Lessons on Friendship – What we’ve forgotten over the years
Friendship blossoms wherever there is a common ground between people. This commonality doesn’t need to be a happy one and more often than not, friendship borne out of shared suffering seems to be the most enduring kind of them all. Our children in Krishnagiri district have similar friendships which arose from their common life situations.
Most of our children usually share the same background story – orphaned HIV positive children, poverty-ridden and the ever-present fear of death looming over them. They are also eternally tormented by the question of “why me?” and all these shared difficult experiences have led to some really strong and powerful bonds amongst them. A type of bond which is mostly never seen in so-called “normal” circumstances. The camaraderie witnessed within this circle is worth taking a page from.
They have the “we are in this together” mindset and this display of mutual support is usually seen when one of them gets too sick or gets hospitalised(which is quite common within the HIV+ community). When our children Priya and Sathish fell ill in two separate instances, their friends Yasmeen and Praveen rose to the occasion and stood by them during the entire period of hospitalisation. They made sure that their friend received prompt treatment and was taking medications as instructed. All these acts of caregiving were not instigated but are very instinctual within this group. They don’t work on the mindset of quid pro quo but purely driven by selfless affection for one another.
This same togetherness is also seen when it comes to key life events like marriage or work. When two of our children got married, Deepak & Siva, on both occasions, the rest of the gang took the onus to arrange the entire scope of the nuptials. Even though the financial implications might follow later, they are there for each other when needed. They are also very attached to one another and do not wish to stray too far from the company of their pack. If one of them gets employed somewhere, they prefer to stick together and work in the same place(regardless of how poor the pay might be or how strenuous the working conditions are). This enduring community which they have created on their own is what they want to hold on to, at all costs.
As grown-ups, we often overlook life’s greatest lessons through our jaded perception but if we can pause for a moment and ruminate, there is a lot that can be learned from these children and their approach to life. Have we put a price tag on our relationships? Is there a hidden agenda behind all our associations? Or maybe there is an expiry date on our friendships? If the answer is not a definite “no” to these questions, then maybe it’s time to reconsider our choices and take a lesson or two from these children.