Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Let’s be friends shall we?

Courtesy :avg.org.uk

I often hear people talk about their 2 AM friends. Friends they can call up at an unearthly hour and bawl their heart out. I never had one and would be very pissed off if someone decides to appoint herself as one. I am just too passionate about my sleep and let nothing come in between me and my trysts with dreamland. There’s no other place I’d rather be.

Neither do I have my girlie gang aka “Sex in the City”- friends who stuck with me like fevicol and saw me through my ups and downs. It’s not as if I’m not friendly. I smile a lot, scowl occasionally, hit off famously with people I like. But I do have a grave shortcoming – I am a phoneophobic. Rarely do I pick up the phone to have chatathons with friends. Five minutes into the conversation and my eyes glaze over. Despite my worst efforts, a few of my old pals have managed to hang on by sheer tenacity. And of course my newer bunch of offline/online buddies who pass through my life like a whiff of fresh air. Unfortunately newer relationships come with an expiry date, you make some and you lose some as you move on with life.

As a kid I displayed extreme bouts of friendliness. When I was barely four, a boy in the school’s busy corridor dared bang into me. Like the pint sized version of Hercules, I pulled the alarmed looking boy up by his collars, looked deep into his eyes and asked menacingly “Pataa hai main kaun hoon”? I have hazy memories of poking another boy in his eyes with a sharpened pencil - thankfully he survived and is now a middle aged gent living happily ever after. To make up for my misdeeds, I would often take my entire class to the Principals’ room during lunch time and demand a treat. It helped that the doting gentleman happened to be my dad. Within a year I was shunted off to another school and pulled up my act.

I spent the best years of my life in that school – bunked most of geography classes diligently and spent my phys-ed classes in the cloak-room (a sophisticated term for the loo) discussing world peace. I miraculously managed to be right in front a gigantic water pipe which burst accidentally and spent the rest of the day looking like a drenched puppy. I jumped walls and went gallivanting to the nearby market only to come back to school to catch the school bus (the DTC bus was too crowded).

My school buddies are the ones who saw me fumbling and fidgeting at the mike during the inter-house extempore. They are the ones who saw me through my worse fashion disasters – green eye liner with psychedelic pink nail paint, ill fitting red pants with white shoes which I thought looked oh so cool. In short they were the blessed ones who saw the best of the worst in me.

I spent the most trying years of my life in college – hated the subject, never felt so lonely. The vivacious girl went quiet suddenly. I started working, got married, made new friends and somewhere down the line completely lost touch with my school mates. It’s only after I left my job, I reconnected with my school group after a gap of over two decades. At the school reunion, my evening passed in a state of delirium switching between extreme happiness and acute embarrassment. I had managed to forget nearly all of my batchmates – gasping in a sea of unfamiliar faces with familiar smiles mouthing my patent line – Jeez, you do look familiar, what was your name again? My memory span of a sparrow let me down and how. But my smile never left my face, even when a guy I faintly recollected went up to the husband and announced proudly – Purba and I bunked all our classes together, boy did we have fun!

It’s been a year since I got back with my school friends. When we meet we let our hair down (whatever is remaining of it) and bond like we didn’t miss a beat, as if that chasm of over two decades didn’t exist at all. It is with friends from our growing up years that we let our carefully constructed defences down and accept them unconditionally with all their flaws.

Why is it as we grow older it gets more difficult for us to reach out? We think twice before calling a new acquaintance a friend. The person will always have the longest checklist to fulfil. Do we share the same wavelength? Does he have a sense of humour? Is Fountainhead her favourite piece of literature? Is she compassionate? What is it in for me? We take a million years to make up our minds and a few measly hours to get permanently put off. Why should friendships come with an expiry date? Shouldn’t we fight tooth and nail to keep them alive!

Somehow I feel social networking sites are making us unsocial. We are happy living in our cocoons – we seek solace in shopathons, spend endless hours on the net and read books on pop philosophy to soothe our aching souls. Rarely do we visit a friend until invited, call only when it’s absolutely necessary. And to make him feel special on his birthday, we scribble a hasty message on his FB wall.

