Wall-King* and Tall-King‡

I have not met many people, who are in real terms considered as ‘special’ by known norms.  However, like many others, I have met a few people whom I could appreciate a little more than others. The reason is simple.  They were good to me irrespective of what I could do for them.

Many of the some friends I have believe that Friendship is divine.  A friend of mine (a +2 bench mate) used to have very lengthy arguments with me on this topic.  We used to walk from our college campus to Cubbon Park (about 3 km) almost once in two/three months on a Saturday afternoon and discuss almost everything serious under the Sun.  He used to try his best to convince me that friendships are selfless and are forever.  I used to tell him that all of the relationships we try to weave are for our own sake and for some benefit in return.  Many others used to say (and even today say) that it is neither or something in between.

I have met classmates, hobby-mates and colleagues who consider people they know as ‘friends’. When do two people become “Friends”?  A long time ago, I had developed a theory for ‘friendship’. I used to say that friendship has the highest potential when viewpoints of people involved are from different backgrounds. They can be neither opposite nor in agreement. When I say background, it includes their locality, upbringing, fields of expertise, religion, cultural practices etc. I did not like the idea of people from similar backgrounds grouping together to achieve ‘great things’.

I met one more person during my post graduation and we used to have lengthy conversations.  We used to be in the same hostel.  We used to discuss music, language, genes, engineering and what not.  We used to start our walk the talk around 10 PM, go round the hostel building, and go on-and-on, round-and- round until 1 AM!  Our conversations may not have solved our nation’s problems.  However, they were not useless gossip either.

Then during my early days as a research student,  I met one more person who was very different in his approach to life. He used to talk less and seemed as though was concentrating hard on whatever he was doing.  However, the silent era had to end someday and it did for good. When it did, again the golden era of conversations began.  He and I used to have innovative arguments on scientific research including publication rush, funding madness and career goals.  Those dialogues over tea/coffee helped us gain fresh insights into whatever we were after.

I rarely used to make the first attempt to start a conversation because I am a bad judge of ‘response potential’. However, sometimes it has paid rich dividends (probability is low).  After some of these experiences I have made an amendment to my theory of ‘friendship’.  Friendship, (if you still want to call it that) not only requires a high diversity index within the group, but also requires meaningful, purposeful, and long conversations among its shareholders (a strong term!) Walking is optional :-). I have increased my attempts to start conversations with people around me.  Occasional disappointments due to their responses (or the lack of it) are always there because they are entitled to their theories of ‘friendship’.

* Wall-King: A person who builds a brick wall around him/herself (one who does not walk!)
‡ Tall-King: One who tries to stand tall in a group (one who does not communicate!)

9 thoughts on “Wall-King* and Tall-King‡”

  1. I have heard many people say that any friendship is made in order to get some benefit in return. It would be fully true if we include the mental satisfaction we get due to interactions with friends even though there could be no other material gain from it. For example, we watch a movie with friends because we are happier like that than watching the movie alone. Sometimes there are acts of friendship, seen amongst very close friends which are beyond logic. I cant comprehend why, other than performing the act that gives us mental satisfaction, we would want to put it under the category of things we do with expectations of good returns. But, if we go on those lines, we will have to include every relationship within the human race and not only friendship in that category. We could say that any relationship is developed between humans with some expectations of returns.

    The article is well organised and I agree with Nataraja that the way you have concluded is very good.

  2. … in the annual day school function, your friend is going to perform a solo classical dance as a ’starter’ to the event. He comes in a weird fancy dress, bow to the idol and the audience and starts his tap dance. You start feeling that the anklet sound has absolutely no connection with the funny track played in the background, you are clueless about the ‘eye-ball’ movements and the ‘neck-oscillations’, you dont understand the dance, you dont know the lyrics of the song, nor his expressions…! yet you still watch the whole show with all your enthusiasm and clap-a-loud and feel as an achiever though you are clueless about the event. And the cause is, it was your “FRIEND” who performed and went into the history book of the stage!


    1. Dear Vatsa, an anecdote is a way of bringing things into perspective. Your anecdote does that well.

      When you start clapping for a friend who did not dance well, it shows that there is something special in him that makes you clap. You are aware of his “other” qualities, which makes you overlook his shortcomings when he danced.
      I have done that many times. Many people have done that to me.

      I am sure you would not have clapped, if you just knew that person as a dancer and you had been to the theatre (after buying a ticket) to watch his show and he does what you have described.

      One of my teachers in my college had told me how one can narrate view points through symbolic anecdotes. Again, your anecdote does it really well.

  3. ಸಂಬಂಧ ಪಡದ ವಿಷಯವಾದರೂ ಕೇಳ್ತೀನಿ. ನಾನು ಅಜ್ಞಾತ ಕಮಾಂಡರ್ ಆಗಿರುವುದರಿಂದ ನನಗೆ ಹಕ್ಕಿದೆ… ನನ್ನನ್ನು ಯಾವ ಗುಂಪಿಗೆ ಸೇರಿಸ್ತೀರಾ? ನಾನು ನಡೆದಾಡುವುದು ಜಾಸ್ತಿ, ಮಾತಾಡುವುದು ಕಮ್ಮಿ, ಆದರೆ ನನ್ನ ಮುಷ್ಠಿ ಮಾತಾಡುತ್ತೆ… “ಜೇನ್ನೊಣದಂತೆ ಹಾರಿಬರುತ್ತೆ, ಮದ್ದಾನೆಯಂತೆ ಗುದ್ದುತ್ತೆ” ! “ಕೆರಳಿದ ನನ್ನ ಧ್ವನಿ ರಕ್ತ ಹೆಪ್ಪುಗಟ್ಟಿಸಬಲ್ಲದು!”

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