So it’s interesting how one can get idea to write a post from anywhere. I was just having a Whatsapp conversation with someone and he mentioned how he appreciated words of encouragement and positivity from me. I do have a special bond with this person, as we both have lived in Indore in the past. And I genuinely meant it, that ours is a relationship of roots, not of fruits.

It made me think hard that in todays busy busy world, where we are jostling for attention of others, there are others trying to grab our attention. 

There are people whom we dole out favours to get into their ‘good books’ and yet, there are others who are offering help and support to us , with or without any expectation of anything in return. 

But this post is not about the art of giving, neither is it about  give and take. This is more about relationships and how we define them. 

There are relationships which are of the heart. These are with our grandparents, parents, and siblings. We could probably include a few close relatives also. Then we have our ‘chaddi buddies‘, people whom we know for the longest possible time. They know us since we have gained maturity— ‘jab se hosh sambhala tha’—as they say in Hindi.  These would be very few in number, typically in lower single digits. If you are very fortunate, there could be 8-10 of these friends. But as we grow older, the ability to have a large set of ‘close’ friends becomes challenging. This is because as we get into our work life, get married, have children, move places, etc, we tend to get into a different network of friends. Unless we are not organising a ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ type vacation with all these friends frequently, we may lose the intensity in the relationship. We know they are there for us, but we might not meet so often. No prizes for guessing—these are the roots.

Then, we have friends who became friends for various reasons. The guy who sat next to us in school; the chap who played the role of Laxman in the skit when you were Ram; the girl with whom you sang a duet in the school annual day; the guy whose assignments you used to copy in college; the girl who lent her pen to you right before the final exam; the guy with whom you started your first job; the lady who was part of your team at work; so and and so forth. These people, while they all can end up being roots, based on the longevity of the relationship —the girl who lent you her pen, gave her heart as well ; the guy with whom you started your first job might be your co-founder of a start-up and so on. But primarily, going by the origin of these relationships— these are the fruits.

Now interestingly, it’s always better to keep roots and fruits separate, as far as ‘conscious’ effort is concerned. I intentionally used the word ‘conscious’ as many times, we intentionally try to change the nature of relationships and that can create problems. 

Here are some examples:

  • As a child, we feel bad when father does not get us an expensive toy we insist on having. 
  • We start business with a friend
  • We try to spend more time with a friend who is very rich and has lot of toys in his house, treats everyone lavishly on his birthday, etc. Hoping to become ‘close’ to him.
  • We try and socialise in a group in the office, which we do not naturally align with, but feel that will help us increase our social quotient

Hope you get the drift. One needs to be clear that roots and fruits should not be mixed up. If we have met someone at some point of time in life, then let the relationship build up naturally. Trying to make situations happen so that we spend more time together and know each other more, can at times, make the relationship a bit acerbic and our effort might look ‘cosmetic’.

At the same time, our close friends and family, their biggest offering to us, is that they make a difference in our lives ‘just by being there’. They might not have words of wisdom or doles of cash to offer us, but the shoulder of support and warm hugs that they offer is priceless. So never judge close buddies on what they do for us. Always look at what they ‘mean’ to us. 

As they say, you cannot have your roots and eat it too !!!

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