Of friendship (extended)

Istiaque Ahmed Nahian, a literature nerd, playfully reflects on the meaning of friendship.


Apologies for trying to be a literature nerd, and salutations for those who did not get the title, because you are in for a treat. Barnackles! Almost typed ‘colon D’! Anyways, the topic of my piece is also casual like my writing style. It is about FRIENDSHIP.
The word FRIEND is a tricky one, some will focus on the END part and some will focus on the FRI part (as a chilled out holiday). Whatever it may, friends and friendship is like water and glass. Both need to be present for a proper drink of water. A glass can also represent one’s social circle. In our society we see someone who is a tequila glass and we also see someone who is a big pint one. Please stop reading if I am not making any sense.
Jelaluddin Rumi also compared friendship with glasses and drink related stuff, you guessed it right! Wine. In his poem ‘The many wines’ he said, ‘….any wine will get you high. Judge like a king and choose the purest…’
Any friend is a good company. But we have to choose the company that is best for us. For example, the most popular kid in high school may not be the right person to share one’s problem with. His or her affection towards one may not consist of the emotional concentration that is fit for the soul. A friend does not necessarily have to be a solver of problems.  The least a friend can do is to be a good listener.
In Bangladesh’s concept, the word ‘friend’ bears more weight than anything else as parent-childhood friendship is still a far-fetched idea. Friends are the only one in our country who can monitor and manipulate a person in both positive and negative ways. From the first drag of the Benson to the last packet of a Durex, our buddies are always watching or scratching our backs. But the question is, do we really get to choose our friends? Okay, now I’ll take a break from my casual style to avoid casualties.
Due to the modern day technology, nothing remains unknown to us. Recently we have come across various tragic cases of suicides including some high profile celebrities. This points us to the fact that depression is a white elephant in the room. Our mental health hugely depends on our surroundings. Everyone needs someone to share their stories with. People need to converse with others and share their views in case of making crucial life decisions. Depression is a result of being felt unwanted and it kills one many times before one’s death. It’s pretty much like the GNR song, ‘Everybody needs somebody, you’re not the only one’.
People may blame social media and other electronic devices for the incubation of human mind, but I think we can do better than this. Human mind is too great to be lassoed by its own creation. Nothing can replace human interaction. People need to stop believing that their problems are greater than themselves. We are called humans because we have the trait to think about others. It is high time we start acting like one. People who are not attached to anything or anyone cannot bring the world any good. We won the great war of 71 only because of friendship. On the battlefield, the longing for eternal camaraderie worked as a boost for the freedom fighters. In their head, they were always thinking how they would hug their dear friends after returning to their country victorious and share their story of triumph.
I believe friends are particles of our own selves. We get to see what we really are through our friend’s actions and conversations. They are like our convertible library, never ending treat for the soul. Shams and Rumi act as a perfect example of it. Shams was a major influence on Rumi’s poesy. After the mysterious disappearance of Shams the dervish, Rumi went berserk. He went to Damascus in search of him. Their day long conversations were answers to the questions of the ever turbulent soul. Shams was one of the very few who understood the concept of ‘Qalb’ (mind within a mind). Initially Rumi was not informed about the death of Shams, but later he gained emancipation through Shams’s previous teachings. He thought to himself, ‘Why should I seek? I am the same as he. His essence speaks through me. I have been looking for myself!’
A friend does not have to be a Circuit to a Munna Bhai, or a Jenny to a Gump. A friend just has to be there when needed. Everyone is not capable of shouting out their difficulties and questions. So, if you are a serpent, freeze that tongue of yours and listen, and if you are a bear, give your buddy a tight hug. Everyone needs it from time to time.
Istiaque Ahmed Nahian is a student of University Of Dhaka.


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