Tag Archives: friendships

Do you have 7 AM friends?

Today, I woke up at 7 AM in the morning. I had gone to bed close to 1 AM, so I was a little surprised when I woke up six hours later, feeling quite fresh. My first instinct was to go back to sleep (the sun was shrouded by fog, so the light that filtered into the room was not harsh enough to rub the sleep off). However, on the other hand, I have not got up this early in the morning in a really long time (in fact, I cannot remember when was the last time I woke up at 7 AM – I have very clear memories of staying awake till three AM, I was up even yesterday).

I have always been this morning person. As a student, I woke up early, ate my breakfast, studied for a while, got ready for school and left. In college too, I used to wake up early, because I wanted to use about two hours of study time. I generally can concentrate better in the mornings and I could remember the things that I read in the mornings as well.

When I first came to Bangalore, we had to get up early in the morning too. I remember in the first fourteen days of work life, we were staying at this company provided accommodation. They gave us complimentary breakfast as well. It was good food. I was staying in a beautiful flat and learning to negotiate Bangalore life, which was different from the life I was used to.

Then I moved to my current flat. That time too, we used to wake up in the morning. I was sharing my room and we had dedicated bathing times to make things easier. So, you couldn’t afford to sleep too late. The maid would come in the morning, the cook that couple of my flatmates were using would come in the morning! The house was abuzz with life in the morning. I even started cooking and packing lunch for work for quite sometime.

Then came the change of timing: from 1 to 10 PM. There was no incentive anymore to waking up early, so my routine kept changing and changing, till the average time when I got up from bed hit 9 AM.

I do not like that one bit. I want to wake up in the morning and see the first rays of the sun. I want to feel the morning chill and romanticize all the cool things that I can do until I absolutely need to get ready for office. I want to go out in the balcony and watch parents dropping little kids to school. I have been getting more and more frustrated of not having enough time to myself before going to work – somehow it does not satiate the me time within me.

When I woke up this morning, there was nobody in the house. My roommate’s bed had not been slept in. I felt strange, being alone in the house. I wanted to talk to someone.

You cannot call up people at 7 AM these days. Most of the people I know are either in their last hour of sleep before they have to start getting ready for work, or have only gone to sleep two hours back. I hate waking up people from sleep. Somehow, I remember college days. During college days, you could call up people at 7 AM and expect people to take your call – because they would be up studying too. Now, I do not know anyone’s schedules. I don’t know what is the right time to call, except for the weekends. In the end, I called my family and spoke to my father and mother.

Communication has diversified so much. But communicating, in a way, has become harder. There are so many constraints around availability.

I don’t have a 7 AM friend. In fact, it is easier to find a 3 AM friend than a 7 AM friend. What do you think?

Of fast-forming friendships in a foreign land

Those who know the Bengali culture well, know that Durga puja is one of the most important festivals in the Bengali community.

Prior to her marriage, my mother had started Durga puja in her paternal home. All my growing up years I used to be there celebrating the festival. Unlike in my hometown where the idols are brought from the sculptor’s places to the puja pandals, the idol in my maternal place is sculpted within the sanctum beside the house. I was always curious to see how the clay finally took human shapes and the Gods were painted and dressed in bright clothes, but I never got around to see that because I never had a long enough holiday to experience it – the idol-making starts way early, probably about three-four weeks before the actual festival.

This year too, preparations at my maternal household was in full swing for the puja. Sadly, everything was cut short by my grandfather’s unfortunate death. So, even though this time I am more than 1500 kms away from West Bengal, the heart of Durga puja, I am not really sad that I didn’t get to celebrate the festival the way we celebrate it every year.

That said, I did go out to see one Durga puja pandal last night. I joined a colleague (whom I had met during the interview) and two of his friends. Part of the forward journey was a little awkward because I wasn’t acquainted with the group, but then the group was very welcoming, so things started warming up soon enough.

The fun part about staying away from your native place is that people from your community who are staying with you in that foreign land become friends easily. Whenever I saw people in my circle going to different countries/cities and then on the very next day going out with other people in the new place, I wondered how they felt comfortable in going out with people they knew for only 24 hours. But having been there, having seen it, now I know how fast friendships develop when you’re from the same community and are in a strange place. It is pure bliss to be able to speak your mind in your own language in a place where every other person speaks a different one.

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The Durga idol at the Whitefield Bengali Association Puja Pandal

The pandal and the idols weren’t as extravagant as it would be in Bengal, but we wouldn’t complain. There very fact that we were getting to celebrate the festival in a foreign land was enough. Beside the pandal, there was a stage where local bands performed to popular Bengali songs and all four of us sang with them at the top of our voices. We had egg-rolls and played pass-the-ball with a balloon! It is amazing how simple things that we wouldn’t even bother doing when we were back home could make us feel so good.

The best part of the journey for me was the walk back home. The road was mostly desolate and a little dark in places. But we four souls kept singing old and new Bengali songs all along the way. When someone faltered with the lyrics, the other helped. By the end of the journey, I became friends with the whole group. Getting along was never easier!