Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Vanished Friend

Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city that has no end;
Yet days go by, & weeks rush on,
And before I know it a year is gone,
And I never see my old friend's face,
For life is a swift & terrible race.
He knows I like him just as well
As in the days when I rang his bell
And he rang mine. We were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men:
Tired with playing a foolish game,
Tired with trying to make a name.
"Tomorrow," I say, "I will call on Jim,
Just to show I am thinking of him."
But tomorrow comes & tomorrow goes,
And the distance between us grows & grows.
Around the corner – yet miles away…
"Here's the telegram, Sir…
'Jim died today'."
And that's what we get, & deserve in the end:
Around the corner, a vanished friend.

- Charles Hanson Towne

I was reminded of this poem yesterday when I got a call from one of my oldest & very dear friends. We’ve been friends for over 13 years now; which I would like to believe is a pretty long time. But we haven’t really been in touch for a LONG time now, always citing the reason of being “busy” with work.

Yesterday, I felt terrible when I had to ask him who it was; I didn’t even recognize his voice. He commented it showed how less we were in contact & both of us realized that work has taken such a huge toll on us that we could not even make the effort to remain in touch; forget meeting personally (considering he stays only 15 minutes away from my house).

Makes me wonder whether all this is worth it. I am reminded of another poem by William Henry Davies – “What is this life if full of care, We have no time to stand & stare”

Monday, May 21, 2007

Appreciating People

The other day, one of my very good friends, sent me an sms as part of her personality development programme. It read: “Hi…Wanted to tell you that am very lucky to have someone as wonderful, caring & loving as you in my life. Thanks for being there.”

Instead of being delighted about it, the very first thought that came to mind was “Is she contemplating suicide or elopement”? I know it sounds pretty disgusting but isn’t that how we all are? I mean, just recollect the last time someone gave you a compliment/an appreciation note. Instead of accepting the same gracefully, we either question the person’s intentions or think that the message may not be for us after all. That was what I thought as well. Did she really intend sending me this message???

I decided to try out the same on my friends – people who I believe are really important in my life. The following were their responses:
“What happened? Are you sure this message was for me? If it was, I am very flattered. Thanks.
“What happened? Was that forwarded message? Or you really mean it?”
“Eh? Was that for me?”
“Hey, what’s with you? Did that message come to me by mistake?”
“Just wanted to know what prompted that”

Not a single friend of mine gracefully accepted the acknowledgement I was giving him / her. Only after I replied that nothing was the matter with me & it indeed was meant for the intended person, did responses pour in like, “The feeling is mutual”, “I am thankful for having you in my life as well”, etc.

I know the importance I have in my friend’s life & she in mine. It’s only that we have never got around probably to appreciating it like this – in writing!!!!! But I really liked the “experiment” & would suggest all of you to try out the same on your friends as well. It’s a wonderful way to assure them of the things they probably take for granted.