Let me start by saying that this is NOT a review of ‘Firefly Lane’, the latest drama series from Netflix, but rather about my experience while watching it- the many flashbacks, the many reflections and contemplations…in short this post is about my personal experience with the series.. however there might be some spoilers so if you haven’t seen it and want to see it, then perhaps you should come back after watching and that way I am sure you will be able to relate to it much more.
So this is a story about a chance encounter between 2 teenaged girls. Two people Who couldn’t be more different. While one is the school hottie, the other is a total nerd (loved her oversized glasses 🤓) and how gradually they become best friends for life. The series unfolds in 3 timeframes starting from their teenage years, to their 20s all the way upto their 40s..giving us a peak into their lives and personalities and how they grow and evolve with time.
Note: To all of you who are 70’s and 80’s kids…man I envy you….that was such a cool time to be a young adult… rebellious and free and ready to take on the world 😎😎
The story delves into several sensitive issues such as homosexuality and the social stigma around it which is still prevalent today, drug abuse, difficult pregnancies, infidelity,mid life crisis, office politics, exploitation at workplace, sibling rivalry, generation gap between parents and children especially teenagers, loss of a loved one, grief and how different people cope with it differently. All of these issues are woven seamlessly into the story and dealt with maturely and sensitively. Yet at the heart of it, it’s a story about friendship and how truly important it is in our lives.
The series made me reflect on my friendship with my best friend. Just like the 2 protagonists, we couldn’t be more different. She is fiercely independent and ambitious, determined to achieve great things, while I am more easy going, laid-back. My talent for procastrination is legendary. She can vouch for that 😂. Watching the series took me back in time, remembering the first time I met my bestie in 6th grade. Never thought we would be friends, let alone be best friends even after all these years. It reminded me of all the crazy things we would do like bunking classes and secretly chilling at the bottom of the stairs. Oblivious to the world and the teacher’s wrath. It reminded me of the dire need to discuss each and every miniscule thing with her. Praying for her to approve and get along with the boyfriend in college. Discussing and dissecting every fight, every heart break, every family gossip. Just pouring my heart out to her. Coz, as different as we were and still are, she gets me. She understands me like no other.
However, as I binge watched the whole series over the weekend, there was one thing I envied about their friendship. One thing they didn’t have and we do. Distance. Coz we have spent majority of the 2 decades of friendship living in different countries. Although that hasn’t stopped us from being there for each other during the good times and the bad. No. Never. We have always been an integral part of each others’ lives. Breakups, college, marriage, sickness, jobs..we have been with each other during all such milestone moments. But it’s the little things that we miss out on. Like if one of us had a shitty day at work, we can’t meet up, vent and then forget the blues while watching a chick flick together. If I am feeling low, I can pick up the phone and talk to her but I won’t get to hug her and feel the world is not so bad after all. If she had a bad day, I can only say ‘it will be okay’, but I can’t give her a surprise visit with her favourite food to cheer her up….I realized that we indeed do miss out on these little, precious moments ☹️☹️
Firefly lane may have its flaws but one thing it does get right..is the portrayal of friendship…it will make your heart crave for a friendship as strong as theirs. And if you are fortunate enough to have such a friend, it will make you love and value them even more. And if they are far away, it will make you reach out for your phone to call them and talk to them and tell them how much you love them. 💕💕
Here’s one of my favourite quotes on friendship from the film Bride wars…which I also quoted on my bff’s wedding day 😊
It’s amazing how the smallest things sometimes trigger memories from the past, flash moments from days gone by and takes you back in time. Something similar happened the other day as I sat down in front of the TV and while surfing channels, suddenly a movie being aired in one one of the movie channels caught my attention.
As the title suggests, the name of the film playing on was called Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The film released many years before I was born. And I was introduced to this musical family with a magic car by my grand father. It was probably the first film I had seen or maybe the first one I remember watching and loving. If you ask me today how much of it I understood as a toddler, then I would perhaps say…. not much..but I do vaguely remember being amused by this family singing, dancing and flying off in a custom made, very cool car. But what remains etched in my mind till this day..is the image of me and my grandpa enjoying the film together. And the camaraderie I shared with him even as a toddler.
