A TON is always special. This is my 100th post and just as the number suggests a special one.
Having been brought up in a metro, (Chennai is definitely a metro, folks) as a person I do have as many men friends as women friends. I was raised in a suburb in Chennai where there was no dearth for families of my own community and having lived with a large set of second cousins and distant relatives only helped foster these friendships. Today some of my best friends are men with whom there is a bond that dates back to childhood and those growing up juvenile years and memories of those days still bring nostalgia. While I studied in an all Girls school and later all Women’s college and the first two years of work (what a ridiculous fate?) were with women, I never felt funny or inhibited to strike a conversation with a boy (those days) or men because of my background and upbringing. Though today I might not be in constant touch with all those so called “men” friends ( in my mind, I realize with these close friends there’s no such distinction) we all can just pick up conversations from wherever, and move along.
A couple of months back, I was going for a funeral and wanted to know the exact location of the church, ( hubby dear gets worked up if he does not have the right directions, or worse still he will stress me out) and was wondering who would know and instantly this childhood friend flashed up in my mind and I knew he lived there. I didn’t even have to think twice, when I had to dial his number and imagine I had not spoken to him for more than 6 months and we could go ahead with a conversation as if we were talking to each other almost every day. Am making a mental note now to call him coz this reminds me I haven’t called him after that :-) The point is with close friends most of us are comfortable regardless of their gender – that’s why they are our best pals right?
Ever noticed I am writing something tangentially opposite to the blog topic that I start – its becoming a habit. Mental note two. Stick to your topic when you start one.
Okay folks this blog is about Women friends – the kind that I have befriended at my earlier workplace and today most of us work in good positions in different organisations. And that’s a pure “women only group” and does not deserve to be trivialized just because we are wicked to each other.
If I were to record our everyday lunch sessions those days that would be great fodder for interesting blog posts every single day and that would be like leading myself to the gallows straight - With all the information and fun going public in a virtual platform. One of the things that each one of us in the group miss these days in our current workplaces, is the lunch sessions laced with entertainment, torrents of laughter, liberal dose of movie dialogues, lots of sarcasm, pun and of course delicious home made lunch from many homes.
On days when there are no incidents that would bring in laughter from outside our group, or when we do not have enough “matter” to strip some of the folks with whom we used to work then, of their trousers, the group directs its energies on one its members and we do not even spare our spouses, children, relatives and even our extended support systems. I (in fact, almost everyone in the group) have been victim of this group-directed-humor many times and any attempts of mild disapproval to the comments will elicit more damage than before, leading to the group’s general sense of cheap gratification. We are so professional otherwise, the lunch room kind of transforms us, into these wicked avatars, squealing in laughter like school girls and unleashing our potential to tickle up our funny bones. I guess that was a great stress buster for all of us.
Another interesting part of our lunch then was the fact that we ate from any lunch box that anyone brings in and we do not stick to strictly our own boxes. It became such an habit that I ( and of course the others in the group) never feel complete when we do not dig our hands into someone else’s plate during a meal, be it at home, office or a five star restaurant. Not too late to pick some good habits(?) if you had not picked them when you were much younger, eh?
The funniest part was that a normal incident that anyone told will be subjected to an extremely wild outrageous imagination, surreptiously flavored with enough spice and will be narrated during the lunch time with so much deliberation, natural flow, and right amount of collateral damage that it sounds completely believable even for the person who narrated it in the first place and after a while everyone ( including the person who narrated it) remembers only the contrived version and not the original one.
One incident I remember dating back to 2005 was the one connecting me and my travel agent. Joe then was in Manila on an assignment and Dennu and I were to join him there for a month long holiday and I was working with this guy named “Salaam” I do not remember his full name or his travel agency’s name. There were a whole lot of issues in my travel because the Filipinos thought I am a potential settler there and were refusing my Visa and I had to interact with Salaam every day. Mind you I have not seen Salaam even once till date. Two of the women friends from the lunch group sit next to me and with the high decibel levels that I speak normally, there is no need for them to eavesdrop at all and after a month’s conversations with Salaam, this topic started surfacing in our lunch meetings – I got royally ragged along with Salaam, whom none of us have seen, and that poor chap was pulled into every conversation and the group came to a conclusion that even if I do not make it to Manila, I have become good enough to write a book titled “Njanum Ente Salaamum” (the title roughly translates to “Me and my Salaam” only that it sounds a little intimate in a regional language), which would easily be a best seller. I never ended up going to Manila, my Visa was rejected finally and we had to settle down for a shorter holiday at Singapore and Malaysia. The group still remembers this book ( see its as though I have written this book) and almost every incident around this after so many years.
