My Friend Vinny and I, go back, a very long way.
Back to the early nineties, when we were a pair of gawky, wanna-be copy-writers, in a rather run-down, small town ad agency.
We were fresh out of college, and, all set to conquer the advertising world.
We were, also, blissfully unaware, of the jungle that awaited our arrival.
Vinny and I should have been, at each other's throats, right from the word go.
After all, both of us were vying for the top dog's position, and, were, each other's only competition. Considering our youth, and, the raging hormones, it would have been quite natural for us, to want to outshine, and, oust, each other.
But, instead of the bloodbath, what ensued, was a warm, fun and genuine friendship, based on caring, trust, and, well, truth be told, stray instances of mutual envy.
Despite the occasional sulks, and, our efforts to bully each other, we shared much.
Confidences, gossip and lunches.
Fears, worries and insecurities.
Laughter, tears, and, even, our resources.
We worked together, for a few short months, before succumbing, to the calls of our souls, for greatness.
I moved away to the city, seeking fame and fortune.
While, Vin, always, the more sensible one, decided to pursue knowledge.
Sadly, those were the days, when snail-mail ruled the roost.
Computers, cell phones and emails were yet to become a way of life.
And, a girl had to work as hard, at staying friends, as she did, to achieve success, in every other aspect of life.
Gradually, the letters between us, dwindled.
And, one fine morning, I woke up to the realisation, that, we, had both, drifted far, far apart.
I am not entirely sure, if, I was dismayed.
For, I was, young, and, quite caught up, with my dream of making it big.
Even though, I did think of Vin, at times, and, wonder, how she was faring, it was with a vague sense of nostalgia, without a compelling need for action.
We, probably, would have continued, with our parallel lives, with no hopes of meeting.
If, it had not been, for the small town network...
I have often maintained, that a small town, is akin to a strait jacket.
Everyone knows everyone else.
Everyone watches everyone else.
And, one, cannot, as much as, swat a fly, without the town crier announcing it, on the 6'o' clock news, the very same day.
But, there are moments, when the small town redeems itself.
Through an old acquaintance, Vinny and I, found ourselves talking, once more.
First, on a social networking site.
And, then on MSN.
After, almost a decade, things had not changed very much.
Vinny was, still, pursuing knowledge.
I was, still, pursuing fame and fortune.
And, we were both, able, to pick up, from where we left off.
My friendship with Vinny, is, not very different from the ones, I have with my other girl-friends.
We share stories - about life, families, happiness, sorrows, fears and worries.
We giggle over the good old days...
Offer honest criticism...
Cheer each other on, when self-doubt strikes...
Try, bullying one other into submission, under the pretext of offering advice..
But, most importantly, we know, we are there for each other, come hell fire or high tide.
I have always deemed our friendship to be special.
For one simple reason.
That, unlike my associations with my other girl-friends, the bond, Vin and I share, was conceived, and, nurtured, in an environment of competition.
I believe, that, two women can achieve closeness, honesty, and, intimacy, in their association, if, and, only if, they are able to perceive one another as kindred souls.
As sisters under the skin, each, drawing on the other's strengths, and, bolstering their weaknesses.
A friendship, so formed,tends to embed itself, into the foundations of our lives, giving us the much needed moral courage, to cope with the curve balls life bowls at us, from time to time.
A competitive environment, in my experience, often, results in women viewing each other as threats.
And, therefore, treating each other with wariness.
Be it, at work or in the affairs of the heart.
Within a social structure, or, as an manifestation of one's insecurities.
Hinders honesty, trust and dependence.
And, it stunts the growth of a beautiful relationship.
Well, in most cases, at least.
My friendship with Vinny, has not made, a complete believer of me.
But, it most certainly, has, opened a window of possibilities.
Every time, Vin badgers me, to save my pennies, for a rainy day.
Or, proffers an extremely scholarly, but incredibly complicated, theory about work-place politics.
I cannot help, but smile.
And, bask, in the warmth of the sunlight, filtering through.
Long Live The Sisterhood!