Yesterday, I was finally able to take my folks to an acclaimed play, “Class of ’84“, staged at IHC, enacted by all small n big screen celebrities. During most of the play and in interval I was only trying to figure out where I have seen those people before, obviously except Rajit Kapoor who was simply awesome. Only later at night, did I realize that one guy among them played the dead son of Hazaar Chaurasi ki Maa!
The play was about college friends meeting as a group after 17 years after one of their friend’s dies. They seemed to be fighting a lot on stage, which was the only difference I could find between this plot and the plot of TV series Friends. In F.R.I.E.N.D.S the characters usually don’t have unresolved conflicts or tensions, because they see each other everyday, never left anything unsaid or in middle. Each season (a combination of some serials with one issue) ended in its own style without any continuation with the next season.
In my college days, watching Friends on comp was an event in itself. Girls would gather in one room (which ever one had the series on) and laugh and eat some canteen snacks out of each others’ plates. It was not just a TV show, it was trend settler. It was like an adult’s fairy tale – where times never change, friendships never end, there is a group of people who knew your deepest secrets and most importantly who loved you for who you are. The play also ended at the same note, when old buddies shared their secrets, only to be accepted, forgiven and loved. When friendships help you understand yourself better.
When I m brooding over things, I honestly wonder why fairy tales are written and made when they are never supposed to come true. It is an impossible setting in which people don’t change. For instance, I visited my closest friend from school days over the weekend. It was only her with whom I could maintain the closeness and understanding during and after the dynamic years of college. It seemed within our entire gang of school friends, only we two managed to become bitches (that is the apt description, believe me). Our value systems had changed in same direction, we two were the only ones who wanted to try every single thing in the world. Our adolescence, which Indian kids don’t have a chance to experience, was coming late in life. The definitions and limitations of right and wrong no longer mattered to us. We were to make our own values and rights and wrongs. And then like a blow of a canon (am reading abridged R L Stevenson lately) – boom! The girl was married off. Of course, we all know, nothing remains same after that.
I have only visited her twice, including the most recent visit, after her marriage. Both the times I had to go to sasuraal, her new home. Now I find it quite odd there, mostly because she doesn’t like it there, and so it doesn’t feel like her home. I mean at all of my friends’ places I chat a lot with uncles n aunties, siblings. I was especially close to her family because I have spent many nights there over these years. Now it seems so unreal, in the new setting where she is not even called by her old name. Her in-laws have even given her a new name! But it is not just about the new place. We two have changed so much that it is difficult to find things to talk about. I am still in the college mode of trying everything and she is in a completely opposite situation. She has nothing to look forward to for herself, nothing to get involved into aside day to day household chores. And she sounds so lost and bored all the time. In our first meeting, I tried to motivate her to get herself enrolled in some course whichever she likes and gave such other nonsensical ideas. But in this second meeting held 2-3 days back I couldn’t do that either. Because she is a full time mom now. She talks proudly about her daughter and one can see how much she adores the little thing. It is as if her whole world revolves around her baby. It is no wonder that she does a great job as a mom.
What is a wonder is that I couldn’t share her excitement well enough. I felt quite ashamed of myself because when we were kids we used to joke about being moms n aunts to each others’ kids. When one was into some forbidden prank, the other one’s eyes automatically said – i m gonna tell this to … your kids (obv not parents!). Yet now when the little princess was in my arms, I could feel no different than holding someone else’s baby. I played with her, talked to her, but it was still not something very special – it was just like years back when I held my baby nephew. My friend’s life is now defined by her baby, and mine by so many other things which keep on changing. I had a million things which I do or plan to do to tell her, but I didn’t. Because as soon as I start telling her, I feel her pain in listening to my freedom while she is severely prisoned in a marriage she didn’t even want. She still talks about the jobs she had, which she could never do. But this time I couldn’t even share her sorrow, the impatient me wanted the misery to end. That is how we are like – the cynical ones. When I start to show my fears about failure in something I would step into, my friends simply brush it aside saying – bullshit, you gotta try! That is exactly how I reacted to my friend’s cribbing first – do something. Don’t let you marriage ruin you. But it is easier said than done especially when you are stuck in an environment where you father in law is a drunkard, your husband a lesser one, your entire khandaan into business etc etc, and you a daughter-in-law not expected to work outside and only do what your mother-in-law expects you to. At that time, all the feminists in the world fail. The sociology books sound like a farce and I look upto my mother to give me answers. I advice my friend to find a balance, to create a smaller world for herself and her interests and manage her life in best possible way.
I felt very depressed when I came back from her house. Both of us had realized how different our lives are, how difficult it is to find common topics to talk about, how even our value systems have started drifting apart again. My life is nomadic to her, who is trying her best to settle and be happy in her new situation.
Really, why do people make fairy tales and why do people watch them?!