Pen Friends.


Pen Friends

I don’t know when Friendship Day really falls and frankly I don’t care much.

I don’t think I have ever wished a friend of mine on a day that was dedicated to us being friends, because, you know me, it ain’t my style – I would rather invest each day, every day into friendships that I want to nurture, than forward mushy messages on Whatsapp, trying to force-feed my counterparts on the importance of our relationship.

Today, we aren’t talking of Friendship Day, but I wanted to talk about this today itself, because, after all, I am going to talk of friendships.

If you come to think of it, this word, friendship, in itself sounds so weird, so half and half, as if the creator of this word purposefully placed it somewhere in between the extremes of love and that of acquaintance. And when I was younger, I used to believe it.

When celebrities tell off the paparazzi that they are “just friends” with a co-star, it sounds weird, funny, and childish even, as if being “just friends” is any less intimate than being “just lovers”.

Because, isn’t it?

SRK’s cult dialogue in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, the ones I know by heart, and the ones that played as the background score of my adolescent heartbreaks, clearly made it law by saying that – Pyaar is Dosti.

But in our urgent rush to follow this law, we forgot to ask him, if this holds good the other way round too?

Pyaar equals Dosti – So, being the nerd that I am, Dosti equals Pyaar too, no? – It’s an equation for Christ’s sake!

Oh, I love him, but I love him like a friend – We have all heard this line way too many times, but why do we say it like that? Why is it so absolutely necessary to insert this but? Why justify how you love him? Why patronize? Can’t we just say – I love him. Period?

I am always triggered by something or the other when I am writing – In fact, I don’t write at all, unless I am triggered deeply, it brings out the best in my writing. And so, as Friendship Day special, and all that blah blah jazz about having true friends in your life, let me talk to you about one such story.

Of Pen Friends.

I never had one, ever. Maybe I still don’t. Because pen friends are people in your life you only write to, and haven’t ever met. Correct?

I don’t care much about labels too, and I wouldn’t name the title of this blog Pen Friends, if I didn’t have anything better – More like “I-Don’t-Know-What-Kind-Of-Friend” – But, that’s too long and unromantic anyway.

I don’t have too many friends either. Quite a few have taken the liberty to call me a loner – But trust me, I am far from that. I love meeting new people and making new friends. It is just that my definition of friendship hardly ever aligns with anyone I meet regularly, which is why, I am left with just a few, within whom, I find my home.

And because of my definition, and the complexity of the definition, I am always thinking, and questioning.

So, story time.

Let me start by saying this – This friend is one of those within whose aura, I have found home. I don’t even want to call him a friend. It somehow does not justify. I don’t meet him that often, which is why I coined the term Pen Friend, but he’s a part of my life, each day, every day, writing to me, talking to me, sometimes about life and death, about intense subjects, and sometimes being frivolous and goofy. It is a relatively new friendship, but somehow, it feels like forever. It feels like I have known him for so long. It feels like he is a clone of mine, because we have so many views that are united. Every relationship is ought to make you into a better person, and this has – This has made me learn so much, about myself, about what I am capable of feeling. This has made me feel alive, has made me laugh, and no prizes for guessing, made me cry too. He is almost like a mentor, but then just as I float this thought in my head, I realize that maybe he is not.

I am happy when I talk to him – The cells in my brain somersault a bit – I am a bit sad when I don’t talk to him. I feel restless.

I don’t know where I am going with this blog, and whether I am even going to publish it. Because it is so abstract. So hard to explain.

You know me, in every single thing I have done in my life, there hasn’t been anything that I have done half-heartedly – I go all in – I love with an intensity that could give the greatest lovers a run for their money – I give it all – And that might be where a certain misalignment might occur, between friends, between people, because, however similar people are or they seem, in reality, they are not really your clones. So yes, ideas and expectations, from life, from each other, end up differing.

Hence, I romanticize most of my friendships, and relationships to be one-sided, because, can they really give it their all, ever? Can they love with an intensity that collides with mine and yet stays invincible? Do they think of me as much as I think of them?

Do they feel like they have known me forever? Do they feel alive when they are with me? Have they ever cried for me? Could I ever be the mentor in their lives, the way they have been in mine?

Even in this story. My side of the story.

Can you really expect from your friend the way you expect from your other relationships, for example? Can you demand time from them? Can you demand anything at all? Do you have the right to?

Or is this façade of an umbrella that we like to call friendship, a safe term where it is actually half and half? – Is this something you place in an area which denies you the comforts of a fully committed relationship? – You can confide into them, but not everything you have ever felt. You can spend time with them, but not as much as your other relationships. You can be intimate with them intellectually, and emotionally, but not enough to break you. You can say that you love them, but you can’t tell them how deeply. You can follow your heart, but follow it only up to the point where the boundaries are drawn. By you. Or him. Doesn’t matter.

Doesn’t this seem like half-hearted to you?

And I don’t do half-hearted.

I can’t. I choose not to.

I’d rather have it break me. (And it has.)

I’d rather be destroyed.

Because in my tears, lie the remnants of my commitment.

And in my intensity, lies my honesty.

So I don’t know where this is headed. This Pen Friend.

But I know something for sure, a time might come, sooner than later, when the mismatch in the very definition of friendship might become pronounced.

What if you want more and he doesn’t? What if he wants more and you don’t?

Should one leave things at what they are? – Wouldn’t that be a compromise?

And a compromise, in my opinion, is a settlement, an agreement, something that is very business-like, that follows processes and procedures, and something that completely defies the musings of the heart.

And just like a lot of things I don’t do, defying the musings of my heart tops the list.


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