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  • Abigail Mathias

Coz you're there for me too. 

Updated: Sep 26, 2019

It has been 25 long years since the first episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S was shot in the U.S. It may have taken much longer to hit Indian cable TV, but it surely made a strong impact on the many 20 somethings of my generation. A lasting impression was probably what brought so many hundred people of the UAE out to celebrate the sitcom on 22nd September 2019. The UAE as a very progressive and tourist-friendly country has many prominent landmarks. The Burj Khalifa is a landmark like no other. It is not only the tallest structure in the world. It also hosts a popular annual firework show. As I stood clutching my almost teen son's hand in an emotional attempt to savour the moment, when the F.R.I.E.N.D.S opening theme played, I realised that one thing is for sure. Time waits for no one. When we first moved to the UAE 15 years ago, the Burj Khalifa itself was being dreamed up. We played the sitcom on DVD and it made me feel less homesick. As a new bride in a new country, my friends back home were an e-mail or phone call away. Over tubs of London Dairy, (pralines and cream), I found Joey give me company when my husband was forced to work late and on weekends. It is that kind of show. The kind that gets you through jaundice or a terrible breakup. A close friend tells me he is so tired of watching the show even though he was a former fan because his wife never misses an episode even 20 plus years on. And then there are those larger than life characters, who probably will never manage to shrug off questions of a reunion. Their private and social lives forever scrutinised by fans from all over the world. I won't forget watching the show in the UK just before my wedding. Phoebe was getting married and I was super excited for the looniest one of the bunch. Today my 9-year-old begs me to watch the show. We reluctantly fast forward scenes not meant for her. But secretly relish the idea that it is the one thing that makes most drab weekdays more fun. We aren't like the coffee house frequenters on the telly but boy has our own life seem similar in so many years. I often find an urge to clean and host people like Monica. I am so grateful for the production team that put together a show that has somehow become the soundtrack of my own life. The chemistry that produced such a fabulous sitcom and made Joey, Monica, Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe heck Richard and Janice household names, is hard to forget, even 25 years on.

Oh, and Dhanyavad to Vikram, if he exists at all.

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