Investing in buddy bonds

buddies Jaya and her childhood friend Monica in Turkey.

No matter how much we love our families, no one will ever elicit the giggles and nostalgia that a friend from our past will. In modern society, few of us live our lives in one place, and hence many friendships are the result of being in the same place at the same time. However, there are friendships that survive distances, marriages, kids and pretty much everything life throws at you.

Last week, a group of women met in Toronto, to celebrate their friendship with a picnic at Serena Gundy Park. No big deal except that they first met as teary four-year-olds in 1966 in the nursery section of Sacred Hearts Girls’ High School.

“From nursery, we graduated from the 10th grade together, left school to follow our dreams but our nursery friendships remained rippling across families, siblings and spouses. India, Australia, Canada, England, UAE, the US...distances or time zones, Bangalore was always our central node, the place we returned to and where we began our Yahoo group that keeps us connected through our daily lives.”

Sadly, there have been losses too. One friend passed away in her twenties, another in her early forties. They are missed and remembered. Some are mothers-in-law, even grandmothers, some are single and some divorced. “As friends and confidants, we reach out across the miles with words or actions reaffirming a friendship that is constant and self-sustaining,” says Chitra, one of the gang members who co-ordinates with her nursery buddies and keeps the group going.

Separated by circumstances but inseparable by choice, this group of five friends nurture a friendship that began in the Frank Anthony Public School Nursery 15 years ago. “Due to varied professional interests, we have moved into different colleges and institutions but we have remained best friends. During exams, we shared the stress and when it was over, we celebrated it, together. Our parents support our friendship as they feel we complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses and help each other through adolescent angst. We move in and out of each other’s homes comfortably and all our parents double up as surrogate parents for the whole bunch. Though we have scattered across the country, we set up a conference call every Sunday to catch up on what’s been happening through the week,” says Juanita, one of the five.

Over the decades, this group of friends who met as students in Mount Carmel in the mid 70s, has remained closely connected in spite of relocating to places all over the globe. “No matter where we move, we always keep in touch and make it a point to attend important events in each other’s lives,” says Sheela. At her daughter’s wedding recently, her buddies flew in from London, Sri Lanka and Delhi making the event even more special. “We invest in and nurture our friendships by communicating and taking time out to maintain an active interest in each other’s lives,” she adds.

Celebrating their school friendship over the years, this group of buddies decided to treat themselves to a holiday in Turkey to mark their 40th birthdays. “We live in different parts of the world but distances are not an issue when you share a special bond that was forged when you were little,” says Jaya, one of the group members.

“Nothing beats the comfort levels that old friends bring. Friends, who knew you through your bad hair days, fashion faux pas, personal successes or failures and helped you deal with them. We have had our differences too over the years but nothing that couldn’t be resolved,” she adds.

What is the secret of a lasting friendship? “Laziness, indifference, a too-busy life, or procrastination are often the enemies that turn a friend to an acquaintance to a stranger. We catch up on all that has been going on in each other’s worlds whenever we can. Laugh together, travel together, make new memories. Take a trip down memory lane. Look at old pictures of ourselves and make future plans to keep the momentum going,” they say.

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