skin…I know I need to change…but really don’t know where to start….

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6 Responses

  1. You;re very brave to blog about all this. And very brave to have come trhough all this. And very lucky to have KT. All the best with your choice to change …. but if you’re happy where you are, thats fine….

    Thanks…it was a crazy time…still is in someways…but KT is a life saver..
    As regards my wanting to change..KT thinks its not very healthy for me to continue in this manner because I have very superficial relationships with a whole lot of people…he wants me to try and invest in having at least one meaningful relationship with someone outside of family…

  2. Well, you have already begun. To be able to speak out so honestly about such personal stuff, requires a lot of courage. And I think you are able to do this because you have come past those insecurities and are in a good place today with KT.

    Well begun is half done! Gpood luck and lots of love!

    Thanks for stopping by here!! Yeah..I wish I’d begun blogging earlier..it is cathartic..but I guess my life was way too crowded earlier for me to do anything more…yes I am in a much better place and KT is simply the best!!!

  3. Blog, blog, let it all out… I am so glad your story has a happy ending! Good luck…

    Welcome here…thanks a ton!!

  4. That’s alot to go through! Glad you have your chin up

    Thanks and welcome here!!

  5. … and with that, you just gave me the strength to get out of this blue funk I’m in and start living again. I always try, but the road ain’t smooth especially when I’m building it myself.
    Thank you.

    …and with that you made my starting this blog worthwhile..really.

  6. Hi…
    Surprise, surprise….we’re soul sisters. Went through the same thing, except, Dad didnt gamble and he started drinking pretty late, by the time I was 16 and he’d made enough for us to live really well. But everything else I identify with and more. I have 3 siblings and I felt very motherly about them, not sisterly. Wasnt close emotionally to my Mom prior to marriage but was always protective about her. In your 10 things post you said something about wanting her to enjoy life selfishly – thats exactly where I am with her too now. Lost my Dad on Dec 12th.
    I dont think you should push yourself to strike out with new friends – I made a lifelong friend after about 10 years between the last one and now, a mom of my sons classmate and we just hit it off. People like you and me, we’ve developed filters over the years thanks to everything we’ve been through and I dont think we’re forming superficial relationships, we’re just adept at getting to the core pretty fast. It’s just a gut thing. You just know when there’s a kind and real soul you can bond with. Just keep yourself open to them, they’ll come. I know it’s not someone you always want to bare your soul to…sometimes you just want someone to hang around with in silences too.
    In the meantime we just have to accept that yea we might walk into a room and do our thing without working the room. It’s ok for people to get the vibe that we’re not normal. Or dying to join the club. Still waters run deep….Bwuahhahh hah hah – I feel like Tim in Home Improvement…did I get that right? LOL!!!

    Wow, first time I’ve come face to face with someone who’s dealt with similar stuff as I have…not too sure what to say!! My brains are fairly addled at the moment but have left a comment on your blog!

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