Today I’m going to pick up that phone and call a friend. So what if it’s inane talk about the weather. Today I’ll smile at the guy at the gym, so what if he stinks and prefers wearing the tiniest of shorts.

Err or maybe some other day. He smells like a wet towel anyway and the phone call will have to wait. I have so much to do today....play my turns on lexulous, check my mails, finish that write-up, spend the mandatory hour on my blog and the Zara sale is on, damn!! Friends can wait, can’t they?


56 comments:

  1. Such a heart warming read that was. :)

    I have a bunch of friends, and we stick together through thick and thin. I'm just grateful I have them.

    Now as far as FB goes, I have a theory, that - FB is a mode of communication for the people you want to stay in touch with but don't want to call everyday. The close friends, we always call and meet often. :)

    I don't see the harm. :)

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  2. Very well written! I like it how your posts are so vivid that one can actually paint a picture in their heads :)

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  3. lol! would have loved to be in school with you!!
    great post!
    at least through social networking we have a window of opportunity open to reconnect!

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  4. Nice post. Ok....I am trying to imagine you climbing the walls.
    Thats the reason I hate FB. The people I like...I have their numbers and I call and message. The rest...who cares.
    :)
    P.S. I too never had any group. More of a Lone Wolf :P New people come, old go or rather fade away....but the people you like remain.

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  5. lovely post :
    friends emerge in real time and real world.Ours is shrinking day by day.
    The dilemma of our unsocial times ...

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  6. I live in the constant fear tht over use of fones will cause me epilepsy...but yea, if you want to cultivate friend there is no option but to talk
    the social networking sites r too casual..but sending out letters are also a gr8 option(not e-mail!)

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  7. riyanka...It's through FB, I reconnected with my school friends and keep in touch with friends and family scattered all over the world.

    But my point is commenting on pics, putting up status messages and clicking on the like button doesn't count as a social interaction. We fool ourselves in to believing that this is the real thing.

    dementedbrilliances ...I"ll take it as a compliment, thank you.

    magiceye...And I have connected with scores of people I wouldn't have known otherwise.

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  8. Prats... The lone wolf? Like the description. But I prefer being with my pack.

    Varsha...I miss my childhood days when we used to go out nearly every evening to visit friends. DD made sure we stayed miles away from the television.

    Jon...Can't remember the last time I wrote a letter - does a resignation letter count as one?

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  9. Nostalgic post.
    Thanks to FB we are loosing real friends to virtual ones...Its best to strike a balance.
    Nothing can beat a heart to heart with close friends, no not on the phone. In person that is.

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  10. Hi Wow now that my type of article , I strongly believe in friendship. and the best line i liked was " Why should friendships come with an expiry date? Shouldn’t we fight tooth and nail to keep them alive! "

    YEs we shud and i strongly beleive in that, i have hardly broken off with my school time friends , recently via fb and other I met my long lost friends of class 4th and 5th and rmemebering the times was heaven..

    I do meet up with all my mates when i go back to india, and they usually tell me that i shud come more often as it gives an excuse to all of them also to get together..

    yes i dont beleive in social netwroking hardly use any ..
    I wrote a similar article and i do follow it too, yes at least once a week i call a friends and we talk for ages its amazing what we talk when the flow starts from chasing the girls, running into problems and all the funs ..

    Thankfully NO girl caught me by the collar and said PATA hai main kaun hoon :) he he he

    I was outstanding boy, always stadning OUT of the class :)
    school was a bit sad for me got bullied a lot, but colelge was where i came alive, we ruled best days of my life college and uni.. Hardly attended a class for 5 years ...

    and this year i plan to go to my school re union of 10th class and meet the old gang

    what all we did in those days and I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU oh my god I think the same way Now its so difficult to make friends we have a huge check list and then it was aajaaa hum dost hain with anyone ...

    yeh dosti hum nahin todenge , todenge dum magar tera saath na chodenge he hehehee

    oh my i can go on and on and on writing about friends. :)

    I really loved this article and Friendship is very pure..

    and y wud u smile at a guy in gym wahan doosri girls bhi hongi hain.. :)
    he he hehe
    and yeah good friends can wait for sure ...

