‘Hi, I’m Riya. What’s your name?’ ‘So, where are you from?’ ‘Are you vegetarian?’ ‘Where did you study?’ ‘Married?’ ‘Children?’.
All these are opening queries we ask when we meet someone new Or, when we are networking at work. With every question asked, the person is slotting you into a category. Why do we need to know all these background information? They are useless if we are trying to make friends.
So, tell me who is your best friend? Or who is your most recent friend? By ‘friend’, I mean a real, physically present, close person who knows you. Do not count your twitter or facebook or any social media friends whom you have never met or communicate with them more online. When was the last time, as an adult you met a person who went on to become your best friend? Chances are that the last time we made friends was in college or in one of our first jobs. But a more recent, close friend hardly exists. As we grow older, we become more cynical, independent, distrustful of others. We start building walls around our heart. Layers of social behaviour cover up our basic nature.
So, what are you at heart? A simple person who just wants to live a normal life. To become that person again, we need to go back to our childhood before consciousness set in and we inadvertently started following society rules and social behaviors.
I wish I could be six again so I could become that innocent person again who I am at heart. An age when we are not so cynical or judgemental. We are not prejudiced against gender, color, region, religion and all our identity markers. They were not relevant at that age of six. Why do they become relevant now? Why can’t we accept people as they are as a human instead of checking out on their backgrounds? We then slot the person into the little cubicles we have created in our minds. A lady in a sari is a homely person, a lady in a more modern outfit is an educated person, or someone who is having a particular accent is slotted into the region or religion.
Release these cubicles in our minds, and we will surely make new friends who will become our best friends. A friend who will be there in person during our good or bad days, to laugh with us, to exchange our fears, or just to have a chat.