Aug 9, 2003


We all have friends, but there are a few that are in the top echelons, the people one likes to be around with and doesn't find their presence too suffocating, atleast on most occasions. These days, with friends in my age group working or studying or doing something that keeps them occupied throughout the day, one has to make a special effort to *meet* up. There are different ways of friendly contact these days: email, instant messaging, a brisk walk after lunch, the afternoon coffee and so on. Each has its own relevance and order of importance. Having never lived away from home, I don't know how that experience of making companions is, but my friends have usually been from school and college. Curiously, I can hardly remember any close friend who ever lived within walking distance of my house, all through my life. So it was never easy to drop in casually while passing through, unless one made a concerted plan beforehand. (This changed a little when I was in my 11th-12th.)

And in the school days before the internet making contact through keyboards the most preferred form of communication, my best friends were the ones I could take a long walk with. In my personal hierarchy of relationships, the ones that rank highly are usually the ones that I've taken long, interesting, sometimes-silent-sometimes-talkative walks with. Around the streets, parks, school compounds, walking in tandem, mentally in-step. Some of my best memories of that period were courtesy such fine walking companions. And if one had an option of freezing the frame, perhaps those would be some of the top contenders for a permanent pause.

It's a question of matching frequencies, I guess, which is not the same as agreeing on all things. In my COEP years, strolls were replaced by a more sedentary occupation of lounging at the BC with the many people who would have made good walking companions too, I should think. Atleast the mental state that developed was similar to the leisurely walks I took in an earlier phase. To paraphrase Elaine's famous yardstick of choosing her men as "spongeworthy", I think I seem to have a yardstick of my own to rank my acquaintances: "walkworthy". Would I want to take a walk with them and not find it an effort at the end of it?

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