This is the story of my break up with a friend I had for almost 30 year. The lines (below) written on 26th July was the first reaction I had to this breakup. At that time I was still thinking this is a fight and we’d come out of this somehow but more shit followed through the weeks and today my state of mind is that this is ‘over and out‘ for good. And no, I am not suggesting that the shit has been one-sided. Some shit I did, some she did. While I don’t like blame games, and have no intentions to blame her for this breakup, I am also not ready to take the entire blame alone. So this is an irreconcilable situation. A complete breakdown.
It has been a process. First there was shock, then sadness, then existentialist philosophy-fying and now a bit of annoyance bordering to anger. The best outcome of this process are my words, a bestseller, my masterpiece. Archived below are the words I wrote on Facebook through the last 25 days.
26th July 2016
Perhaps there will be a new world or there won’t, time will tell. As of now it is the end of the world I knew and lived in for last decade.
My friendship with S came to an end today. Earlier this month, she had taken a strange dislike for me and I couldn’t make sense of some of the things she said or did but I decided to keep quiet about it. That silence has been interpreted by her in ways unknown to me, all I know is that she has officially ended it. S had been the anchor of my life for the last ten years. She is the glue that kept me together with human contact, fun, happiness, in a world that is so alien to me that I cannot relate to it. Although we knew each other since school days, it was in 2006, when her life went through some disturbances and she reached out to me for support, that we came particularly close. Since then years after years, she has pulled me inside a circle of normalcy every time I have felt like losing my mind, every time I felt everything is lost in my life. Years after years, she’s is the only person who brought me thoughtful gifts from all the places she traveled, and these are not just some items she picked up. If there’s anybody who gives a thought to what kind of person Sanju is and then buys an appropriate gift, that’s her. Nobody is better in bringing you a special gift or throwing a surprise party on your birthday and making you feel special. Losing her is an irreparable loss. I am a loner, always has been. She was the only reason I had any kind of friends in life, although those people first came together through something I started but as I kept alienating people from my life, she picked them up and nurtured them. And then she pulled me into that world of friends where there were good people, laughter and fun. Along with her, I lose that world too. Without her, I am lonely and miserable.
I will not say a word about how, why and what happened. Either to her or to the world. Those things never help, all it does is bring out more skeletons from the closets, nobody ever believes that they are wrong, so they just go back to their memories and bring out more and more ugly things to justify themselves. Either I did something and she is pissed, or she did something and I am hurt. Either ways, talking about the past is pointless. I will give my story she will give hers and even after a lot of back and forth arguments and bickering the breakup will happen. Breakups always happen, you cannot prevent them.
If this is my loss alone, and if this is my doing alone, then I should suffer for it. I should be punished. I would love her always but I don’t deserve to be with her. And if it is not, then she’ll turn around one day. I will wait for that day.
27th July 2016
Life’s a long song. Its perfect timing for this song for me, I just lost a decade old friendship but am trying not to fret, because life is a long song, there are new verses and melodies waiting. Listen to the song here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flz5lL9V2Bk
People will either misunderstand your words or misinterpret your silence because you are a weird misanthropic genius. You are better off alone.
You only realize the power of a Facebook Like when it is consciously withheld from you by some people no matter how likable your status update is. #ThusSpakeMe
“Pain happens when you care. You can’t love someone without making yourself open to their problems, their fears.” ~Dr Lisa Cuddy
2nd Aug 2016
There is always always two versions of the truth, and the two can never fucking meet. Don’t ever waste a moment in trying to explain your version of truth to anybody. Just let go and move on. #ThusSpakeMe
Ego. Pride. Anger. Entitlement. Pointed Finger. You you you! You did everything, how dare you. It is all your fault. I, me, me, I did so much good, I did all good. I am big. I am better. You you you.
“The piano is a good friend. It doesn’t talk back. You can’t lose a piano. It’s a constant companion. It can give you everything you need.” ~Hugh Laurie
3rd Aug 2016
What I really Needed From Friends
When life throws lemons at you, maybe you don’t want to make lemonade out of them. Maybe you just want to stare at the lemons for hours and think. What it is like to be thrown lemons at? What lemons really are? What are their types? Why life throws them? These are valid thought pursuits. Now imagine if you have all these people around you who constantly tell you to make a lemonade. They tell you interesting recipes of making and enjoying various lemonades. Preach you to look for more ingredients within and make a goddamn lemonade. Tell you what, throw the lemons at such people and run. Run and find a place where people just accept you as you are whether or not you are interested in lemonade.
Show cause notices are very powerful things. The person who sends you a show cause notice has enormous sense of entitlement and power. If you dare to stay silent and not explain your actions, as to why you did what they objected to, all hell will break lose. It would be considered a contempt of court and you might even be jailed for contempt of court. But of course if the notice sender has no real legislative powers, they cannot send you to jail but they’ll launch a character assassination campaign and a bitch fest.
