Friday, August 27, 2010

Friendship Through the Ages

For all the Harry Potter fans out there, I hereby claim that the title of this post is a rip-off from "Quidditch through the Ages", but hell, it does fit perfectly to what I'm planning to write about here. Yes, something called friendship, which all of us have felt, experienced and in most cases, reciprocated. The inspiration for this post came quite a long time back when I was in Goa and roaming in the Mapusa market shopping with my mother (or rather, as she likes to put it, I was a coolie carrying all the stuff bought.. :P). I noticed a guy there whose face felt familiar but I just couldn't place him. I troubled my brain all through that day trying to figure out who the hell he was. Definitely not one of my school friends. I was sure because I distinctly remember all the faces and names which have studied with me right from my kindergarten. Then who was it?????
Forget it! I told myself. Since I couldn't place him, it wouldn't be a person who was important to me. So leaving all the unnecessary thought process aside, I switched on the internet and did what most of my generation is hooked on to.......FACEBOOK. And that was the point that it hit me. That guy was one of my Facebook friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Long ago, not very long, but long enough for me, there was a time when friend was a person with whom you can play in the evening, talk any damn thing and even have a great partnership in mischiefs. That was what a friend was for me, a partner in crime.
Then we grew up a few years. A friend became a person with whom you felt most comfortable working. He would not hesitate to help you in your studies, would lend you his stuff without a second thought and half of the things that you owned would be implicitly his.
Another few years. Now we were in our adolescence. So a friend became a person with whom you could taunt and tease others incessantly. With the new rush of hormones, he would be the person you could nudge in the ribs whenever you saw an attractive female. Girls could no longer be "just friends".
Another few years and we were in college where friendship took a whole new meaning. Now we wanted a pal who was not just a partner in crime or one who would share your stuff. We needed a confidante. A person you can truly confide in. Somebody with whom you could discuss your deepest secrets knowing that this stuff was totally safe with him. Whether this friend was a male or a female didn't matter. You just needed a person who could say "Don't worry, I'll be there for you" when for you all the world seemed lost. Someone who would put his hands around your shoulders and say "Screw what the world thinks. We are the best". Someone who could kick your butt when you were unnecessarily depressed about trivial things. At this stage of life, a friend was not just another person. He was a part of your life, somebody without whom you could not imagine yourself.
And in this process of growing up and making friends, somewhere unknowingly there rose a category of friends called "Online friends". With the boom in the internet and the development of virtual chat rooms, one could sit at home and "chat" with others at any time of the day. No longer did you have to "waste" time in going out and meeting up with others. You could do the same sitting on your comfortable chairs and staring at the computer screens. When this trend started picking up, we had a new phenomenon called Orkut enter the market which totally changed the concept of social networking. Suddenly your popularity was determined not by the number of people who knew you, but by the number of people added as friends on your orkut profile and the number of scraps written on your scrapbook. Forget all those slam books we kept for friends to scribble in, save paper - save trees, go online and write on the scrapbook instead. Friends would get pissed if you visited their profile and didn't leave a scrap.
And just when the deadly combo of Google and Orkut seemed to rule the market entered a new sensation with a strange name...Facebook. Now this seemed an interesting prospect. You make friends, "poke" them (whatever that meant), play could even have a virtual farm of your own and ask others for cows n sheep n trees and god alone knows what. Now a new category of friends had developed, called "Facebook friends". No longer did you have to actually know a person to be his/her friend. You could check out each other's "Like's" , the number of friends that person had and then decide whether the person was interesting enough for you to add him/her as your Facebook friend (Did I forget to mention the Profile Picture? :P). Guys could now stare at girls (or rather their photos) without feeling awkward and without the fear of getting a tight slap back in return. The impact of Facebook actually hit me when I learnt about the Facebook Party which happened recently in Goa which was organised by a bunch of Facebook addicts (which most people are.....including me) with the aim that at least for once people should actually meet their virtual friends.
Science tells us that evolution requires thousands or maybe millions of years to occur. What I have blabbered above is just the course of the past 21 years that I have lived. If this isn't some kind of evolution, then what is?
Whether it is a positive shift of lifestyle or negative, it is for an individual to decide for himself. One cannot take away the credit from social networking websites that they have really helped people to get in touch with their friends and family who are separated by long distances. But personally speaking this concept of virtual friends seems a bit disturbing to me. I mean, the friend you see on facebook, may not be the same person they seem to be online. When you actually play with someone it adds some exercise to your body, but playing just adds some extra weight in your butt i guess :P. In my opinion, if you have a healthy balance of real friends and virtual friends it should not matter, but becoming all upset just because a pretty facebook friend of yours posted the "She is angry and sad" seems real lame. Trust me, I have seen such cases. Seriously, what's the big point of posting Hi, Hello messages on the walls of people who are actually sitting right next to you? Actually saying it should take less effort, isn't it?
Now it may seem that I'm anti-facebook. But I'm not. In my free time you would definitely find me online there and updating stuff regularly, if not daily. I also like to keep in touch with my friends and frankly, facebook has been the easiest and cheapest (its free isn't it..)method to do so. It has also helped me tremendously to pursue my interest in photography by looking at the pictures clicked by the professional photographers, and also receiving their reviews on the ones I clicked. The only point I want to make is that I would anytime have one friend whom I can meet, talk and trust completely rather than a thousand facebook friends to "chat" or comment on stuff.
So here comes the end to another of my "politically incorrect" posts. In facebook terminology, you can either "Like" it or "Report Abuse". Right now I'm out of my usual fictional ideas, hopefully I should get one soon and post it here......till then....Adios!!!!!


  1. you have a nice sense of humor Ashwin.

  2. Thanx Yatin n Pulkit..... happy dat u liked it... :)

  3. hey luvd this one.... i m totally confused abt ths thng calld facebook... i thnk as u said the only thng dat kips m attachd to ths stupidity is pictures... can see lot of pics n learn frm thm.... but in the bargain i start scrappin or comenting on ur status msgs.... n b a part of ths stupidity cald facebook... but luvd reading ur view on ths...

  4. hmm....m kinda losing interest in social networking that a sign of growing old ?? facebook is sumthing still alien to me..m sure it left same sort of grimace on ur face as it does on everybody else's..they giv me that " does she even exist ?"look...and god remebers wen i last time logged in on my orkut account
    nice post btw...

  5. @amit kaka: same sentiments here..its a weird phenomenon where u knw dat u r addicted, but can't resist that one last update... :P

    @Stuti: gud to c someone who isn't a Facebook us hope that thr r still human beings around....n do chk the other posts on this blog too... :D

  6. U hit the nail on d beano! I totally agree...n u know that
    too.FB is a good n cheap way to keep in touch with far away ppl that I know personally. To pass time I'd rather read a good book or take up a hobby. BUUUTT...I belong to another generation, I guess.
    @ Amit, take care u dont write those spellings on bills, etc:)