Do you have a true friend?
You may think that I'll start this article with a traditional approach i.e. with the age-old definition of a friend, "Someone who never leaves your side, is always with you in good and bad times, stands by you through success and failure and never misses a single opportunity to make you happy and smile."
Unfortunately, my definition of a true friend is quite different.
According to me, the word "friend" stands for something completely opposite to the definition I mentioned above. I know how hard it is to find a true friend; it is probably the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life.
I am aware of my faults and flaws but isn't a friend someone who would accept you the way you are?
I am just like any regular girl who is slightly melodramatic, loves being pampered, enjoys getting attention and does every other thing that comes to mind when you think of a conventional girl. I won't lie by saying that I'm different.
But the only hardship I’d ever faced was finding a friend.
True friendship turned out to be a "long distance story" for me, something that I’d never imagined.
It was an ordinary day, 27th January 2015, which later turned extraordinary. I was on Facebook - uploading pictures, checking the number of likes and comments I’d received and so on. Eventually, I started talking to a random person on Facebook.
I assumed that the guy was my friend's cousin since both of them shared the same last name. Initially, I was very comfortable while introducing myself, but it turned out that he was not the person I’d assumed him to be. He was basically a random stranger who looked really weird but spoke in a wonderful way.
It appeared that he was trying to make me fall for him and I had to be very cautious of protecting myself from falling into a trap.
But I ended up talking to him every day on Facebook. After the initial chats, I gradually learned that his parents were also doctors like mine. At this stage, our bond inadvertently took a new turn.
It reached a level where we would talk about our parents' jobs, the hospitals they visited, how did they end up in their field and other nonsensical stuff. Basically, we couldn’t get rid of each other even though we tried to.
That’s when I realized that he matched the first point of my definition of a friend.
"You know that you can't tolerate each other, you can't stand the nonsense, yet, you can't get rid of the other person."
Once the first point was checked off my list, I asked him for his number so that we could talk more often on WhatsApp. Since we were friends, why restrict ourselves from using different platforms for communication?
One of my principle characteristics is that I get attached to people too soon.
However, I don't think of it as my weakness; I often mention this point in bold on the list of my strengths. Now that I had his number, I saved it immediately but he had fooled me with a wrong number. As soon as he realized his mistake, he sent me his original number with a foolish smiley.
He pretended to be smart but he didn't know me well. It's very difficult to act smart in front of me!
Soon we started communicating on WhatsApp. It began with those boring conversations all over again until we gradually started sharing things about ourselves. We would talk about our dreams and ambitions, our hobbies, passions, everything.
Very soon I discovered that we were poles apart.
He wanted to become an engineer whereas I wanted to be a doctor. He loved eating tandoori and biryani whereas I preferred Chinese. He liked Rock while I enjoyed slow melodies. We had so many differences.
But that was the time when he fulfilled the second point on my list.
"A friend is not a mirror image of you because then you'd get bored of doing the same things. You'll never get an opportunity to do something different."
To me, a friend is one who is “not compatible with you at all, makes you feel repulsive, but you are still attracted towards that person. “ Yes, I mean all the words I’ve mentioned here. By then, I considered him to be my friend.
As you can imagine, it was only virtual till then, as we hadn’t met. I first saw him in the month of April when I went to give an entrance exam. He waited with my mom for two hours to say ‘Hi’ to me.
We joked that he got acquainted with my mother before even interacting with me face-to-face. Jokes apart, it was a memorable day as I finally got to see the person whom I’d been speaking to for so long.
He was shy and maintained a distance and I was also in the same state of mind.
I tried to act smart but he was a stranger who knew all my secrets, my dreams, everything.
Whenever things are going smoothly, God has other plans for you. He never makes things easy or simple; he never wants you to spend your life the way you envisioned it! I was no exception.
I couldn't crack any medical entrance exam and had no option but to study engineering, which I never wanted!
Suddenly, there was no one to stand by me for encouragement and motivation. My dad was extremely disheartened but he tried to hide it just to make sure that I was not shattered. My mom cried profusely and cursed me for wasting time and not studying when it was actually needed.
But he stood by my side. He met me once again and explained everything to me in his own words.
He made me understand that even though I would have to leave my city and go to a strange new place, this one decision could change my life forever.
He promised to help me and take care of everything. I was touched. I didn't know whether he meant his words or not, but I valued them. I took an important decision in my life and decided to study engineering.
After this incident, he also matched my third expectation of friendship.
"A friend is a person who will ask you to behave in a way that is very different from what you are used to and he will stand out in the crowd while making this decision for you."
Yes, he was different. That day, not only did he motivate me but also encouraged me to do something out-of-the-box. He also made me realize that my parents would always accept me the way I am and that I shouldn’t feel guilty about what happened.
The support I got that day was much needed and it made me a totally different person, unlike others my age.
When I came to college and found myself in a disastrous hostel life, I was completely heartbroken. I cried every day and felt like running to my city at every given opportunity.
Everything was difficult and new for me to digest and understand; adjusting to it was an entirely different story.
Even though he had no experience of hostel life, he helped me brave through the struggle and somehow, he managed to bring a smile to my face at the end of the day.
Not only did he solve my hostel issues but also helped me with my mathematics course, which was such a nightmare for me. He taught me programming as well. It was my fault that I ignored his lectures and found them boring, but he was an awesome teacher.
This quality matched the fourth point on my list.
"A friend is a person who will help you no matter where you are; whether or not he knows the stuff you're dealing with."
Though he has all these great positive points, he does have a few negatives too. He is a person who can never relate to your situation. He will immediately make a judgment, which can push you to punch his face.
I don't want to elaborate much on this because I believe that ‘forgive and forget’ are two important powers that every person should possess.
I can't get everything from a single person but I have got almost everything that I wanted from a true friend.
I can now define what a true friend means to me. Sarthak is my definition of a true friend.