Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Why do we need Friends?~The Art of Communication

Today, is my birthday.
But very few people know about it.
I have two Facebook accounts with approximately 1000 "friends". And about 50 people would know about my birthday. None wished. They were reminded either by me or by my status or wall posts. And hurriedly sent a message wishing me.

Friends- I recollect today, the lessons we are taught right from the kinder-garden about how friendship is that one relation that stands beyond classrooms, houses, matches , fights, and Life.
We are taught about how Friends are our "family" away from family and who add texture to our otherwise rudimentary and monogamous lives. And by the time we come to college, they inherit various other denominations such as "partners in crime", "BFFs"( Best Friends Forever), and we even often find our soul-mates in our friends.

I was quite disappointed with this particular friend of mine who was so engrossed in his problems that he too, forgot to wish me even when I'd hinted at it, just a day back. And as we began chatting, I told him how I feel so bad at times when my friends don't act the way I think they would. About how much I would love to feel special , wanted and needed by them, at least on my birthday.
To that he spurted, "why do we need friends for that?"

And I had no logical explanation. Yes, why do we need others to tell us how special we are. Why would they care if you're upset or cheerful. Yes, if you're cheerful then they'll smile with you but if you're drowsy then they'd find someone else who'd make them smile. No, they won't sit with you, hold your hand and tell you everything's gonna be fine.

It doesn't make them a bad person.It is an orientation, more of a sort. Like the saying goes,
When you laugh, the world laughs with you
When you cry, the world laughs at you..

All things said, I being a history student, trace back the cultural evolution of Mankind across centuries! What is the singe element that has transformed itself the most and has thereby transformed the reciprocity of Mankind itself so vividly?
It is, Communication.

Whatever man has done, it was to hone the art of Communication- with Nature, with one another individually and then across different groups of species. Communication has been central to our very existence. How Man learnt to communicate with the Nature around him- identification of the edible foods, invention of art, science and technology and languages.

In the twenty-first century, we have all aids of communication available to us at the wink of an eye- internet, telephone, mobile phone, social networking sites, mail, postage and what not. But havent' we stopped "communicating" like our forefathers did?The motive then was to reach out, to understand and then to reciprocate.

Today people prefer sending off a nice forwarded "Happy Birthday--God Bless you" SMS rather than calling you up and fretting to meet you and ask for a treat. Now chat has taken over those long lazy meetings friends once had during the Industrial Revolution which had then resulted in the tumult of the worker's union and had been a symbol of expression of one's views and opinions.

Why do we need friends? Why rely on others to find your happiness? Many great philosophers have talked of how happiness has to found within one's own self and how it then transcends on to others. All agreed. But, I beg to differ. If one could have possibly been satisfied with one's own self, then we probably would not have been emphasizing so much on the key word "Communication" today.

The difference between animals and the Mankind is that Man is a "social" animal. Man depends on himself and his surroundings to sustain himself and his family.By Man here, I am referring to Mankind in the broadest possible sense. It cannot be forgotten that it was the significant role of women that Mankind learnt to differentiate between tastes and sensibilities. Even today, females are considered more approachable and easier to communicate to, as compared to the men. In fact, hermaphrodites were used all across the globe to send and receive crucial secretive information in the medieval period. Thus, the sex-differentiation stands of no concern as far as the evolution of Mankind is concerned strictly.

Communication- reaching out, understanding and then reciprocating-- That is what makes us different than the other species. Our interaction with each other moves beyond the realm of  physical intercourse or food cycles. There are needs other than that- emotional dependency, societal pressures, emotional bonding and belonging and so many more. To put them  point wise would be a difficult task. But the point remains- we are all dependent on each other. Then why pretend otherwise? Why prove to ourselves and the people around us that we don't need them or that we can survive without them. Because the truth is, each one of them, make you the person that you are however insightful their roles may be.

I urge my readers, on my birthday- Please don't refrain to reach out. To tell the people around you that you love them. Because I have known the loss only too well, but I don't regret anything because I told them how much they meant to me and even when they are away, they'll always be part of my world, My Neverland.