As I write this blog, SMSes pour in. And I smile sarcastically. I wonder whether we need a day for celebrating one of the thickest bonds of human relationship - FRIENDSHIP!! Have we so much lost our essence of friendship that we need to dedicate a special day for remembering that special bond? My mind fails again and again to grasp the 'reason' behind this hyped celebration. And I am happy to be a part of the small minority which thinks the same.
Thinking about friendship, the first thing that reminds me of this word is the friendship between Krishna & Sudama or for that matter Krishna & Draupadi. Those friendships give us the proud feeling of being a part of a culture where friendship was not just a mere nomenclature of a relation. That friendship existed - and I highlight - was 'celebrated' every single day, every single hour, and every single moment. That friendship did not need a reason to be reminded or kept alive, or a memorial day. And I, for one, believe in that friendship.
Coming back to the college campus, many of the times, Friendship Day is celebrated by many who don't actually know why they are celebrating, but are gripped by peer pressure (they won't admit openly). They don't give it a second thought and are least bothered to reason out. Another ritual which is omnipresent is to decorate the wrists & hands of each other with ribbons & worse - sketch pens! (they make awesome totem poles .. ha ha). Our graffiti kings & queens sometimes don't even spare the clothes. And when its all over, the person covered the most with festoons of ribbons & pen-marks feels highly elated, counting the number of friends who have made a human canvas out of him. More closely you resemble a joker; more is your popularity quotient - that’s the unstated funda! So the marks & ribbons quantify friendships - strange!
Another aspect behind encouraging Friendship Day by the media & the business world is nothing but a commercially viable event! Friendship is looked upon as a commodity which can set your cash registers jingling; and we don't feel sad about the commercialization of friendship at all! The satin ribbons & friendship bands become abound at every corner shop, while the shopkeepers sell them at twice or thrice the cost as compared to any other day when no one gives a damn about them. Well ... its another of those 'Friendship' gifts for the Chinese production houses! Also, I don't need to elaborate on the statistics of single day profits for telecom players who happily provide SMS services to cater the 'wishes' of its consumers (pun intended!). Its a profitable day for them. So why won't they promote the festivities?
By now many of you who are disagreeing with me on this issue must be thinking that I am writing this blog, filled with jingoistic culturalism. But believe me, my lines of thought are different from the fundamentalists who don't even know why they vandalize a gift shop on Valentines' Day (read between the lines!) Maybe we both are antagonists of such events, but its the thought behind the antagonism that differs and counts. Moreover, I wouldn't & won't ever link this to being something against our rich, magnanimous, fertile Indian culture nor being anything which seems typically anti-West (a very handy tool if you can't think of anything else). Most people relating such events to their popular outcry of 'anti-West' don't even know what is to be opposed in being so-called 'Anti-West'. No! I won't ever resort to such arguments.
My argument is simple & straightforward, which should arise in any questioning & thinking mind. Celebrating is not the objection, but the justification of motive behind celebration is in question. Every action has a motive & if that motive is inconsistent & irrational with respect to the action, the whole essence of action is at loss & becomes a subject of mockery for the rational mind.
So next time you pick up that dazzling friendship band or pick up your cell phone to send friendship day messages, its my friendly advice to you to let your mind give it a little thought.