The Conversations We Don’t Have

We want the happy hours extended on Fridays, more snap chat filters to take weird ass selfies. We want to check in that lavish restaurant with our friends on Facebook, click nonsensical pictures of your so called favourite people and upload them to Instagram. We want another pair of fancy shoes to augment our feet, pair of Raybans to give us that unmistakable air of swag. We want a friend to watch that new flick, another for Sunday brunch, a couple of them to discuss our relationship status, few more for WhatsApp messaging, some for dirty talks, lot more to bitch the fuck out of that pretentious someone and booyah –  our life’s sorted.

We buy coffee mugs for them on Friendship Day. We stay up until midnight to win the accolades of being the first one to wish them on their birthdays. We indulge in ludicrous tests on Facebook to find our top friends. We read friendship quotes and automatically, almost unknowingly attribute those quotes to them. We invest a great amount of time polishing our profiles on social media channels than ourselves. We have more than thousand plus friends on Facebook, yet we find ourselves struggling in calling someone at 2 in the night.

We tag our friends on the most random posts on Instagram to no avail, share our snap chat stories to our friends for them to be hit by a tint of envy, show them our recent Tinder matches that we are aware will lead to nowhere. We help our friends feel popular by wishing them on their special day on Facebook, share our most fond memories with them on Facebook. Of course, we don’t ever try to recreate those moments again.

We love the TV show ‘Friends’ and brag about how is that our favourite TV show yet we don’t find a Joey or a Monica in real life. We love to hang out in a place that plays the loudest music, we grab beers and watch the football match together, we catch coffee on the go – anything to avoid an actual, real conversation. We relinquish any chance of having an honest and palpable conversation by wearing our disgusting masks of idiosyncrasies  and bringing out our facades in place of our original self.

We want to be liked and accepted by everyone but we don’t want to take that extra step. We want to be constantly surrounded by people but we end up being conscious. We want to celebrate their triumph but we turn our backs when they lose. We want to meet on weekends but all we end up doing is spending the happy hours and checking our cell phones even at their slightest vibration . We want a deep and profound connection but all the while we keep things shallow. We long for friends to lean on but we push them away when they get too close. We want friends for life but we don’t want to put the effort in the present.

We talk about our newest crush, that crazy night on Saturday when we got sloshed, the random message sent by our ex, the new TV series we have taken up. We speak about the political events, vaunt about the new job, the new EDM songs we can’t help but groove to, the funny thing happened with ‘XYZ’ and share a good laugh too. We share our thoughts and pronounce judgment on every Tom, Dick and Harry without really knowing them and how could we? We never had any real conversation with them, about them or about us or maybe, when they were talking, we were scrolling through our newsfeed or opening a new app or replying to a stupid Whatsapp message. We weren’t paying attention. We were there but we weren’t.

We don’t want friends – people to be present there so that we don’t end up feeling lonely. We want anything and everything that illudes us in believing there are friends to fall back to. We want them to listen to us – our half naked truths because we don’t have it within us to tell them the entire story, show them the complete picture but we don’t give a damn about their narrative. We want to connect but not too much. We want them to be close but not too close for comfort. We want to go on trips with them but not share the journey. We keep them at arms length always – never allowing them to meander in our life and make an impact.

We have friends who’d be ready to go out drinks but how many would be ready to go out for breakfast? We have friends who’d accompany us for a movie but how many would accompany us to the hospital?  We have friends who share smokes with us but how many share moments? We have friends who share food with us but how many share food for thought?  We have friends who tell us about the present but how many share the past? We have friends who tell us about the problems but how many tell us the answers? We have friends who introduce us to songs but how many introduce us to books? We have friends who introduce us to new people but how many introduce us to art? We have friends who introduce us to the fun things of life but how many introduce us to the finer things of life?

We want the monkey off our back but we keep our skeletons hidden in the cupboard. We will discuss another episode of Game of Thrones but we fail to discuss our shortcomings or our problems. We want to hide our flaws with filters and yet use the hashtag #NoFilter. We lie, we deceit. Never allowing our true imperfect selves to come out of the hiding. We want the answering  to be as easy as questioning.

We feel entitled to be loved and accepted, just the way we feel entitled for likes on our pictures on Instagram. However, we don’t wish to reach out and touch their lives. We stay fixed to our roots and never allow ourselves to let loose. We prefer writing our bio more to elucidating ourselves to our friends. Then we sit alone in the corner of our rooms looking out for the friends we were promised. Where are they? We showed up. Where are the people we deserve?

The truth is we don’t want friends. Only people to be present whenever we want –  just to suit our needs. We’ll hug them, cuddle them , laugh with them, cry with them, sing with them, dance with them but never really spend time with them. We don’t allow silence to engulf us. There’s always something going on to keep us busy. There’s no life shared. The only memories we share are in the pictures. Nothing in the heart where it can stay forever. The truth is we want someone to always accompany us because we’re so afraid to be not accepted and liked by others. We want them to sit next to us as we aimlessly check the notifications bar, the new comment on our picture, the new picture uploaded by friends. We want to take the middle path always because the other sides appear insidious and perilous. We play cool even though we hardly understand the rules of the game. We make our own rules, bend them whenever we have to and test if they are willing to play the game in accordance. We sit around, we wait – we want to take the initiative but we don’t. The inhibition and apprehension that surrounds us is the biggest roadblock. However, the most exacting problem is that we are clueless as to how we open up. We could be living in an age where science performs miracles every day, where once you enter the destination the GPS tells you the shortest route to it but the way to people’s heart is never the shortest route. It is always long and troublesome and the saddest part is most of us never bother to take this route. We have friends but we don’t!

 

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Girish Dutt Shukla

Author of Maroon in a sky of blue

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