Enduring Friendship

Enduring Friendship

What might have started out as a simple trade - a drive around the Bays of Wellington - has certainly stood the test of time and turned into an enduring friendship. Bakhtawar and Dorothy have been taking their three-weekly drives out to Shelley Bay and the surrounding area for just over three years now, and they are still enjoying each other’s company.

Although they sometimes visit the shopping malls, Pataka Art Museum in Porirua or the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt; stopping off at a café for a drink and a bite to eat is always on the menu! And they find plenty to talk about what with their families, work and the activities they have been involved in during the intervening weeks. One very strong link in common is both having family overseas: Dorothy’s in Australia and Bakhtawar’s in Mumba, India. Bakhtawar has lived in New Zealand for 16 years now, but has recently been back to India to visit her family and carry out meditation in Rajasthan. Dorothy comments, ‘It is interesting to find out about different cultures and their customs.’   ut as a simple trade - a drive around the Bays of Wellington - has certainly stood the test of time and turned into an enduring friendship. Bakhtawar and Dorothy have been taking their three-weekly drives out to Shelley Bay and the surrounding area for just over three years now, and they are still enjoying each other’s company.

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Bakhtawar, who has a very busy and demanding job, has received sewing trades and had meals cooked for her fairly often. Dorothy also remembers a couple of times when she had the car cleaned, but Bakhtawar says that request doesn’t get a response very often! Dorothy enjoys exchanging her proof-reading skills; looking at CVs and sometimes checking Hannah’s writing after her trips to India.

And after 3 years getting to know one another what qualities do each appreciate in the other? Dorothy says Bakhtawar is kind, friendly and generous; she often wont take the petrol money offered. And Bakhtawar finds Dorothy easy to talk to and is interested in the things that she does, especially her community involvement and membership of the church in Newtown.  Dorothy, a Timebank member for 3 years, recommends the organisation as it has helped her get to know people.  She, along with her cat Samuella the second (a good mouse-catcher) have 2 other regular visitors from Timebank, providing her with much-valued company. As she has never owned a car she enjoys the drives which get her out of the house and, of course, the lovely companionship of Bakhtawar. Bakhtawar, also on her own, joined when it started and agrees that it has helped her to meet new and interesting people.

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Another interest in common is Chocolate Fish! The café, busy in summer and winter alike, is where we end up today and where Bakhtawar and Dorothy are well known by the café staff. It’s a firm favourite with Bakhtawar because it can be relied upon to serve up healthy veggie options. The rather impressive-looking Coconut Chia Pudding, which she tucks into with relish, is definitely a testament to that! Meanwhile, Dorothy has ordered a cheese-toastie, which I later discover comes with a free ‘chocolate fish.’ And so I get to find out about another Kiwi tradition. The popular fish-shaped confection, pink or white marshmallow covered with a thin layer of milk chocolate with ripples for scales, was commonly given to children for a job well done! Dorothy also tells me that it used to be ‘old-time New Zealand lolly!

As I leave these friends chatting about the bathroom and kitchen windows Dorothy is having replaced and hear Bakhtawar’s caring concern as she acknowledges the disruption that it will involve, I have to agree … what better to do on a sunny Saturday afternoon than take the scenic route around the Bays, with your friend.