Sunday mornings. I love them. No office. Grey clouds had curtained the fulgent Delhi sun. A light breeze caressed the week’s laundry on the balcony. The rustle of the newspapers littering the floor was almost a lullaby. The mobile phone buzzed, cutting short my plans for a long slumber. ‘Happy Friendship Day!’ the SMS read. Soon to be followed by more buzzing and more SMSes clogged my inbox. Some humourous, others satirical. I hadn’t been watching much of the idiot box for the last few days, so was ignorant of which ‘day’ was up next.

Time and distance alter many a relationship. There was a time in my early youth when I had friends galore, but today I feel that most of the people I know now are mere acquaintances. Where have all my buddies gone? Some lost me and I lost the rest of them. Bygone are the days when we exchanged long handwritten letters always belatedly delivered by the postal department. The e-era was supposed to make the barriers of time and distance wane. But modern technology, which was supposed to make our lives easier and leave us with more free time is in fact eating into whatever spare we had.

Professionalism is eroding our personal traits. Leaving us very lonely in the process. Work hour pressures do not let colleagues to evolve into friends. A few do, but that’s only a few. Perhaps it is also because we have become more selective in making friends. The subconscious might have realised that the affinity between a small closed group is stronger than in a large asymmetric one. Perhaps over the years we have redefined the term, excluding more elements from the set.

Whatever may be the reasons but I didn’t reply to any of the SMSes. Does remembering your friends on a day popularised by the greeting card industry (atleast in India) make you a good friend? I didn’t even remember the day.

Old Friends

– Simon and Garfunkel

Old friends, old friends,
Sat on their parkbench like bookends
A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the round toes
of the high shoes of the old friends

Old friends, winter companions, the old men
Lost in their overcoats, waiting for the sun
The sounds of the city sifting through trees
Settles like dust on the shoulders of the old friends

Can you imagine us years from today,
Sharing a parkbench quietly
How terribly strange to be seventy

Old friends, memory brushes the same years,
Silently sharing the same fears

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