    Bikram's

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  11. Gosh! Jesus you’re dangerous when it comes to boys.
    Fashion disaster – green eye liner with psychedelic pink nail paint, ill-fitting red pants with white shoes, I can imagine and here comes the condolences.
    You reminded me of my school days, academically not the best, high on insanity. I never feel like connecting to my classmates they were always insignificant to me except four who are now scattered all over India, thank you engineering, you screwed the bonds. We don’t talk much and haven’t seen each other for almost three years now. 1 AM calls are the only possible way to connect out of hectic schedule.
    You introduced me to after college scenario, when all I’ll left with memories to cherish. Thanks for putting up this post.
    :)

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  12. ''pata hai mani kaun hoon??''...haha..

    Climbing the walls!! brave!

    I am a phoneophobic too..same pinch.

    Needless to say, a good post as always.

    Have a good day purba.

    Cheers
    Always Happy

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  13. Alka...Yupp, only with friends you can reminiscence about old times, throw your head back and laugh...

    Bikram...This write-up really made you nostalgic naa? You almost wrote a post and did I love reading it.

    You need your circle of friends with who you can be just you - not a mother, not a wife, not some busy executive.

    That's a beautiful gesture-calling up friends and yakking away to glory.
    When I meet up with my friends, the glow stays on for days :)

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  14. Prateek...Like I said, it might take years before you guys finally catch-up but when you do it will memorable.

    Always happy...I cringe when I think of those days. I was such a brat.

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  15. Lets go back to school… so what if it meant studying, it was also about hanging out at the canteen and pooling in the precious one rupee coins to buy one samosa divided by four!

    PS: I remember slapping a bully in class VIII which made me a hero of sorts in my class,me no timid girl ;)

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  16. Pals don't even get me started. Even before the bell could ring, we would start racing to the school canteen. We used literally drench our bread pakora with the imli chutney and the idli sambar was heavenly.
    Damn, I will spend the entire evening salivating.

    LOL I can so imagine you beating the daylights out of the school bully.

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  17. Hahahaha...as usual you talk serious while making us laugh :)

    I can not really relate to the life you lived, but it seems wonderful to me :) And it makes for such an amazing story too!

    I am not on social networking site, and maybe that's why people have forgotten me. Hardly any Birthday wishes, or out-of-the-blue phone call, or meeting old friends/ acquaintances. I think there are some serious advantages as well as disadvantages of this phenomena...but this is how the world in the future would end up being!

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  18. True, the old ones are the tested ones and would stand along with us in ups and downs. But then, they were new too, some time ago. Maybe this calls in for a leap of faith.


    What was the whole post, and then what was the last line? Irony, perhaps. :P

    Nice read.

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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  19. I could 'totally' relate to all that you've said. Some claim to have the 2 am friends (3 am, as I heard one say!). I mean, really? Why do people have to even show off? As if making cliques or walking in gangs is 'proof' of great friendship!

    And it's remarkable, the fact you brought out: when we are kids, we don't think so much about making a friend. Later on in life, he/she has to pass an algorithm of parameters to make the cut! Sigh. Simpler times were better. And yet, things change.

    Glad you caught up with your schoolmates. Hardly years out of school, and most of us have drifted apart. Can't imagine a reunion 20 years later and all! Would anyone turn up?

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  20. The true beauty of friendship if that they can wait. and they never fret even if does not keep the contacts regularly.

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  21. Wonderful post Purba! Loved it.

    I was having a similar discussion with one of my... friends. :-)

    Glad to see my same thoughts being echoed here too!

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  22. With school friends it is always like revisiting our old self, the self that always saw us cheery and bright, and yet we are so insecure to visit that phase when we travel ahead in future... damn!

    Awesome post ! Could relate to every word written !

