Monday, June 22, 2015

Old friends

When I was younger, my mother often complained to me "Your life revolves around your friends, nothing else seems to matter." By 'nothing else', she meant my studies, spending time with family etc. She conveniently ignored all the books I read... in copious amounts. But I digress.

In school, my friends were split into one 'best friend' and other 'good friends'. On hindsight, it was such a strange way of seeing things. Had it been today's times, my parents would have certainly bundled me off to a shrink. 

I don't know how the notion got into my head but I truly believed that I could not have more than one best friend. Maybe, it came from reading too many Enid Blyton's where the child protagonist always had one best friend amongst many friends. In any case at any given point in my life, I didn't have too many friends, just 2-3 who were my closest and only friends. 

As I grew older I remember realising with some degree of surprise and shock that there were best friends who had moved on from being my best friend to a friend with whom I had fleeting conversations - on birthdays or special occasions only. This was maybe sometime after college when my friends and I got jobs, moved cities, got married... generally life happened. I was making a new set of friends just as they were too. The whole concept of best friends had undergone a change in my head. It became redundant. There were now only good friends. No less valued but not singled out specially, either. 

Looking back, there also are those who were good friends, even best friends and one day were no longer in touch.  Some I did anticipate going out of my life while some were rather sudden and without warning.

Pic courtesy: Google Search
I believe, consciously or subconsciously, as we grow older, most of us take stock of our lives - we choose the people we want to spend time with and distance ourselves from those we don't. Not because we've become mean and nasty but because we've moved on from that phase of our life. 

To those friends who were with me in certain phases of my life and are no longer around, I am thankful to have met them. They were there for me when I needed a shoulder to lean on and in return I hope I was a good friend to them too. Even if we no longer keep in touch, I know I will always appreciate what they did for me.

I continue to have good friends - a few, not many - therefore all the more precious. They've heard me rave, rant and b***h - on the phone and in person, been with me when I was unwell and in hospital, when I shifted homes and needed an extra pair of hands, when I was alone in a new city and needed to learn my way around... it's a long list.  

I am truly fortunate and very grateful.  

Old friends,
Sat on their park bench
Like bookends.
Can you imagine us
Years from today,
Sharing a park bench quietly?

~ Simon & Garfunkel


  1. This is the story of my life! I also used to think we must have just one best friend. Not cos of Enid Blyton, but I guess we were conditioned that way - parents and relatives always asked "Who's your best friend out of all your friends?" It just got imprinted that way in my mind!
    Now, I do feel that it doesn't matter if we talk to them every day - some have drifted apart and who are meant to stay are still with me!

    1. Yes, I forgot that one. I can't remember my parents asking but a lot of other friends/ relatives would ask that question. :)

      Now, I am just thankful that I still have long-time friends. At the risk of sounding cynical, friendships have become so transient in these times.

  2. How our friendships change with time and as we grow older is a universal theme that remains in our minds, probably because the feelings of closeness and intimacy with friends in childhood is something that remains with us in our hearts. Personally I look back at the memories of old friends with a sense of loss and nostalgia, though with those persons today the relationships are completely different. Facebook gives an opportunity to rediscover some of them, share old memories but even FB can't rekindle somethings that are gone for ever!

    PS: What a lovely name woolgatherer, somehow brought to my mind the image of a sheep rolling around in wool that has been shorn off, trying to get it back on her coat! :)

    1. Thank you for dropping by, Sunil, and for your comments. I agree, even FB can't rekindle some long lost friendships.