On Friendship Day Mirror speaks to a few Amdavadis who used technology to renew their bonds of friendship
A true friend is one soul in two bodies, said famous Greek philosopher Aristotle. But many a time, demands made by a full-fledged career, family life and other commitments, even best of friends drift apart. Now, with advent of technology, these long-dormant friendships are getting a new lease of life. Social networking sites and online chatting apps have helped several people get in touch and renew ties with their long-lost friends. On Friendship Day, Mirror spoke to a few Amdavadis who have renewed their friendships using technology.
BACK TO SCHOOL DAYS DARSHNA JADEJA, 41, ENTREPRENEUR For most Indian women, one of the agonies in life is losing touch with old friends once they get married. When Judges Bungalow resident Darshna’s friend Rita Ganatra got married and moved to Mithapur, they lost each other. Darshna says, “We became best friends while I was studying in a school in Amreli. Later, my father got transferred while Rita got married and moved away. We lost touch. In 2012, I decided to search for her on a social networking site. To my delight, I found her. I sent her a friend request and she accepted it. I felt like I had won a jackpot.” The friends have since been constantly in touch, renewing old bonds. “The very first thing I asked her was if she cooks and cleans for her husband after marriage. Those were things she swore she would never do. To our mutual amusement, she does them and is happy to do it, too.” Darshna and Rita are elated to be back in each other’s lives.
TEACHER, STUDENT REUNITE NAMRATA AMIN, 44, MUSICIAN In 1980s while Namrata was 15, she taught spoken English to various batches of aspiring immigrants. She found a good pal in Kiran Vachhani, who was 28 then, and was taking language lessons to appear for an immigration test to join his spouse in the US. Namrata, who resides in Anandnagar, recalls, “From various batches that I taught, Kiranbhai was one of the best friends I found. He immigrated to the US in 1985 and we had lost touch.” Later Namrata explored the field of music and became a professional singer. Recently, when her teenage daughter taught her how to use the social network, she looked up for her long lost friends. She says, “I was surprised to find Kiranbhai on a social networking site and renewed old ties. On my recent professional visit to New Jersey, I stayed with Vachhani family for a week. And after getting re-connected with him, I managed to re-establish contact with the entire batch of eight students who studied under me during 1983.”
REUNITING WITH THE ‘FIRST’ FRIEND UDAY VASAVADA, 52, HR CONSULTANT Finding first set of best buddies during initial years of schooling, and losing them during the pace of life is a common grouch. However, Uday has a different story. Uday says, “I spent my first years of schooling in Veraval between 1965 and 1973 and that is where I met Jitendra Shah, who was my classmate and my best buddy, too.” In 1978, Uday moved to Ahmedabad and travelled a lot, as part his career’s demand. Later, Uday’s marriage fell apart. In 2010, Uday formed a network of singles to fight the issues of loneliness. Uday says, “An article about it appeared in Mirror along with my photograph. Jitendra, after reading it, got in touch with me. He congratulated me for my work. That single phone call gave me back my friend. My friend found me after 38 long years. It was an emotional moment for me.”
LOST AND FOUND ANAR PARIKH, 47, PROF OF FASHION DESIGNING Aresident of Vastrapur, Anar has her hands full with a demanding job, tending to her ailing 83-year-old mother and setting up her home. Over the years, Anar has made several friends but lost touch with majority of them. But sometime ago, she stumbled upon a long lost friend – Manish Jain, with whom she shared a special bond, on a social networking site. Anar says, “Manish and I bonded while we worked for an MNC. We worked together for more than decade and from colleagues, became best buddies.” However, the friendship ended abruptly when Anar changed jobs and Manish shifted to Delhi. “Now, 15 years, we bumped into each other on a social networking site. It was a very happy moment for me. Right now, while I am going through a very difficult time, a talk with him gives me a new strength to tackle life,” says Anar.
A FRIEND-CUM-COUNSELLOR SNEHA JADEJA, 37, PARA-MEDIC Resident of Judges Bungalow area, Sneha Jadeja, a para-medical professional, met Amruta Pujara on the first day of their college. Amruta, who now works as a NRG professional in Mumbai, became Sneha’s best friend. Sneha says, “While I was pursuing BSc in 90s in Rajkot, I formed a friendship with Amruta. We spent years together only to drift apart. Vandana got married and moved to the US in 2000 while I moved to Ahmedabad with my family. After marriage and moving to different towns, we lost ties.” Later in 2010, when Sneha’s marriage hit a rough patch, she found solace making new friends. “I would go online and make new friends to get rid of the loneliness. That is how I got back in touch with Amruta, who lived in the US. I was thrilled, to say the least. I found her at the right time. Getting her back saved me from severe depression as I was going through a phase of marital discord. Renewing ties with my long lost best friend gave me courage to face tough times. She stood by me and counselled. Last month, she relocated to Mumbai from the US. I am eager to meet her soon after over a decade,” adds Sneha.
A REUNION, INDEED SUNITA UPADHYAY, 42, HANDICRAFTS ARTIST Handicraft artist and chocolate-maker Sunita Upadhyay, resident of Vastrapur, found her best friend in her colleague Vandana Iyer, 35, with whom she worked during the 1990s. Sunita says, “For more than a decade, we spent hours in each other’s company and become best pals. Later I shifted to another company and Vandana got married and moved to Chennai. We lost touch. Later, I joined a social networking platform and got in touch with 130 of my classmates and arranged a reunion. The success of the school reunion inspired me to search for my Vandana, too.” Sunita finally managed to get in touch with Vandana and they resumed their ties. The two friends now spend hours discussing private and professional issues. “Instead of allowing social network to limit and isolate us, let us use it to reviving old friendships is the message I want to share with the young generation,” says Sunita.
The story appeared on page 5 of Ahmedabad Mirror on August 4, 2013