The rainbow of friends. 

I used to write a lot poems and short stories when I was in school. As all kids, who think that they have in them, to become writers or poets. Nonsense writings but somehow they used to be appreciated by a few people. And gave a sense of importance and pride.  I was lucky to have two teachers who encouraged me. But then I never progressed being certain limit. 

But then as  i joined Medical school I realised I was ill-prepared to survive in the big bad world. Though I was a prime fish in my pond, now I had entered a huge ocean. And the total change in academic atmosphere and the culture overwhelmed me.  And I thought that being involved in literature and poems deprived me from focusing on academics and the real world. Took a deliberate decision to stop writing. Anyways wasn’t a very great writer. It’s just that I could write something better than others in my school. And In the land of the blind, one eyed person is the king. 

Then the traumatic Ist year and the breezy second year and the taut third year happened. 

And along that journey I was extremely lucky to find some great fellow travelers and became friends with them. And finding them was effortless. Like standing in ankle deep waters on the sea shore and finding pearls in oyster shells, washed to my feet by the waves. 

How we became friends I really cannot find any explanation.  We  just clicked. Or maybe it was destiny which brought us together. Everybody has friends but I cannot think of better friends than what I had. And they came in all varieties. Tall and short, dark and fair, thin and rotund ones and so on. 

Some were studious, some extravagant, some highly sophisticated, some introverts, some extroverts, some mischievous and some who cannot be categorised. Everybody had a talent, a bright side to their personality and they brought it with them to our circle. And in the process enriched the lives of the whole groups of friends. Life was beautiful. Like a rainbow of Multi-coloured hues. We shared our passions and our desires. If somebody liked to go to movies we all used to go with him. If somebody wanted to eat out everybody followed. If somebody had an urge to booze everybody followed. And if somebody wanted to embark on a midnight trip to nowhere everybody was game for that also. 

Our lives changed from monochrome to multi-coloured. And our horizons widened to 360 degrees. And during all this we genuinely cared for each other. And longed to sit and chat in the corridor in front of our hostel rooms. Topics could be from politics to movies and from profound to inane. 

We may not have been great academic successes. But we were a talented bunch. We had a lot many other interest, to be solely focused on studies. Study we did. But only when it was absolutely necessary. But then we worked our assess off and achieved the bare minimum required. Some scored more, some less. But then that was never a topic of discussion. And never did the feelings of jealousy touch us in any way. Neither did vanity. 

But through all this fun and joy there were no excesses. We knew our boundaries. We knew our limits. And that mix of enjoyment and hard-work, focus and relaxation, Innocence and maturity and playfulness and responsibility was very important.

It has been the foundation on which our later lives have been built. It has taught me, not only to survive but to enjoy survival. 

But life sometimes takes you by a surprise. And you become part of a movie wherein the script is not yours and the director is someone else. And then life becomes a roller coaster ride. Enjoyable at times but mostly unpredictable. Sometimes our individual gambles worked and sometimes our well thought plans went awry. And life’s treadmill gave no time to relax and reflect. One was just reacting to the situations. Running endlessly and climbing higher and higher, for a better view of the world. Then kids arrive, parents become old and responsibilities start bogging you down. You have to pay the bills, pay the salaries of your staff, arrange for loans, pay the monthly instalments of various loans, etc., etc.,., You still do, what you have to do for your profession. You put in hours of hard work and endure lack of sleep. But the fun slowly starts leaving you and life becomes routine and mechanical. It’s like flowing along with the dull flow of the river. Doing what others are doing. Striving for possessions that others have. And aiming for higher positions that few others have achieved. 

In all this process a good 10-20 years are lost. You are surrounded by the same bunch of people everyday. Family at home. Employees at your business or colleagues at your work place. Monotony sets in. Like an ant which follows the ant ahead of it, we start following someone ahead of us, in matters of buying a house, decorating it, choosing the kids schools, going on vacations, accumulating possessions, etc. Blissfully unaware of where it is leading us to. 

Regimented into a life I didn’t bargain for, I further lost my love of reading and writing. And I kept on thinking of it as an useless exercise. All mind games. And totally non-productive. 

In all this process, I lost almost a decade. Was not in touch with my rainbow of friends. In my heart I wanted to, but the tough conditions, geographical distances and tight routine somehow suppressed that hearts desire. 

And then the river of life, in it’s torturous and turbulent journey somehow dropped me through a huge roaring waterfall. And when I raised my face above the bubbly waters for a breath of air, I saw the rainbow again. The rainbow of all dear friends. It was a great relief connecting with them again. Felt that I won’t be accepted as I was away for a long time. But no. It was all like old times. 

Felt alive again after a long time. Felt like a child again. The same exuberance, playfulness and deviousness came back in an instant. 

And then I started irritating my friends again. Irritating with my jabbering, irritating with my toxic comments and pulling everybody’s legs. 

Being on a Whatsapp group with friends, felt like almost staying together at the hostel.  As we chatted everyday. Some friends occasionally, some frequently but yes, always there is a chatter going on in the group. 

And the urge to write something started to come back. Words started to form in my mind. 

And then something unexplained motivated me to write something. To write what I feel. It’s what I feel honestly from my heart. 

The feelings matter in the end. The words may change. The feelings never will.

In a life full of duties and responsibilities. In striving to fulfil the desires of our near and dear ones. In trying to follow the customs and rituals of our respective families and communities. And in trying to make a living. We neglect ourselves. Our sense of duty and responsibility towards others makes us forget that we ourselves also need some attention. Need some relaxation. Need some peace. Or sometimes need to just lie down at night under the open sky and gaze at the stars with a blank mind. 

We need to drop our masks and our pretensions. We need to be just ourselves. We need to be naked from all the layers covering us, that we have accumulated over years. 

And that is possible only with the rainbow of our friends. A place where one doesn’t have to pretend. One can be oneself and still be loved and kicked in equal measure. 

Being in touch has helped me in many ways. It has restored my sanity. And my love for life. And I have started my nonsense writings again. 

Let everybody find and meet their friends again.

And create their very own rainbow again.