Friends And Friendship

A candid essay about friendship.

It's a new week and what can I do to make your day special? How about we talk a bit about friends and friendship. What does friendship mean to me? 

Friends are the family we choose, the beat to our hearts, the reason we laugh a lot, cry a little less, and smile a lot more.  And I believe friends bring more happiness into our lives than anything else in our days. Friendships are most successful if the expectations are natural and no ulterior purposes are set. When there is a motive behind it, normally we all have experiences of it failing and crashing too soon and creating heartburns and agony. For me, my good friends, ease my stress, give support and delight, prevent loneliness and seclusion.

I can warmly say I have made quite a lot of patrons over the years. I have had the opportunity to come across many individuals from school to college. And also to meet people through family, work, and other associates and acquaintances. And I am blessed in many ways because I am connected and in 'connect' with many and I call them all my friends. 

I will have to turn the clock back and take you back to those good old days. In those non-community living days, I had two sets of friends, one at school and one near home. This happened only because of the distance between school and home.  Remember that time, when you walk into a new class, you look for the space to park yourself for the rest of the year, and then there are those few who would look at you with wonder, and then offer the seat next to them and there you forge a pact, there begins the friendship forever.  We start looking for an affinity to connect and a few questions at home also trigger our thoughts, 'Who is your friend?, 'Where do they live?', 'Do they have siblings?'  and also important was 'What are their grades?' These questions had to have an answer to please our parents. Remember those days.
The best times of school were during recess and lunch break.  Sharing food, exchanging comic books, talking about the teacher who was super strict, movies, sports, and more.  It brought in wonderful learning of self-confidence, the ability to connect with all, and converse.  Friendship is different for all of us. There were few groups during those days, the studious in one group, studies plus sports mixed group, the sporting stars group, only fun group, and let's not forget the hooligans of our days, they made life scary and fun at those times. They were all and it was memorable. The bench friends are the closest as we move from every class till 10th grade and it's evergreen with love and warmth. The separation of school friends started after 10th and some went on to do diplomas, various streams of studies, different schools. I wish the internet was there those days to stay connected. So many of us lost connection because of the distance, accessibility, and change in each of our life's routes.

As one moves with age, oh! remember those peaks of teen years into the college space, it’s a new world. A clear feeling of an adult entering college than just being a kid. The atmosphere is vibrant and exciting and the friends one makes here are for a lifetime (in most cases). The affinity, liking gets aligned. Career planning conversations were remarkably interesting, as some of us planned to take up higher studies and few of us got into the workforce soon. Circumstances and life choices, situations, and visions made us all who we are today. 
Sport is and has always been an integral part of my life. Another big space for a new friendship to be forged, for people to develop a good connection is while playing sports, and being part of NCC / NSS, being a volunteer in certain group activities, clubs, conventions and social connect programs. I have had wonderful support from such friends across the cities I have lived and they continue to be one. Life-changing moments and life-altering people have crossed my paths due to these affiliations. 

I have had an amazing friendship from my College  National Cadet Corps (NCC) days and it's so special to each one of us in the group.  We are from all parts of the country who were part of a youth exchange program in 1991 to Canada and believe me, it’s the best to have happened to all of us.  We all catch up now due to the covid pandemic through digital platforms, but when we meet up it's like going back to the days of 1991. There is always a feeling of bonhomie and even meeting up after months or years it looks like we all just met up.  Growing over the years, families started to meet up and now the next generation is part of the catch-up.  There are no words to describe the special bonding of this group of wonderful friends. Alumni meets are great moments to live up and we attempt to meet up every year now.   

Likewise, friends from the workplace – you make your choice of people whom you like to connect with for a lifetime. There is a good amount of open discussions to sort the way things look like and also a sounding board among us to understand the markets, work culture, problem-solving, outlook on career, etc. 
There are moments of support friendship brings in a big way. People find it easier to open up to friends than with relatives, purely I feel it is because they are not judging you. They accept the person as they are and try to find a way to support them at all times.  And the psychological support the friends give to one another, it's priceless and so beautiful.  The frequency is so tuned that the other person will start sharing their thoughts, issues at home, classes, workplaces, coping up with life, their aspirations, what they want to do. It’s a huge never-ending list one could relate to and remember.

There is a strong belief that you will become what and how your friends influence you. So it's important to be sure of the influencing factors which can impact you and your environment of family, community, and workplaces. 

Make good connections with people, be yourself and find your best moments of life with friends, as they will surely make you feel good and lively. Don’t look for friendship, as it has to evolve and happen as a natural progression, with good vibes, common interests, the ability to adapt to each other's situation, and more importantly comfort.

Friendship is a word of trueness and unconditional support, come what may. It is an area one would always relate their best of times, let it be school days, college/university days, neighbourhood friends, and new friends made at the workplace. Sometimes you meet a person and you just match, you are comfortable with them like you have known them your whole journey of life, and you do not have to pretend to be anyone or anything. You can just be you. So when you find those good souls, keep them close, never let them go. A genuine mate accepts who you are, but also helps you become who you should be. 

Cheers to good friends and always remember, the only way to have a friend is to be one.

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