These were the girls I travelled to and from college with and when you’re a group of 16yr olds in the local train with at least 30 mins at hand, you tend to talk a lot (and very fast), and laugh a lot, and generally get to know weird stuff about each other (like how you run and how you look panting and gasping for breath and how well you balance yourself and whether you can draw a botany diagram in a moving train!).
Over the years we grew from being uncertain and unstable to confident and sure. Some of us had common interests in matters of career, and others had different. It didn’t stop us from being friends. We just sat in the last row of two classrooms instead of one, and we had more people to gossip about at Sunday lunches that went on for hours and hours and hours! J
We helped each other cope with college and the punishing course work. We explained and understood concepts that, frankly, we still don’t know what to do with. We spent hours sprawled in the common room making full use of being seniors. We spent even more hours hanging about the photocopy shop opposite the college building (what would we do without them…every student’s best friend).
We bunked classes to go to Fashion Street and picked up cheap clothes which we were very proud of. We sneaked out of class and went for movies that would allow us to be back for afternoon practicals. We sat on the steps of theatres and laughed till we cried when our 18 yr old friend was not given tickets to an A rated movie. We’ve even gone for a movie in sarees (after travelling in the train in sarees, a movie was cakewalk).
We made travelling to college fun and something to look forward to. From wordlessly making fun of the aunty next to us wearing the most bizarre clothes (our eyes can really got some exercise then) to cracking up recalling some stupid joke that wasn’t really all that funny, to spending lots of time rummaging through gaudy rings and earrings being sold in the train, we giggled and laughed our way every morning and afternoon.
We struggled through textile practicals (it was torturous enough to get special mention here). It used to be difficult not to explode into unladylike laughter watching the painful and agonized looks of my friends at the next table. We sat through 3 hours every week praying the teacher didn’t come to our table and pretended we knew what we were doing and drew a lot of lines and cut a lot of cloth. We looked at each other and the watch a lot (maybe if we’d look at the teacher and our work as much we would have understood more…hmmm….).
From the cooking lab (where we whined and complained about the washing up we had to do and having to eat our own cooking) to the local train (where we actually played dumb charades and enacted ‘Dhoti Lota aur Chowpatty’) there are memories everywhere. From the corner table at McDonalds to the top floor at Khasiyat there is laughter everywhere.
We have seen each other through college, relationships and marriage. We have been there when we were rolling off the couch onto the floor laughing. We’ve held hands when crying. We have pointed out mistakes and errors when there were any.
We have remained friends across continents, across jobs and husbands and new lives.
Even now, I truly laugh without a worry and care when I read mails sent by my friends. They make me feel like a teenager again. I can forget the worries and burdens that I’m carrying for a few minutes everyday when I’m with my friends.
They say change is the only constant. I’m just glad the laughter is still unchanged.
We have been friends for 9 yrs now and are still laughing.
Here’s to all you mad girls. Love you.