I sat there watching the film…trying to recall the storyline…didn’t remember much… instead was taken back in time…to the time I spent with my grand father and the many memories I had with him over the years…how he would smoke his much beloved cig and explain the workings of the world and I would just sit there, listening intently, soaking it all up and truly enjoying his words of wisdom and loving him for being the most doting grandpa one can have…it was truly a walk down memory lane..And the movie was just as enjoyable this time as well..😊😊
Ok now let’s admit it…just like comfort food, we all have a favourite show that we keep going back to again and again. As as the title suggests very clearly, for me that’s always been this one.
Well for those of you who don’t know about it (is there anyone who doesn’t 🤔🤔), Friends is an American television sitcom, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004, lasting ten seasons. You can refer to the wiki link for more info
So what’s so special about this series that infact ended 16 years ago. Why is it that of all the shows on all the OTT platforms, I chose to write only about this one?
Truth be told I myself started watching this series much later,infact even after all 10 seasons ended. But till this day,it’s my go-to show.
So what’s so great about the show and why is it that I write about a show that was first aired more than 25 years ago? Well for me, it’s always been about all 6 protagonist characters. Each unique with their own distinctive characteristics and yet how well they mesh to form a lifelong friendship. A kind of friendship that sets an example and a benchmark even today. Let me elaborate a little about each of them to better explain my point.
Let’s start with Monica Geller. She was an obese adolescent with a set of very biased parents who clearly favoured her brother over her. Always. Yet she always had a clear vision about what she wanted in life. Whether it was about the perfect guy to give her ‘flower’ to (nobody called it that even 26 years ago😂😂), or what profession she wanted to pursue or how EVERYTHING in sight had to be spotless and in perfect arrangement and symmetry. An obsessive, compulsive person with a stickler for cleanliness. Yet, No matter how much her friends picked on her for this, she never bothered and did everything with great passion and fervour.
Since we started with Monica, we have to talk next of the love of her life..her best friend, partner in crime, boyfriend and then husband…Chandler Bing. The one who was known for mastering the art of using sarcasm and humor as a defence mechanism and was shown to be extremely Commitment phobic for a long time. Yet when things get serious between the two, chandler almost metamorphises into the most loving, loyal and adoring husband. Infact Mondler (Monica+ chandler) became couple goals and remains so till this day in my opinion. Could I BEE any more right??!!
Next up is Ross Geller, brother of Monica, best friend of chandler and ex husband of Carol, Emily and Rachel (yes poor fellow had 3 marriages and 3 consecutive divorces for various reasons in a span of 10 seasons!!!). He is a paleontologist with a love for all things dinosaurs And related to evolution. A typical nerd some might say. Yet 3 marriages. Thoughtful, sensitive, loyal and a genuinely sweet simple guy. A medical marvel right from birth. And of course, his eternal feelings for Rachel ❤️❤️. That was and still is #lovegoals.
We have to talk of Rachel now. That’s Rachel Green. The hottie of the group. The school friend of Monica who joins the group after running away from the altar on her wedding day. Through the seasons we saw her evolve from a rich entitled daddy’s girl to a self sufficient, self reliant woman who carves out her own identity. Of course she makes errors in judgement along the way, shown to be a terrible cook, nightmare roommate for Monica, but never afraid to fight for what she wants and who she wants. Some would call her a pushover but that never detered her. And of course I have to add…she was Ross’s lobster 💗💗.
The 5th friend in the group was Phoebe Buffay. She’s the most hilarious even without trying and always has the most unexpected response to all things. Inspite of a very unusual childhood, she is shown to be an extremely positive person with a zest for life. Unlike her mean twin Ursula, Phoebe was kind, loyal,sweet and had a childlike enthusiasm for the simplest things. Not to mention her odd guitar playing skills and her bizarre song lyrics. Remember Smelly cat?? Iconic!!😆😆
And last but certainly not the least, my absolute favourite character…. Joey Tribbiani. A mostly out of work terrible actor with a strong liking for all things pretty and pizza!!! Joey is a secret keeper of all his friends, fiercely loyal and never thought twice about standing up for his friends, even ditching girlfriends if they did not like his friends. With an IQ of a 5 year old he was undoubtedly the most funny guy out there. And for me Joey will always be #bestfriendgoals
All 6 of them have their own unique personalities, their own flaws and yet together they form a formidable group of friends who stick by each other through thick and thin. Who point out each others’ mistakes and support each other every step of the way. They have a bond so strong and so special that it strikes a chord and resonates with the viewers even today. It makes you yearn for friends as them and also teaches a thing or two about the kind of friend each of us should strive to be. Whether it is Joey’s loyalty, Chandler’s humor, Ross’s sensitivity, Monica’s passion, Rachel’s kindness or Phoebe’s craziness….there’s something to love, learn and enjoy about each of them.
