Wednesday, August 12, 2015

thirty seven banana peels #19: friends

During most of my school and college, I’ve had friends. Ok duh!

My consolidated experience of having a “best” friend was in the eighth grade. Me and him were inseparable. Yes, my crush was also my good friend but he was my best friend. This was when I was technically a teenager as well. So without knowing I invested so much of my time, emotion and my sense of belonging on that friendship.

We were together in school and away from school we were on the phone. I still remember his six digit phone number. That time, when I started eighth grade, there was no pulse for calls. That is, if you spoke for one hour or two, you paid for one call! Those old days! Suddenly in the middle, they brought in pulse. And I got an earful from my parents at the end of that month.

Somewhere in the end of the year, I had a feeling I was being manipulated by him. But I tolerated it for a long time. In the end, I couldn’t take it and I confronted him. The rift split us apart. We became bitter and went out of talking terms. It broke me emotionally and it took quite some time to recover. Our friendship never recovered.

We did try to patch up things once or twice. But I was the more adamant one. He later moved to another state. He tried to maintain contact, but I went out of my way to avoid him. Nowadays, we are good acquaintances [if that is even an expression!]. A memory of that friendship is still there, but that emotion and bonding has gone.

In college, we were a gang of four. We walked from college to the nearby bus stop daily. This was about 2 kilometers. At the end of the walk, we always had a juice and then boarded the bus to the railway station. Then we traveled 40 minutes to our respective stops. So we chatted endlessly. Cricket, academics, movies and girls [or the lack of them in our lives] were frequently discussed. During weekends, we hung out at each other’s homes and played cricket. We went to movies together. We were this way till end of college. Then time slowly took us apart. We had our fights and patches but essentially our friendship has stayed on. Nowadays we just maintain occasional contact, but we remain good friends.

I now have no best friends. But a few close friends. I often wonder how to qualify someone as a ‘close’ friend. It can either be how close I feel towards them. Or how close they feel towards me. In the end, I think the definition that makes sense for me is how much someone is willing to trust me is a measure of how close they are to me. I consider them a ‘close friend’. Of course, none of this is verbalized, which makes it subjective and beautiful at the same time.

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