Facebook bumper stickers are a good way to measure how many things people preach and don’t practice. Take this for example that said, “Its ok. Writers are weird.” If you are a writer, and see somebody sharing it, try being weird to them, do something annoying. See what happens.
7th Aug 2016
On 22nd March this year I wrote this massively depressing suicidal note. Nobody from my then core circle of friend reached out to me with concern, care, love or a hug after reading this. That disappointed me. I thought it needed saying today. And today I wrote this note:
I am officially unfriended by all my friends or I have unfriended them, depending upon which way we want to look at it. I have now consciously started talking about them in the past tense, “I HAD a friend” I say to my dates. I had a fall out with them which is crazy, actually beyond crazy. It is a fall out without an incident, fall out without an argument, fall out without even meeting anybody or talking to anybody. Everything was played out on Facebook and other virtual medium. Somebody got upset and wanted explanations from me. I didn’t respond. I just went silent like a stone. Nobody cared to call / email and find out why was I being weird. I didn’t care to explain either. I have my own reason to stay silent but of course for any person on the other side of the table it would seem like I am just ignoring the issue. Well, you might argue that friends of 10/30 years would not assume and make some efforts to find out, but let’s not have too much expectations, everybody have their own problems to deal with you know. Besides, these numbers we use, 10 years of friendship, 20 years of marriage, 40 years of job, these are just numbers. Get over these numbers. Past is just past, things change, people change, the reason why you were friends with them change. Move on.
Still, the 1-2 times that I did make few small efforts to sort of check out what’s happening, I was quickly told that I would have to clean the shit, that I would have to make the efforts. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
So from 12th July to today, 7th Aug, there’s has been the most perfect and most peaceful unfriending, an idea inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow’s uncoupling, in history of friendships. No back and forth bickering over who did what and whose fault it is. No attempts to figure out who owes an apology to whom.
Just a smooth phasing out, a comfortable drift.
I positively feel this end was much needed. I am not exactly a likable person. I mean I used to be fun but off late with too much feminism and lack of sex, I have started to bore, troll and sermonize my friends all the time. I have had some issue with depression, and had been nagging and feeling miserable and making everybody else around me miserable. For eg. on 22nd March I wrote this Massively Self Deprecating Rant. But none of my friends bothered to really talk to me with love and patience. Perhaps they are not the ‘Oh poor baby’ type. They are the more ‘Oh shut up, shrug it off and get going’ type. But it disappointed me.
It disappointed me every time they tried to preach me ways of life instead of giving a comforting hug. When I tried expressing what I wanted and what I didn’t they said, “Look if you don’t want solutions then don’t come and bore us. Everybody has their own issues to deal with. Nobody gives a rat’s ass. Bakchodi bandh kar.” These are lines I have been told (FB messenger) several times in the recent past. I have been given ‘advise’ on how I am lost in life, I need to find what would make me happy, I need to get a job, I need self introspection, I have to look within.
Basically, I am told repeatedly, that I just have to get better, do better, be a better person.
Now, I really don’t need this. I am a very smart person who knows exactly what she’s doing in life, the difficult choices she’s made and their pros and cons. I know how to get depressed with the cons, I love them as they inspire me to write, but I also know how to snap right back with the pros. The last thing I need is to have people telling me to get better.
I mean seriously. Look at me. Who am I? I am a narcissist.
On 27th March, I wrote these lines on my diary.
“They don’t clap or celebrate all your big moments, when you win that award or get that assignment or speak at that event. But they berate you, dismiss you when you feel weak, vulnerable and depressed. They are your friends. This word friend is funny. I never believed in it. In the last few days I have been feeling I am losing my friends. Who is a friend really, what purpose they serve in your life? House and Wilson are true friends. Can I afford to behave with my friends the way House behaves with Wilson?”
The answer is obvious. In real life, nobody would deals with assholes like House unless they are themselves damaged. It takes one damaged demented genius to know and appreciate another damaged demented genius. Besides, I am not who I used to be 10 years back and nobody is.
A common friend says, “Sanju, do you want to lose friends at this age? If tomorrow, you get a heart attack who’d be there to come and take you to the hospital? These very people. They are the ones who’d be there, you cannot afford to lose them. You cannot live without them”
Well, as Dr House would have said
Thing is, you cannot do anything in life thinking who’d be there with you in the old age. You cannot take decisions today out of some unknown fear of the future. Ok let me rephrase, you can, but I cannot. I am fully aware of the likely fate of people like me. Remember Parveen Babi? Dead for 3 days at her home nobody even knows. It doesn’t scare me.
I don’t care how I die or who’s there at my death bed. All that matters to me is the present.