Needless to say, I am an ardent fan of the show and highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t watched it before. You can thank me later .😀😀
At the very onset, let me clarify this is NOT a blog about mathematics but rather a sudden realization that’s growing stronger over time as we spend more and more time quarantined at home due to the ongoing pandemic that’s taken over every aspect of our lives and the world at large.
So what’s so special about us 90’s kids that made me put it in the title of my blog? Well to begin with, we are probably the last generation that can speak of a gadget free childhood. When kids were not addicted to video games but rather looked forward to going outside and playing every evening with our friends, returning home with dirty clothes due to playing in the mud. When hide and seek or cricket or football used to be our favourite thing to do. When watching cartoons like Tom and Jerry or Popeye the sailor brought unlimited joy. When using fountain pens at school gave us a sense of ‘growing up’. When school term beginning meant the very important process of covering our books with brown paper and of course when we actually carried all these books in our heavy square bags. When classroom meant sitting on benches playing tic tac toe or hangman with friends in notebooks and lunchtime meant sharing our food with friends. When we used to wait for special occasions like festivals to get new clothes. When Sundays meant a specially cooked meal by mom. When summer and winter holidays were spent playing indoor games like cards, carrom, ludo, snakes and ladders or scrabble with the entire family. It was all about spending quality time with the family. When hot ginger tea was the best beverage and partying meant attending a wedding or Birthday party. It was all so simple and yet so much fun. For those of us who very proudly refer to ourselves as the 90’s kids..am sure these memories will ring true with each one of you. Surely the best of times- those good ol’ days.
As we entered into the new century, technology gradually started making an entry into our lives. I remember my first desktop with a huge big screen and an even bulkier CPU. Oh the adrenaline rush of playing Road Rash or Pacman for the first time. And then there was THE INTERNET. Which till today I firmly believe to be the best invention in the last 100 years!!! And the joy of Google search. Everything I ever wanted to know about the world was now just a click away. Much before Facebook came knocking, we had Orkut. Where it was the moral obligation of my friends to write a testimonial for me. As a testament to our friendship. Longer the testimonial, the better friends we were. Amen.
With each passing day, more and more technology made its way into our lives. First we had those big bulky Nokia mobiles with antennae that looked like satellite phones used by spies in movies, soooo heavy that if thrown it could crack a skull or two (just saying, never tried though😛). I remember my first phone. It had a coloured screen. And was primarily used for incessant messaging with friends the night before semester exams. And then came the next best invention of this millennium…..THE SMARTPHONE!!!❤️❤️ And that pretty much changed EVERYTHING we have known this far.
Coz you see..the smartphone became more than just a phone. It became our whole life … on the move. No more visiting banks, putting ads in paper for prospective spouse search, job hunting, reading books, standing in long queues to pay bills or buying groceries. all this was now done with the touch of a button. And of course, most importantly, it took over our social lives. The world became smaller and accessible. It connected us with friends who stayed a few continents away. It gave us easy access to just about any information.. practically anything and everything was now at our fingertips. Time pass became an unhealthy obsession of putting every bit of our lives, our habits out on social media. To voice our opinion on just about everything….coz all we had to was just rant and type. Without us even realizing…the smartphone just literally took over every aspect of Our lives. It truly was the Harbinger of a new era…the Digital era. And man do we love it.
