The private club

Everyone has ‘those’ friends who are so full of BS no matter whether you are from London or Karachi. We most certainly love them anyway, but we have come to know exactly what to expect from them, a time-constrained Oh darling, I am just so busy aura surrounds them, and protects them from actually getting up close and personal with you.

You know the ones. They will always stay in Five Star Hotels and invite you for dinner, but actually when you get there to be with them, not for a dinner, but because finally you might get to spend some quality time together, they offer you some airline biscuits, or the room-service club sandwich.

They are the ones who have a long hand-written list of all the fabulous eateries, that you simply Must go to. But and it is a pretty standard but, they are afraid, literally terrified to invite you, in case that awkward moment comes and you can not afford to pick up the tab, share the tab, or gallantly offer to pay for them.

The ‘club rules’ will of course be broken, if you have something to offer them, business ventures, working projects, or a decent photo opportunity that will show them to be seen in the right place at the right time, with the very ‘right’ crowd.

Which could not be more different from the world where great friends cook fabulous food, share everything they have, and those with less treat their guests to a real fish, and foul feast. These real friendship lunches often go on until long past dinner, and they bring to the table, such a warmth and intimacy, that guests leave in the true sense, satisfied.

Sorry, you are not really welcome is an element to certain friendships that can not be avoided. They are the friends that will call you late at night in the desolate hours and talk of matters that are so private – they will discuss the ill health of family, and you will listen patiently to all things catheters and grief. You will be the rock that takes their call after they have had too many pegs and they are inconsolable with doubt. You know them well, and you love them with all your heart and soul. But, you will not be a welcome guest at their table and they will wrestle with some beastly justification that too many meetings just ate away at their time.

Truth is nothing ate away at their time. Nothing at all. Just a very old story about fear. Fear of being taken for a ride! Fear that the cost of a meal is a debt too far for their hand to reach across the table and say, No, this one is on me.

Over countless decades I have been both inside and outside the club. I know those people, those masks, and all those unspoken fears. I know that ladder they wish to climb and I know the thrill of its’ exclusive membership. I fondly remember those cherished Mui Mui shoes and oh so pretty Nicole Farhi silk cocktail dresses, wrapped lavishly in chlorine- free tissue paper. They are a part of my life that is mostly called the past.

The (Very) Bad Indian wife speaks it! And says, Oh, that pesky game, again.

We are supposed to not speak of such things, and pretend everyone just was far too busy to connect and commit to arrangements. But, I am tired of pretending. I am tired of pretending that that club does not exist. The rules really are very simple, I am much more special than you. It just all seems so very Last Century.

I am the bad Indian wife who holds my beloveds’ hand and says I am sorry my darling they ‘forgot’ to call. I am sorry my sweet that they broke their enthusiastic promises to see you tomorrow. I am so sorry my dear, that they really could not, did not want to make time to include us in their life. Yes, I really am sorry, that people are mean with their love, and do not keep their word. I am sorry for the disappointment, the self-doubt that arises, and the shock that after four decades of friendship, warmheartedness is eroded with a callous, Speak to you soon.

There is joy, there is loving acceptance for the unfolding reality of now. There is respect for the current demands upon each others’ time. New, love bonds, new family relationships, business aspirations, of course, come before ancient friendships and the legends that filled us with so many immense, funny, and wild adventures. Maybe one night we just decide to cut short the inevitable I need to talk call. Maybe one day we throw our head back and laugh when we hear the almost dawn call of “You are the only one who really understands”.

Maybe we never learn. Maybe that is both our blessing and our curse. There is truly no hatred or resentment; The real sweetness of past blessings, of deep, nourishing friendship for us cannot be eroded.


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