WHOSE TRUE FRIEND I AM?







I have had many, many friends all along these years. My school friends, church friends, college friends, work-place friends, students-turned-friends, neighbours-turned-friends, friends’-friends-turned-friends, foes-turned-friends, relatives-turned-friends, social-media friends… yes, all sorts.

Who are my true friends?

I think, that’s a stupid question. I will never, ever find an answer to that question. For, I really do not know whose true friend I really am! Can I be brutally honest and declare, that, for so and so friend of mine, I am ready to do anything, anytime, anywhere… all the way through… in his most difficult times and in his most glorious times… Yes, can I say this without expecting from him anything? Can I do it for him despite getting hurt from him often? Despite his occasional indifference and insensitivity?

I am afraid, I do not have any friend in my life, for whom I will lay my own life. Yes, I have many, many friends, though… and, yes, I have had hundreds of friends to make my life so amazing, so far…

We need friends… We need friendship. Life would have been a very depressing journey without friends and friendship. But, let’s  be realistic in life: There is nothing called a ‘friend forever’… We only claim there is!

Like all other relationships, the friendship is tested in our most harrowing times and in our most glorious times… Most of our friends desert us when our ships are sinking or when they become hugely successful in life. That applies to all of us. Again, I will ask this question: Will I be willing to go down with my friend when his ship is sinking? Will I be willing to treat my neighbourhood or school buddy  when I was a nobody, the same way once I become a ‘Great Somebody’?

Therefore, there is no sense in asking the question, “Who are my true friends?” It’s a stupid question… a dishonest one. It takes honesty to ask: “Whose true friend I am?”

Let’s not try to fantasize the idea of friendship. Friends come in our lives like a breath of fresh air when we need it the most… We need this fresh air… We need to breathe it constantly… But, to expect it from the same friends, all life long, is not only naive, it’s also self-harming.

I have realized by living my life close to six decades, that, if we are not our own true friends, we can’t be anyone else’s’ either. Deep down, we all are alone… I did not say ‘lonely’. Friendship makes life an amazing experience when we are strong in our aloneness… when we are comfortable with it. When we are not, we cannot be comfortable with any number of friends around us…

I have chosen to drop many of my friends over the years just as many have chosen to drop me as their friend. That’s how it is, I suppose, for all of us. Like all others, friends come in my life, too, quietly and stay as long as they should… Friends don’t overstay!

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you,” Bob Marley once said, “You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”  I think, this holds true for any relationship, including friendship.


GERALD C’CUNHA

Pic.: Chetna Shetty


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