Many years back, a wise man told me:
“Few of your friends would stay close to your heart for all eternity. Be extremely careful in choosing him if you want to be his real friend, because once you are in, you should be able to share his ideas n life without a second thought to who/what or why he is, what he did or does.. “
Thats a time I usually confused my acquaintances with friends. I was not knowing what specifically defines friendship or what choice I ever had in it. When did the last time I exactly choose someone to be my friend? Is he my friend if I had spent half my years with him? What if he turns out to be an asshole? Can we actually accept someone without those second thoughts? .. so many questions, alas! as usual there is no one to answer..
Those all who had just passed the ‘time’ with me, slowly faded into oblivion. Together with whom I spent some boat loads of ‘money’, are no longer seen.. It didn’t matter whether I was rich or poor, but neither a relation nor a friend has ever stayed back if it was not built on certain something.. a certain something that defied all logic and material flavors. It was NOT time, money, college or lineage for sure, but I didn’t exactly know how I had that bunch of souls so close to my heart and I continued to puzzle over this nagging stream of thought for many years, though was silently taking my own notes to answer the eternal question: “What is friendship?“
Then I sat down one day and decided to study my own life to come up with a proof or disproof of what that wise man told me. To reverse-engineer the answer objectively. I reread my old diaries. I recollected my oldest memories. I rang up the most unusual numbers in my phone for endless discussions. I relived all my secrets once again and remembered all those who could be knowing them and those who could’ve disclosed (badly)… and what not! Then, I compiled all the information that can help me answer the question and tried to practically derive a list of people whom I can call ‘friends’. I tried hard to be neutral to each one of them and to myself. The big exercise was ON:
I started with my favorite thumb rule first.. ’the rule of elimination’:
he is NOT my friend, who couldn’t respect my choice;
he is NOT my friend, whose decisions are based on my age, color, creed or ethnicity;
he is NOT my friend, just because his friend is my friend;
he is NOT my friend, who cannot forgive;
and a little philosophy too teased me here:
he IS my friend, but I am not guaranteed to be his friend at the same time;
he IS my friend, but he can still have some secrets of his own;
he IS my friend, but he can have his own life and choices;
At this point, I had some clarity… I plodded further with determination… I ruled out all assumptions about character and ego… I gave out brownie points generously… I scrutinized human behavior with humility… This went on for many weeks. Its still going on. It never ends, I know.
To this day, a million people touched upon me when only a few – yes – stayed put and the rest walked away. So when I look back now, I was a normal man all the way, nothing really great about me, but I am so proud of those few, who stayed in spite of all that is ‘me’.. all that is normal or abnormal… all that is cynical or positive.. or whatever. They make me happy even when we don’t see each other in years.. even when we don’t speak to each other for a long time. They push me for better every minute, every day.
And every time I thought I don’t have to be cautious in making friends, unfortunately, some buddy would prove me wrong. I laugh at myself, I laugh at my occasional pain … and I move on. I won’t lose hope you know and keep building my list. I hesitate but I keep making new friends.
and I proudly shout it aloud: “Friendship is Divine”. Because its my friends who made me what I am today. I was impossible sometime back.
Thanks for reading to the end, my friend!