‘If you were to ask me for one craving I have in this dreamy monsoon season it would be to meet a few real friends over tea. No agenda, no reason, just a happy bonding on a cloudy beautiful day. Is this even a reality today? In these times when most relationships come with so many agendas and props real bonds are very rare. But that impromptu ‘dropping in’ to each other’s homes (even with real bonds) is an even bigger rarity. The impromptu plans and meets that had a charm of their own are so precious and rare. That unplanned joie de vivre of many cups of tea and laughter for no reason?
In an age of internet friendships that are made and broken in a click, instant coffee, instant popcorn here we are seeking instant gratification in instant make and break friendships that come with benefits? The right address, the right car, the right surname, lots of favors with the friendship? Today many just tend to bumble and stumble into friendships without becoming comrades, without building bonds, whether there is a rapport or not we're just looking at agendas and favours. And what’s left in this new world of instancy we find ourselves in? That we have a gaping lacuna with hours of being lonely internet junkies. They say one of the greatest causes of depression today are these hours alone on the internet. Friendships, arguments and imminent break ups just happen in that blink of an eye that in the yesteryear took decades to achieve because they were made for all the wrong reasons.
Such are the by-products of instancy. So strong is the desire to be in a state of opportunistic friendships that love, warmth and true bonds are very scarce and so very precious. Opportunity glares brightly at the prospect of a 'friend' and at that moment all analysis and vision is blurred and all the warning signals of disaster are quashed and justified in the mind.
Social ‘mwah mwah’ dos that are so hankered after by many leave one often feeling empty and longing for real conversations and laughter. As transitory and superficial as the smiles & epithets of love & endearments. Something has gone askew in our priorities and perspectives that to me, if not addressed, would seem to threaten the very wellbeing and joy that we so seek in our pursuit of meaning in life. I also attribute the proliferating anxiety and stress in our times to the dearth of true friends.
A great source of real friendships are bonds made at school and college when you met people as equals and without the desire to extract something from your ‘friends’. I recently met some school friends after years, we had moved over time into such varying occupations.
Some had gone up in life and some were home makers. We'd change somewhat in appearance. A waif had developed girth and what looked like a faint moustache. But did any of these criteria rob any of the old bonhomie. Not a whit! It was as if time didn’t exist! We laughed and ragged each other with old barbs, and laughter ruled the roost as we held forth through a rambunctious lunch that prolonged into tea and an afternoon as carefree as I had in a long, long time. We lent support to unhappy tales, felt proud of achievements, wanted the tiniest of details of our lives and as I write I exult in the affirmation that the Dodo & friendship are not interchangeable words
Is the day around the corner when every ‘friend’ will be weighed in the scales of ‘use’ or worse, profit & loss? Even as I shudder at the thought & thank God for the friends I have and love, I tell myself to ‘think positive’ & behold, the mind gets a cheerful turn-about as I remember some warm and wonderful friends that have made life special. And yet a part of me craves those days of casual impromptu 'drop in's' and meetings with no reason and agenda.
— The writer is a columnist, designer and brand consultant. Mail her at nishajamvwal@ gmail.com