Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I will tell you one, and you tell me another...

Many of my friends do not read fiction. They are exclusively non-fiction readers, who read to know, to think and to understand. They take a look at my book collection and change the subject. Archie comics are not great conversation starters except with 20 something females.

But they love to hear stories. Whenever I bond with my friends, it is over a story. It could be from their lives, from mine, or the stories from the life of a friend of a friend or a story that they have seen or heard, in turn.

Meeting with old friends always turn into story telling sessions. We ask about the major characters, do not forget the minor ones and listen to the introduction of newer characters. Some stories are left unfinished - or rather, they find their endings in limbo. And together we weave our stories of what was, what is and what will be.These are relationships that keep us strong, these are the stories that make us who we are. Sometimes we walk away from those stories, disowning the other characters, but we do remember the stories, and use them for our own How-To, and more often How-Not-To maps.

Meeting new friends is different, very much so. Each story that they do tell is like a tiny step that a very vary and very injured bunny take towards you. You never know how to react, you curb the instinct to reach out and touch it,as you will scare it away. You want to help, you want to be there, but trust has to be earned, stories have to be told, and all the time you have to keep in mind that the bunny may eventually go back into the wild. And you share your stories too, wondering if there is a common thread, and then realizing that a common thread, while bonding the stories together, is not necessary in itself. Transient relationships have a peculiar beauty of their own, something that you can never find in the comforting blanket of enduring friendships.And you will never know; until many months and many years have passed as to which of the new ones will metamorph into a beautiful butterfly and fly away, and which of them will be the bold squirrels who stick around and follow when you walk through the park.

And that brings us into unfinished stories. Some relationships are left halfway through. You never know why that friend never called again or why the other one wanted to end it all. You can never understand why this one changed so completely and why another one did not.Often, the unfinished stories are the ones you think of in completely random moments in your life, and slowly give up trying to figure out. You stop wondering if they were butterflies whom you thought were squirrels or squirrels who eventually moved away because you did not extend a hand.

So friends of old and new, friends to be and former friends; let us sit down once in a while, and just tell stories for a few laughs, shocks and tears.

It will be fun, I promise.


Vimal said...

Much better background :)

Madhu K M said...

Beautifully written. Loved the Squirrel and butterfly allegory.