A wise man said, “You do not get to choose your family.” A wiser man added, “Nor your best friends.” I mean it’s true, our best friends might be the craziest and the most tiresome individuals, but they make our life considerably better. Life without them is like monsoon without a cup of chaha, or beer without chakna.
I believe that our best friends choose us, and not the other way round. They find us and bring some flavour into our lives. Being a hardcore Punekar, I have always grown up with Marathi Punekars around me. The vague utopian community which somehow doesn’t need anyone else. Or that’s how I used to think, until my non-Punekar best friend chose me. With and through her, I learned and rediscovered this city as well as my life. Having a non-Punekar as your best friend is pretty amazing, no lies. The perks are endless, however, here are my favorite ones-
- Nostalgia – A lot of amazing things about Pune and our own past end up in the backseat as we grow up, we take them for granted. Our school life, our favourite dishes which our mothers used to lovingly make for us, and so on. Until a non-Punekar best friend shows his/her enthusiasm in these Puneri traits. Suddenly we go back to all our fond memories and relive them with our best friend.
- Cultural Exchange – In these past three years, I have learned about how North Indians celebrate Diwali and other festivals. How different and ironically, how similar some traditions are to our Puneri ones. By experiencing them, I got to know more about our Marathi culture and what a beautiful collage our country really is!
- No Dull Days – Endless comedy, endless arguments where there’s no clear winner. “It’s chaha, not chai!” or “Hin-je-wadi, not Hinjwadi”. Through our best friends, we get to win some and we learn to let go of some things.
- A Larger Perspective – Punekars are proud people, we all get that. However, sometimes, we tend to get a little narcissistic. Things revolve around us, our city, our lives. Non-Punekar best friends get us out of our bubble by showing the larger perspective, by educating us by mocking our sometimes-blind love for our city. I learned how beautiful our city is only when I realised that some things need to change- this happened only because of my non-Punekar best friend.
- Rediscovering Pune – I used to have a lot of inhibitions about Pune. For example, some areas like KP or Baner were a strict no for me. It’s only because of my non-Punekar best friend that I got to rediscover Pune, and become a tourist in my own city. I realised that our city has developed a lot and we need to be open to the idea of a steady change!