Life was now on the fast track. Forgot to pay your bills? Just make an online payment. Wanna skip work, just drop a mail. Feeling bored at home? Just book tickets online and off you are on a vacation. Wanna eat ice-cream at midnight? Just order it online. Wanna spend a lazy weekend at home? Just binge watch on Netflix. Wanna make your friends jealous of your amazing life? Just upload pics on Instagram. Wanna ramble on about your thoughts? Just post on Facebook. Wanna voice your opinion on ANY matter? Just tweet it. Wanna go to party on a weekend? Just call an Uber. Miss your family ? Just do a video call. Wanna chat with all your friends? Just do a zoom call. You see I was serious when I said that the smartphone has literally taken over our lives. Made it easier and also perhaps lazier. Well of course there are many many cons of this Digital boom but let’s keep that for another blog 😛😛
Well have you been driving at over 100kmph and suddenly spot an animal crossing the road and have to push the brakes with all your might? You are feeling The rush of adrenaline, the wind in you hair at one moment. And utter panic and shock at the very moment you have to push the brakes and stop. Well 2020 had something just like that in store for us. Well it wasn’t a cow crossing the road. But rather a tiny microscopic deadly being that just forced us to apply the brakes. Enterthe CORONAVIRUS.
And just like that, in a flash, our fast paced lives came to an abrupt halt. The world came to a standstill. The roads were empty. Planes were grounded. Shops were shut. Malls were closed. Thousands were stranded, unemployed. And millions were locked up at home indefinitely in fear of the deadly virus out on a killing spree. It took over our cities and the world at large.
I remember the first few weeks were tough. In this day and age always staying indoors is something none of us are habituated to. It’s like you take a lion used to roaming in the wild jungle and put him in a box. That’s exactly how I felt. And am sure I wasn’t alone. No more going out to party with friends, dining out with family on the weekend. No more mall hopping or going to the movies or even a drive. Travelling to far off places in your bucket list was suddenly an impossibility. It’s like we were grounded for life!!
We couldn’t go to office, so the office came to us. Most of us with jobs got laptops, desktops delivered to our doorsteps coz work must go on. You see, I want that salary slip at the end of the month so I gladly accepted it. Life became all about unlimited conference calls, screen sharing, video meetings and incessant phone calls (still not complaining). At the same time, house helps were off limits so had to do all household chores as well. How long is this gonna last I thought many times. How long do I have to keep doing this? The pandemic and the growing rate of infected patients gave me my answer. As long as we need to.
Humans have an incredible way of adapting and this I experienced first hand due to this pandemic. Just like we had very easily adapted to our jet set fast paced lives once upon a time, eventually in this lockdown we learnt to slow down as well. And not just that, I think it helped us (me definitely) be thankful for the little and smaller things in life. It made me thankful that I was getting to spend quality time at home with my aging parents, my husband. Cooking hot meals for my family and them going gaga about it made my day. We went back to playing boardgames. I had forgotten how much fun this used to be. And for the first time in years, I had some free time to indulge myself. So I picked up my old habit of reading. Of course now it was on kindle. Going out for parties now replaced by enjoying a glass of wine with the husband. Watching movies in the theatre now made way for all night Netflix marathons. Running behind cabs and buses made way for daily walks in the terrace. The hustle bustle of city life gave way to nature healing itself and the city becoming more cleaner and greener than I have ever seen before. The pollution decreasing and The air becoming more pure. And the one thing which we all loved before we were hit by this virus scare….going out…that’s become a nightmare really. Wear your mask, cover your face, cover your head, apply litres of sanitizer (not literally). Come back, change clothes, wash off, apply some more sanitizer. I’d rather stay indoors these days. Seriously.
This drastic change in our lifestyle has been hard to adjust to for most of us. But at the same time it has brought back glimpses of the simplicity of our childhood days..the good old 90s era. I had forgotten how much we enjoyed those days at home with loved ones. Now, although forcefully, we seem to have been transported to that time. But this time we have the internet with us. So it’s like the best of both worlds. We have the simplicity of the 90s coupled with the benefits of the digital age. Maybe that’s the optimistic in me thinking like that, to make these days count and be grateful for.
I know that Once the threat decreases with the availability of vaccines and medicines (and I sure do hope they come out soon coz so many people are suffering and dying)…we will again go back to our fast paced race of a life. But I hope we can remember the lessons learnt in these hard times and still retain a part of this experience as we go forward into the future.