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  23. Hi Purba,
    Oh what post. .hanste haste pet dard ho gaya. ..
    Hmm...this post reminded me of the school days..when. ..we used to cross the line of madness..
    But I always used to escape from punishment via my facial expression...

    those were some of the glorious days of childhood.
    over phone I can talk for hours.... and sometime not for 10 mins.
    ..I. will definetly write over it sometime.

    thanks for sharing and refreshing..the memories.

    take care
    ks.

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  24. your post reminded me of those childhood days i spent in my hometown river rafting at imphalriver with my four close bum chums on sunny summer breaks with rafts made of cut banana trees.was fun.we all have this special days spend in fun and nothing to worry about.thinking about it life was also far less competetive and getting 60%was also good enough to join a college.

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  25. well written. firstly, you made me sulk with the last para.. and i know now why. i miss the physical interactions and the laughter. yes fb connected me with old friends but i think at the end its not about quantity but quality. life has changed forever, hell i used to spend hours and days roaming in jungles! a life i miss and i know my son would never see.

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  26. Haha...Purba, that was one nice thought-provoker..believe me, if someone told me'please give up ur cell phone', I'd do it happily- in the nineties, we did survive without it, right?So why is it a must today?
    -----
    Social networking sites-well, they're not bad, really...I'd prefer to update and chit-chat via them, then meet friends whose topics of discussions are all materialistic, from the value of gold to the new car to other extravaganzas...YAWWNNNNNN...I go, in 5 mins.:)
    ---
    The few people who I get along with, like wildfire--are bloggers(when we have a DBM) and writers..the rare few I've met.

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  27. And the moral of the story is...

    Btw, when is the next party :))

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  28. Hello new friend. I hope to see you when I come to Delhi. Though I have to say.. even today I am able to befriend someone at the drop of a hat and rarely do people see that & reciprocate. Most people think I am too persistent or too enthu for my good. Maybe I should be more careful and have a checklist. Maybe I should build a wall and not walk with my heart on my sleeves. I love reading your posts.

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  29. Down memory lane! None of my friendships expires... rest assured :-)

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  30. "New Friends I cherish And Treasure Their Worth,
    Old Friends To Me Are The Salt To The Earth.."
    I didn't make it up.But that's true.As we grow older..err..wiser we build those invisible walls around us.

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  31. Harish...Exactly someone who accepts you unconditionally.

    Vijitha...We all have similar needs, expectations.

    Enchanta...Like I said never let go of them, hang on tight.

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  32. Siddhartha... From what I've read from your posts, you prefer your own company, the nomad in search of experiences.
    The future of relationships as Paulo Coelho put very eloquently...will be as simple as Friend-Unfriend-Block.

    Blasphemous Aesthete ...I was being sarcastic at my expense :)

    Vinitha...Believe me they will, in droves. It's only when you grow up you realize the value of such relationships.

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  33. Vivek...Looking forward to reading your thoughts.

    RK...Sounds idyllic.

    Mayank..Like I was discussing with someone, during my kiddie days, we would go out nearly every evening, visit friends, go for picnics, have these musical soirees....Life was so different back then.
    And now I have started sounding like my Mum :P

    Amit...Social Networking sites are not bad. I happen to be addicted to FB. But they have changed our lives irrevocably.

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  34. Amit Banga...This sounds like a story to you?? Waah.
    And exactly, when is the next party?

    Curry Spice...I have been waiting and waiting. Btw the Art Summit is this week.
    And please don't change a thing about you. The world needs people like you.

    Giribala...Impressed!

    Blue Lotus..Meaningful relationships keep us alive.

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  35. "Really what keeps us apart
    at the end of years
    is unshared childhood...."
    -Ramanujan

    Hilarious,yet profound. As we grow older, the innocence and selflessness in us are replaced by emotions of darker hues.

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  36. Huh- uh ...not even love letter?!...you can try that one may be for the better half... surprise him!

