Single Servings…

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23/05/2012 by Siddiqui Fayesal

I learnt this phrase from the movie Fight Club. Like almost everything about the story this too was a succinct manner of describing a singular event or “one-timer”. Just yesterday it got me thinking over it. Being on a study leave gives a lot of free time to ponder. Without getting into the irony of the situation, I’ll jump right onto it, let’s just say that my study leaves leave a lot to be desired at the time of the finale!

I was waiting outside my library with a couple of friends for another team of mates to join us for tea. In totality we are around a group of 8. So, around 4 of us were waiting for the remaining so that we’d take our chai break together. I was waiting and I just got thinking about this gregarious behaviour. Out of the 7 others I knew only 1 before coming to this library. And my study leave was just 2 months old! I was wondering how this fealty, sort of, would end! We’re having lunch together, we time our breaks in such a way that we all need a break around the same time, the works. Brotherhood, friendship or just plain old one timers.

Friendship. Should we be so charitable with everyone we meet that we elevate them to this high a pedestal? Isn’t it calling someone a friend in just a few weeks time a sort of sacrilege to the very essence of the word “friend”? Isn’t it friendship, in all its grammatical variances, supposed to mean a bond deeper than any? Isn’t this the very reason why the narrator calls such people as “Single Servings”?

Of course it was a bit different, after all, what I’m talking about didn’t only last a day or an hour. This togetherness with the other 7 of my library mates has lasted for more than two months. But what after this gets over? Would we call each other and plan an outing? Or a movie? Or just call to say a Hi which, let me be really honest, is the most difficult to do. Where would our comradeship be once we don’t see each other every single day for a stretch of at least 10 hours! Would we survive the incoherence of the mundane everyday and still be what we slyly call being in touch? Would we be able to face any of them after, say, a year or so and not have a nagging guilty feeling at the back of our mind condescending us about the lack of initiative? Maybe not. But that’d only be because we’d be busy telling off the guilt that he, or she, didn’t call either.

For all its worth that’s a very valid point of view but it’s sort of a vicious circle and we can’t just keep slipping the puck can we?

So, to come back to the uncomfortable question, are these people friends in the true sense or are they just single servers? Do they qualify to be given the immense responsibility of being included in your innermost harem? These questions have no answers and the only reason for that is that we’ve been very easygoing with labelling our acquaintances, our class mates, our twitter followers or our seniors in school the label of a “Friend”.

No, all your class mates are NOT your friends.

No, all your facebook friends are NOT your friends. Not more than half, at least.

I’ve got 257 friends on facebook and I know how many and I am in regular correspondence with. Not more than, maybe, 30 of them. This small clique is my group of friends in the truest sense of the word. In the raw, original, potent and radical sense of the word. I know what all my friends are up to. I know when they’re out of town. I know when they’re planning a movie.

In a Utopian world this would be a fair and down right acceptable definition of the word “Friend”. Now, unfortunately we do NOT live in a Utopian lie. The word friend has undergone tremendous transformation. In the days of yore you had few friends but those people knew of every sin and saintly behaviour; knew of every skeleton in your closet. Nowadays we not only not trust our friends, we also doubt them in all their capacities.

Now, we have a separate “friend list” for every activity or place. We’ve got our “good friends”, then we’ve got “ok ok friends” or a “just a hi and bye friend”. Also, we’ve got definitions like “cranky friends”, “crap in your pants friends” or just a “society friend”.

For God’s sake now we’ve even got “friends with benefits”!!!

So, from my high handed approach to the subject in the start of my essay i’ll castigate myself and take a leap of faith. I’ll say that by not including them into our lives’ various lists not only we’d do a great disservice to these single servers but we’d also be culpable of being a misanthrope! We’re not, by any stretch of imagination, going to try and fit in a Utopian concept into the real world notwithstanding its utter beauty of acceptability and radical design.

Instead, what we CAN do is give due justice to these friends. Respect them and adore them. Making friends are easy in today’s quick fix society; keeping them is quite a task. I made a few friends this summer amidst the cruel heat.

I intend to keep them. I might categorise them as my “library mates” (I hope you know who you are) to start with and then up them to my clique of real friends!

I’ve done this exact thing before, I hope those guys reading this know who I talk about, and I am sure I can do it again!

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