Are you one of them…or rather one like me..who loves to stand in the balcony and gaze at the moon for hours gazing at the moon…just mesmerized by its sheer beauty? Well Google tells me that there’s actually a word for people like us…it’s called Selenophile
Well, ever since I was a little girl, I would wait for the moon to grow bigger (yeah that’s what I actually thought of full moons 😂😂), so that I can go to the balcony and gaze at its sheer beauty. And even today this habit has stayed on. Of course, now I do know it doesn’t get bigger or anything but still evokes the same child like joy and amazement.
Through the years the thoughts, the feelings, the emotions I feel while moon gazing have come to vary. But the one true constant feeling has been awe…admiration at the sheer beauty of this object..that’s actually so far far away and yet seems to be so close.
When I was younger it used to baffle my science studying mind. How far is it really? Can I touch it if I take out my hand from an aeroplane (talk about wild imagination 😛), can people on the other side of the world also see it in the same way as I do, are there any people who live there, do they really float around while living there (how cool would that be), wierd, out of the box thoughts of a curious young mind. In my teens and tweens, the curious mind made way for the budding romantic in me. I have stared at the moon at the onset of love and even at the end of it. When in love, I remember gazing at the moon with lovestruck, hopeful eyes, thinking of my crush, romantic songs and lines of poetry coming to mind and filling my heart with so much love. The kind that makes you feel giddy and all kinds of mushy. However, when the same crush turned out to be a total douche and broke my heart into a zillion pieces, turns out, then too I turned to the moon for solace. I would stare at it for hours and let the tears stream down, hoping it would take away the sadness, the pain and the nudging heartache. And for those precious moments, staring at the beaming, radiant glow of the moon, I did feel soothed and comforted. Like I was not alone. I had somebody or something to share this grief with.
Over the years, I have stared at the moon and whole heartedly appreciated its divine presence no matter what the circumstances were. I have blissfully moon gazed when happy and certainly when I was sad. I have stared at the moon when I was lonely and sad and needed the presence of a familiar companion, one who would listen to all my sob stories without ever scolding or judging or getting bored or tired or just plain fed up. You might find it wierd rambling on to an ‘inanimate object’ but sometimes it’s just about venting and sharing and unburdening and strangely it works wonders. It is quite therapeutic (at least for me). I have even stared at the moon when I was happy, satisfied and at peace with my life- Just gazing, feeling blessed, humbled, thankful for all I have been given and all that I have accomplished.
Through all of life’s ups and many many downs, I have always considered this glowing, luminescent object to be a steadfast friend, companion and supporter. An unwavering, unflinching friend unknown to the mad busy world. My own personal confidante. My one constant partner through the years.
So if anyone out there ever feels lonely and desperately seeks a friend but finds none, I suggest you take a short walk to the balcony and say a HI to this beauty. Trust me, you will find a true friend for life. 🤩🤩🌙🌌
Sharing some pictures of this friend of mine. Hope it conveys the essence of this blog.
Whether it’s jumping off a cliff or jumping out of a helicopter or jumping into an unexpected, unpredictable, unprecedented, life changing, mind boggling life event..they are all essentially the same things and involve the same flurry of emotions. Like what are the emotions one would associate with jumping? Anxiety, angst, panic, fear? I think it’s predominantly fear…fear of that precise moment of taking the plunge, fear of the fall, fear of the outcome and fear of the side effects if things go wrong. But unless we jump we don’t really know what’s waiting for us. Or how we will feel about it after it’s done. For me, the most daunting thought would be…’what if’….what if I liked it..what if it showed me new side of life? What if it gave new meaning to my life? what if it was an exhilarating experience that couldn’t be experienced in any other way? What if it changed my perspective of life or gave it a new direction? Or simply what if it gives me a sneak peek into my true potential or calling?…the what ifs are what makes the jumping worth every other emotions we may feel.
Let me recount an experience that can probably help me convey my point.
So last year before Corona took over our lives and made us homebodies, I was in Thailand on a much needed getaway. I was sitting on the beach drinking a beer, soaking in the beauty and tranquility of the blue waters, pristine white sand with the backdrop of the setting sun and the chilly wind. Picturesque. Suddenly I noticed some people were parasailing. Now I am NOT the adventurous junkie alway ready to try every bizarre adventure one can chance upon. I am someone always scared, always timid, riddled with health issues and quite an overweight person. The kind who roll their eyes while watching others pull off daring but totally unnecessary stunts all in the name of adventure and adrenaline rush (is that even a real thing I wonder).
