I attended the best friend’s wedding this past weekend. I was seeing her after a year and a half. I remember sitting with her on the rocks at a beach one evening at sunset, discussing her then boyfriend, now husband. Perhaps only the universe knew that the next time I’d meet her, with her soon-to-be in-laws at an airport. So metaphoric of our relationship.
She saw me before I did. Reached out for a hug before I knew it was her. And suddenly the months slipped away. Our many broken, incomplete, fragmented conversations faded into insignificance as I reciprocated her joy. We had become two giggly teenagers, all over again.
Yet something had changed. The casual baggy clothes and worn out Kolhapuri chappals had made way for to silk kurtas and strappy sandals. Trendy handbags had replaced our treasured jholas. I was wearing silver hoops, her fingers held a shiny rock.
Watching her sit daintily for her mehendi that evening reminded me of something I had written a while ago on friendship and shoes.
Reproducing the post here:
My mother always rues the fact that I don’t pay enough attention to my appearance. She hopes that someday I’ll run a comb through my hair every few hours, wear ironed clothes more often and get rid of all my baggy clothes.
Therefore, it was quite a surprise for the parents when I started lamenting about the lack of suitable footwear in my closet one morning. I was hoping to meet the best friend later in the day and the grandparents before that. The elation of meeting the best friend after six months did not quite match the selection in the shoe closet; hence, the agony.
The father watched me grumble and rant and pout and just shook his head with amusement, convinced that I had lost my marbles. The mother tried to reason out me with, very rationally. “It’s her. How does it matter what footwear you’re wearing. She’s seen you through your worst and your best. Why bother pretending in front of her now!” I wasn’t about to give in just yet. “All that’s fine. But I still don’t have the matching footwear for this kurta.”
She tried to reason out further. “Will a fancier shoe make your conversation more enriching? When she reaches out to hug you, you think she’ll care what color shoes you’re wearing?” I had no comeback in response to that. And the discussion ended there. But I did succeed in getting my hands on (rather my feet into) a pair of heels I had been eyeing for a while.
That was seven years ago. I’d like to believe that I’m a bit more sensible today, although the folks might disagree.
But those lines used by the mother will stick with me forever. “She’s seen you through your worst and your best. Why bother pretending in front of her now!”
I’m not so sure if I’ve come a long way since agonizing over shoes for when we meet. It still took me a few hours to pack for this trip! And yes, the mother and I debated about shoes, which ones, how many pairs, why so many pairs, until she gave up and decided to leave the room, exasperated.