Two faces of the same

Weekend Musings

Sudhirendar Sharma*

Aren’t there two distinct sets of persons – one, whom we term ‘friend’ and the other, the ‘enemy’? Aren’t both identities embedded in one person only, as if these are two faces of the same person? We can’t see them together though; one is always hiding behind the other. If one is in ‘light’, the other is shrouded in ‘darkness’. This is one of the finest mysteries of human existence.

Not without reason though, it is often said that ‘we make our own enemies’? Interestingly, enemies don’t exist on their own, but are essentially drawn or carved out from our existing ‘friends’ only. Without the person first being a ‘friend’ s/he cannot be an ‘enemy’. Enigmatically, to qualify the criteria of being an ‘enemy’, one has to be a ‘friend’ first. This is how it goes – if there is an expiry date on every consumable item, so is on friendship. For whatever be the reasons, ‘expiry date’ best justifies such transition in a person (friend) becoming an ‘enemy’. Need I say that the ‘best of friends’ make the ‘worst of enemies. Lyricist Anand Bakshi summed up such transition मेरे दोस्त किस्सा यह क्या हो गया, सुना है के तू बेवफा हो गया.

Does that mean ‘friendship’ is a risky business? Should we be prepared for it the moment we make someone a ‘friend’? Seemingly so, but nobody reads so much into the future! However, if we do so it could easily be termed preposterous. But such is its impact on our psyche that we begin to lose ‘trust’ in the same person, on whom we had vested our trust to start with. Is inborn human virtue of ‘trust’ so vulnerable? No wonder, subsequent to a ‘friendship’ gone wrong what emerges in public is ‘rubbish’ that ‘friendship’ had kept under the ‘wraps’.  Poet extraordinary Shailendra summed it up : दोस्त, दोस्त ना रहा, प्यार, प्यार ना रहा. If that be so, isn’t ‘friendship’ a self-created convenience in time and space? It lasts till it lasts.

All said, let there be no doubt that ‘friendship’ is an unwritten bond between two persons. Anand Bakshi would define friendship as: यह दोस्ती हम नहीं तोड़ेंगे, तोड़ेंगे दम मगर तेरा साथ ना छोडेंगे. This is how it all begins, but that is only a part of it. But once a friendship is severed, a wall of ego gets erected in its place which defines ‘enemy-ship’. मेरे दुश्मन तू मेरी दोस्ती को तरसे, मुझे ग़म देने वाले तू खुशी को तरसे. My sense is that Anand Bakshi may have suffered the worst in friendship to pen such frustration and anguish.

Does that mean we should not make friends or be friendly? Humans are gregarious animals, and can’t live without the other. Friendship has virtues over relationships. Friendship lasts longer provided it is without ‘expectation’ and ‘judgement’. Both of these features erode all relations, friendship being the most vulnerable. It is a test of our mutual endurance to sustain friendship. Anand Bakshi is back in letting us know that जिंदगी इम्तिहान लेती है, लोगों की जान लेती है. Friendship is a virtual test of human values and spirit.

All said, one enjoys the company of friends without being concerned about what the future might hold. For poet Hasrat Jaipuri, friendship is all about interdependence: एहसान मेरे दिल पे तुम्हारा है दोस्तों ये दिल तुम्हारे प्यार का मारा है दोस्तों. Such is the human nature that despite all odds we continue to make new friends.

I have observed people saying ….look, that guy looks friendly… as if there is a sensor in us that can spot such vibes. This so-called sensor is what makes life interesting and challenging. This sensor is that of ‘empathy’ and ‘concern’. If we nurture these two aspects, ‘friendliness’ will feature in our dealings. Nothing is lost till it is lost!

It is the ‘friendliness’ that should be cultivated. Friendship is the result of friendliness, which is a trait worth nurturing. Friendship is ‘subjective’, whereas friendliness is ‘objective’.  In fact, friendliness as a feeling/emotion should be cultivated, and perhaps that is what we all unknowingly pursue. Else, friendships would have long failed to exist.


*Sudhirendar Sharma is an environmental journalist and a development professional. He has also written extensively on Hindi film music. Some of his Music Notes can be seen under Taan-Tarang (तान-तरंग) category on this website. His previous Weekend Musings can be seen here.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the author and do not reflect the views of which does not assume any responsibility for the same.


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