Forty some years ago my mother went to study at LSR college. Then, like many, she lost touch with her friends as they married and moved.

Twenty years later she ran into one of those friends and came home and tolde me that this friend Rehana, had a son who was starting college just like me, studying Maths honours in St. Stephens. For a year I looked out for this boy and finally informed my mother this was all fictitious and the only boy on our U-Special from Stephens was in Philosophy Honours and anyway he was older than I.

Then twenty years ago, I got talking to a beautiful, slightly extra excited girl at the busstop and discovered she was the son, who was actually a daughter and actually studying History. We became friends really quickly, sharing books, music, running a contest between her and I for who could find the cheapest eating place - the prize goes to her because she found a Gujerati thali behind the university for 8 rupees, with a ghee ladoo in desert.

Too much has happened to write about - or perhaps it's too much a part of me to write about it.

Over the years I've come to realise that no matter what people says, the important markers for most (though not all) seem to exist only within the patterns of the conventional family and other things are often a sort of frill. So I've decided to mark some important anniversaries in my life: the anniversaries of my friendships, the anniversaries of things I did (my first film, my first house, not to mention the anniversary of my loving SRK - 20 years next year); to do so as an affirmation of ways of life that many of us have chosen because though we do not know where these roads take us, we've chosen them because we believe in them, because we hope they will make better, more honest people of us, and change the contours of the world maybe a centimeter at least.

So this year is the 20th anniversary of my friendship with Samina, who I met in 1987. An extraordinary person, her eyes and her soul as clear as those crystal pools in mythological films; a beautiful woman with the biggest heart in the world; the best mother I know, both passionate and principled; full of fun, full of courage, neurotic neat freak, not scared of technology, greedy for good food, and sometimes not so good food, great cook, terrible singer, buyer of the most appropriate gifts, still a little too excitable to comprehend and always a friend of friends.

Most fittingly we celebrated with a bottle of champagne given to us for the occasion by another special friend, Nandini Bedi.

May everyone have the plenitude of friendships like this.


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