Open Page

The extended family

It is often said that friends are the family we choose, and there is no better time than the pandemic to stand testimony to that statement. Call it a happy coincidence or a stroke of luck, it so happened that a few of our friends came to start living in the same high-rise apartments that we stay in. That, combined with the friends we have made thanks to our five-year-old fur-child, has made this place a home far more than we could have hoped for.

And so in the middle of the worst-possible lockdowns and deaths in the family and people falling sick all around us, we managed to be there for one another in ways we didn’t think possible. In the darkest moments, we reached out to one another. When we lost a loved one and couldn’t deal with the grief, we had friends coming in and working through it with us. When a friend fell sick, we sent food, because that is all you could do. When someone’s parents were in the hospital, we sent their details to our circle to see what leads could help them get better. When it all got too overwhelming, we fell and we picked each other up. Sometimes literally.

And it wasn’t just those who stayed nearby. It was friends back in hometowns who reached out and said they could check on our parents if needed. It was friends abroad who would call in panic because the news was so dismal and they didn’t know what to believe. It was friends who decided to come on a video call on a birthday, so we wouldn’t feel so alone and cut off.

It’s really in the little things. It’s in catching up after six months on the terrace and talking about individual journeys. It’s calling a friend who you haven’t spoken to in for long, just to check how they are doing. It’s in a friend coming to you when you specifically asked them not to come, lockdown be damned. It’s in the pepper rasam sent to you when you’re hyperventilating about whether you have the virus or not. It’s in sharing concerns about loved ones who think they’re beyond the reach of the virus and take every opportunity to test the theory.

This pandemic tested our friendships in ways we didn’t think imaginable. We lost friends we thought we would grow old with. We lost a few of them to the repercussions of the pandemic. We lost a few to hard truths. From hanging out and Friday night parties and discussing shows, we grew up in the last one year together. We shared our ugliest, most vulnerable selves. We peeled off our layers and exposed out deepest fears. We shared a journey together and survived (so far). We may go back to hanging out and Friday night parties and discussing shows, but we are also connected at a deeper, more meaningful level, an emotional plane I didn’t know we were capable of.

I’m grateful for this group of like-minded crazies. I chose my family right.

ranju17@gmail.com


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 3:03:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-extended-family/article35251997.ece

Next Story