It seems I have nothing left to say. I am bored with the two repetitive conversations, and the one, not so repetitive but most meaningless conversation:
- I visited Australia, holidaying with some close friends from Calcutta, and met up some old “friends” ( friend is just too general a term to describe such relationships. We went to school together, had most of our fun together, designed and executed high school pranks together, but have parted ways since school) in Melbourne. A few weeks ago, met with undergraduate friends in Chicago. And with all these people, after a few minutes of updating present details, a few more minutes of trying to talk about how our typical days are, the conversations jump back to memories. After some-time, I am just too tired of just reliving the memories.
- With friends in Madison: This has become so repetitive, that I can anticipate what my friend will say, what I will say in return and what he will say in return to that and so on. It will start with one of us talking about the wedding of some random dude from undergraduate. Then, we will all absorb in self-pity of our single lives and our inabilities to get a girl. Rinse and repeat, till last call. Early last year, one of the guys from Madison got married (sort of contradicts our conversations), and when he gets his wife over, we drown ourselves in whisky and endless games of UNO.
- Just sometimes, (and although I am grateful that we get out of this conversational infinite loop), 2-3 hours get lost in “discussing” India’s politics and how we can just not improve. I get in all my Rahul baba bashing in, someone tells stuff like indiscipline is our DNA etc and within a few minutes, I stop listening and just hear yada, yada, yada.
I’ve surrounded myself with so many like-minded people in Madison, that differences with my close friends seem to have blown completely out of proportion. (I guess, it is the case with my friends too. Unlike, school or college, my present contacts/acquaintances etc all have a similar background (nerdy, PhD types), while my friends, wherever they end up working, will have people with similar backgrounds.) It is my reaction to these differences that has startled me.
I’ve known Shriram and Srikant from since 1989. And since that time, we have know the kind of people we are: Shriram is the enthusiast, the spontaneous person, someone, who does not care about plans and things to do, just follows whatever he wants to do. And a damn good “convincer”. Srikant, has this completely laid-back, whatever attitude. He does not care about plans and such, because anything is fine with him. I am the most meticulous of the three. Not spontaneous, not laid-back. I like to plan things out, think about decisions etc. I get specially irritated when things just don’t go according to plans (my dream is to go on an unplanned holiday, just drive wherever kind of holiday, but I know I can never do that)
The clash of personalities was always there. Especially between Shriram and me. The great part about it was, the differences never bothered us. We would get into small fights, but sort it out finally in a manner in which both of us were happy.
But during the Australia trip, the differences just got to my nerves.
(eg. He wanted to spend an extra night in Port Campbell, I wanted to get back to Sydney as planned. We fought, I won, but I felt sour all trip long)
(eg. He wanted to rent a car in Cairns. I thought it was a waste of money. We rented one anyway)
(eg. I wanted to eat quick grab-and-go lunches from Subway, McD etc, he wanted elaborate restaurants. On the whole, this was even)
(eg. Both of us kept fighting on who would drive).
Both of us were expecting that we would get into fights. As we joked when Shriram’s wife tried to mediate: “Come on, we are on a holiday!”, that it is not fun unless we fight. These arguments did not bother me. It was just that, ever so often, I would get frustrated by our different takes. Negative thoughts like, I cannot even get along with my best friends etc would creep into me and make me miserable. It has me scared a lot.
It was not just the fighting, but our approaches to everything. Being surrounded by people who “think” just like I do, I have gotten very comfortable with the manner in which I go about things. To be then, suddenly meeting friends, but with a totally different approach to “go about things”, just yanked me out of my comfort zone.
There are these cliches about best friends just going on as if nothing ever happened. I hope they are just cliches. Time, work, colleagues, your location, have subtle ways of influencing us. I guess, accepting it and adjusting is also a part of “being” the best friend.