I met my secondary school classmate yesterday in Singapore. He lives in Germany.
Apart from the sheer pleasure of seeing someone from yesteryears, especially one from your school years, there is also the comfort feeling of being in a position to discuss any topic under the sun without any inhibitions. This is not possible in a friends’ gathering where most people may be just acquaintances. It is not even possible with close friends whose friendship has been acquired during the business or social life, as possibility exists of misunderstanding one’s thoughts.
Yesterday I felt like talking to my old classmate about certain topics like how I am turning into a socialist (from a capitalist) and how I feel guilty of not having contributed enough to society. I do feel a little odd when I am having an expensive lunch/dinner or even having a good coffee sometimes, because occasionally my thoughts stray towards the refugees and orphans who are streaming from the Middle East to Europe without even the possibility of having a good meal. I am not sure if my smallish contribution to an orphanage in India is reflective of what I could have done better over the years.
I shared with my classmate friend about the annual guilt removal feature that exists in many of us who make a small donation and get away from all the poor, inadequate, sick and orphaned children. Money can never replace time. We should be contributing our own time for free (I mean those of us who are decently well off), rather than just throw some money and in the process attempt to address our guilt.
I believe this was a good discussion as I was able to articulate what my restless mind seems to be telling me in an incessant manner. I was comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings with my friend in a mutually friendly manner. I think this provided a lot of comfort to me and my soul.
As I was returning home, my mind was contemplating the quiet support that my friend appeared to be extending to my views, notwithstanding any difference of opinion that might have existed. I believe it is a critical facet of friendship and understanding. In fact, my friend and I are almost at the opposite ends on another topic – religions and godmen. I explained my position given that my friend is of a different viewpoint, and there was mutual quiet acknowledgement of our respective positions without any attempt to thrashing out such positions. I did tell him that I had attempted such things in the past with relatives and friends’ groups and eventually reconciled myself that sometimes it is better to keep things to oneself. In other words, achieve peace without acrimony of any sort !
Well, it was a great meeting, and I look forward to more such interactions wherein my comfort level allows me to share more of myself with my old friends. I relish the opportunity to do so !
Bon Voyage my friend.
21st November 2015