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  37. That was a beautiful post! :) Maybe it can be your New Year's resolution to call up one friend every week and re-connect with them! ;)

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  38. The reason I am commenting so late is that my friend was here and we had a wonderful three days together -- not a school friend, but the mother of Vinni's school friend :) We yakked non-stop all our waking hours.

    I agree that we need real time friends not that the virtual ones whom we really vibe with are any less important.

    btw, which school was this, where you scaled the walls and all ;)

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  39. umashankar...Hmm... we become cynical with age and experience.

    Jon...LOL, please don't give HIM ideas

    Carpe Diem...Now that you've suggested it, it's actually a very good idea.

    Zephyr...Aww you must have had such a good time.
    My daughter happens to go to the same school. Made sure she didn't read about her Mum's escapades.

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  40. Hi Purba,
    Loved reading this.
    Quite a sign of changing times - we prefer virtual to the real.
    Hey, Social Networking and Blogging have their plus points too.
    Yes, but nothing like a good old getogether.
    Keep Musing
    Vikram

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  41. Lovely post Purba!
    Interesting and thoughtful read. Reminds me of all those mischevious deeds I was a part of, with friends, which I still keep blogging.

    Quite true, FB is no good when it comes to friendship and can't in any way vie with that personal, albeit occasional, phonecall. (Personally I feel FB is all about positioning oneself. No good for fostering friendships)

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  42. Vikram Karve...Absolutely, nothings beats the comfort of being with people you love.

    Victor... The pranks we played with our bunch of friends...makes me all mushy thinking about it.

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  43. Thanks!
    Would connect with some today. Now that it has evoked in me.
    And yes am in my cocoon nowadays. Its difficult very difficult to get out and yet would give it a try!

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  44. hey purba,
    people keep telling me I need to work on my long-distance socializing skills: i constantly forget to call/text beloved friends, impatient when I am chatting online and whatnot, mot because I don't care or don't like the conversations,but i guess because life intervenes- even when I am doing absolutely nothing.

    I loved your post.
    I think I would smile at the guy at the gym too(hoping he wears the better shorts today!).=)

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  45. You are not an exception but for sure i am not in that list either.. I talk to a few at night, some time for hours and hours together.. the longest I have had spoken to anyone will be 4 hours.. and i have been on video calls for hours more than four.. as if i dont have anything else to do.. its fun for me and as i connect with people..

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  46. i will more eager that when is next party.......

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  47. I could totally relate to ur story. I have never had childhood friends, thanks to my dad's transferable job! And watching people go around in girl gangs and painting the town red makes me feel like a stranger in the world!

    Liked ur thought process :)

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  48. Hehe..similar problems here :) Once some1 goes away from my daily life, he's gone forever and its good that way!

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  49. Mepretentious...Isolating yourself is fine for a while, but you do need your loved ones.

    Amropali...LOL and pray that he smells better.

    Hemal...Four hours? Are you in the Limca Book records? But I'm glad that you are able to.

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  50. Callezee...Me too...Where's the party tonight!

    S...Aww..I always abide by this philosophy...Friendly with many but close to a select few.

    Ana...I think the fault lies with us. We don't try to reach out. We are happy being busy.

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  51. true,every word.great point put up. my view is that there are different phases in life.like hemal is in teens,so enjoying talking for hours. another phase is old age when you will want to talk and grab on any Langoor, to blabber but in vain. middle age is busy and busy,saving time on every nook.

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  52. Enjoyed reading it Purba !!
    Friends are special and classmates are even more so....and even i do not understand this concept of 2 AM friends :)

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  53. Pramod...True, too busy is being busy. And then we wake up and realize something is missing.

    sangeeta...Join the club :P

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  54. Newly transformed Lioness, welcome to the jungle! Trying to vote for you and its taking years..but let me tell you- votes or no vote..you are the winner..simply loved your post...

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  55. It is so refreshing to read what you write! May be, because my views on many aspects concur with yours and .I am unable to express them as beautifully as you do! You should write a book someday.....or may be if I am unaware, you already may have one in progress :)

    A very good post, once again :)

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