Zoya, a 21st century woman reflects on friendship in this trip down memory lane and rediscovers all that matters in her life and more!
Ma, I can’t find my new ear-rings!”
“I left it on your bed Alisha.”, comes my exasperated reply.
“Ayaan! Just bring it right back… Ma!!!”
“Ayaan, return your sister’s stuff please!”, I command my son.
These kids! Sigh!
There is a crisis in the house. It’s packed with half a dozen teen aged friends of my daughter’s. They’re here, in all earnest, to help me with the arrangements for Alisha’s birthday party, but I dread to think about the state of our house once they’re done.
Presently the ancient clock announces the onset of 4 o’ clock in the evening, chiming it’s age old tune, ushering a familiar sense of anxiety within me. I have always been one who does things in the ‘T’th hour. The breakneck pace, the adrenalin rush and the sheer exhilaration of it all, I confess, gives me quite a high. And thus yet again, I’m about three hours behind schedule, preparing for a party at 5 pm and with well over two dozen things to be ticked off the list…And my ‘helping hands’ are becoming more of a handicap.
“Ma! Milee Aunty is on the line… quick!”
Leaving the half filled samosas to the cook, I trip over a stool, but reach for the phone sans any dislocated bones, leaving in my wake a protesting cook and a teen-aged daughter, rolling her eyes, who (thankfully!) has inherited her father’s primness.
Milee, my sister-in-law and best friend since childhood quickly fills me in with all the hullabaloo of her life in France, her job as an apparel designer with a Parisian firm and her three boys ( my teenaged twin nephews, and the third being my own twin brother!)
“Oh! I hear the ‘jeans and kurta’ look has made a comeback!”, she exclaims.
“Well yeah! Alisha would have nothing else for her birthday!”
“Thank God! It was heavenly during our college days. Remember the shopping trips to Com Street? And…”. The doorbell rings and I’m forced to cut short my conversation.
“Daddy, Daddy… please! I want to see it first.”
“No me! It’s my birthday cake.”
“Okay wait, both of you!” Relax, let me first put it on the table!”, his protests are drowned as my eleven year old son and his sister pounce on the cake. Any bystander would think we raise these two without ever giving them a piece of cake!
“Zoya! Is everything ready for the evening?”, my husband’s voice brings me back to terra firma and I dive back into the kitchen.
Before I know it, but mercifully after all the starters are ready, the multitude of guests arrives. The house is brimming with people, my parents and in-laws, my husband’s friends and more of my children’s friends.
“Hey! Where are all the girls of your class?”, I tease my daughter, noticing that two out of every three of her friends were guys. She gives me an exasperated look (which plainly says,” Mom! You’re embarrassing me!”) and drags her friends away across the front yard.
“Ma! How come you never invite any of your friends?”, my son suddenly wants to know.
I look around and images from my own teenaged days flash in front of my eyes.
Oh! All the things we did, the high and mighty speeches we gave and the lofty promises we made. Intoxicated by our youthfulness, life seemed so perfect.
“Oh! Right Milee Aunty and Mama stay really far to make it to our parties!”, he quips, satisfying his own curiosity.
The evening rolls over, guests leave and the routine gift opening ceremony drags into the wee hours of the following morning. Then it’s on to settling down my daughter’s friends who are staying back for the sleep over. Their enthusiasm is yet to subside… It’s 3 a.m. by the time I finally step into bed. But a questions still lingers in my head…