Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Friendships I: The bedrock

3 points before we begin:
1. This is based on my experience of 33.9 years. Even though I use the greater ‘us’, ‘you’ and ‘we’ – this just makes it easier to write – this is from my life, make no mistake
2. Any similarity to your life is purely coincidental and there are no apologies
3. As it is pure opinion and not fact, your contradictory life experience needs to get its own blog

This is the start of my diatribe (lately all my writing) about friendships. Something I have written about before and will no doubt reflect upon repeatedly as I grow older and many of my more materialistic pursuits fall short of the joy that friendships bring. This is just the first installment of all the thoughts swirling around my head.

Today I am writing about that great passage of childhood and how we all get to adult life with the aid of people, with any luck, not singular in any way. Parents, siblings, extended family of cousins, aunts and uncles, school friend, college friends, colony friends.

Some of these you are born into (parents, siblings, cousins etc) and often people make difficult choices or are hard pressed to connect with some or all of their families. For the lucky lot however this family is the basis for values, our role models and perpetual advice givers. You learn to love and respect people and their choices and every little argument and fight along the way only builds upon that ‘blood is thicker than water’ adage. Or not.

Friends, whether it’s the next door neighbours kid or your college roommate, these are choices, the weighing of what you need at that point in your life. Childhood and the teen years are often also fraught with indecision, bullying and the games that the young play. There are cliques and fights and the inevitable attempts at humour, bribery and subtle means to belong to the cool popular lot. There are the loners, the nerds, the cocktail children, the sporty and the achievers. Everyone, no matter who they are, finds ways and methods to work around or through these – to find even that illusive one friend that is theirs, who will stand with them, at lunch break, laugh at their not so funny jokes, share their homework and listen to their secrets with the gravity only a child can muster.

From all these connections appear the rock-bed of life, the support system of early adulthood, people you can call at 3am when you think you might be having a heart attack; the people who will listen to you whinge about nothing and everything for hours with only wise comments, useful advice and humour; or travel across town with lasagna from your favourite little eatery when you are unwell and then entertain you with anecdotes till you just have to smile; drink with you following heartbreak or celebrate promotions.

This rock is a hard wearing platform, and many many childhood friends and even faraway but once close relatives fall off it with the passage of time. It’s the ones that stick into your twenties that have passed the test of the time-space continuum. These are usually the people you will keep in touch with even when you move across the seas and before the advent of email. Standing in line at the phone booth to wish someone happy birthday, or posting a long hand written letter about hostel food, the small things that connect you with the foundation no matter what the distance or time. With any luck this bedrock will always be there, the basis of your start to a good, happy, well rounded life.


  1. I dunno... I think it's possible to make friends at any age. For me, without that happy coincidence of similar traits and sense of humour, plus that elusive "clicking" which is essential, I would never have had any friends. This has been true for me since childhood, and stays true still because I have a couple of close pals from childhood, but many more that I made as an adult.

  2. Shyam: This is only part 1! Wait for it. Maybe our opinions/ experiences will be similar?