My Funny Valentine - Sweet Comic Valentine
There is something to be said about friends. I mean, they give us their all without expectation. At least mine do. I have friends who will listen to me yap about everything from completely transitory issues such as missing periods or acne to permanent problems that I suddenly have become aware of such as world peace and intolerance. They will never tell me that I am boring them and will loyally stifle yawns. None of them expect rings or a gift, much less a flower bouquet.
They will be completely fine if I don't call them for Valentine's Day or might even be slightly embarrassed if I do. I can just imagine my friend whisper a quick "Hmm, wish you the same but are you trying to murder my love life?" when I scream "Happy Valentine's Day!" through telephone lines while he is trying to chat up a cute girl who having heard my loud Valentine's Day wishes walked away quickly excusing herself.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love them dearly but my family can drive me nuts because, lets face it, that is their job. A year before turning thirty, I have come to accept that as a woman I will forever disappoint my mother. That's it. I feel better just having made that admission. Let me elaborate. My dad once told me of a doctor in his locality who they later discovered was somewhat of a quack. No matter what ailment one brought to Dr.Kamat, he would immediately ask them to stop drinking tea.
"But doctor I don't drink tea" the patient would sometimes respond.
"Ok so don't drink coffee" Dr.Kamat would tell him distractedly, filling out a generic prescription that everybody received unless they were having a heart attack in which case, Dr.Kamat's drunk compounder quickly shoved them into a taxi and sent them to the nearest hospital.
"Umm I don't drink coffee either doctor" the patient would tell him, hoping this information would give Dr.Kamat some brilliant insight into what was causing his affliction.
"You must drink something no....juice, cola, something. Stop drinking that" Dr.Kamat would snap at the confused patient. The poor man would nod and walk away with his prescription wondering why drinking his wife's nimbu sharbat had resulted in such a terrible case of butt-acne.
My mother is like Dr. Kamat.
"Are you drinking enough water?" she will ask without occasion
"Yes mom, I am drinking water all the friggin time" I respond in my high-pitched whiny "talkin-to-mom" voice
"Maybe you shouldn't drink too much water. You should drink a bit less. Too much water is also probably not good" she'll say.
"What's with your skin? Are you going out too much in the sun?" she'll comment, putting on her glasses, her keen stare making me squirm
"I rarely go out. I am always in the office or in lab. What are you talking about?" I answer with a shrug, rubbing my cheeks and forehead as if hoping for the tan to come off.
"Maybe that's what it is. If you stay cooped up at home, you don't get enough sun. You need some sunlight." And so on.
So basically no matter what I say, I'm screwed.
My dad is mostly neutral. But sometimes his neutrality is like that of Aishwarya Rai's where you just want to scream "Dude, say something!"
He once read my short story and I sat waiting in front of him, with baited breath to hear some feedback. He finished reading, took his glasses off and got up. I thought maybe he would walk over to me and pat my back. No such thing happened. I followed him inside until he walked into the bathroom. I stood outside only to hear him fart. That was my feedback.
Lets not even talk about extended family. They care so much for you that they have decidedly compartmentalized your life and now have inquiry committees set up for each section. Reproductivity, weight and marital status make up the three big departments and by the end of this concerned scrutiny, you are half the person you once were.
So that leaves us with friends. And it leaves our friends with this beaten down version of us, to deal with our woes, to lift our trampled self-esteem, to assuage our tested patience and soothe our hurt feelings.
Last year, I had to have surgery and just before they wheeled me into the OR, my friend's face loomed over my bed. She held a cell phone in her hand and was taking a picture.
"OMG, what are you doing?" I asked her, nervous in the anticipation of my first surgery ever, my face pink in embarrassment.
"Smile" she said loudly, as doctors and nurses looked on wondering whether or not to tell her that this was not allowed.
"Come on...just one picture, you look hot in that surgery robe and the blue cap" she told me as I smiled into the cell phone feeling like a complete moron.
When I woke up several hours later and suddenly threw up she was already holding the vomit-pan as if waiting for the puke to fly.
"Oh yeah baby!" she said victoriously as if she had caught a frisbee in the pan, "the doctor said you'd be nauseous from the anesthesia" she told me when I looked up confused wondering how she had managed to just be ready for such an unwarranted bout.
Men make amazing friends. They believe that disagreements or fights end when the phone call comes to an end. Can you imagine? One day we have a heated argument and so during the next conversation I try acting all aloof hoping he'll get the hint and apologize. He just chuckles and chortles while telling me about this colleague who was caught looking at some weird porn at work. A few minutes later, I sheepishly realize that he has completely forgotten about any fight whatsoever and even wonder if I had imagined the whole heated argument we'd had two days ago. Now I am starting to get the hang of it. This attitude keeps the friendship child-like and therefore stress-free.
A few years ago I received a V's Day card from a friend. I was surprised. He hated mushy V's day crap and had told me so, many times. I opened the e-card at work and a big blue cloud turned into a pink heart and floated around. And just as I wondered what the hell had happened to my perfectly wry friend, the large pink-heart balloon turned into a humongous, burly, pink, dimpled ass and whats more, it loudly farted. This time I turned pink and wanted to float away as colleagues looked on when the audible offensive rip came from the general direction of my desk area.
