Solitude, you have been a constant presence in my life.
Even as a child, I remember feeling like the odd one out amidst a crowd. I had friends, sure. They were of varied personalities. Some were studious, some were easy-going and casual, some were rigid followers of rules while some were born rule-breakers and trend-setters. I thought I fit with all of them, even though I didn’t share their traits.
If you ask me, I still do not know which personality trait describes me best. Am I easy-going? Sometimes. Am I uptight? About some things. Am I casual? Yes. Am I a rule-breaker? Sometimes. Am I a trend-setter? I try to. And yet, for some reasons, I find myself on my own at this point of time, with nary a friend beside.
I often ponder about where I went wrong. Was I a loyal friend? I believe I was. I kept secrets that were shared in confidence by my friends. I participated in the activities they enjoyed even though I didn’t care much about those activities. I spent quality time with them, was available for them in times of need. I tried to bridge the generation-gap between my friends and their parents. Whenever I felt my friends were going astray, I tried to give them sound advice. Till my teenage years, my friends were a large part of my life, and I, of theirs.
As time passed, we grew up, passed through our school and college years, pursued higher education courses and got into jobs which did not allow us to meet as often as we used to. And yet I tried. I kept as much contact with my friends as I could. I was the one always pestering them to find agreeable dates to meet and dine together. When jobs and household responsibilities became more demanding, I started keeping in touch through emails. My A4-size-paper-long emails were replied with single-lined emails.
When I discovered the joy of WhatsApp, I created a group so that all of us could stay connected. Apart from the occasional ‘Good morning’ message, the group stayed idle. Ironically, it is WhatsApp that broke my will to retain friendship with those who have been a large part of my childhood. I mean, nothing could be easier to stay in touch than WhatsApp. You can call over video, you can chat and get instant replies and share news immediately. And if my friends did not want to do even that, then what was the point of trying any more from my side? I withdrew into myself. The biggest shock was realizing that none of my ‘friends’ reacted to my absence.
My dogged-loyalty to my friends only brought loneliness to me. For a long time, I believed that I am not friend-material. But not anymore. I know I did all I could.
Like the lone wolf, I succeeded in converting loneliness into solitude and stand tall, no longer a part of any ‘pack’ but enough on my own.
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