Day 24: Friendship

Watching small children greet their friends is a joy. When my younger daughter and her very dear playmate spot each other in the park they rush to each other, delight writ large on their faces. Heartfelt compliments are exchanged spontaneously( Teri skirt toh badi achhi hai! Arre wah, new hair-band!) before they get down to business–playing imaginative games that involve a lot of jumping, running and hopping, at times taking a break to observe a butterfly or a dog. Occasionally the games culminate in a tearful fight, with both bawling parties hurling accusations at each other before going back home in a huff. All is forgotten the next day, though. If you cannot resist the sly temptation of reminding them of their altercation yesterday, they just smile sheepishly–and then get lost in their own special world of curious make-believe.

My older daughter, on the other hand, is at the stage when friendship begins to acquire a new form and meaning. There are nascent ego-clashes and an inclination to give any offending friend ‘silent treatment’ for a while. Forgiveness is no longer so easy to seek or grant. Peer-pressure is formidable. But children her age are also a lot more attached emotionally than before and express their affection through a wider array of thoughtful gestures. It is the beginning of the phase when friends begin to mean the world–the age of ‘golden friendships’, if you will! It is also the age when you learn to be more discerning in your choice of friends–to make a conscious effort to look out for your ‘type’.

Some of these pre-teens/early teens friendships will endure well into adulthood if given half a chance–well, almost. I am still very much in touch with two such friends despite not having met them in person for over a decade–though I suppose we are not quite as close as we once were. Physical distance has a way of dampening the fervour of most relationships–friendship is no exception. There is only so much you can communicate over the phone or through chatting over the internet.

By the time we’re adults, we have a fair understanding of just what we seek in a friendship and a more developed intuitive sense which tells you where you could get it. I find it fascinating how in any social set-up, we seem to gravitate instinctively towards ‘our’ type of people!! Some level of intellectual equality becomes more important than it was before. Most people also learn to be cautious and invest selectively in friendships.

Adult friendships are, of course, different. To begin with, there are time-constraints. There are a thousand things demanding your attention at any given time and naturally one is unable to really take the time to nurture a friendship the way one did/ could earlier. Also, moving on is a lot easier in case of a falling out or a drifting apart. Be that as it might, the essence of friendship remains the same–someone who you can really talk to, someone who is able to listen without judging, someone who shares at least a few of your interests, someone you enjoy being with just shooting the breeze– is a friend, no matter what your age.

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6 Responses to Day 24: Friendship

  1. chattywren says:

    Lovely post, I love the innocence and acceptance in friendship among children!And how completely it changes when we become adults. Golden friendships – like that phrase.

  2. The latest of these types of friendship is the “on line friendship”.

    I have made several on line friends. I have later actually met a few of them and the face to face meeting confirmed all the impressions that I had formed about them.

    Some of my on line friends know much more about me than many real life friends.

    Some day, I hope to go on a tour of India after alerting all my on line friends and request them to meet me at the Railway station or airport at least, if not welcome me at their houses for a chai and gupshup session. I am sure it will be fascinating. I have welcomed a few young blogger friends who came to meet me personally at my home in Bangalore.

    Several of these on line friends are female. Of all ages! Here is a fascinating type of friendship that raises no eyebrows. My age and perfectly ordinary looks are no handicap. On line folks, like me or dislike me based just on what I write and my opinions and thoughts and not how I look, or how important I am or how wealthy I am. It is a non intrusive friendship.

    I hope to enter into many more of these friendships as days go by.

    • Fem says:

      That’s a good comment, GV. I know during my time of conflict with my family, it was online friends who kept me cheerful and showed me I was not wrong. My RL friends were too much into the system to be of much support. This is not to say they have not supported me in several things, but with online friends, the scope of friendship is quite wide. There is no barrier of distance or time or travel.

    • I quite like your India tour idea. Your tour cannot not include Mumbai–I am sure you have loads of friends, online as well as real-life, here. You are most welcome to stay with us at our place in Mumbai 🙂

  3. Thanks Fem for responding. You are so right. There is no barrier of distance or time.

    Many of my on line friends are foreigners. I am a member of some yahoo groups devoted to my former profession before retirement (Structural engineering) and often, to break the monotony of technical discussions, we go off topic and discuss world politics/events , society, customs, or just about anything. I participated eagerly in those discussions, which lead to several foreigners writing to me privately, and exchanging mails with me. Some of them had visited India on business and though they had no work in Bangalore, they planned their journey via Bangalore just to meet me! It was a memorable day for me, when I hosted one such friend for a couple of days and I took him all over the city in my car.

    The power of the internet is amazing. During my boyhood, the nearest we came to such an experience was “pen friendship”.


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