Sunday 1 March 2015

Prose 500 2015 Longlist, Dimple Kaul

 On Friends and More by Dimple Kaul

It’s been many days since I have put pen to paper (figuratively) or thumbs to better use than twiddling (literally)! Well, the slump wasn’t for lack of thoughts but that of a motivational kick. The one that can only be provided by a friend who having once succeeded in being insistently persistent into nagging you into writing and posting it all online (for your own self, no less) thinks that you can easily be riled enough to retaliate through writing!

With a friend prodding me into writing this piece by another friend, I felt like recounting the number of people I have befriended over the years. Fellow students from school and college, colleagues from workplace, ladies frequenting the neighbourhood salon, people renting or buying books from the local bookseller, rail/road/ air co-passengers, online common interest group folks, people from the local gym, the ones you go to the movies with and the list goes on. But then there are the ones who you act as a sounding board for and the ones who you call your ‘best friends/friends’.

If I say that I am friends with someone, I mean that I would most certainly be someone who cares about them, would take time out for them when needed and would certainly volunteer to help if and when required. What they don’t know and what I would certainly not want them to know, for, they are, in most instances, bound to misinterpret it, is that they may not necessarily be my friends in the way I interpret the word. See, there I said it? The cat is so out of the bag that I may never be able to coax it back into it now, phew!

I wonder why is it necessary to call someone a friend just to show that you care for them or wish them well? Can one not simply care for fellow human beings? Why can’t one have the same concern for a colleague/ fellow collegian/ gym buddy/passenger on the adjacent seat as one would have for a ‘friend’? Beats me!

Most of us end up being forced into bracketing such bonds as friendship. The 21st century person has complicated everyday life so much that there is a need for such stiff connotations to show concern and love for humanity. Imagine if people were to say that their ambition in life is to just be good and spread love and cheer all around while leading happy, contended lives of their own, wouldn’t others jeer with incomprehension? They most certainly would, unless they belong to a sect set up by one of the many Gurus around who have been marketing the basic concepts of humanity so well that it is cool to follow them!

How wonderful would it be to have genuine kindness and warmth permeate the world to such an extent that the phrase ‘being human’ becomes synonymous with actual living and not just the organization that we associate it with today!

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