In his personalized note he wrote: "Had to show you this hilarious card. I knew you'd laugh". I did.
My roommate and I are the best of friends. I am a Harry Potter fan. She is not. One night, I read late into the night and wept when at roughly 3 am, I found out that Professor Dumbledore had died. That poor, poor, dear old man with his soft beard, I thought, crying into my pillow. I can get weird like that. I will have pent up sorrow that will suddenly be unleashed by stray occurrences, ranging from watching tragic films to hearing Talat Mehmood's ghazals. Anyways, so my roommate heard me weep and came over worried, her sleepy eyes trying to focus on my face in the dark.
"Whats the matter, why are you crying?" she asked me, blinking rapidly, her voice hoarse and heavy with sleep.
"Professor Dumbledore died" I told her mumbling. I don't know what she heard but she immediately put her arms around me
"Aww, how did he die....I'm so sorry to hear that" she cooed
"I don't know" I wept. I probably had been repressing some weird grief that Dumbledore's death had now released.
"Was it an accident? How did the professor die?" she asked her face a picture of concern
"No, that asshole murdered him" I told her as she brought me tissues and wiped my face.
"with his wand" I added, my lip still quivering and she frowned.
"Murder! With his wand? Wait, did you say wand? Wand?!" she stammered, her eyebrows knitted in confusion
"Yeah you know he used this curse and..."
"Which professor is this again? This isn't the professor who taught you Maths who you adored?" she asked, rubbing her eyes, her lips pursed, now fully awake and suddenly having spotted the Harry Potter book on my bed.
When she found out that she had been helping me mourn the death of a character, from a Harry Potter book, she could have fumed, rolled her eyes and walked away, back to bed.
"You are such a drama queen!" she could have told me and dismissed me. I expected her to do that.
Instead she sighed and sat down beside me.
"Don't worry. It's not the last book. He'll come back in the next one...just watch" she told me, with a grave philosophical expression, tucking me in and giving me hope. Professor Dumbledore's death had most likely just been a trigger for some other anguish I had suppressed and even though it found vent in the most odd fashion, she was still there for me.
Two of my very best friends are guys. I have known them since I was a tomboyish teenager. They are quintessential men who love sports, cars and beer. But for my sake, they spent a whole day at Butterfly World in Florida just because it made me happy and I had been feeling low. They had probably wanted to go the beach and watch beautiful, tanned bikini-clad beauties. Instead, they stood patiently in Butterfly World, their hands in their pockets, with tight, uncomfortable smiles, while I clicked pictures and annoying little kids ran around everywhere screaming. They tried very hard to not swat the pretty butterflies that settled down sometimes on their shoulders and hair and even gave me enthusiastic nods and a thumbs-up when I fed two parakeets on my palm.
"Please do not show these pictures to other people" they told me quietly, as we left Butterfly World and headed straight to a sports bar where macho-ism can be painlessly revived.
When I finish a good book, I call them. When I am depressed, I call them and I later find out that they had walked out of a movie theater to talk me out of my blues. When I see a great movie, I talk them into watching it and argue with them when they tell me they hated it. St.Valentine has blessed the celebration of love with his name. Similarly, Plato has blessed friendships between the genders with his name but nobody seems too keen on celebrating Plato's Day. Maybe my post will start a new wave for Plato's Day and annoy those angry Senas even more.
Sadly, in case of Platonic friendships, sometimes I feel like I am on this long wait until the guy's wife comes into his life one day and refuses to see how this friendship of his could be "proper". I spend my days fearing that one day, my best friend will turn into somebody's husband, that one day his wife will claim that him and I are just too close for her comfort. It scares me that this one whim might decide the future of a friendship that I have cherished since I was a teenager. These people are the only witnesses who knew the original me. They knew the person before the cynicism of age and experience set in and they heard the laughter that grew inhibited with every passing year. I once told one of them about this recurring nightmare where he and his wife meet me at the mall years later and he refuses to acknowledge me because she might get offended. At the end of my narration, I waited for his reaction. I waited for him to tell me that I was panicking for no reason and this it was a thoroughly stupid paranoia. And instead he giggled.
"Was she hot...my wife in your nightmare?" he asked me cackling at his own joke as I groaned and protested his ill-timed humor. I was secretly glad that he had made light of the situation; how else could I have ever laughed in the face of such credible fear.
Come to think of it, it is even harder for two girls to stay friends through all the numerous life changes. Two women who are such good friends that they are more than sisters, in the United States, are either pronounced gay or are Gayle...and Oprah.
Marriages, romance, children, jobs, geography and in the face of all the chaos, change and exhaustion is the steady, scaffold, the pillar of a good strong friendship that keeps us all going. So I have decided that I won't wait for Friendship Day to come along and pass by unnoticed. This Valentine's Day, I raise a toast and a cupcake with pink frosting to the ones that keep me sane through all the insanity and yet manage to bring in ample craziness when things get more serious than they should. This Valentine's Day I celebrate this one love that hardly ever gets celebrated and the deep affection we have for the unsung heroes of our busy lives.
Here's to you, my friend, my funny, crazy Valentine.
My Funny Valentine - Sweet Comic Valentine
- » Published on February 14, 2009
- » Type: Opinion
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Author: Aditi Nadkarni
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