How important is a common context to the quality our friendships with the people around us? I ask the question as I notice how increasingly my conversations with distant friends either reach stalling halts for lack of common topics to discuss .. or turn back to the common context we once shared for saving grace. And funnily enough people I share little with in terms of POV or attitude, I have little trouble talking to for extended periods of time … simply because we have common context to fall back on. Procterites are infamous for their irritating ability to break into acronym talk when put together in a room. Is it cause the company culture binds us all together so strongly (!??!) or because all of us wonderfully creative inspired souls have little to be creative or inspired about once we step outside the walls of the P&G office? Spouses and families of procterites will tell you about instances where they almost killed the errant procterite member (or themselves) for indulging in excessive TLAism (TLA – Three Letter Acronym). There has to be a good reason this happens right? There has to be a wonderful explanation somewhere that acquits these brilliant people from the crime they’re being accused of right? And an explanation to describe what drives distant people apart for real? Is context the answer to all this?
There are the rare friends we make regardless of context of course … like when Kunal walked into my hostel room on our first Saturday in IIMB and struck up a conversation about nothing in particular … we drifted from talk of his Sudipta to my Sharmili .. my mom and his mom .. and his grand mom … about campus life and our ambitions .. about his Bombay and my Bombay (both very different Bombays mind you!) and we talked on until the first rays of the sun shone into my room and shocked us both out of our conversational inertia and we decided to call it a night!!! And became incredibly good friends thereon! No context or common past to hold us together … no common interests … just 2 people talking and listening … rare .. but possible! Similar stories do exist … Kavita (what a weird connection to have with someone I only met thrice!), Kinky (dude .. how did it start???), Sai (bless his wonderful soul for just being there) and so many more!!!
But most friends are created of context aren’t they … like Sharmili who ended up traveling with me to Borivali every evening of March 2002 because a common friend was on leave preparing for the GRE… and thus we were brought together of sheer habit … this isn’t to undermine in any way how wonderful Shamu is .. or how well she ‘gets’ people .. and a very difficult me in particular … but it was really just our circumstances and the 8.10 local that paved the way for the amazing no bounds friendship we share today … similar stories can be told of Sohit (elections at IIMB .. gah!), Nayak (moving to Singapore together), Aparna (living together) … and so many more!!!
The big ‘HOWEVER’ I’ve concluded over time (and some amazing friends) is that context only matters to how relationships start … it never bothers how they survive … all that matters is how relationships survive time and disagreements … the ones that go through more time (and expectedly more disagreements) thrive and flourish the best I guess :) Context has so little to do with the quality of any of my most cherished relationships … faith and support (yeah yeah did I really expect anything else!) respect and tolerance have a much much larger role to play … and of course that thing we choose not to not mention too often cause we’re all mature adults who abhor shmuck – LOVE!!!
Which leaves the procterites guilty as charged … but id be lying if I said I didn’t see THAT one coming!! :D
Coming up next .. useless post number 8 ... resolutions for 2007 ..