The Best Things Last a Lifetime – February 2016

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best things

Mildred Castelino recounts decades of love and bonding with her friends Judy, Doreen, Nancy and Faye, portraying how some of the best things in life are the people you spend it with

TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT HOW YOU MET. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN FRIENDS FOR?
We stepped out of the portals of our school in Bandra way back in 1966 and went out into the wide world to seek our fortunes. The majority of us of course, set forth to pursue our education and subsequent careers and quite a few settled into matrimonial bliss. We lost track of each other over the ensuing decades. However we re-ignited our schoolgirl bonding in 2004. This year we usher in our golden year – 50 years of our schoolgirl bonding.

WHAT PARTICULAR THING/INSTANCE WOULD YOU SAY YOU’LL HAVE BONDED OVER?
A few of the group found themselves unable to dispel a distinct feeling of nostalgia for our school days, the plethora of memories of our carefree school days always seem to tug at our heartstrings. The grim realization that death had robbed us of our classmates, the inevitable and inexorable trudge into middle age with old age hovering in the not too distant future. What really helped us to bond together, with the initial efforts of a few stalwarts to locate our batch mates and then everyone got caught up in the exciting frenzy of locating one another in real earnest. At around this time one of our classmates lay dying of cancer and we rallied around her in little ways. One of them being penning down hilarious anecdotes of our school days for her to read and laugh over.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO TOGETHER?
The grand coming together of the local girls and some of the diaspora after 40 years in 2006. The pure undiluted joy in having found each other reigned supreme on that day. Our reunion thus became an endearing and enduring tale of love and friendship which we have managed to sustain. Meeting together over a cup of tea has now become a firm tradition and is hardly ever missed. We are in the process of planning a memorable Golden Jubilee Reunion sometime this year.

HAVE YOU HAD ANY INSTANCES THAT HAVE THREATENED YOUR FRIENDSHIP? WHAT WERE THEY?
Not really. If there is one factor that threatens our friendship is the fact that baring the local residents, it is hardly possible to keep in touch with our overseas batch mates on a regular basis. However, we make that extra effort to meet up when they visit from time to time.

TODAY, WE HEAR OF SO MANY FRIENDSHIPS WITHERING AWAY WITH TIME. HOW DID YOU’LL MANAGE TO KEEP YOUR BOND ALIVE?
By meeting from time to time, sitting together reminiscing about the good ole days when we actually got slapped for misdemeanors in the class. Taking selfies and the usual round of hugs with renewed promises to stay in touch. All this helps to keep the group together somewhat and of course being there for each other in good times or bad.

DID YOU EVER HAVE ANY INSTANCES WHERE YOU FELT COMPETITIVE OR JEALOUS OF EACH OTHER?
We are now beyond that age where competitive rivalry or jealousy ruled the roost. If antipathy or ill will does exist in the group, it is usually consigned to the back seat in the larger interest of putting aside our domestic chores aside and reveling in each others company.

PEOPLE CHANGE OVER TIME. HAVE YOU NOTICED ANY CHANGES IN YOUR FRIEND’S PERSONALITIES AS THEY GREW UP? HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH IT?
Of course changes are inescapable over the decades, but we gleefully take it in our stride. We are a diverse group of women. We have had many professionals in our midst not to mention two nuns, all which only serve to accentuate our delightful divergence.

WHAT HAS BEEN ONE OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS TOGETHER?
Our first ever reunion in December 2006. It was amazing how in just 2 hours we transcended a whole lifetime. It was an evening of dancing in gay abandon to music in quick tempo, bouts of helpless giggling and a veritable overflow of bon-homie. We were on an euphoric high. The takeaway from this memorable evening was the firm resolve to be in touch in the remaining years of our lives.

AFTER HAVING KNOWN EACH OTHER FOR ALL OF THESE YEARS, YOU MUST KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT EACH OTHER. SO WHAT DO YOU TALK ABOUT NOW?
Our families, our children and grandchildren. We moan and groan over the trials and tribulations of running a household, rising prices of onions and pulses. We also dabble in political chitchat. Of course we wouldn’t be women if we did not relish some random piece of juicy gossip. But the air of camaraderie is never absent. You can label us re-cycled teenagers at best.

YOU’VE BEEN TOGETHER THROUGH ALL OF IT; BOYFRIENDS, CRUSHES, MARRIAGE, KIDS, EVEN GRANDCHILDREN. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON THAT YOU WOULD WANT TO GIVE TO THE YOUTH ABOUT FRIENDSHIP?
Develop your inherent strengths but think beyond the lure of money, career and fame. Remember to sustain a firm grip on reality and honesty. Keep in mind that love and friendship are very important ingredients in life. It starts with your family, friends and society at large.

Develop your inherent strengths but think beyond the lure of money, career and fame. Remember to sustain a firm grip on reality and honesty. Keep in mind that love and friendship are very important ingredients in life. It starts with your family, friends and society at large.

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