Saturday, December 11, 2010

Being the best-man: gift or curse ?

   "Ladies, Gentlemen may I have your attention please." He said standing up to a set of people neatly dressed up and seated in their designated seats around the dinner table. The best man of the groom placed the glass of orange-juice (this guy is a tee-totaler) on the table and went on to say, "I have known these two love birds since college. Anything said about their love will fall short to describe the perfection that they are - together. Comparisons become useless, and hence I'll be brief and let's give a big round of applause for Mr. and Mrs. Perfect." He clapped his hands and initiated an applause that came from every table. The bride and groom looked at the best man and smiled. He sat down and got back to his orange juice while the band announced that it was time for the first dance. Space in the middle was cleared and the bride and groom danced to the soft tunes of Eagles ballads.
  While everyone was being about, chatting, greeting and generally sticking to the typical ceremonial behavior... there was this one person who was lost in retrospection. He just stood there in the corner and looked at the couple dance. One could clearly tell that he was completely lost in retrospect by looking at his face. He was not even trying to hide it! This blog is the story of what a best friend goes through ... especially if he is best friends with both the bride and groom. This blog (or series of blogs) looks to bring out the predicaments and the feeling of detachment a person feels when his best friends enter into a relationship.
  Awesome threesome that they were ... always spent time together. Even when they were geographically apart, they spent time together. Thanks to technology ... it was possible. The best-man smiled when he recalled the really long voice conferences the the three of em had. Those voice conferences didn't have a stipulated end time. They used to end on one weekend, only to begin on a second weekend - right where it was left off. The best-man's room mate kept track of the time span of these voice conferences and was amazed to see the talking capacity of people. This went on for a few weeks... and then suddenly he was told that the other two had decided to become a couple. "what ? how ? when ? i mean ... where ??" These were his initial reactions. He was so happy ... and confused at the same time. Happy because now, there is nothing that can separate him with his friends. Confused because he had no clue about what was going on. He needed sometime to sink it in and hence just expressed the happiness part of it and burried the confusion deep within him. 

  "ring... ring... Hello! (voice on phone) hieeee! ... what u upto ? (voice on phone) talking to him ;) oh ... (giggles) you two have a nice time chatting :) say hello to him from myside (voice on phone) okee will do. I'll call once I am done." The call almost never came. Initial days were when the best-man knew the couple needed time for each other and didn't bother about the non-returned calls. When the callback did come, it came with a lot of exciting events and things to share. The best-man felt so happy that he was part of something so special. After hanging up the phone, he went for a long walk and couldn't help thinking about the great times they're supposedly going to have in the not so near and uncertain future. Little did he know, destiny always has other plans.
  It was one of those days for the best-man... a really bad day. He felt really down and wanted to talk about it to his friends. "ring... ring... ring... ring... The person you called is not available at this moment. Please leave a message after the tone." "Hi! its me. Wat a crappy day... called you just like that. Call me back if possible. Bye." The call never came. He called again only to speak to the voice-mail woman yet another time. After a few attempts he gave up and thought his friends will call back. The call did come later that evening ... but by the time he could speak up and explain himself he learned that on the other side his friend is in a deep tone. Trouble! What the trouble was is irrelevant in this perspective. What's important is that the best-man swallowed his bad feeling, heard up and made his friend feel better. This is the first of many more such instances that a best-man has to go through. Everyone said that the best-man is the most understanding person ever. Some even go ahead and call it a trait or a boon. I say that it is a curse. It is a curse upon oneself to understand others to such an extent that no reaction to lack of reciprocity is assumed. An understanding person is always there... for his buddies. But are the buddies there for the understanding person ? Reciprocity doesn't have to be materialistic. It just has to be a thing or two shared or most of the time being there. 

  The rest of this story is an open question. Is it not right on the part of a person who is understanding to expect to be reciprocated ? Can this feeling of "he'll understand, he'll be there ... it's okay" be called as taking the best-man for granted ? Is it the best-man's mistake that he did not communicate his "left out" feeling with the couple ? or is it the couple's mistake that they didn't think the best-man would ever feel left out ? Why should the best-man feel lonely even when he is around the most important people in his life ? Why is it that when a new relationship starts, the existing ones take a beating ? Why is it that some times the closest people are completely oblivious to an obvious feeling which is otherwise quite visible to the uninitiated ? It is a gift for only few people that balance relationships well.  If one happens to ask them how they do it - you'd get a response that "I am not balancing anything here. I speak out everything that I ever think of to every speacial person in my life. And I want to hear from my special ones too. If they don't speak out, I claw my way into them and try to make them feel better." If you ever have known such a person ... you hold on to them real tight - for such a thing is one of a kind.
 - chetu

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