top of page

Did you know friendships have the ability to extinguish borders Tasalli Se?




I don’t watch a lot of content more of a sunny day in the park, books, and podcasts kind of person. But then sometimes, I come across content that engulfs me and plays on loop in my brain until I have penned something, usually is poetry. Weeks ago, I watched this short film called Tasalli Se - so raw and brilliant that it itched me to pen down my story of finding friendships beyond borders. Full disclaimer I was supposed to pen this earlier but amidst spontaneous travel plans, life of a social worker, and making friends with the Covid bug again led to derailment. Excuses right? How pathetic.


As a child with a very vivid imagination, I often wondered what it would feel like to have a global dominion of friends. You see growing up my parents had this logic that travelling was the best gift they could gift us siblings and that birthday gifts were overrated. I agree. So, while hopping planes I dreamt about my multiverse of friendships. Little did I know I would nurture global friendships, god was listening. My twitter friendships are a story for another day.


Six years ago, a Karachite and a Bombayite walked into University of Toronto.

First day. First class. Toronto a city that was home for one and a new city for another. Seated next to each other with very awkward smiles. Some ten minutes in we realised we were the only two South Asian looking women in the room. Basically, we demanded a seat at a table and that itself in that moment was enough to break ice.


M (refuses to let her name be public). Consent is the key to life. She is a representation of everything opposite of me. I say salad, she says fries. I say walk, she says drive. I pray, she is an atheist. I say work, she says an episode of Indian television. You get the picture, I am not surprised if you are reading this and thinking how have we not killed each other yet?


Further, considering she introduced me to the world of food combinations that have me appalled like dosa with mayonnaise is plain disgusting. But then M, also introduced me to the world of what apparently a good vada pao tastes like. Can you believe it I had never eaten one before? Living under a rock, I know. But then so was M, who did not know how brilliant Coke Studio's music is and that biryani is always done with potatoes. Even unpopular opinion biryani and mangoes are overrated. Sue me. Team pulaho and watermelon here.


I digress. I am aware. Coming back.


There were summers when we travelled back to our respective families, to the cities we grew up in and we would laugh and then cry a little at the irony that these two bloody cities might as well be labelled as twin cities because of how strikingly similar they are. Karachi & Mumbai have this innate ability of being accepting, to take in everybody and anybody with its arms wide open. They are cities that are a pinnacle of madness, love, laughter, and just unbridled kindness of strangers. You see, which is why it is no irony that we both carried the sentiment of these city across oceans to Toronto.


We have often wondered what life would look like if borders did not exist. I would visit Kolkata in a heartbeat - it was my Dada’s city. I grew up hearing tales of that city and my childhood like innocence would always say to him:

’Someday dada when I am old you & I will take that trip. Things will be easy then.'

Guess what, I am older. Dada isn’t here anymore. And things continue to remain complicated.


Similarly, for her she would visit Lahore in a heartbeat because according to M,

‘Jinnay Lahore nahi vekiyaan wou jamiyaa nahi.’ I hate translating the feeling of my mother tongues but I will this roughly means, if you haven't seen Lahore you just have not been born yet. I quite disagree with that statement even though my mother is from Lahore.


But hey, that sums up our sisterhood in a sentence we agree to disagree. We struck a chord like lightening. Because the truth is it wasn't just about the sisterhood it extended beyond that because we watered that plant of friendship with respect. Yes, that very seven letter word that people seem to find old-fashioned. It has always been our respect for each other's thought process, identity, culture, religion that made us have the most uncomfortable conversations with such ease. I remember even when the tides of war were high back home, we sat in my lounge and concluded that the people in charge were just idiots fueling of hate for their own personal vendettas.


It has been two years since I last saw M. The pandemic robbed us of goodbye hugs and milestone celebrations as M move back to Mumbai. Toronto continues to remain home for me. We no longer get to hang out together. We catch up on each other’s lives after weeks. She sends me food gram, I send her poetry gram. We have no dirty laundry between us but what we do have are oceans and borders that alienate us. That makes it infuriating difficult for me to fly to Mumbai to attend her wedding this summer, here is when I thought being a dual national came handy but clearly not. But oceans or no oceans we continue to be there for each other.


So, probably why when I watched Tasalli Se it felt like a warm hug on friendship. It felt like yes, we are finally talking about raw vulnerable male friendships. But also, about the distance that friendships fodder as we grow older what remains are just memories from a lifetime ago. From versions of us that no longer seem to exist or more like the versions of us that only come to life when we are with that person.


Truth is adulting and friendships are harder to balance. Probably why, I can no longer use the term best friend since I realised, we need friends for all seasons. Since not everybody was made to impart wisdom, or wax-poetic, or speak on politics and the depravity of society. Sometimes you just need the shallow exchanges or the ridiculous banter so you can allow your heart a moment of relief from all that heaviness that you carry within you.


So, if you made this far remind yourself to water friendships for all seasons if it all anything they will just make you humble and maybe crack a little more inside jokes. Lastly, a huge thank you to MultipleMadness who drew up this beautiful image submerging the cities that I seem to carry within myself. You my friend are bloody talented.


Love, light and healing your way.


Until next time,

Shanzay.




89 views
bottom of page