There was a time when friendship meant the world to me. That was way back in school and college when friendship was a special commitment. Education and family were but a means to the end. The company of friends, the joys and conflicts of friendship were all that mattered then. Everything else faded into oblivion. Nothing could beat such a relationship and it was to last forever or so, we all believed.
What came so naturally then, I wonder about now. What made me decide that I could make friends with one particular person while I stayed away from someone else? How did minds and hearts bond together without the pressures of caste, colour, creed and status? What made us gel? I don’t know. Maybe, similar interests made me inclined to make friends with somebody. Later maybe, the trial and error process took over like in any other relationship. Today, I am married, freelance working mother busy with the process of living. I have friends today too but miss the wonderful feeling I felt ages ago. It is possible that age and maturity dwindles the extent of enthusiasm. Maybe, my expectations of friendships now are too high than they were earlier. Maybe, my life is just too hectic to ponder on friends and friendship. I know that justifying comes easy. All the same, I wish life was not so complicated making the process of friendship more a planned venture confined to the boundaries of time and circumstance instead of a spontaneous overflow of emotion straight from the heart.
I remember my first best friend when I had just joined school. He was a little boy who was studying in my class and lived on the same street as I did. Climbing trees, running races and also whacking each other seemed part of our regular schedule. I even remember being slapped at home by father for beating my friend one day! I remember this because my father taped my voice apologizing for this ‘naughty’ deed! Sadly, I no longer possess this tape, which was lost during one of my father’s professional transfers. Later, I made some new friendships in the beautiful disciplined interiors of the convent I studied in. I remember losing one such friend as she failed to move on to the next class, the 4th standard to be precise. No amount of persuasion from my side to continue our friendship could change my friend’s depressed mind. I still remember feeling very hurt every time she looked away when I tried smiling at her. My little 9 year old mind failed to understand as to why she should spurn our friendship only because she was a class behind me.
Circumstance also seems to play a villainous role in making some of us lose very good friends. Misunderstandings come in plenty between friends and have broken many a happy friendship. And forgiving becomes such a difficult task to do! Losing a friend after sharing so many things together becomes quite heart breaking. Fortunate are those blessed with a friendship that lasts a lifetime. Today, when I ponder about those friendships, which appeared so unforgivable then, I can only smile in amusement. Way back, even a careless act of indifference was all that was needed to let eyes moisten. I am sure however, that many of us have beautiful memories of our old friendships, of times when our minds were too innocent to indulge in shrewd strategy.
What was it in those little games of running and catching, hide and seek, I wonder? What was it in those endless chatting over phone? What was it that held us friends together like glue? What was it that made us rush to defend our friends when someone spoke badly about them? Remember the hours we spent just to get the right card/gift for our dearest friends? That was when email and e-cards did not exist. The delights of friendship are many. Our friends are family after our parents and siblings. Friendships influence our ideas and our thoughts. Why! I even believe that some of our friendships are simply carried over from our previous births. That is why we do not know why we like someone tremendously at times and dislike somebody else without reason.
Today, I remember my past friendships with nostalgia as I recollect the joy of a beautiful past. Time alone makes us realize the real value of a friendship, which may have been taken for granted otherwise. Work and marriage sometimes takes us far away from carefully treasured friendships.
“Where is the time?” one long lost friend replies to my query when I meet her by chance in a supermarket.
“I am so busy taking care of home and work that I am too fagged out to call friends,” says another friend.
When I ring up a college friend after about five years, and ask her whom she has been in touch with she replies amazed, “Keep in touch with college friends? Have you gone nuts? When twenty four hours don’t suffice for my schedule everyday how can I keep in touch?”
Just a few years back, when I was visiting my mother during my son’s summer vacation I climbed up the attic and dived deep into the recesses of my past. Little souvenirs traced times back. My autograph books penned by my classmates, teachers and lecturers, innumerable cards given lovingly by affectionate friends brought back an aroma of a life filled with little joys and conflicts. I miss my past! I miss my friendships! I miss the wonderful times that could have converted themselves into a wonderful present but for the rude interruption of circumstance and time.
Thankfully, some of my old friends still linger in my present and we pick up the strands from where we left when met last. Friendships are never too late to make. That is what is so wonderful about such relationships. Anytime, anywhere a friendship can be formed for life. Only a friend can make one’s day brighter! That’s a fact that I am sure all of you will vouch for. A friend can make a hell of a difference to your life! So today, I hope to take some steps back into my past, using technology as a friend to find out what old friends are doing. Maybe, then, some aroma of beautiful unconditional friendships will bring fragrance to my busy present.