Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Dialogue

Just finished reading Winston Groom’s Gone The Sun. Needless to say that it didn’t hold a candle to the same author’s Forrest Gump. But that was his masterpiece, and you can in actuality have just a masterpiece. Unless of course you are A R Rahman or Stephen King. :)

All that aside, the book was a decent story of a newspaper editor and his efforts to clean up his city. Though most of the sub-plots were hackneyed and the ending pretty lame the book left a huge impression with just a single line by the protagonist. He talks about “not being there” when his friend needed him and that he “wasn’t that good a friend after all”. This was eerily close to a topic that I had been discussing with a friend who had come home for lunch. As a result, here I am staying up at 2 in the morning writing this piece that is based on some of the implications of the dialogue I had with her, more than the actual content of the dialogue. In a way, all this would be a bit connected to Chakku’s blog on morals (which was coincidentally posted today!).

Over the past week I have been criticized by two of my friends for “thinking too much” about every decision I make. As I made it clear today I do not waste time thinking about matters such as money, luxury, salary, etc…but I do spend a lot of time on people. I was faced with the dilemma of meeting only one of two friends over this weekend. And I spent an entire sleepless night trying to reason out who it should be! (If this doesn’t explain my insomnia, nothing will…)

Back to the bit on “being a good friend”, so what are the characteristics that define a true friend? I guess it would be most probably sticking by him come hell or high water. Never let him down, and be supportive of all his actions. Share his joys and sorrows. Be unconditional in your love, affection, etc. Seems fair right? I could do this easily. In fact I do this with full gusto.

But am I right? The cause of my “too much thinking” is the nagging question in my mind regarding what I should do if I feel that a friend isn’t doing the right thing. What should my stand be if I feel that a particular act of his is wrong? Logically it would be to reprimand him and get him to follow the right path. Again, seems pretty fair eh? Hmm…I foresee two problems.

One being the simple possibility that he might just feel it wrong of me to intrude in his affairs and hence be offended. But I fear an even bigger problem – who am I to decide what is right or wrong? Given the current forward/backward shift of values & morals in our lives there is no supreme authority to grant the go-ahead for my bifurcating criteria. As an example, a person might find drinking acceptable but not smoking. But is there anything that another person who finds both habits unacceptable do to “rectify” the supposed offender? I am plagued by this constant self-doubt that hampers me from performing my “duties” as a “true friend”.

Well…not any more. If there is one thing clear that came out of the afternoon dialogue, it would be to crumple this doubt. Henceforth, I shall make it known that a friend is in the wrong if I feel that he is. I am expecting a lot of brickbats…but this is one New Year’s resolution I plan on sticking to. (Oh btw, the converse holds true as well.)

Before I crash for the night let me try to answer why I need to what I have decided on doing. Is it not wanting to be called “wasn’t that good a friend after all”? Even if that hurts I don’t think that is the actual reason.

What is the reason then? Hmm…no idea as of now, but today’s insomnia might just help me with that.

Good Night.

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