I was in final year of undergrad when the movie Snehithiye came out. My friends and I thought it was a decent movie and good entertainment. The movie was soon forgotten but one of the messages from the movie was oft quoted by us even much later.
Tabu, who plays an inspector in the movie, comes to an all-girls college as chief guest for some function and tells the students that it is very easy for women especially to lose touch with their buddies from childhood and youth. Saddened by this prediction, then and there, the two female leads make a promise to be a part of each other's lives forever.
When I watched that movie, my first reaction was: "Hey, that is true. While my dad is in touch with his close friends from the old days, most of my mom's close friends are the wives of my dad's friends." It turned out that this statement was echoed by almost all of my other female friends. Then and there, we friends too made a pact to always be a part of each other's lives.
Immediately out of college, this was an easy thing to do. We had nothing better than to do than to keep in touch anyways! Thus every happening, big and small, in each person's life was shared in depth. Emails, instant messaging, phone calls - there was no dearth of communication. So much so, I took it for granted that my friends would tell me *every* single happening in their life in real time. I still remember getting extremely upset because a very close friend did not tell me about an important event in her life as soon as it happened.
Anyways, the first year out of college, I think my friends and I hogged most of the available bandwidth on the internet, on telephone lines and everywhere. In spite of being spread across two continents and thousands of miles, the bond was still there. I thought back to the Snehithiye dialog and thought, "Um, this is so much fun. Why did anyone make a big deal out of keeping in touch."
Towards the end of the second year, slight cracks began to appear. Everyone had more "responsibilities" (however you define it), and though news was still shared, it was no longer with the same limitless abandon as before. The network of people I was very regularly in touch with became smaller. But the ones I *was* in touch with - oh we were on call 24/7 for each other. Life was still good.
Then, somewhere towards end of year three, some of my close friends no longer seemed to be "0n call" for me all the time. Though I knew I could still count on them, I felt hurt by this sudden demotion. For the first time in my life, I started thinking twice about calling some close friends for fear of "intruding". And o boy, was I unhappy about this development. What had happened to us? I nevertheless still tried to keep in touch as much as possible - email, phone calls, everything - I saw wanted us to go back to the good old days. I missed it so much.
Then some more years rolled by. Initially I could say with a clear conscience that in case any communication stopped with any friend, it was due to lack of response on the other side. I would *never* be the person who did not reply to an email or who did not call back.
Time went by. One fine day, I guiltily realized that sometimes I was the one who did not respond. I wanted to, but somehow did not. Oh, I met up with most of my close friends a couple of times a year and we caught up with news often enough. But the constant communication was a thing of the past. I felt guilty but then...
Now I think I have finally reached the stage I have dreaded for so long. I have come to accept that frequent and daily communication with close friends is not something which is going to start happening magically by itself. Though it seemed so at some point, just because we are "friends", it does not automatically guarantee constant involvement. Everyone is busy with their own lives. Maybe this is another symptom of growing up - I don't know. The saddest part is, I no longer feel sad or angered by this realization. Because I myself am "busy" you see.
Don't get me wrong here. As I have said many times before, my friends will always be one of the foundations of my life and that is something which will never change. Friendship should grow and evolve as the persons in it grow and evolve - that after all, is a sign of a long-lasting relationship.
That knowledge still does not stop me from sometimes thinking back to the days of unbridled, joyous, no-holds barred friendship. Those times, I wish I could turn back time. It was not so long ago after all.