Day 15: To leave and cleave

Yeh! Received my second round of wedding gifts. Krishna pappa and Peddi (mom’s eldest sister) gave me a four-burner stove. I’m so happy cos I was praying for this. Also, Sweety (mom’s younger sister) wrote me a check, to buy whatever I want for the house. Wow!

Met Preethi and Joshua for coffee, and it was such a relief, and a welcoming break. Joshua is a captain in the Indian Army, and a very good friend. I keep praying for him always, that he comes back in one piece, especially when he is in the war-period. We just chatted about singles,
doubles, couples, how we are growing old (positively) and now moving on in life to settle, etc.

What a  lovely time! Thank God for friends who last long. 

 Anyways, after a long time, I went out with Toy – to give dress material for stitching to Mr.Kaleem of High Fashion, who is highly priced too, but vouches to give high kuwality worak. Ladies, if you have never been there, here’s a warning that was given to me also – enjoy (negative) when he takes measurements – its a bit weird. (Those girls dying out of curiosity – will tell you in person). 

“Yeh design jamtha kya iske uppar?”

“How bilkool. Yeh tho dowdtha madam”

I can never stop getting fascinated with Hyderabadi Hindi …

.. and with Toy’s driving. Even with Maruthi 800, she was swift, like with Swift now (I’m trying a PJ not happening)

I always prided myself on being more street smart than her, while she was more academically brilliant. I remember a time when she was sobbing near the stairs in the dark. When she told me the reason, I was blown out.

“I got 99 in Maths.How could  I lose that one mark?” 

As for me, zero passion to score above 90 percent. Slowly that came down to 80, then 70 and then 60-70. That’s why I love the media field. No marks counted, only practical work. Till date, I was never asked my percentage or score in any of my job interviews. 

But Toy shocked me when she learnt driving the car before me. I was so madly mad at that. Cos the roads were my territory, and I had an edge over her academic excellence only in these chillar areas – extra curricular activities – dancing, singing, acting, and riding the bike! 

I felt no one in my house knew how to maneuver in Hyderabad traffic like me, and of course Suri. Was the first to buy my own bike, and take Toy out oh so proudly. And here she was – finished her driving classes, got a license and hit the road.

And man, I was shocked. She drove so well. Even there, she followed the rules, obtained a license, etc. And I was bent upon learning it faster at least, cos they won’t give me the car unless I go to a driving school. School? I was so elated after finishing my PG exams, because those were the last exams I would ever write. And now school?

I went, for a week, learnt from Naem bhai, who gave some amazing tips, which I still use. But he had high hopes that I would stick around and be one of his best students. I quit in a week, and one morning at 5:30 am, took the car out, picked my friend Naomi, dropped her to church and drove back home. The rest, is history.

I hate to admit this, in spite of all my trials, I think Toy drives better. 

When she got married, I thought our Toy-Joy era will end, and felt of senti and all. Guess I was wrong. With siblings, it never ends. We don’t even need music in the car for entertainment. We can spend the whole day with each other and still not get bored.

The only stark difference after her marriage, was this : the Leave and Cleave policy had its effects on Toy-Joy. “You can’t share about what happens inside your house, private talks with your spouse – with your sister or best friend anymore,” she told me recently. When you date, its different. You come home and tell each other everything, or tell your best friend everything. Now you don’t have to, because its an exclusive relationship, and one of the ways to maintain and protect that exclusivity is to de-attach and attach. And we learnt this at counseling too.

Men hate it when their wives talk about their weaknesses,  private conversations or fights, decisions, and so on. And I have seen my sister stand as a good example of this. She did it quietly, never proclaimed it to me, but just showed through her life that Pramod (her husband) was now her priority. If he did not like anything shared, it won’t be shared. Even otherwise, she never spoke ill of him, or discussed a problem (if any) – nothing negative ever came out of her lips.

Guess that’s something I will have to start doing soon. Apart from Toy, I share a very close relationship with Preethima, and tell her everything,  partly also because she was my accountability partner.

Its even worse if you have best friends of the opposite sex. I totally believe the filmy dialogues that a guy and girl can’t be best  friends – either they are good friends, or are dating. Anything in between falls into a grey area, which is always dangerous. “We are more than friends, but are not dating” That is so unhealthy, it gives room for abuse, and casual sex.

When I was a teenager (woh zamaane main), I never believed that ‘crap’ but when I got my fingers burnt, oh I so believed it. One of the things God taught me to do in my late 20s ( I was not listening earlier) was to establish healthy boundaries -physical and emotional, with guy-friends. Once I began doing it, it became a habit, and I never let any friend cross his boundary. When I found Mark, I did not have to do any letting go of extra-friendly guy-friends, cos I had already done that. 

During counseling, when asked about how comfortable Mark was with my interaction with guys, he said he was totally happy with me, because he saw me over the years, much before we dated also, how I maintained my friendships – that I had very good guy friends, who have now become our common friends. I was so happy to hear that – can’t believe somebody was observing me for a long time:)

That’s why one of the lines in the marriage vows reads “forsaking all others”. All other attachments. I know few girls and guys also who have so many close-friendships that I can foresee they’re gonna have a tough time leaving and cleaving to their future spouse.

The best, we were told, was to have common friends. To include each other’s past friends into a common friends’ circle; and if a particular friend is not comfortable meeting with us as a couple, then to slowly fade away that friend, no matter how close. This applies especially to friends of the opposite sex. 

As girls, gossip comes easily to us. We have to train ourselves now, even with our girlfriends, to zip our lips. I recall an instance when Mark was so hurt because I shared something with my friend, which he thought was so private. I never understood it then. But I have no excuse now. Women’s definitions of privacy are much different then men’s.

Another reason why you have to let go of your best friend is because your spouse should become your closest and best-est friend. I know Toy and Preethima will always be special, but I have to now transfer that exclusivity to my future husband, who will be my companion, my best friend, forever. 

I am so grateful to my best friend Preethima for sticking with me for almost 15 years. No one can ever take your place and I am not replacing you. I might just get busier, and  for the first time, I will have secrets (this time, good ones).

I am just creating a new space for my future husband. It is hard, because its new for you and me, but I know we can do this for each other. But hello, for you, I am still your best friend:)

I’m gonna be around! Differently … Always!


  1. “Im gonna be around but DIFFERENT”…that the TRUTH and the only one. Its really difficult for people to deattach themselves to thier past…be it relatives…best friends…family….or things. This is one of the reasons why they are not able to relate to their future….and in a marriage “HUSBAND”.

    No matter how friendly or understanding any husband might be…. 🙂 he would always be jeolous if his wife share their secrets….or gives any body else priority…

    Im glad you have learnt this all know your priorities… thanks once again…im learing it again…After reading this Syllabus..looks like i will be writing my supplementary….and Im sure to pass.

    Thank you sweety…Celebrate Life…

    • Thanks Gloria! When I read your comment, that too coming from a married person, it drives the point even more convincingly. I love the way you put it – Syllabus – and supplementary..ha ha ha! Thanks again.

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