Dear S and A,
As I type this, I imagine the three of us sitting somewhere outside, with the sun on our faces and our eyes scrunched up (making A almost blind) a pleasant breeze and a nice smell wafting from somewhere nearby… Maybe we are sitting near a bakery and they are baking chocolate cake… I hear laughter (oh wait, that’s us laughing) and a French song that seems vaguely familiar playing somewhere nearby (why French? Don’t ask me) But most of all if I close my eyes I can almost see how happy I am to be with the two women who made me believe in friendship again. Yes I am being cheesy by typing this out but if you know me (which you do), you will understand where I am coming from. That when I have a lot in my mind and heart I simply HAVE to put it into words, however inadequate they may be. So as you read this, imagine the three of us hanging out and having this one-sided conversation, okay?
Just two words. Yes, I have to say them publicly. Thank you.
S of my heart, I think some stars must have gone out of their way to align themselves in perfect order that day you and I met. At a mall, too, while trolling the atrium sale. Imagine striking up a conversation with a complete stranger and talking to them for 20 straight minutes! And then remember how it was way over a year when we finally met again? Over bhaat, dal, shutki, dali boro and aloo pitika of all things! I can count on my fingers how many times we have met so far. And yet, what you have done for me, no one ever has.
What I remember is sitting on the couch with a newborn snoozing in my arms, on our second day at home back from the hospital, at my wits’ end trying to figure out how to manage everything without any help around. The husband was worn thin between cooking, cleaning, washing, doing grocery and emergency baby stuff shopping AND helping me take care of the baby. I was sleep deprived, clueless and felt helpless. And that’s when I called you. I didn’t even hesitate to say yes when you offered to come over and help us till our parents arrived. And shamelessly asked you if you could cook for us. You laughed and said yes.
You arrived the next day, armed with a brand new electric kettle (which, by the way, is the most used equipment in the kitchen even now), a neck and shoulder massager for me and a book to keep yourself entertained while I napped. And from the moment you came home and took charge, I started breathing again. Oh, that hour long back massage that you gave! I swear between you and A, you made me feel so pampered I was almost glad to take advantage of my situation! While I nursed baby and tried napping with her, you “took stock” of the kitchen, cleared out the fridge, folded baby’s laundry and cooked my lunch, making sure it was well balanced. As if that were not enough, you unpacked my hospital bag, sorted the stuff inside, made me fresh juice and even cooked us dinner. And when you left with a promise to come again the next day, I wept. Because that was the only thing that I could do.
You came again the next day, this time armed with breakfast for the sleep deprived new parents. And while the husband cooked lunch and I tried to get ready for baby’s first pedi appointment, you ran after me feeding me so I didn’t go hungry and told us you would happily wait for us to come back so you could cook dinner for us again. When we got to know that I would have to stay back with baby in the hospital for her jaundice, you packed my hospital bag for me again, remembering to put in stuff that slipped out my mind, and waited till the husband went back home to get the bag for me.
And that Friday, A, you took over. Almost as if S handed you the “take care of her” torch in this friendship relay. You arrived at the hospital, all the way from KL, and while I was no longer the weepy mess I had been the day before and slightly relieved to see baby recovering, the moment I saw you, I completely forgot about all my worries. You got me books, Christmas gifts and two whole weeks of your life to help me take care of my newborn. That, in addition to everything you had done for me, including that surprise visit and the closest thing to a baby shower you gave me. I honestly can’t recall how life was before I met you; before you became my sounding board for the smallest thing. But out of all the things I am grateful to you for, it is those two weeks that I am the most.
You swooped in like my big sister (sometimes I have to remind myself you are younger than me!) and basically told me “Chill dear, I am here”. Okay, maybe not in those words but yes, in essence. You made being a new mom, well, super fun for me. I remember us being cooped inside my room, through all the marathon nursing sessions, talking to the moon and back. Secrets, confessions, vents and rants, silly jokes and deep realizations. Ah, so much sister love that room saw. And when my back was killing me and you would offer to change baby’s umpteenth dirty diaper, or when my feet started to look like they belong in a horror movie and you made them look pretty, or when I was so tired I couldn’t sleep and you read to me so I could, or when you rocked baby boo and hummed lullabies to her and put her to sleep… Those were times when I knew I was way too deep in debt. Even now, I associate being a new mother to the time I spent with you, and will never forget how you took me out on my first “baby free” walk and how exhilarating those glorious twenty minutes felt.
I must have told this to you guys before, I had never been lucky in friendship. All my life I tried to come to terms with the fact that too often in life we end up giving a lot of ours to someone without getting anything in return. Or that sometimes the spark that starts the proverbial house on fire dies way too soon. I had been disappointed and heart broken too many times to want to have faith again. And then, jobless, living in a different country each year, I had given up hope that I would ever find a friend who would make me feel whole again.
Until you wonderful women came to my life. I feel humbled, honored, and most of all, extremely indebted. For making me believe that sometimes, when you open your heart and mind to someone, they do the same to you too, and make you feel like you deserve all the warm fuzzy happiness they bring you and you begin to accept that you ARE special and worth going way, way out of the way for. For making me forget all my bitter experiences and realize that it was all worth it, if at the end I am rewarded by friends like you. For understanding that beneath that seemingly outgoing social butterfly persona is a sentimental introvert who will sometimes unabashedly confess love for you, and accepting me the way I am. Even if I don’t open the door for you at 10pm after you return from a long day at office to give me company, because I am deep in sleep (yikes, I still shudder at the memory!). Even if I treat you like a vent and end up yelling at you because I was frustrated about something else, and a simple innocent comment during lunch earns you an earful (I didn’t even apologize immediately, did I? Tsk tsk tsk)
Okay, I get it that you get it. Winding the deluge of words now, and getting off the virtual podium. Let’s group hug it now, and hope that someday the three of us meet again in reality and we spend hours just talking, if you don’t mind a babbling baby in our midst stealing our attention from time to time, that is. We’ll tell her she is lucky to be included this early in the cool gang.