Monday, September 1, 2014

The Best Friend !

Silver linings playbook was one of the best reviewed films of the year 2012.

Produced on a shoe string budget, not only did the movie gross over 230 million dollars worldwide, it also brought Jenny Lawrence her first academy award while simultaneously catapulting Bradley Cooper to the status of an Oscar nominated actor.

I love the movie for many reasons, in the backdrop of an unconventional romance between two adults battling demons from their past the film also deals with the intricacies of the father-son relationship while portraying the challenges and difficulties of people dealing with mental illnesses in the most delicate and honest manner possible.

It is also a story of redemption.

The film starts by introducing us to Pat, the story's male protagonist. He is reluctantly undergoing court mandated treatment for bipolar disorder at a facility, out of a job, forced to live at his parents place trying desperately to reconnect with his estranged wife who has a restraining order against him, he also has to deal with frequent relapses of his condition which are often accompanied by angry outbursts and paralyzing memories from his past, and to add to all of this he is incredibly mad at Ernest Hemingway!

Paints a pretty nasty picture for a man in his thirties right?

However, In spite of all the dark clouds in his life, Pat is always looking for the silver lining.

Contrary to all expectations his life turns around, and this begins to happen after he meets Tiffany a recently widowed young woman whose life is equally (if not more) messed up as his own.

There are many beautiful scenes in this 2 hour long film that I go back and watch from time to time, my favourite among them however is the last 2 minutes, Just before the credits begin to roll when Pat recites these lines -

"The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday, That's guaranteed”,I can't begin to explain that, Or the craziness inside myself and everyone else”.          
“But guess what? Sunday's my favorite day again. I think of what everyone did for me, and I feel like a very lucky guy".

I watched the movie on a Saturday evening and these words were exactly what I needed to hear at that point of time in my life.

A few years back while at college I found myself in a weird situation.

I was in my 3rd year at medical school when two of my friends presented me with an offer to be their best friend.

Sounds Crazy ! I know, right? Grownups acting like kids, how often does that happen?

Its uncanny how the offer came to me from both of them on the same day, a few hours apart via sms’s that had almost the same exact wording.

For now let’s call them X and Y.
Here is how the first chat between me and X went down-
X : "Hi, Can I ask you a personal question"?
Me : "Yeah, Go ahead".
X : "Who is your best friend"?
Me : (I tell X who my best friend is)
X : "Stop kidding, are you serious "?
Me : "Yes, 100% serious".
X : "Well,Would you like to be my best friend"?
Me: "But I thought Z was your best friend, you guys have been together for 3 years now right?".
X : "It ended today".
Me: "Why" ?
X: "We’ll talk about it tomorrow, Got to study now, Bye".

A few hours later, I had the same conversation with Y, the only difference being that I mentioned to Y that X had texted me earlier with a similar request.

X and Y were close friends too, so the next day when we met in class we decided to act like ‘rational adults’ and discuss the ‘terms and conditions’ of our best friendship over lunch.

After an hour of intense discussion in the afternoon where we aired our opinions on friendship, talked pros and cons, do’s and dont’s we came up with a set of rules that would help us stay friends forever.

Sounds ridiculous, i know, but you have to trust me guys I'm not making this stuff up!

Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction.

In spite of all our negotiations and deliberations that afternoon, things didn’t work out as planned.

I remember feeling very silly that day even during our little lunch break meeting, How did we end up there ? How could we even think that it was possible for us to actually enforce something as beautiful as friendship on the basis of some elaborate policy.

I have often wondered why the three of us weren’t able to cross that elusive meridian of going from being just good acquaintances to best buddies? 
What really makes someone a best friend?

Let’s go back for a sec to the lines I quoted from the movie at the beginning of this post.

Here is what I make of them.

I don’t care how strong a person you think you are; the world will find a way to break your heart.

If you are the type of person who loves wearing his or her heart on the sleeve you are going to have it broken more often than everyone else.

Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING hits harder than life itself.

Sometimes life will beat you down to your knees and kick you in the solar plexus till you hit the ground.
When you least expect it, life will step out of nowhere and deliver a knockout punch right to your face.

In the end when you have been reduced to a pile of misshapen pieces you are left alone with the daunting task of putting yourself back together.

I'm sure that at some point or the other all of you have been through such situations in your lives too .
Now ask yourself this question.

Who stood beside you when things started falling apart, who tried to hold you together when you began to crumble and finally who helped you put all the pieces of your life together again when nobody else was to be found?

Does anyone come to mind?

That person is your best friend.

My response to the question, Tom who is your best friend, has been the same for the last 14 years.
It elicits a different reaction almost every single time.

Some respond with skepticism, some smirk, some even get angry or laugh at my face.

When I look back at my life there have been numerous incidents where life left me forlorn, grappling in the dark, wrestling forces and situations beyond my control, On every single occasion I have found my way back, not because I’m immune to hurt, but only because I have had a friend whose has held my hand and walked with me through it all.

A friend who has always been there to answer in my time of need, A friend who has always believed in me in my time of doubt, A friend who has forgiven me whenever I have fallen short of grace, A friend whose presence in my life is not subject to well thought off terms and conditions, distance, mobile network connectivity or time zones.  

He is my best friend and His name is Jesus Christ.

Winnie the pooh is one of the most beloved cartoon characters in history, Its incredibly hard to resist this cute little bear who loves his ‘hunny’.               

Pooh too has a best friend, a little pig called 'Piglet'!

If you pay close attention to the conversations between Pooh and Piglet you will come across some of the sweetest words related to friendship that are guaranteed to melt your heart.

Take these for example -

“We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?”asked Piglet.
“Even longer”,' Pooh answered.”

“I don’t feel very much like Pooh today," said Pooh.                                                  
"There there," said Piglet. "I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.”

“I wonder what Piglet is doing," thought Pooh. "I wish I were there to be doing it, too.”

Cute right ? Simple yet blissfully profound.

On behalf of all the sentimental idiots in the world to all those Best friends who have been there for us, Thank You, we wouldn’t have made it this far without you.

“Sunday's my favorite day again. I think of what everyone did for me, and I feel like a very lucky guy".

Until next time,