The smallest of cues in life can send your memories into the wildest of frenzies. A very close friend of mine shared a picture on my wall a few days ago, it had a typical boyish bunch and said, ‘Good friends bring cake on your birthday. Best friends bring beer.’ That little, random picture hit some spot in my mind and sent me thinking about clinking, cold bottles of beer, with beads of perspiration running down their neck, empty packs of cigarettes stuffed with ash, strewn around the rooftops, and the speakers crooning about the misery and meaning of life. It got me thinking about drunken stupors and hazy mornings, the countless nights spent passing shots and making promises; painting dreams of brotherhood that was to last for eternity. It got me thinking about how beer is the comfort drink in the world of drinks, a go to drink, a safe drink. If you’re going to hang around and chat about nothing in particular, the best drink to have in your hand is a beer. My mind had at this point made some connection between a safe drink and a safe group. I immediately thought about the go-to people in my life. I could waste a few lines heaping praises on them and attempting to describe what they mean to me, but I think it’s a feeling beyond the constraints of language. The question to ask though is, why do I go to them? Why not him, he’s a friend, he stays in my building? Or her, she works with me, we eat together? Why only them?
I realised, contrary to popular belief, we’re all extremely social beings. And especially, in urban cities, where we are constantly online, constantly in touch with multitudes of people at work, in the lift, at home, on the bus. We make friends easily, very very easily. And because it’s that easy, the word ‘friend’ doesn’t carry as much weight as did someday. Faces, maybe? or Voices? Acts? Okay, acquaintances. Yes, known faces that make getting through the day a little easier. However, are we truly honest with them? Could we ever be? Excess social interactions have forced us to forge a persona that we just present to others— an accent? A tier-1 city? Babbling western philosophies? I think sometimes even an upright back and a stacked out rack. The point is, the only time we are truly ourselves is either in private or when we are with our inner circle. The closest folks. We might be the prettiest of social butterflies, going to bars, clubs, parties and after parties, but all of this is mostly a show, it’s not who we are, it’s closer to who we think we should be. We are ourselves with only a handful of people out of the hundreds or thousands on our friend lists and dial contacts. Why? They judge just as much. They kick ass and call names. And if they wanted they could mess us up. But still them?! I don’t know, maybe it’s the sense of being an equal, but it works. Life gives us very few chances to meet true friends, and if we go about labelling everyone as a friend without much contemplation, chances of falling face first into muddy betrayal are very high.It’s more advisable to, as another post on my wall said, 'Keep your circle small, and your beer cold.'