There was one person in our group though, who was not very fluent in the regional language and she got lost many times during the conversations that we had, but nevertheless would pick up pieces and tag along with our conversations at right intervals. Sometimes she used to stop us and ask for translations and we realize her inability to follow supersonic speed delivery of regional language dialogues with various connotations from real life, imaginary and from movies and bring her to speed.
Take for incidence a simple conversation that I had with my maid – she was at my flat then. I was instructing her in Tamil to bring down all the curtains and show the tailor, who would come home, for some rework. But later I realized I missed some vital points for my listeners in the next bays. And I was saying “Sulaiman varuvaaru, neenga ellathayum kazhattittu avarukku kaatidunga” which roughly translates to “Sulaiman will come, you remove everything and show him” – I cannot forget how I got blown to shreds for this piece of dialogue thoughtlessly said over phone. The maid understood what I had to say but this group of so called friends indulged in Distortion, disrespect and downright torture. They can be ruthless ( most of the times). And we laughed about it until it actually hurt..
The best part was we had nick names for most people with whom we interacted at office ( other than the group members ourselves) and we were so deft with these names, that anyone else in the room might not even understand the references let alone our sarcasm. We still continue to refer some people with those titles even today, though we do not work with them now.
The dramatization, humor, right references and the accompanied sound effects makes any conversation hilarious. One of the WW ( wicked women) was explaining something she saw at someone’s home or I don’t remember where.. the conversation went like this “ She has big big..” and there was a undue pregnant pause at the wrong moment. The entire group then came forward, all eyes popping out, and in chorus said “ hmm….. big, big whaaaaat” and the person explaining the actual thread of conversation looks very blank at the entire group and says “Ammies” (grindstones). The Chorus then says.. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…. We thought something else.. and there was this high pitched laughter…..whole conversation is dissected and references are made which we cannot forget even today.
One character which got crucified in our conversations those days was a person called CSN. He used to sit in the far end of our wing in the same floor as ours and in a cabin. In fact, he had the corner most cabin in our floor and we do not meet him at all. A very senior person both in age and in position.
Being a “women only group” we notify each other of any interesting “Sale ” that happens around town, at the most trivial opportunity we go out for lunches (our office was centrally located close to shopping malls and restaurants then), and we have even gone for a movie once.
A benevolent member of this group announced the sales at “Naidu hall” - NaiHaa as it is called now is famous for its lingerie collection. And there was a particular brand that a couple of them had picked up and was heavily recommended to the others in the group. I was the only one who could not make it to the sales and that day being the last day of the sales had to leave a little early to catch the sales. But as I was going out of my bay I realized I haven’t told my buddies that and I called out to them “ am going to pick Loveable Acoba”, knowing fully well that none sitting in the other bays will make out what it is. The next day’s lunch topic was how even CSN heard about the sale at Naidu hall (thanks to my decibel levels) and he picked up Loveable Acoba for his family. And our group had this special ability to build on imaginary conversations and make it sound so real… See, how people in no way connected to us, get pulled into our conversations and become an integral part of it?
Recently one of the WW happened to meet CSN in a train, and she couldn’t help laughing because the first thing that came to her mind was “Loveable Acoba”. CSN is a senior head within the organisation and he was very “ matter-of- fact” with this friend of ours and was a little suspicious about the overfriendliness of our friend and must be wondering the reason behind her extra dose of smile.
Today as I mentioned we are in different parts of the globe, in different organisations doing very well but can pick up wickedness where we left if only we can set our eyes on each other, with no less sarcasm and fun in all our conversations. We get to meet each other rarely these days, but if we meet it would be ruckus and fully loaded with fun. God save the souls around us then – we are completely oblivious to anything else.
I sent a picture of my session that I conducted recently announcing to my ex-lunch friends about it and look at the instant responses from three of them.. ( It is important to read it with all the background effects explained earlier)
Response 1: Objection your honor…. Naduvulae irukkara oru vella thols mattum unna paakkaamae vaera engayooo moraikkurraar… how dare…. I’m sure you would have taken some penalty from him… correettaaa… (translation of the regional language bit – the one white person in the centre is not looking at you and is staring elsewhere )
Response 2 : How many AICs ( L2 / L1 Heads ) “Bracketed” so far? Pl update the status :-) :-)
Also how dare to take this snap from long shot…..pl. publish another tight close up snap. :-)
Response 3 : Very impressive .... get them closer to you.. Warmer feel !!! :-)))
Needless to say, I had a mighty laugh and this post is a dedication to the wicked Joy of having women friends and the ethereal connect of our minds, pure fun and laughter that we evoke in each other :-) May our tribe increase !!