friendship bands

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Do we need to celebrate any one day as friendship day? Do we need to tie bands on each other's writsts to reiterate our friendship? Does friendship really need any bands?

Submitted: February 06, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 06, 2012






I woke up on this 1st day of August this year on a very lazy note.


It was a casual Sunday after a very long and hectic month of July for me and other people like me in my profession, handling money for all the filthy rich clients and trying our level best to save tax on their money, tax which would have otherwise gone into the government coffers, to be effectively used by the “honest” men who run our country to finance their foreign tours for their “study” on that country’s infrastructure.


I had gone to bed on the 31st July Saturday night, with a very categorical statement to my family that the next morning and the whole of next day would be for my beloved bed and myself. However my sleep was “disturbed” by the constant ringing of my cell-phone by the numerous messages, which were being flashed thereon. My grandeour plans to sleep through the day, much to the dismay of my wife and children, was broken with these continuous messages on the phone.


More than the excitement that I may have had to know the suspense behind these unusual bulk of messages on a Sunday morning, much more excited were my wife and daughters, who were already chalking out the itinerary for the day.


By the time I came out of the washroom after my daily morning chores, my elder daughter was already fiddling with my phone, reading out the messages loudly. There were messages innumerous from old friends and new, who had sent greetings on “Friendship day”


Friendship day is quite a new and late development in my life, quite like the various other “days” that have now cropped up, and is continuously cropping up every year, to virtually cover up the entire 365 days of the year.


My wife requested me to get a loaf of bread and some eggs and I walked down to the departmental stores across our apartments, certainly after sipping into the hot cup of my favourite “Chaai”. No sooner had I stepped out of our apartment gate, I realized that it was a commotion down there. My first instinct, having been used to the Mumbai lifestyle, was whether there was another extremist attack or a riot prompted by the so-called “fanatics”, who are cropping up with much more speed and vigour than the “days”.


However, I soon realized that it was much more serious that I had anticipated. The couple of stationary shops in the store were swarmed by young children, both boys and girls. Human instinct prompted me again to think in lines of a youth agitation or a “coup” to upsurge the ownership and control of the shops. Honestly, again, I was proved wrong.


These shops were selling “bands”. Wristbands, to be more precise. Bands of different colours and shapes and sizes. Bands to fit every wrist. For novices like me, fortunately, we now have Google and other search engines to our rescue. I rushed back home, hit the Internet and found the meaning as “Wristbands are encircling strips worn on the wrist, made of any of a variety of materials depending on the purpose. The term can be used to refer to the bracelet-like band of a wristwatch, to the cuff or other part of a sleeve that covers the wrist, or to decorative or functional bands worn on the wrist for other reasons, such as lanyards “.


Children were buying them in bulk, tying them on each other’s wrists as a symbol of declaring their “unconditional” friendship for each other. Children were sporting these on their wrists in dozens, some even having innovated to tying them on their fingers, once their wrists were full. Peeping out from in between the array of these bands, I could manage to notice messages of love and friendship scribbled across on their arms. Some of these, on which I could discreetly lay my eye upon, were extremely thought provoking, though I have sincere doubts on the author of these messages, who wrote them on their friends’ arms, even having a faintest idea of any meaning thereof.


I have grown up with and among friends throughout my childhood. Friends were the left- right and center of my life till my college days, but I had never celebrated any particular day of the year for them. In fact, my whole year was sincerely dedicated to them.


Suddenly, my life took a u-turn, when I went away from my home-town for higher studies, then on employment and slowly but surely, I kept losing track of my dear friends, with whom I had thought that I was eternally bonded without the bands. The friends started drifting away from my life, when my job, and then family took up more prioritized position in my life. Before, I could realize, all of them had gone in a jiffy.


But then bonds don’t need bands to keep them together. There is an invisible string that ties them together which is much stronger than any of the bands.


Another of those lazy Sundays in my early Forty’s, a couple of months ago. But that time, I was not woken up by the message tone, but the constant ringing of my cell-phone. I was too lazy to get up and take the call. But the caller was too persistent and never gave up. The third attempt and I picked up the phone, swearing at the person who dared to disturb me in the wee-hours of a great Sunday. However, normal telephone etiquettes needed me to answer the call with the customary “hello”, to be bombarded back by an array of cuss-words. Words, which we had forgotten to use since our school days, but longed to hear since then.


It was a long forgotten friend from my school days, who spent days and months, sincerely searching for old-lost friends and could manage to get my contact details. Once, he stopped swearing at me, I started the same and when we both were tired, we both laughed our hearts out, before we decided to settle for more serious stuff. Serious stuff of remembering and reminding each other of all the errands that we did during our childhood days, things which we so dearly miss doing these days. We talked for nearly an hour, but neither he nor I asked what we were doing these days.


We really did not care, what position we were on this day. For us, we were the same old naughty boys in knickers, just planning out our next mischief. Our next discussion, after a few days, was a bit more casual, when he provided me the contact details of some further friends whom he could manage to locate during this intervening period.


I still cherish that call, how it made my day that day and a turning point in my life thereafter. I envy my friend, who could take time out for more important things in life like contacting friends, than being engaged in more mundane chores of life. I could never do that and I realized it quite late. The next few months was spent by me making amends, repenting for this grave mistake of my life.


Friends were contacted, ties renewed, old memories recollected. I talked to them for hours no end, laughed like a baby, cried my heart out. However, not at any time, during these conversations, I asked any of my friends, nor did they ask me, what we were today. For me and to my friends, we were just another bunch of class-mates even today.


And during all these, I lived my life again, without any restriction, without any “band’.


Sanjay Thampy

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