Saturday, August 23, 2008

Long Goodbyes

I guess it is fair to say that I am a pretty sensitive, emotions-on-the-surface kind of girl! I have been dreading today for the last couple of weeks, but until yesterday I could pretend it wasn't going to happen. I have however managed to keep the tears to myself!

One of my Forever Friends left Chennai today. I can safely say that as much as I say I am not going to go all out and become close to people anymore - there is always someone who slips past the resolution and becomes special.

I would have loved to throw a massive farewell for her - but I know how very much she would have hated that! So a small select ladies lunch was the way to go! It eased the separation anxiety a little - distracted me as I thought of little gifts and little things that would be easy to carry on the plane and at the same time remind her of me, her other good friends and Chennai (in a positive light) every time she saw or wore these things.

On the whole, I think she had a good time - at least the table was not full of weeping women!

She and I spent time together at the salon today and even managed to get a tattoo done before she left!

I hate the way other people think that they can talk about us, hurt us and malign us and expect none of this to snake its way back to us. I hate that she left feeling betrayed and I wish there was more I could do for her. She stayed strong for me over the past year when I have had some pretty trying times, even when she had stones cast at her for being my friend. I guess right now I am sort of, in a tiny way, there to support her through the trauma of taking her family and moving onto a new horizon.

I comfort myself with the knowledge that she will not let it all end here, neither will I. Sometime, somewhere, in the not too distant future, we will be having a pedicure together and disturbing all the other clients with our singing!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Forever Friends

I can't help but feel a real sense of loss when a friend (especially the forever kind) chooses to, or has to, leave Chennai. I feel a part of me is going with her and leaving a gaping hole behind. I have been getting better at the whole 'goodbye' thing, but realised today that I am simply fooling myself. This 'goodbye' thing is damn hard. It does not get easier, it does not help to start distancing oneself from the person leaving and it does not help to think of life in Chennai without that friend.

The word 'friend' seems so pallid for what I feel for some of these girls and usually their kids. The depth of feeling that comes with making friends that will last a lifetime (forever friends) is more than merely friendship. It is kinship, shared views, thoughts and feelings, it is a shared sense of humour, a shared Cosmo on a low, low day and just someone to say - yep you did OK. My darling hubby is not always there for this - try as he might - working long hours, travelling long days and weeks, and finally reaching home to find a wife in need of emotional sustenance may just be too much to handle!

I am grateful that the few forever friends made in Chennai are still in close contact with me, are still trying to find ways for us to see each other and are still reciprocally tolerant of the rantings of a sometimes madly emotional woman! I thank God each day for the blessings I have - my husband and kids, my parents, my sister and these wonderful, wonderful forever friends. As long as these people are in my life - I can handle anything.

back to blogging!

So back into the full swing of thing! The holidays are a mere scent of a memory and my life here in Chennai is rushing headlong ahead.
The monsoon rains are pelting down, as I write, in a steady thrum and the constant flashes of lightning and crashes of thunder are vaguely threatening. I can't help but think of those so much less fortunate than I - sitting out in the cold, pouring water, drenched to the skin and shivering. I am here in the warmth, feeling dry and secure. Until you have got soaked to your skin, and felt the sheer power of a monsoon downpour, you can have no idea what this means. The first year I was in Chennai, I helped to organise a Trick or Treat for Halloween. Parents drove their kids from house to house in their cars, drivers waited, and the kids jumped out, collected treats and jumped back into the cars! I thought this was shocking, until at 6pm (start of the event) I was standing at the end of the road directing cars and handing out maps and felt the first of a million, gazillion huge raindrops start to fall on my head.
FJ (a then, newly-made forever friend), sent her driver to give me an umbrella and I had an old Wimbledon plastic poncho in my car. Nikh was safe in FJ's house with her and her kids, handing out treats. I was under attack - tipping down rain, thunder and lightning. Within minutes, I was soaked through to my underwear, couldn't see for the sheer curtain of rain streaming down past my face and I started shivering. Who knew that the water directly from the heavens would be flipping freezing! Temps 10 mins before had been about 34C and suddenly I felt as though I had stuck my body in a freezer for an hour! Unbelievable!

I was struck by Mother Nature's power - like a woman on PMT with a loaded gun, she was firing wildly! I recall thinking then that we need to appease her, we need to do something to change the way her fury is unleashed with ever more force, ever more aggression and with more frequency. She seems to be letting us know that whatever we try and do to her planet - she can do sooo much more!