Friends For Life

Recently I came to know about ZEE TV’s Yaaron Ki Baraat, a program celebrating friendship. Immediately my mind started wandering to figure out who is my best friend. As the program is one of its kind and for the first time on Indian television, ZEE TV brings a fun-filled chat show called Vivo Smartphone presents Yaaron Ki Baraat co-powered by Amazon.in and Brooke Bond Red Label. A chat show that will put celebrity friendships to test through a series of fun challenges and tasks, I also ransacked my brain to get the answer to my question; who is my best friend? So before I could choose a name, I thought to find out what friendship exactly means. And I looked at Wikipedia to find out the definition of friendship which said,

Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association. A World Happiness Database study found that people with close friendships are happier. Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, certain characteristics are present in many types of bond. Such characteristics include affection, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, mutual understanding, and compassion, enjoyment of each other’s company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings, and make mistakes without fear of judgement from the friend.

Now does this dry and scientific definition do any justice to this most precious emotion or feeling of ours? Of course not! Then what is friendship? Well for me, friendship is a bond between two individuals when if one is sad and tries to hide tears with a plastic smile (and is successful in doing so with the whole world); the other immediately finds out and says, “Hey, why are you sad? Come on, tell me and I’ll simply drive your sadness out of the window.” It is an emotional bonding between two individuals where words have no meaning between them. Their souls do all the talking.

So now was the most difficult part when I had to pin point just one name whom I can call my best friend. And the name that was way ahead from everyone else’s is Priya, my niece. Yes, she is my niece. Who tells or defines that your friends need to be your peers or they should be of your age? A friend is the person who is with me all the time emotionally and whenever required physically also. And this one person for me is my niece, my darling Priya.

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I know I am her Mashi (maternal aunt) but when we are together, my sister goes crazy. She can always be heard saying, “Now look at these two. Who can tell they are mashi and bhanji? What to do? I have to bear the mischiefs of two daughters”, and whenever she does so, we, me and Priya, look at each other, wink and run to the other room, giggling.

I still remember the day when she was born. When Priya was first presented to us by the nurse, she reminded me of a tiny porcelain doll, stark white with flushes of pink around her cheeks. She smiled at me and that innocent smile tied us in a bonding for life.

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It was the year when I first visited the UK. There were so many new dishes to be tasted and discovered. I loved some of those and wanted to try them at home. Now this was a real difficult task because we did not have internet connection at home. So now started a series of my experiments. The first day of my cookery experiment and I presented with much pride “jacket potatoes” and “chicken barbecue” to my sister. “What is this? Am I supposed to eat this?” She looked at the dishes and asked me. The smile on my face vanished when I felt two small arms around my neck from behind and Priya’s sweet voice filled my ears with honey, “Mashi, I will eat it.”

I looked at the potatoes and chicken and turned back saying with teary eyes, “but these are really not edible. Most of the pieces have burnt.”

“So what, I will eat it, you don’t worry. You keep on trying and one day you will make perfect jacket potatoes and barbecued chicken.”

And it was her conviction that today I can really make delicious juicy chicken barbecue and restaurant style jacket potatoes.

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I am an avid reader and so is she. But sometimes she wants to listen stories from me. When all the stories of her age got exhausted in my memory stock, I started telling her stories of novels. And then started our another game, we used to plan a motion picture with every novel and today I have a list of novels that we want to turn into movies with all the castings done. Now that is another story that most of the leading heroes and heroines, that we had casted in our movies, have now been replaced by the younger lot.

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Be it watching movies together in the night on my laptop with all the lights of the room off so no one else comes to know about it or gossiping about the whole world, planning our next trip to the moon to tasting that forbidden roadside momos, we have done it all together.

I was a very shy and introvert person believing in all work and no play philosophy. She has taught me to live life to the fullest. When I was writing my first book Panorama, she encouraged me at every step. Whenever I lost hope and thought to give up, she was there to cheer me up showing faith in my writing.

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Today she has gone to the US to pursue her Masters but we are together all the time, in our hearts, mind and yes, of course, Watts App. Just waiting for the day when she will come here in the winter vacation and we will be on our next mischief spree together. Priya, I love you. More than I love myself and wish the best for you in life.

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So now I am definitely going to watch the program on 8th October at 8 PM when history will be created as Zee TV brings together two living legends of Indian cinema for the very first time on a television chat show. I am sure I am going to love sepia-toned memories and heart-warming anecdotes from a friendship that spans over four decades of a special jodi that fans haven’t had enough of! And when their magic will be recreated from films like Dostana, Bombay to Goa, Naseeb, Kaala Patthar and Shaan, Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha, spilling the beans on their friendship on Zee TV’s chat show hosted by Sajid Khan and Riteish Deshmukh, who will want to miss it? Surely, not me!

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