Friendship Day musings – A sweet rendezvous with a shopkeeper

How our prejudices mask our inner desires

minion

On Friday (4th August), we celebrated friendship day in office, I wasn’t among those actively involved, purely because a journalist’s life doesn’t allow him such privileges. Nevertheless, I’m thankful to the couple of people who deemed it fit to tie a band. I’m more a chocolate man, so i went out to buy few #Cadbury5Stars. The nearest place to buy is a well furnished cigarette, gutka (no paan) shop. It’s managed by a woman, probably in early 30s.

I buy my few chocolates, as I’m about to pay she notices the few friendship bands on my wrists. She asks me, “Aaj friendship day hai kya?” I reply, “No, woh Sunday ko hai, Saturday-Sunday office band rehta hai, is liye aaj manaya. Waise main nahi manata, yeh toh kuch logon ne bandh diya, isliye mere farz banta hai unko chocolate dun,” (No, it’s on Sunday. We don’t work on weekends and so we celebrated it today. I don’t celebrate it, but few colleagues tied the band, so, it’s my duty to return the favour with a choclate) I tell her these these days are reduced to mere formalities, all through the years, most people carry grudges against each other, and so all this is a farce.

She agrees with me. “Sahi kaha aapne, yeh sab dikhava hai,.Main bhi nahi maanti. Mere bete lekin bahot saare band leke gaya hai school main,” (You are right. It’s all pretence. I, too, don’t celebrate it, my son though has taken many bands to school)  I tell the lady such days are ideally meant to be celebrated in schools and colleges.

Though, she wasn’t a fan of friendship day, I could sense an eagerness in her eyes to talk about it. She tells me she is from Uttar Pradesh, where most wouldn’t be celebrating it. I tell her perhaps we could be wrong, the youth in small towns isn’t what we perceive them to be.

I was liking the conversation but it was time to leave, she had other customers and I had to go back to my work. Before leaving though, I asked her how much is that #Dairymilk chocolate for? I pay the amount, take it in my hand, then gift it to her, “chaliye ye li jiye madame, yeh chocolate aapke ke liye. Issey aap hi khana. Happy friendship day. ”

She just broke into the most gorgeous smile. Here’s a woman who just five minutes ago was ridiculing friendship, day, nut now her joy simply knew no bounds. She was so excited that she could barely say thank you. To me her smile was worth much more than a formal thank you. What I learned from her though was that we may have our prejudices, but deep in her heart, we all yearn for love, for friendship, for compassion. In the hustle bustle of our monotonous lives, we need couple of minutes of hearty conversation. Don’t tie band, forge unconditional bonds. They needn’t necessarily be with people around you but sometimes, it’s always good to strike a conversation with humble strangers.

Tie the bands, but more importantly bring cheer on the faces of everyone you meet today. Happy Friendship Day folks. And yes, I wow to get rid of my prejudices too. The anonymous office colleague who secretly wrote to me, “Who needs enemies when you have friends like me”, my dear you know nothing about me et all. Happy friendship day to you. Happy friendship day to all.

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