My wife would always accuse me that my quirkiness was what she never appreciated.

Her inference, “You believe people in one go, one meeting, and a small conversation was enough” and would nag me whenever she found me putting up an upsetting face. An indication that revealed to her yet again I had been left, let-down by someone, possibly a friend not obliging my requests. She knows my moodiness involves a small group of friends.

From my school days, friends have become too deep and emotional dependence for me even in less alarming instances. I consider my mental framework, whenever I find myself in tough circumstances reacting a tad hesitant and indecisive. Usually, not able to comprehend the severity of a situation I rush off to ask for help, like calling them over the phone, requesting them to do the necessary. Thus I end up calling my friends more frequently asking for their good support.  If I could reach a helpful ear, even briefly, I presumed a quantum of my hassles less intense.

Indeed, I never allowed myself to misunderstand a friend. I observe all the rules, essentials while solemnly trying to preserve, strengthen, and keep going the existing strings of friendships floating high and safe. I esteem a relationship as a wholesome human entity, not as an instant personal machine to act and behave and respond to the way my wishes and demands deem urgent. At the same time I secretly imagine, to get a happy hint that ‘I’m there for you’; to make my mind sunny, and work through any issue easily.

In fifty-five years of a roller-coaster ride, few friends with all solemnity have emerged as my emotional life-line and mental shock-absorbers. I wouldn’t consider them as a  give and take convenient sort of mechanism at any testing time. But when stress is sitting heavy on my chest, when knots in the stomach inconvenience me, when anxiety makes me ashen: I truly crave for their hearty candid ‘talk’ as a buoy up balm to render relief. Amidst finding me in such dull, dim sentiments; that ‘soft voice’ was like a thin spray of drizzle rushing to dark corners touching my parched soul!

At times, facing several cold responses and often prolonged inattention, and subsequently finding myself disturbed and worried because of sinking feeling it causes. Slowly, I have learned to wise up myself to apply less “reactionary responses” and not to disturb my natural balance. Coming upon a situation with friends, like if anyone was not quick or not prioritizing my requests or appeals that I expect to require a swift reply or a message; I calmly and mentally settle for marking it as “this is my status in their view and not to respond is their prerogative.” But the truth is, in all the years I have had rewarding episodes with good friends, and that calms me inexplicably: that they are there, and on any day for sure…..they would stand by me.

One insight I have gathered: Friendship is never a security wall dependably surrounding you; the strength and the safety it affords us are often built up with the very bricks of our big-heartedness, selflessness that we had laid in the past. What we are receiving now as a bounty served by a helpful hand was the reaping of the goodwill we had sowed earlier. If I haven’t received any help, it has to be assumed that, I had been indifferent may be, to someone from whom I’m seeking some respite.

I have accepted, with a pinch of salt, the fact that my past deeds decide how I count my blessings today. But as our human weakness at times take over in most tired circumstances, and insists us to conclude, “how harsh is the silence of our friends” But with past experiences, I had grown inward to understand the essence of human relationships, and it’s delicately fragile and often fluid ingredients. It allowed me to learn how to stay calm and understood when such darts of silence strike me hard and deep.

I know friendship is not inviting sympathy but to delight that my cup is full and it is because of one graceful soul stood by me silently attempting to sort out my issues as far as his available resources allow. And I’m grateful enough to acknowledge how graciously my friends have reached tolerating–a lonesome character like me.

After years of trials and tribulations, trust and disappointments, it dawned upon me one raw truth about how a friendship truly works:

In the arena of our daily grinding, unpleasant encounters, we are always surrounded by few good men, whom we trust most; wait for drawing the required acceptance and mental energy. In the progression, we fall, we lose and get up tend our bruises. But light-heartedly we can celebrate one reality: that all the time our friends are there for us in the pavilion, clapping their silent words of encouragement, wishing our strong inner will would raise to assist us. They are unconditionally within reach watching you and willingly waiting if the need demands that they could step in.

My good friends have taught me to understand the real role of a true friend is like oxygen – life-saving, life-giving, and omnipresent but the moment I don’t value and play distancing it; I’m as good as a derelict. After five decades and five years of the eventful personal voyage, I confess and appreciate my dear friend’s strong presence in my life and further warmly in my heart!


Looking back: My thankfulness to Buddies DVR Krishna Mohan and K. Guru Murthy (the alumni of Bapatla Agricultural College, Andhra Pradesh, India)