So this end and a new beginning was much needed. But did I want to end it badly? The answer is in the famous line from Cocktail (All my life’s philosophies come from Hugh Laurie, Aamir Khan or Tom Cruise)
“Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn’t end.”
I don’t know how to go from here to being casual friends. People who are not close enough to be called family but are civil enough to say Hi Hello when bumped into each other or send holiday greetings once a year. What I have lost is family, it is like a divorce, and you hardly go back to being friends with your ex-spouse after the divorce.
You cannot go backwards. You just cannot.
I am a damaged recluse who alienates people because I think everybody is an idiot. People do not have the IQ to process the duality of my character, the self deprecation and the narcissism, and in their confusion they disappoint me over and over again. At this rate I would end up alone. But I also love my misery and loneliness and I don’t want to change anything because I think that’s what makes me a genius. I would not be a creative genius if I was happy and well-adjusted. I am scared that if I get better I would lose my talent. I always give Dr. House‘s analogy so I would take another name today, if Van Gogh was better adjusted he would be painting municipality walls. Sadly that line is also taken from House. Everything i said here is taken from House’s life but are true for many many creative geniuses in the world in real and in literature. They all have been mad, miserable and genius. Can I not be accepted as one of those legends instead of trying to preach and lecture me on how to get better? I have run out of all patience to take any more preaching. I know exactly what I am doing in life, where it is going, with what consequences. I need people to accept me the way I am for better or worse without trying to change me and be there with me through my journey, to pick up the pieces when I fall and break. Can anybody do that?
To add to my previous lines on friends just being there instead of trying to help, even when they know you are destined for doom, if you think of it, its not too much ask. Most of us do it all the time with friends in bad marriages. We know they should get a divorce but we keep listening to their rants and rationalizations of how they must work on the marriage, how giving up is easy and trying to work it out is the big thing in life. They come to you, cry about the jerk they are with, then go back to the person only to cry again a few months later. Meanwhile, what do we do? We just wait there for them to take a strong step. We neither abandon them nor condemn them because given her ‘sensitive situation’ we want to sympathize with her. Sadly the same sympathy is not extended to people who are ranting about petty things like lack of sex, dating failures on okcupid. You see marriage is a holy cow, you don’t mess with it lest you hurt sentiments. But your stupid life is the perfect field where everybody feels like ‘doing something’.
Does anybody see the humor in these things I write?
So here’s a question, how can you silently love someone from a distance, keep an eye oh the person’s well being, if they block you on FB? And how did they do it in earlier days?
“You wanna make things right. Too bad. Nothing’s ever right.” ~House MD
We don’t feel it but the earth is moving in crazy speed. Every minute we spend not doing anything, a massive shift in the cosmos happen, every day we spend not being with each other, not talking to each other, people move far far away from us in that speed in which the earth is moving. If you can imagine zooming out the time and space in which are standing, you’ll realize how fast you are losing everything.
Objects on the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are. Sigh!
Let’s Go was a Yahoo Group I started in 2005. In 2006 my childhood friend S joined the group and together we embarked upon many beautiful memorable journeys. Along the way we made many new friends.
With time as I kept alienating people she kept picking them and nurtured them. As a result they remained her friends while I moved on alone. She was the only one who stayed with me. The anchor of my life for last ten years, until last month.
In 2007 we both moved to Bangalore taking jobs in the same workplace. The same year she and I met VD on the same day, at the same place at exactly the same moment. That fateful moment. They got married within months, and we became like a family unit. I was to them what Joye was to Chandler and Monica. Many time I told them ‘you guys must have a room for me in your retirement home.’ Last month I lost them as friends. Both of them have now blocked me on FB. This when we didn’t even have a fight. If you ask me ‘what happened between you guys?’ I won’t even have an answer. Once again, she remains friends through thick and thin with people she met through Lets Go, while I alienate them and move on. This time without her.
Such is the truth of my life. Truth which are stranger than fiction. Tell me has anybody ever come across a movie or book where such strong friendships come to an end so easily? I don’t think so.
These photos are perhaps from our first Lets Go trip in Bangalore. Facebook showed it to me as part of the Memory app. I don’t weep anymore. I just cherish these memories as a beautiful life left behind. Everything in life has its own purpose, those days of joy and these days of sorrow. I have no regrets.
Finally revealed the reason I went silent
I just put up my nice’s photos without my sister’s permission. And remembered somebody recently told me, “Don’t put my children’s photo without my permission, we are not comfortable.”
The words hurt me so much, it was beyond repair. It was enough to smother every last shred of love in my heart. It turned me into a cold stone. Sometimes people have no idea what they are doing. What a tragedy.
Ps. The child in question was someone I’ve known from the moment she was conceived. I thought she was my niece.