May 8, 2014

Once upon a time, there was a girl. For convenience sake - and to uphold the illusion of anonymity - let's call her blah-blah. So blah-blah was a regular-kind-of-girl. Those of us who choose to remember her kindly, think about how she was fun-loving, loyal, generous and generally one of those girls you wanted to have in your corner. She had a close group of boys and girls at the university that she called friends. You know, those kind of friendships that are forged of many, many nights spent together going into minute detail of every single tragi-comedy. The kind of friendships that are difficult to have once the protective bubble of always-togetherness created by life-on-campus comes to an end. The kind of friendships that, typically, last.

So blah-blah was a basically happy girl, with good friends and a good life. She was also a typical girl in the Islamic-Republic and as soon as she hit the last year of her four-year university stint her parents started making rishta-murmers. Which was only to be expected, most of us were going through similar situations and with starry-eyed dreams of PhDs in our eyes not a lot of us took it seriously. That said, we were happy for blah-blah when she announced rather out of the blue one day that she had met this guy - lets call him blob - and her parents were really pushing for her to get married to him. To no one's surprise really, a few weeks later blah-blah got engaged to blob, who happened to be studying-abroad somewhere.

As long-distance relationships are prone to do, blah-blah's social life was affected by the necessity of spending many hours glued to the internet in an effort of communicate with her husband-to-be. Nobody really grudged her the time, but she was kinda missed during what seemed to be an end of an era. What they did grudge, however, is how quickly blah-blah changed into a different person. In an effort to  make blob feel happy and secure, blah-blah decided that she would spend less time with her friends, and more with him. Which we all took in good grace - because what else could we do?

Retrospect, is interesting. When you look back at broken relationships through an unbiased lens, it's surprising how easy it is to identify the moments when the little breaks happened. You know, the cuts that let to the crack that destroyed the glass forever. Because even the most fragile things take a little bit of time before falling-apart, and the kinds of friendships that we had - well they were certainly not fragile at all.

So the first cut, if you will, happened when blob decided to become threatened by this one particular boy who was somewhat close to blah-blah. I'm not sure what exactly (if anything) happened between them to create the insecurity that blob felt, but I'm told that it was created as a result of some sort of picture of many people lazing around in the sun for an impromptu picnic. Blah-blah and the boy were in some sort of close proximity, and blob had the proper Pakistani-male reaction to the lack of appropriate distance from his wife-to-be. That the boy's girlfriend was in the same frame looking not-at-all-unhappy or insecure mattered not. Blah-blah's appeal to blob naturally made him think that all boys had no choice but to look at her with carnal intent. Or some such.

Point is, boy, who was a very pivotal part of the friend's circle that blah-blah inhabited, was frozen out and no longer welcome to spend time with her. Which was strange, and a little uncomfortable and unnecessary (we thought) but we recognized that given the nature of their relationship perhaps it was inevitable that blah-blah gave in to blob. So much so, that boy was not invited to blah-blah's wedding. A fact that caused some stir, and much comment, since he was the only one excluded in what was a grand affair that immediately followed graduation, and therefore 'everyone' was there except for him.

Everyone, included a couple of girl friends who happened to have been very close to blah-blah. So much so that they had supported her, looked out for her and kept her confidences through years of friendship all the way through to her wedding. These girls, naturally, though of themselves as bffs, and thought that there's was a friendship that would last forever. Except forever happened to be a few days after the wedding, which was when blah-blah no longer picked up phone calls or returned them. Natural, the girls thought, after all blah-blah was enjoying her 'honeymoon' with blob. Not the time for friends to be a pest. Except those days turned into weeks, and then months until the girls realized that they no longer had a friend in blah-blah.

And that's how the urban legend that marriages destroyed friendships took root. Blah-blah became an example for marriages that followed when we cautioned each other against doing the same thing. We were hurting, certainly, but we also believed that the fault was not blob's (a man who we could never respect, or like) but blah-blah's because she had refused to make the effort to keep her friends in her life. Or worse, perhaps she never really thought her friends were that important to begin with. I'm not sure which conclusion made us feel worse. But we resolved, over and over again, that when it was our time, we would not make the same choices that blah-blah had.

Which is why, it stings not-a-little, when a friend turns around and rather glibly says to me, 'why you've pulled a blah-blah on us' haven't you?



Anonymous said...

i can so relate..oh i can so relate

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time there lived a happy-go/lucky girl, blah blah blah (known henceforth as 3B). One day, 3B met a man, blob2, who she instantly fell head over heels in love with, a type of love that only exist on fairytales. 3B adored her friends but was under a lot of influence from blob2. 3B got consumed by blob2's insecurities and was actually emotionally drained by having to constantly reassure and fend off these insecurities, especially as they were so unwarranted. During this time, 3B alienated all of her friends, putting utmost importance in building her relationship with blob2. Her friends noticed a change in 3B, but were understanding and stood by her. 3B was also quite emotionally exhausted by this, although unaware that this was actually the case, so 3B grew distant from her dear friends. When 3B realized that blob2 was actually not a very nice person, 3B was devastated. She had alienated her friends and completely lost touch during her time with blob2 and needed them now more than ever. These were loyal friends, so when they saw 3B was in need, they were there once again to support 3B. They soon realized that 3B still cherished them as much as she had done years ago when they would stay up all night watching tragi-comedies, life just had not turned out as rosy as she believed it would have. Realizing that 3B was in need of support, her friends glued back together the shattered pieces of their friendship glass and held strong for her. They reminded her that relationships were built on trust, and silly insecurities instigated by innocent pictures were not what real relationships were made of. Through their support and understanding, 3B was able to gain clarity and realize that her friends would always be there for her, for they were now aware that true friendships stood the test of time, distance, pain, suffering, loss, disappointments and trials. And these were true friends, who remained such until their final days. With eternal love for each other in their hearts, they all lived happily ever after.