Sunday, October 03, 2010

Where have all the good friends gone??

I have lived a very nomadic life, constantly moving.
My father had a transferable job and consequently we traveled in my younger days. Born in the misty hills of Nilgiris, I completed my schooling in Maharashtra changing school twice at Chandrapur and Bhandara and then college at Nagpur. I worked in Bangalore, before marrying a sailor from Calicut, where I currently reside with a distinct possibility of another relocation looming ahead in the near future. All this traveling has exposed me to all kind of cultures. But one of the things that has suffered is friendship.
You might ask why distance should come in between friendships. The distance couldn’t sustain the friendships that I began and they broke away like logs of a tree drifting away on the river waters.
When I moved schools, I wrote for some time to couple of my friends before succumbing to laziness and finally stopping. Then when I went to college I was in touch with couple of my closer friends at school. At college I sort of discovered my letter writing skills and I and my cousin used to exchange regular correspondence. By that time the internet had entered our lives and I had learnt to type emails. So I stayed in touch with my college friends when we parted after college via emails. But I haven’t been regular and when my friends moved on to different lives in far away places we wrote less personal mails and sent more forwards and group emails. Many email ids and jobs later, time had replaced my circle of friends with new faces, mostly from the work place.
It’s been a case of out of sight, out of mind.
Like kites that I flew, friends circled in the sky with in reach before cutting loose as winds took them far away.
Now thanks to networking sites I have got back in touch with most of them. But everyone has changed so much I can barely recognize them. It’s like they were frozen in my memory when we last met and they remained like that. And now when after years and spaces between us I meet them again, they look different. We don’t even talk the same language. Hindi was the colloquial language of choice and now we type English and on rare occasions call and talk in English. I can barely recognize their voices as I recollect them from my past memories. For all practical purposes, we are strangers, even though we were very close before. Strangely there are also friends I barely spoke to before and now across the distance I seem to better relate to them.
This distance…the four dimensions of it... space and time… is like a winnow that has rattled my relationships and tossed them around.


Balachandran V said...

It was a great piece, K!

You might remember my post on reunion with friends I studied with, 45 years ago? Except for a couple, i was seeing them after such a long time! Yet, there was so much of love and warmth amongst us!

I too had been uprooted so many times during my life. Just as I would be building up a relation, lo! there we go some place else!

Do not think of it as a gender bias, but I have learned that women as a whole do not have the kind of bonding with friends like men do. Of course, they have old friends they keep in touch with, but the unshakable concrete nature of friendship as men have, seems to be amiss. Look at wild animals. After the mating season, the male of the species are off, either by themselves or with a herd of other males. Of course there are exceptions; I am talking in general.

Though I have often regretted the absence of the pleasure of sharing a large part of my life with the same friends, I look at the brighter side. Like you, I have lived in many places, made friends in many places. That happens to be our life.

Think of it like the old cliche', the journey. You are in a bus or train - people walk in, walk out.
It might be another cliche' or from an old Hindi romantic movie, but time and space really cannot 'rattle' solid friendships. Take it from me, your friend for more than 5 years! :)

kaalpanique said...

yes. and i havent even met u! the concept of friendhip the reasons... its changing. i dont know about other women but i hav problems sustaining frienships. its not only due to the shifitng locations.. its also because of who am. and i miss that. i will be happy with one friend that fits the definition u shared on ure blog. i dont have. i can think of one guy who comes closest but then there are other compulsions.. friendships wiht a member of the opposite sex must be treaded with care... i watch movies where they show women as close friends... who share.. fight and get over it... a part of me years for that... its no different from marriage. about accepting the person as they are... a person u can trust. i have always found solace in my own company. Its only lately that i have begun thinkign about friends. somehow ure ability to make meaningful friendships is the first lesson to finding a lifemate. and i feel totally unprepared.. struggling...:)

anilkurup said...

AS Balan mentioned, It is not a statement out gender bias or chauvinism, women generally are behind in maintaining friendship as men do. Biological factors!
It takes two to make friends, and in your case the effort did not sustain from your side as well as from the potential friend. So again it is question of gender indifference. Isnt it so ?

I feel distance, constant uprooting and all other external factors need not necessarily inhibit a lasting friend ship of a life time.

kaalpanique said...

@anil "I wrote for some time to couple of my friends before succumbing to laziness and finally stopping. ".. yes. mea culpa. i know of women who have maintained their relationships. so i dotn know if u can generalise

anilkurup said...

There are exceptions to the rule. I do not deny that. Now look around carefully, you will notice that what I and Balan opined is a fact as well,