But that day watching the parachute sailing against the sunset made me wonder. Should I try it? Almost immediately I was flooded with a whole barrage of what ifs…what if I lose my grip..what if the I fall right down into the middle of the ocean? What if the life jacket doesn’t work and I drown..like the Titanic (because I can’t swim to save my life.. literally)…on and on came all these thoughts that just made me oppose the idea as soon as I got it. But as if almost instinctively, there were another set of what ifs circling in my head. What if this is actually fun. What if the view from top is mind blowing? What if this is actually something memorable that I can look back at years from now and say..man I did it and it was truly awesome. What if by doing this I can actually prove to myself that I am not that averse to the idea of adventure and that adrenaline rush is a real thing.
My mind was at war it seems. To jump into it or not. I was torn. After all both sets of what ifs had equal merit and were worthy of being thought through. So unable to take a quick decision (like in most life situations I am faced with) , I just sat there staring into the sky..with my gaze fixed at the parachute flying high against the setting sun.
I guess the deciding ‘what if’ was…’what if I never get this opportunity ever again..I mean this has been in my bucket list for the longest time and here I was sitting. Closest chance of actually fulfilling this crazy wish… wouldn’t I look back at this very moment And wonder what It would have felt like’…so this thought or maybe the beer I gutted down…made me decide. I was gonna do it. I was gonna go for the jump.
My husband was zapped and literally speechless at this sudden burst of bravery and adventure that I was engulfed with. But I had decided, good or bad I was going in for it.
Got my harness in place, got my set of instructions of things to do and not to do. And within 15 minutes I was ready. Since I didn’t know swimming, they sent one of their guys up with me who would take care of the manoeuvring. All I had to do was run till a point until we start flying and then hold on to the rope to maintain position.
Simple enough. Right? Well not so much. Coming to that in a bit. I did run as asked and even before I realized I was high up in the sky…with the blue ocean down beneath me and the sun almost at eye level. The initial fright was something I cannot describe in words. It was gut wrenching, heart pounding excruciating fear. For a moment I couldn’t believe I actually went through with this crazy idea and put myself in this situation. I was almost paralyzed with fear. I thought I will never set foot on the beach again or see my husband or parents again. With My eyes closed shut, I was praying for some sort of a miracle (like maybe waking up to realize I was only dreaming) to undo this horrible thing I had done to myself. Stupid stupid girl.
But after some time, the parachute reached a certain height and became stable. That’s when I opened my eyes. Slowly. One at a time. And trust me, I will never forget what I saw. The panoramic view of the city, the lush greenery, the blue ocean down below, the many hues of the setting sun…all in a single frame. Oh so so beautiful. So mesmerising. The beauty of what I saw that day will remain etched in my heart forever. In that moment, I felt fearless, I felt invincible. I felt alive. Not for long though.
While I was gliding through the air soaking it all in, Down below , the motor boat to which the parachute is attached took a U-turn to head back towards the beach. It took me by surprise and due to the jolt, I lost my grip of the rope to which I was tied. Fear, paranoia all these things that just a few seconds ago I thought I had overcome, came right back as I lost my balance. But thankfully the trainer guy grabbed me by the waist. Gradually I regained balance and gripped the rope for dear life. And a few moments later I splashed into the water.
The joy of feeling the sand beneath me. It meant that I was back on land. The ride was over. And I was back to safety. I remember sitting in the water for a long time. Thinking about the experience I just had. The beauty I had seen. The many emotions I felt while pulling off the most heroic and adventurous thing I had ever attempted to do.
Yes I felt fear. Mind numbing, heart beat stopping fear. And yet there i was. Having done it. Actually going through with it. Taking the plunge. Ticking off at least one item from my bucket list. Giving myself one experience of a lifetime. For that I thanked myself. Gave myself a pat on the back. But most importantly, this whole experience left me with one profound realization: unless you overcome the fear holding you back and take that leap of faith, there’s no way of knowing the outcome. No way of knowing what you are going to experience. and how much more enriched you are going to be when come out of it.
So next time, whether its a bungee jump (another one in the bucket list) or another crucial life altering juncture of life, I will not be afraid to take that leap of faith.
Ps. For motivation I always look at this picture of myself up in the air.