Ashish Vaswani

Friendship. When I first learnt this word as a kid, I thought it meant ‘a boatride with a friend’. Coming to think of it today, I don’t see any reason to believe it means otherwise. To me, it still means sharing your journey with someone very dear- only now, it’s a journey called life.

I guess we were in school when quite suddenly, Friendship Day-the way we know it today, was born. Weirdly enough, it became just another occasion when the Archies and the Hallmarks were assured of brisk business, thanks to youngsters’ implicit competition to flaunt the most number of friendship bands on the said day. I frankly never realized how or when it gained cult status in the Indian academic year until junior college, when I witnessed ‘Friendship Week’ being celebrated with elaborate functions and meticulous planning that began months before D-day. There was no escaping the truth of the growing popularity of Friendship Day. So much so that telecom companies began counting Friendships’ Day as the only other day of the year except New Year, Diwali and Dussehra, when subscribers of free messaging plans would also be charged for SMSs they sent.

Cut to 31st July, 2010, 11 pm. I started getting the first few Friendship Day forwards. Perhaps because they’d cost their senders dearly, if they’d be sent later. ‘What the hell, it’s not even Sunday yet, and my inbox is already spam-ridden!’ I thought to myself. There were some messages that spoke of colours and crayons, and others that filled the screen with ASCII art, but one of them really takes the cake. It read thus:

‘In 1935, the American government had killed a man on the first Saturday of August. The next day, his friend committed suicide. In his memory, the American government declared the first Sunday of every August as Friendship Day.’

Utter rubbish. Yes, Americans do have a fascination for such ‘days’ throughout the year. Did you know there’s a day called ‘Ask a stupid question day?’ Don’t believe me? Here’s the entire list. But most of these days are not date-specific, they’re rather assigned to certain Sundays of the month, maybe because if they fell in the middle of the week, they’d hit productivity levels big time. So the first Sunday of August is reserved for Friendship. But there’s no authentic proof to explain its origin.

So the next time you decide to barge into someone’s inbox or tie a ‘dosti ki rakhi’ on your friends’ wrists, ask yourself whether we really need a day to celebrate this sacred bond. And in all likelihood, you’ll get a reply that’ll set you thinking. In the meanwhile, let me leave you with this beautiful image, without having to pay Airtel to convey my love for my friends!

Labels: , ,