An Open Letter About ‘Friendship’

open letter

Sreekar Dhulipudi pens down his thoughts in an Open Letter on the friendships then and now and why our generation has come to a state of disconnect in a time of communication boom. Read his thoughts just as he has penned to find a kindred soul in him. He is all of Us. It is all about Us. 

“This day is dedicated to nostalgia and reminiscences. The day started with a video preparation for my dad’s old college mates’ get-together. In no time I’m lost in good old memories.”

“Those days gone by were really good. The satires while pulling each other’s leg, those silly arguments which sometimes transformed to ugly brawls, those funny functions – departmental days, college fests, annual days etc., those late night birthday celebrations, those numerous gossips associated with countless couples’ infatuations, those incessant canteen chatting and many more of those bygone college days reflections keep on haunting me all through the day. Soon I’m no longer able to keep up with these thoughts; I decided to put it down. And here I’m, in the wee hours at a McDonalds with a mocha, pouring out my feelings and subtle regrets.”

“How on earth can some group of friends be so closely connected with each other, even after 34 years past their graduation? It amazes me with wonder and makes me jealous when my dad often has these get-togethers with his pals. It’s not just a bunch of BFFs; the whole graduation batch gets to meet, most of the times. Pity me; just about a decade past my graduation, I doubt if I would be able to recite all the names of my batch mates and help me if I overlook someone, should they stumble across.”

“Not that I’m an introvert and make no friends. I boast about having a bunch of best BFFs and some handful of wonderful buddies. But I completely lost touch with the rest of my batch mates. Forget whereabouts, I don’t properly even remember physical appearances. Thanks to Facebook; more often than not, I get to see these folk whom I haven’t met or spoke in years and get to understand how excellent they have been up to. But, we all have those saints who don’t have a Facebook account; and among those who do, we have those silent who neither post a profile picture nor post any happenings. I strongly believe that it’s not just me; if not everyone, most of us from our generation are in the same situation. I compare with my peers, pals and colleagues; I seldom find someone attending an alumni gathering, rarely see someone going on a trip with a big bunch of buddies and never heard about a get-together or a re-union that was actually successful.”

“I keep on pondering to figure out the characteristic differences, between ourdads’ generation and ours, which might have made these drastic changes to our approach towards relationships. Two culprits that I credit our lack of togetherness to are Communication and Digitalization. Boon or bane, we are the supreme generation who witnessed the pinnacle of communication and digitalization revolution. We are also the extensive users of the churning by-product of these revolutions, Social Network.”

“The basic purpose for which one would meet a person is to communicate – seek some help, share a good news or socialize with some gossip etc. Our Communication Technology, mobile phones, emails and chat utilities etc., fulfil this requirement virtually; so why would one still meet a person? Though trivial, one can still meet a person to greet or treat. Our Digital Technology seizes this opportunity– at theclick of a mouse or at the touch of a screen, one can greet a person across borders(numerous video calling applications) and can treat him with anything, a gamut of merchandize from apple to Apple and a gamut of services from bouquet to banquet, in any remote corner of this world (countless e-commerce websites). How far apart you are, this makes your presence felt virtually; so why would one still meet a person?”

“Over the generations, given the technology that advanced and the socio-economic culture that progressed, human beings might have evolved too. While working with machines, to some extent, we might have personified them.We seem to accept more logic than emotion. For instance, it is more acceptable to order a cake on his birthday rather than knock his door and wish him, send a bouquet with your name card on their anniversary rather than invite them over for  a dinner or send a get-well-soon offline message when he is sick rather than be with him in hospital, and the list goes on. May be these are things our dads generation did differently (rather, thankfully, they had no choice except meet & greet) and that might be the potential difference for the camaraderie they share among themselves than we do not. Even though so much sophistication we have transformed into and so much pragmatism we applied to our lives, deep down we are still driven by emotions and intuit. We may need to more often shake those hands and hit those hi-fives in person (not through emojis) to build a better rapport.”

“We are living in thevirtual world completely ignoring reality. “Nothing is fair in love, all boys are the same” tweets some girl after a petty argument with her boyfriend. She can better sit with him, open up and sort this out – a real option. But this is how it would resolve – a bitter fight on Snapchat, couple of allegations on Whatsapp voice messages, truce with Dubsmash apology and happiness with life-size teddy bear and a pack of Ferrero Rocher delivered to doorstep by Amazon. Trust me, this is not exaggeration; this is exactly the world we are living in now. Social networking is virtual reality but not real! I’m a proud Facebook user with 700+ friends. I’m regularly in touch with, may be, 20 of them, often do call 15 more and occasionally chat with some 25 odd, hardly. I, at least, see 30+ users online in my account at any given time. But how does ‘friends’ on Facebook matter if you don’t really care for each other. I would have never wished many of them on their birthdays should Facebook doesn’t feature those reminders. And the weirdest thing is to stumble across someone in my friend’s list and wonder whether I knew him and ever met him. These are harsh truths but holds good with many users.Having said that, paradoxically, I’m an extensive Facebook user. I check my feed continuously throughout the day, liking those statues, photos and videos not only just from users but also from pages and groups too. It has become an involuntary mechanical activity whereby the basic purpose of Facebook, to keep in touch with friends, defeats. Nevertheless, Social Network is the best platform to share and express but undoubtedly cannot replace a firm handshake and a warm hug.”

“Only technology shouldn’t be at the receiving end. Conjointly, we should be blaming ourselves too for not putting the extra efforts into our relationships. Agreed to the fact that our careers are no longer the same as they used to be years ago. No jobs now-a-days are nine to five which used to be in our dads’ generation. To add fuel to fire, thanks to globalization; our friend zones are more scattered across globe than that of our dads’. We end up dealing with long distance friendships with very little time to pamper ourselves. Materialistic world with pressure-cooker careers takes quite a toll on our lives. But to enjoy a companionship similar to what our dads have, we have to invest the most precious thing, time, more often.”

“The next time when your friend sends you Facebook invite for his marriage, let’s fly down and bless the couple rather than watch it live stream and wish them on Messenger. Take some time-off; meet some old buddies; with some drinks and dinner, share those good memories again and again. Let’s live life in reality and create a souvenir of everyday memories. Remember – time is just a unit, age is just a number and busy is just a damn lame excuse. All Hail Friendship!”

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