Na kahu se dosti, na kahu se bair – stoicism in the era of ‘fake friendships’

So holi is here and with the lovely songs playing all around, colours on faces, the water balloons being thrown by kids acting like snipers; gujiyas, pakodas and dahi vadas being made, whatsapp being flooded with countless holi greetings, one can only help but wonder- are we really able to celebrate holi with malice towards none?

An interesting discussion with a friend who was writing an article on holi and the significance of various colours in our lives quipped some very interesting things about the manner in which this festival is celebrated. The way gulaal is thrown in air is an act that signifies throwing away ego. Or the way we put colours on the face of our friends or foes and then hug them itself shows that everything that happened in the past is buried, but my question is, is it really buried?

Past few weeks, I have been consciously making an effort to distance myself from people- the so-called ‘fake friends’. I don’t know how to define fake friends but it is a term, which is gaining currency, at least in my vocabulary. Unfortunately, they are the kind of people who are not loyal to you, they will be loyal to their need of hanging around with you and when that need is over, their loyalty towards you also changes. Not necessarily opportunistic but definitely not real.

As the term goes, fair-weather friends. I am blessed to have many friends both the real ones and the fake ones. The only trouble is that the friends I thought were real, turned out to be fake and interestingly, the ones who were never even friends, turned out to be real friends.

It was a gradual process, the ‘weeding out’ as it is called. I guess, as we age, the threshold for nonsense kinda decreases. Mine has reduced significantly. My friendship starts with trusting people blindly, and then slowly I observe how someone is breaking my trust or au contraire, gaining my trust. The latter is difficult since I don’t trust people because I am certain that they will break my trust. So, while my trust in people is at its peak, gradually as they break it, I keep forgiving them. Then once the threshold is crossed and I can’t take it anymore, I ‘dismiss’ the friendship. That’s when these people who kept breaking my trust, instance after instance, imagine that I was a fake friend. Well! Cest la vie!

Friends who have stuck around long enough with me, are aware that I will do anything for them. Anything. And friends who have been fake, well, to you I only have this to say, I will always be there at 4 am but know it in your heart that I will never trust you or respect you as much.

And as I scroll down my timeline, looking at people who were bitching about each other behind their backs not so long ago, are flooding my timeline, claiming to be besties on social media, I am forced to be reminded of the famous couplet of kabir,

‘Kabira khada bazaar mein, pooche sabki khair,

Na kahu se dosti, na kahu se bair.’

I hope this holi brings happiness in everyone’s life and that all of us are either blessed with true friends or none at all. Enjoy the beautiful festival, until next time.

Disclaimer: Please spare me by asking if I consider you as my real friend or fake friend, I guess you will know it yourself.

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