Open Letter 4 : Driving and Friendship
Hi! I am finally writing this letter number 4. I hope to make a difference that it can make to you after reading. Substack seems interesting but the response was low on the last one as compared to the other two. I think it is because of the enormous length of the last one. You can tell me if you felt the letter really long or short enough for a good read. I would love to know your stance on it.
From the last letter until now, quite a few things have changed. I have stayed awake for numerous nights to watch football matches and finally the final has arrived. It would be on Sunday and I am already wondering how to change my life. Wapas naya schedule design karna padega. Lockdown and this Coronabro has made it all feel as if nothing is permanent and sleep schedule is the perfect example of it. Pehle to I knew that neither life nor sadness is permanent but ab to sleep schedule bhi nahi hai. Wait, maybe that is the only thing permanent in life. I mean, once you sleep well, you never wake up!
Coming back to life after Inferno, let me get straight to the topic. I hate driving. I have learnt how to drive a car like 2 years back and have hardly driven it. I mean, it is such a responsibility. You need to not only be aware of yourself and your vehicles but also beware of the fucktards and the senseless ones that would drive as if their vehicle was a result of peer pressure of drinking alcohol. Peer pressure of Alcohol does not exist in Gujarat because the person is either mad for drinking and would not discriminate whatever comes their way or they have become so far from it that they have forgotten the difference between the taste of Sanitizer or Alcohol. I hope the minister remembers both the next time he washes his hand with Sanitizer.
So I have managed to avoid driving cars and whenever I have tried to drive, it feels as if I am playing a video game with heightened sense of danger and loss and no rewards. Yeah, that sums up my urge to drive. However, I do drive the two wheeled petrol eaters. Non gearless because geared ones seem bahut mehnat and I do not know how to drive them either. Everytime I go on the road on my scooter, I am assured of two things- first being people checking me out because I can only drive with music on. I have a speaker in my bag ( I do not leave the house without a bag unless I am going in a car). I have no idea that the weird look that they give me is because I am playing a song of the language that they not understand or are just jealous because they could not come up with idea before me. I have not met anyone copying my idea so I guess it is the former. The second thing is the endless amount of stupidity I witness on the roads. Everytime I am standing at a traffic signal, the right or the left signal is always green and that is such a delight to have. But people are so smart that they block the roads and one has to stand even if they have to go to the sides. The other thing I notice is how each of the driver has a different ideology of how much space should be there between two people. Most of the drivers think that closer is better and have only learnt how to follow the jingle of close up in terms of Paas aao and then spit out Paan from a moving car. They are so close that you feel suffocated as well as anxious that this idiot would run into your vehicle. Somehow the signal turns green and I get lost in the streets to avoid traffic. I then realize one important thing about life- no matter how much space is there between the two people, the ones that are bound to crash would crash from nowhere and the closest ones would avoid the crash even by centimetres.
I guess that is how friendships and in fact, all the bonds in life work. Some people and friends are so close that you would always notice their presence. In fact, it is glaring in your face and you cannot let them go off without ‘crashing’ them. The ones that seem the farthest would always be around you when you need them. It is not the proximity that defines the bond but the way in which a person defines the space is. If you have known me for a while, I am always open to giving and taking space. I would disappear from social media or stop talking for a while after informing and then reappear. Some of the friendships I have just work on random meetings at any place- be it social media or real life. In fact, one of my closest friends has a very weird tendency. She would never be in touch for months altogether. And suddenly, she would call one day and talk for hours on the phone despite knowing that it would hinder my music listening process and then disappear again for an irregular amount of time to repeat the cycle. That call feels very joyful and the idea of unpredictability and non-binding pressure feels so organic. These are the bonds that feel like bundles of joy and lifelong connections. It feels that the threads of the connection are not bound by the smileys and the number of words typed in the chatbox but by the genuine and non-ending affection for one another.
However, not everyone is a driver that would like to be far off and then catching up to disappear again. Some are the ones that would like to be with you throughout the road as much as possible and be present. I like that too. Here, the space becomes important. If you have lived in Mumbai, you know that you are so close to everyone there yet so far. You can also feel suffocated if you climb up a Virar local at peak hours. You are around a lot of people, maybe you know most of them but you would not feel that good and comfortable at that moment even though you are the closest to them. Only a few would know this and make space as soon as it is possible and you would feel relieved. The longevity of any bond does not depend on how much of effort or presence you show in it but by how much of space you can give to the person to express or not express themselves and let it grow naturally in the direction it does. This does not mean that you disappear like a supermoon and appear really late but it means that there is free entry exit to the podium and the person is as free as they would want to be.
I guess friendship is the single most underrated bond in the world. Sure, some friendships do come with an expiry date and some can be toxic if they suffocate you. You know that you can avoid bees and lizards by just being far from them, right? Bees might explode if they are having fun! :P Save yourself from a blast and walk away before you disturb the honey-comb! Another aspect that would save you from destroying friendships is simple communication. I know that communication is hard today because zoom mein to sab mute kar dete hai aur insta pe block, but Kabootars can always be your saviours! :P Try sending a letter through a kabootar and it might work. In feeding off the kabootar.
That is the idea. You need to express it out whatever you feel in whatever way you are the most comfortable in. I guess some bonds just break off because one or the two could not express themselves and they disconnect like how your crush goes offline as soon as you say hi. People never know how much space they are taking or giving you and sometimes, the most important thing to do is just to say what you feel about that. If you express it, half of the battle is won! Kuch nahi to meme bhej ke batane ka- this is me when I am with you. (show a meme of a person committing suicide bombing because they have been brainwashed. :P ) This would either show how insecure your friend is or how chilled they are. In case you read this, send me a meme and say all hail Abba jabba so that I know it reached you and the Kabootar did not eat the letter.
I guess that is it for this letter. Trying to keep it shorter so it is easier for you all to read and I also save topics for the next one to come! :P It is all about later. Ghanta easier, wapas jake instagram hi scroll karoge waise b! :P As always, here is the summary and some takeaways-
Driving sucks- Especially in India where people get licence because they can perfectly aim at the traffic pole with their pan pichkari. If the pichkari manages to paint it red, they get it!
Space- craft! - Be it on road or in bonds and relationships, it is important to beware of the space you give and take. If you are aware of how much space is present between two people, you can avoid crashing. Always. Unless you are playing dashing cars or trying to run in a pole that was painted red. ( Lahu Muh lag gaya! :P )
Express and Impress- The easiest way to ensure bonds to stay intact is to communicate exactly how you feel about anything and everything. An open person would always welcome this and it would only strengthen the bond. Unless you are talking to a policeman and you are talking about democracy in India. You might be behind the bars. That is not new in Gujarat because the bars are way behind in 1960. Good luck with time travel and bring some wine and sell it after returning.
Memes and art save the day- when you feel that you are not able to express yourself simply, make use of any art to express yourself. Be it letters, memes, movies, songs, dance, Hoola Hoop, music, kicking them, changing their salt with sugar, or locking them in the storeroom ( not bathroom cause tumhe lagegi to diaper kaha dhundne jaoge?). Each of them would have their own result but you are assured to feel good after it ends. ( the confusion or your relation depending on the choice of expression! )
Chalo! That was it for this letter! Here I am attaching a picture of mine and a friend of mine! Haina Zabardast? :D
Song to leave you happy-
Comic credits- @lunarbaboon (instagram)
Have a wonderful weekend! :D