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!)