Friends Forever…

What can one say for a day which begins with a cab driver calling to tell you that you wanted to go to Gurgaon? Was it a bad dream? A hangover? Something I’d eaten?

There are nights when the worst insomniac has to resist a sleeping pill, but after dozing off in the wee hours the phone will surely ring half an hour later to remind you that the one above has parceled out your sleep quota like everything else in your life. Joy and sorrow, stumbles and hands reaching out…

The groggy day offered more surrealistic but thankfully happily realistic encounters as well. By the evening, I had to proclaim: ‘Friends Forever!’ The spell check tells me Freudians. Perhaps a Freudian slip–the wheel coming Full Turtle. For those unaware of this term (I just coined it) it means turning turtle but coming back Full Circle–in other words landing on your feet after an ungainly somersault.
Yes, buddies, Friends Forever was the title of the book (published by Hachette India) we did at the last session of the Habitat Children’s Book Forum on December 5th. And we did come Full Turtle as one always will when celebrating friendship.
First Vatsala, the editor of the anthology, helped the kids to find friends through similar coloured badges and identify matching interests to make groups. Composing Tee-Hee telegrams washed away whatever slivers of ice that may have remained floating around. How’s this for an example–Tanya (the friend’s name)–The alligator (k)new yoga aerobics?!! Then a reading, by yours truly–the story: “A Caterpillar called Matthew”, my contribution to the anthology. Some nostalgia here–there was a girl in my school who had a caterpillar named Matthew. She also loved toothpaste sandwiches but that’s another story. Then a discussion on the parameters of friendship–one of the points discussed: how far does one go for a friend, who for example, is stealing. Most of the kids talked about advising and reforming or reporting the friend to teach her/him a lesson. Couldn’t help thinking of my naive and silly youth–risking expulsion in a rather ridiculous cause. Today I can laugh it off as fate, the Great Anarch’s hand and contrast my dumbness with today’s savvy youngsters.
Bio-poems about friends ended the session.
Yup, it was a major celebration of friendship and I do hope we continue to have such wonderful sessions at the Book Forum.
PS. Maybe I should have gone to Gurgaon. Perhaps a friend was waiting somewhere…

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