“Aunty is 70 & I’m 25 and guess what? She’s my best friend!”

“How often does it happen that a stranger you share a bench with becomes your best friend? I know what you’re wondering, ‘Is she talking about the lady with her?’ Yes, Bharti aunty is 70 & I’m 25, she’s my best friend!

We’d seen each other around, but never spoke until the day aunty came up to me & asked, ‘May I sit?’ I smiled & said ‘Yes’. We introduced ourselves, but every 5 mins she’d ask, ‘Greshma?’ ‘Garima?’ I tried correcting her, but then I just responded to all her versions of my name.

After talking about the weather, she asked me about my work. She listened with attention. Then, she spoke about her husband, kids, & grandkids. The conversation then transcended into talks about spirituality & the newer generation’s outlook on relationships. How the dusk turned into night, we didn’t realize. We just… clicked.

Afterwards, we began meeting regularly; that bench became our adda. Every evening, over a cup of chai, we’d talk about life. Aunty always says 1 thing to me, ‘Zindagi hai, isse jiyo; bas kaam mein mat lage raho.’

Soon, we began visiting each other's houses. Once when I was at her place for lunch, we read a book together. Since then, we’ve read 10 books together! We introduced each other to different movies- I made her watch Badhai Ho & she made me fall in love with Kabhi Kabhi. She often falls asleep within the first 15 minutes & then wakes up to apologize & say, ‘Umar ho rahi hai!’ I laugh it off.

A few months later, we started going for long drives! And even though aunty is 70, she has more zeal than most of the ‘young’ people I know. Once, she said, ‘Let's go on a road trip.’ We went to the outskirts of Porbandar! On the drive, I introduced her to AR Rahman & discussed ‘boy’ problems with her. Once there, we sat on a khatiya near the khet, star gazed & listened to Mohammed Rafi’s songs.

Our friendship surprises people. I get asked, ‘What do you even talk to her about?’ It makes me wonder, when did friendships get age restricted? Bharti aunty is my 2nd mom, my confidant, & my best friend!

It’s been 2 years since we met. Meeting Bharti aunty has made me realize that sometimes even friendships walk into your life unannounced.”

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