Captaining the Friend ‘ship’

The atmosphere defines comfort.  Basking in the eveniing sun, Durga and Revathi, housewives in their mid-thirties, sit reclined in the sofa sipping a cup of coffee. Their dialogues have intermittent laughs, slight nudges and sudden loud claps. A small distance away, their toddlers follow the trail of a toy car into the kitchen.

“It has been more than 30 years,” sighed Durga. “And am still bearing with you,” she adds with a tinge of naughty smile. Revathi knows more than just to give a direct answer, and retorts, “So, what now? We break up?”  Both of them break into fits of laughter. It’s the same laughter which they had shared after pulling pranks at friends in school, bunking classes without their parent’s knowledge or after coming up with a funny name for their teachers.

The duo was an unlikely combination though. While Durga was more of the extrovert types, the brainchild behind any ruckus at school and gang leader of sorts, Revathi was on the subtle side, counting her academic cards and making sure her name was never blotted. “We were ‘outstanding’ in our own ways,” Durga says with a laugh.

“She used to nag me to talk with her while the teacher was inside the class,” says Revathi, widening her eyes to convey the magnitude of risk she had taken passing small scraps of paper, in reply to Durga’s silly questions. This happened during one of those instances when Durga was asked to stand outside the class for dedicating a famous Tamil song, yaro yarodi to one of their teachers, who had recently been engaged then. “Atrocious!” quips Revathi, while Durga blushes acknowledging her action. “What was I thinking!” she cups her face in her palm.

After their school days, they parted ways. The college indulged them with new friends. The calls became scarce. Meet-ups, none. Neither of their marriage invitations reached the other. But life is surprisingly kind at times. This time it came in Facebook avatar. “All it took is a friend request to reinvent the wheel of friendship,” says Durga, passionately recollecting the day when she tracked down Revathi’s profile.

Finding each other after years is exciting indeed, but imagine finding each other pregnant at the same time. “It was mind whacking!” admits Durga, who was in South Africa then. “The green status beside her name was the green signal for my day,” jests Revathi, recalling those days when they used to survive on food, water and online chats. “I knew even the exact count of kicks which she would have experienced,” giggles Durga. There have been days when Durga’s husband has sung lullaby for both of them to sleep, admits the duo.

Baby boys for both, the happy news had been conveyed. But when did they meet? “It was a Sunday morning, when my door bell rang,” recounts Revathi, now embracing Durga’s son. “It was Durga with her 5-month-old son! I swear I could have dropped dead with happiness,” she says almost tearing up.

It’s been two years since then and till date, Durga says, not a day goes without hearing her voice. The conversation then diverts to finding the best way to explain the mounting phone bills to their husbands. Their hushed tones and animated actions remind one, of the four-year-olds they were – sitting beside each other in a group photo that now stays framed in the hall.

The article was previously published in The New Indian Express. Check out –





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