Sunday, February 12, 2006

Friends and Friendships

I had a very interesting conversation with a friend that day. This friends of mine... ( I don't think is it necessary or relevant to reveal her identity here, lets call her P )... has been one of my closest friends since past 3 years. She knows me pretty well (and I can say same about her), and we often have healthy discussions about various things.

P: " You don't call me often these days"

I: "So?"

P: "And you don't call your other old friends either"

I: "So?"

P: "You will loose your friends and dear ones if you don't call them once in a while"

I: "I don't think so. For me, a friend is always a friend, and I will always care for my friends. I don't need to call them every week to prove that they are still my buddies".

P: "Yes, but you have to show that you care for them. You need to make an effort to know if they are doing alright, whats new in their life, etc."

I: "I don't think so. What makes you think that I will loose my friends if I don't get in touch with them regularly?"

P: "That's how the world works. If you don't get in touch with people, they feel that you don't care about them anymore"

I: "Whatever!!. I anyways don't follow the rules that the world sets for people."

And we agreed to disagree at this point.

But this conversation made me think about my friends, and the concept of friendship in general.

First of all, I don't think one needs to catch up on friends every now and then just to prove that the friendship still exists. I don't think it works for me: firstly because I don't think friendship works that way, and secondly, its not possible to be in touch with all old friends. And I am not very talkative person as such, who would go on and on in an animated conversation.

We all make friends all the time, at different stages of life, at different places, and for different reasons. We have nice time with them, have loads of fun, and then things move on. Often it is not possible to maintain the same level of interaction-communication-understanding with your old pals, because you relocate, your interests change, you meet new people, your priorities change... whatever may be the reason, but you cant maintain same level of 'closeness' with same set of people all the time. It cant survive every transition of life.

I had school and colony friends with whom I spent good 10 years; then I had new friends in VESIT and we rocked for 4 years; then a few more friends when I was working in Johnson Controls; then lots of new friends from Clemson days; and now a gang in Cleveland. Very unfortunately, I was the lone traveler thru this journey (I really feel I am a bit unlucky in this matter. I always had to start from scratch. Everywhere I went, I didn't know anyone, had no group to start off, its a painful process every time you are left on a lonely island) . There was not a single friend of mine who was with me thru these 'phases' of my life.

It is not possible to be in touch with everyone you've met in past on a regular basis. If I were to do that, I would be spending my weekend on phone catching up with people, which I dont think is the nicest idea. Besides, there are so many other ways to keep yourself updated with your old pals: there is Orkut, there are Yahoo-groups, and there is Gmail.

Yes, I have been bit lazy and laid-back when it comes to calling people- even my close friends and ones who will always be my special dear ones (partly, the blame goes to my Grand Canyon and Death Valley trip as well. My mobile was switched off for almost 2 weeks during that trip, I was completely detached from my routine world, and it felt so nice at that moment. I was so peaceful and content with being away from hustle-bustle... never felt like using my mobile ever since I returned from that trip. Most of the time, its either switched off, or is in silent mode. anyways...), but I am in touch with them thru Orkut, and emails. I occasionally read their blogs, send an email or so... Is there still a need to do anything more than that??

I really cling on my friends and cherish their friendship. I guess most of my friends who know me well know that. I hope they know that they will always be my friends and dear ones.

But one cant get everything in life. I sometimes feel helplessly morbid to digest the fact that I am no more in touch with same people with whom I have spent almost every day together for 10 years. We were in same class; we used to play cricket together; we used to spend our summer vacations playing cards, carrom, hide-n-sick; we live a block away from each other... but I don't know anymore what those people are up to. I cant help it... things changed after school... our interests changed; our friend-circle changed; our hobbies changed; our philosophy changed. It part of life. Change is inevitable. And not everyone survives thru changes. Its the fact of life.

I am not in touch with some of my engineering friends... we had a very good hiking group in my VESIT days, and we have done zillions of hikes, and rock climbing, and rappelling together.. .have spend some unforgettable moments; have experienced the sheer beauty and mystery of nature... There were so many instances where it was impossible to climb a peak without help of, and absolute confidence in these friends...

Almost same thing is happening with my Clemson buddies... work-load, career, personal life, stress, circumstances, ego.. whatever may be the reason, but I am not able to catch up with them as often as I would like to. I thought I knew a few people pretty well in those days. Some others had very interesting personalities, and it was very tempting to know more about them... But as days passed by, it was not possible.

But that doesn't mean that I don't care about them. Friends are friends... how can the friendship change?... At least for me, my friends will always be my friends, no matter what !!. If we happen to meet one fine day, I am sure we will have nice time catching up, and everything will be same as usual.

Someone has rightly put it in these words: "True friends are ones who survive the transitions in life". I would add a few words to it, and say that "True friends are ones who understand the meaning of friendship, and friends".

So P, got the point?

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