If I were...wanna make friendship....

Like many people in ‘visible’ professions, I get letters from strangers. Here is one received a couple of days ago in response to my column on the environment. How the contents prompted the following beats me. Of course, it could be someone trying to pull one on me…

I do not wish to demean the person in any manner. I just found it inspiring enough for me to figure out how different people might respond…

The letter

Hi Farzana,


I had read ur article in the Deccan Chronicle. I liked ur language and off course ur pic which was there. So got interested in u. I too am an intellectual person and would be interested in making friendship with a sweet lady like you.

So kindly let me know ur interest. By the way i am X years Muslim Male, fromY, India

Waiting for your reply.

Thanks and Allah Hafiz


The possible replies

If I were a government official

Dear Z:

I am in receipt of the blueprint of your proposal for extending hand of friendship. I will need to call a meeting, form a committee and present a feasibility report regarding co-ordination of intellectual level. After perusal of the same, similar interests, if any, will be communicated to you to which you shall revert back within a period of 7 days. Thank you for taking an interest and for liking the language and the pic thereof.

Yours sincerely,

Sd…This is a computerised note; no signature required.

If I were a committed Muslim


Bohat shukria, badee meherbani…only a Muslim can understand a Muslim’s pain. All Muslim languages are the same, all Muslims look the same, all Muslims are intellectual in a hadith way and all Muslims are sweet. We must be like brothers and sisters. I am glad you are interested in my jihad for friendship.

Allah aapko khush rakhe,

F bibi

If I were a rightwing Hindutva type

Mossie rat:

Keep your Allah to yourself. Typical behaviour getting excited about language. You even know how to read with all that madrassa training? You call yourself intellectual only because your buddies know how to make bombs? Don’t talk sweet-sweet. All you Mossies only know one sweet, which is some sevaiyan crap. Go stuff it in your bearded mouth.

Jai Sri Ram!

If I were young and very with-it in cyber terms

Hey Zuzu:

Dats like awesome. Sure sure wud luv friendship. I find intellectuals soooo exciting, maan. They can talk about nuttin. Rite now im wid dis bloke and like he is real kewl. But u sound like a dude. I will add you to my hi-fi friends list, k? den we can chat like for hrs. Wanna know sumting? U sound so damn fun & ur sweet also. Btw, am eatin choc chip cookies rite now. Mmmm…

C ya sooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

Ur fifi

If I were a feminist on a hot tin roof


This is an insult to the sistahood. First talk about your pic, then comment on mine. You want to make it seem like this is all I am. And you mention the language as an afterthought that you put first only to express a fake interest in my mind. We wimmin are not going to take it lying down and don’t you sweet-talk me. You cussed piece of stupidity.

F hyphen X

(Signed by 20 other sistahs)

If I were…ahem-ahem….me…

Hello Z:

While I do appreciate feedback, I prefer it remains within the realm of the subject. Besides, I do not see myself as an intellectual or sweet. What is an intellectual? How does your intellectualism and another’s mean the same? And sweet – are there not degrees of sweetness? What does it really mean? Is bitter the opposite or is it just an extension of a taste?

Thanks for writing in but I am afraid friendship is an indefinable term.




  1. Oh my goodness! *laughing*

  2. Sweeet???
    He called you sweet?

  3. Ana: Haan, haan, hans lo :)

    SM: Yes. Like bitter chocolate is still chocolate...

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.


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