Monday, December 31, 2018

Friendship defined?

Udukkai izhandavan kai pole; aange idukkan kalaivadhaam natpu - Tirukkural

A true friend extends help in need with the same instinctive speed as your hand stopping your robe from slipping off you in public - Loose Translation

That is one metaphor I really love. I mean, you can really GET what the chap means. Like, if you were wearing a towel around your waist and have to answer the door and the towel starts slipping off, it is not like you have to issue a request in triplicate to your hands saying, "There is nothing on below the towel and there is this delivery boy in front of me, not to mention the auntie in the opposite house. It would be embarrassing to have the towel fall off now, so kindly go over and hold it in place." AND, of course, have a return reply, saying "This is an automated reply. Your complaint has been registered. Our service representative will be in touch with you shortly."

No, the moment the towel shows signs of slipping off, and even before you have seen who is at the door, your hands are holding the towel in place. So, Tiru says, that a true friend is one who helps you with the same sort of instinctive speed, not waiting for you to express your need and seek him for help.

No, I really don't think that he meant that, when you press 'Like' the moment you see it is your friend's post, you are being a true friend. That sort of instinctive speed can be a problem, especially if the said friend has put out a message saying his mom is ill, say. The point is about doing the help that is NEEDED at the moment, not just any action. Like, it is not really the time for the hands to toss off the towel, as it would be if you were preparing to dress.

Pretty demanding on the friend, though. I mean, it requires both a continuous empathy and observation for the friend to realize WHEN you are in need of help and WHAT help is needed. More often than not, it is not like YOU understand HIS needs naturally. Like, you may stuff yourself with sweets when you are hungry, he may be a diabetic; you may laugh off some issue and the same issue may cause him to feel suicidal. To see the world from his point of view, to do what HE needs, whether or not YOU would need it in his place - that is tough.

But then, whoever said that being a friend is easy. I mean, like if all you had to do was keep liking and commenting on social media posts, you could maintain thousands of friends, easily. (And lose them as easily, if you are sick for a week and unable to do all that? Yes, of course.) Tiru probably had a more demanding idea of friendship.

You know, what? THAT's the sort of friend I love, really!

What about me? WHAT??? You mean you expect ME to be that sort of friend? Ye Gods!

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