Ross: Look, look, there’s got to be a way we can work past this. Okay, (takes a hold of one of her arms.) I can’t imagine, I can’t imagine my life without you. (Both of them are starting to cry.) Without, without these arms, and your face, and this heart. Your good heart Rach, (drops to his knees and hugs her around her waist) and, and….
Rachel: (crying) No. I can’t, you’re a totally different person to me now. I used to think of you as somebody that would never, ever hurt me, ever. God, and now I just can’t stop picturing with her, I can’t, (Ross stands up and backs away) it doesn’t matter what you say, or what you do, Ross. It’s just changed, everything. Forever.
Ross: (crying) Yeah, but this can’t be it, I mean.
Rachel: Then how come it is?
This is an excerpt from this sequence in FRIENDS where Rachel breaks up with Ross, that remains indelibly etched in my mind. Off late I’ve become this big sucker for crushing works of art, that entail a violin cry over a gleeful guitar and so the tendency to tilt a little in that side.
Having said that, this sequence does hit you like a familiar zephyr if you’ve been through a break-up before. It makes you reminisce fondly of your own crumbling moment under the sun, when a part of you died or so did you think. I was recently acquainted to the sitcom which seems to feature eternally in the favourite list of most people I know, like a badge of honour since their teens.
“Do you hate happiness?”, “Were you under a rock?” are some of the staple questions that were hurled at me in quick reflex to the knowledge of my never having watched FRIENDS.
And it was in this perceived indifference that I was seeking an ego validation, which made my defiance to this popular norm of getting acquainted to the show seem all the more like a cool thing to do.
An outlaw I saw myself as, who wasn’t bitten by the bug to seek approval, but still had his own way of staying relevant in conversations, independent of a sitcom or the parlance attached.
And to be honest, most of the people around me who swore by FRIENDS were lame, with embarrassing sense of humor to be taken seriously.
It wasn’t till a point recently, where a friend who had a great taste and an appreciable sense of humor made me a watch a random episode of the sitcom, that I stopped holding myself back from drenching in the magic of FRIENDS.
I cursed myself for postponing such a wonderful experience for a long time with dogged resistance, but realized later that it was the same reason that I got to watch it from a better place in life.
This entire series is about the lives and routines of young people from their mid-twenties to their early thirties; their mind-sets, tribulations, parlance, relationships and the underlining camaraderie that keeps them going from one phase of life to another.
I was watching it at as a 27 year old from a vantage point of “been there, seen that and done that”, a perk of being a late bloomer. A luxury most of my peers wouldn’t have had during their teens.
They probably would’ve attempted identifying with the narrative, even if vicariously and in most cases ended setting it up as a subconscious yardstick, courtesy their starry-eyed idolization.
Coming to think of it, this was not the only occasion I’ve been guilty of being a late bloomer. My life as it is has been characterized by my reluctance to adhere to a popular standard or tread by an ongoing habit. I’ve always seen my friends hog into a new trend from an isolated corner of self-contentment.
Call it resistance or attempt at staying unique, I’ve always found it hard to break from the inertia of simplicity to pander to the frequency of change that accompanies every new wave.
Take for instance, Eva-my sweetheart bike now. I had to be forced into it by my then girlfriend’s endless nudging that became more painful a point after which the hardships of crowded bus rides faded in comparison.
I was a happy twenty something, who was barely affected by the fact that all my cycle-pedalling friends were now commuting in their respective “beasts” that ran on fossil fuel, with the pride reserved to the last man standing from a gladiatorial match.
To all of them it was either a cool thing to possess, an indispensable necessity or the ultimate thing that fructified the accruals of the mental image they had assigned for their twenties since school days. To me, it just didn’t feature in my scheme of things like how learning Macedonian wouldn’t.
Having said that, I’ve had such beautiful moments with her after she came into my life. She’s one person alongside whom, I’ve learnt to appreciate the epiphanies that every episode in my life, bitter and sweet, held in it. Being a willful loner at times, I’ve basked in the rhythm of her ignition on many a long ride.
When I was going through a sustained low emotionally, I resorted to frequent road trips on her to get away. She wasn’t a cruiser, but she would let me fly. I healed on the roads, through every terrain, sharp turn and express highway that we took; with the strong winds blowing on my face purposefully as if to baptize my soul to a peaceful state back.
By the time I had grown familiar to the feeling of Eva being my soulmate on road; my friends had tilted to a four wheeled toy for their commuting obsessions. I thought that at least this time around, I would organically outgrow the two wheeler phase with every passing ride on a friend’s car like every other friend of mine. But it just ceased to get vestigial.
I was in such fine equilibrium with my bike, that my head felt impermeable to the myriad lures that cars held.
Probably like with the case of every other new habit that had crawled its way into the threshold of my acceptance unhurriedly, but firmly; maybe driving a car too would go on to constitute a passionate habit someday.
A habit I would keep in touch with to keep in touch with the self, than just a means to achieve a utility.
Over the years I’ve come to terms with the fact that it isn’t too bad to not keep abreast with the rapidity of changes around to remain sane, as far as it happened with ears firmly put to the ground.
I’m a laidback individual who likes to ensconce in the familiarity of every experience with passage of time. Being content with going deeper down an experience, than be tempted to explore the versatility held in the expanse of its vista.
Or simply put, I’m a person who doesn’t exactly feel upbeat about the concept of changes and breakthroughs. Someone who feels defiant when faced with a tide of herd instinct masquerading as an ongoing trend.
For me every experience with passage of time is either like wine that gets better with time or milk that turns into an altogether different commodity. Betterment or difference, both seem like exciting enough trade offs to stick on to for the long haul without meddling with them.