Monday, November 8, 2010

The little things you do

"Dear God, please make me slim, fair and beautiful. And in case you can't, please make all my girl friends fat and ugly".
No, no, no...please don't get me wrong. This is not a wish from my side. It is a common joke on female friendship that floats about. Honestly, I could never laugh after reading this joke. It makes me stand in front of a very uncomfortable question: can girls really be friends to each other? Or to frame it little differently, do women really value friendship!

I think it is a pure social conditioning that, in our country when most girls are growing up, they are often taught separate set of values, separate set of priorities than the boys. Thus, it is taught to them, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly that her husband or husband's family has supreme priority over anything else in the world ! No,even she as a person do not generally feature in that priority list. And of course friends are never ever there in that list. In fact, the girl is considered quite dysfunctional, if she has too many friends that she cares about!

Now, fortunately or unfortunately I was brought up with "progressive ideologies" and always viewed friendship as something that too needs to be nurtured along with other relationships. As a result of this ideology and the resultant expectations, I have had plenty of experiences that shook my belief in friendship from my same gender time and again. And later on when I evaluated the situation, it somehow always boiled down to the social conditioning or insecurities of girls/women that actually make them selfish or even narrow. Let me share some examples.

It was a packed class room where an exam was supposed to begin in a few minutes. I reached the place
with one of my best friends in tow. There was only one coveted seat in the first row (yes we were the typical "first-benchers" ;-) ), but many in the last. I waited for my friend thinking we will sit together. But she dodged me in a mad rush to reach the place in the first row. She pretended complete unawarenes of the situation and I pretended the same and yes we are friends even today. But yes, I knew from that time onwards, how insecure she is as a person and how much she will give me her hand if I am sinking!
Examples like this can go on for pages. Friends completely forgetting the existence of their so-called "best friends" after getting married or friends shutting their doors on you during week ends as that's the "family time" etc etc!

There is one even funnier fact is that as a woman, if you believe in giving some priority to your friends you are considered to be one unhappy soul, who did not get enough attention from her male counterpart. I actually think it is the opposite. If you are a happy person, at ease with your relationships, you actually have more love to give, to share. It is not too tough to strike a balance only if you believe in yourself as a person.

Don't get me wrong, I still have girl friends who lend a shoulder to cry in times of need, or do fun things together (and some of them will be reading this blog too :-) ) but somehow that group feels to be a minority. I so wish, that we as women learn to strike a balance between our 'domestic lives" and everything else someday soon. We need to learn to live fully. Not just as someone's daughter, wife or mother but as a person and only then we will be able to appreciate the true meaning of friendship or any other relationship for that matter.

This post will remain incomplete if I do not acknowledge all my friends, who have proved much more beyond the social stereotypes. Who beyond being a mother, a wife or a daughter have proved to be an equally caring friend to all her female friends as well. They have proved that diamonds are not necessarily a girl's best friend.
And to tell them how much I value their friendship, I am simply going to copy from the recent Vodaphone advertisement, which I love so much.

Little things you do for me
and no body else makes me feel good
little things you do for me
making me smile and no one else could
that’s why I like to sit next to you
and hear your mad stories/ I know they are not true
and I like that we share a secret or two together
little things you do for me...