The Mad Momma needs no introduction. But way back when, my Daddy did the honors, and I can’t thank him enough for it. This is a first-rate second-generation friendship. And here’s the story, in MM’s inimitable voice.
Jab We Met
It was my parents’ college alumni meet and they’d insisted I fly out to meet their old friends. It’s not the sort of thing most kids would happily do, but then you’ve not met my parents or their friends. The event was perhaps one of the best times of my life, and I have to admit, not in small part because it was where I met OJ.
Her dad was senior to my parents in college, and he and his camera were omnipresent. A joke a minute, a big smile and the most endearing way about him, it’s easy to see where OJ gets it from. Thrilled to see that other ‘kids’ (erm, all well past our teens, thank you very much!) had turned up, he immediately introduced us. Shiny, enviously magazine-cover-worthy hair was my first impression and I decided I was going to hate her for it. Except that she smiled, and she had Uncle’s smile and it was over before it began. I could see we were going to be friends. Angels didn’t play harps in the background, but it was pretty close.
We’d barely got around to introductions when we ‘kids’ were asked to put up a dance show and the look on OJ’s face was worth a thousand words. She had an excuse though – she had two sprained ankles; I unfortunately, had none. To this day, I’m convinced she came along with those and a cane to avoid being coerced into something like this. I maturely decided to make the most of a bad thing and began to train a bunch of girls I’d never met before to dance to “Chunari Chunari”. OJ played the most important part in this – rewind, play, rewind, play. Yes, that’s how long ago this was.
The dance performance was put on that night. And in between tripping over skirts, sarees, lehenga hems, bumping into each other, and getting our moves wrong, we got it done with. Of course, our beaming parents thought it was a brilliant show. Apparently, that doting blindness never ceases. And all this while OJ smiled encouragingly from the sidelines and turned a blind eye (also!) to our dismal show.
Like all disasters, that event brought us together and there was no looking back. We compared notes on planned elopements, unwilling parents, great love and other things that girls our age did. Hers are the only emails I don’t delete when I empty my inbox for the mix of humour, compassion, warmth and sheer practicality they burst with. And I have about 15 years of those now.
I’d like to say I knew her pretty well before she started blogging, and I think I would be right. But there’s nothing like a well-written post stating your stand to show you for the person you are. A peep into your life, a slice of your beliefs, a taste of what you believe in. Throw in some the power to weave magic with your words and you have OJ’s blog right there. So yes, I knew her well. And then I read the blog and knew her better. And to know her is to love her. I didn’t think I could love her more than I do, but I do.
Here’s to many, many more years of taking a stand, making it worthwhile, and living by your own rules. Big hugs.