My mother was the first acquaintance I ever made. And, although this seems like an odd statement to make, in retrospect, I don’t think there is any other way to narrate the short story of how I made my first friend, ever.
When we were younger, there was only one simple way to describe people that we briefly knew, and that was to say that we’re friends. “She’s my friend,” we said, without thinking twice.
But, soon enough, we learned that most times, people were just 'acquaintances' or 'co-workers' -- not everybody was a ‘friend’.
Sometimes, the transition from an acquaintance to a life-long friend is a short one, and other times, some people stay acquaintances forever.
According to Google, the definition of an acquaintance is, ‘a person one knows slightly, but who is not a close friend’. And, rightly enough, my mother was the first acquaintance I ever made.
For the simple reason that although I knew this woman ever since I was in her womb, the truth was that she was just an acquaintance, and, we became friends only once I finally got the opportunity to have met her in person.
In the beginning of our acquaintanceship, she obviously did all the talking, while infant I stared at her without blinking. Her voice was familiar, even though I could not recall where I had heard it before. Of course, the fact that she knew me better than I knew her still stood, but friendship was always a two-way street, was it not?
Eventually, words rolled out of my mouth, and all the questions that I had, were answered by my affectionate first acquaintance, who was now the first friend I ever made.
My mother was the first friend I ever made. And, not bound by genealogy, today, we remain friends not because she is my birth-giver, but because being friends with her was a conscious choice and commitment that I made many years ago and continue to honor even to this day. And, isn't that what friendship is about?
As human beings, we are often governed by our emotions. And, if you ask me my take on the very little I’ve understood about friendships, I think that the world is a vast ocean full of friend ‘ships’ floating all around.
There is so much love in friendship and friendship is just another form of love. All we have to do is be observant enough to notice the thousand words that are spoken in the comfort of silence.
And soon enough, the art of observation will reveal that if you look close enough, friendship is memory; it is remembering that your office friend loves chocolates every time you pop a KitKat into your mouth.
Friendship is a habit; it is watching two old men punctually meet at the same rusty bar down the street every Thursday for the last 30 years.
Friendship is love; it is watching your mother slip down the stairs only to be followed by your father, who is sure to pick her up once he is done chuckling.
Friendship is religious harmony; it is respecting Ganesh Chaturthi and Eid just as much as Christmas.
Friendship is comfort; it is sitting in the hospital lobby while your friend says his final goodbye to his father.
Friendship is sharing; it is three people hiding under a single raincoat and getting soaked anyways.
Friendship is heartbreak; it is having to forget people that you wished would have stayed for however long ‘forever’ lasted.
Friendship is commitment; it is video calling your long-distance friend every day, despite the 5 hour time difference.
Friendship is non-verbal communication; it is sitting in comfortable silence and watching the sun go down.
Friendship is pure; it is moving with no malice.
Friendship is sacrifice; it is waking up at 5 am to go on a hike with your friends despite wanting to sleep in.
Friendship is messy; it is having to clean up debris from a plane you did not crash.
Friendship is motivation; it is accompanying your friend to the gym and encouraging each other to lose the unhealthy weight or gain some. The list of what friendship really is will never end because there is no definite way to describe a feeling that is shared by billions of people.
Truth be told, I have never truly been able to bring it down to a single definition. And, I don’t think I ever will because friendship is ever changing. It is not destiny, but fate.
And, if I'm being honest, most feelings are better felt than described because, as American writer Ram Dass beautifully put, after all, “we’re all just walking each other home.”