Friends And Enemies!

Welcome to another post of the Friday Loose Bloggers’ Consortium when eleven of us post on the same topic chosen by one of us. Today’s topic has been chosen by Conrad. I know that he has a lot of friends, but why he chooses to discuss enemies is something that puzzles me. I hope to be enlightened when I read what he posts on his blog tonight.

Please do visit Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Maria, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy, Anu and Ginger to see ten other views on the same topic. Some of these bloggers may be preoccupied with vacations, examinations, family problems and/or romance, so be a little indulgent in case they do not post or post late.

It is only when you sit down to write about this topic that you realize what a tough one it is. One can write a tome on ‘Friends’, or one on ‘Enemies’. How does one go about writing about both in the same post. Conrad has this knack of clubbing things together like he did when he suggested ‘Hope And Renewal’, and then too I found it tough.

Anyway, having started, let me allow my Muse to take over.

“The firmest friendships have been formed in mutual adversity, as iron is most strongly united with the fiercest flame.” – Charles C. Colton.

The key word in that quote I believe is ‘mutual’. While in the armed forces, mutual adversity is quite common and builds very strong and enduring friendships, in civil life, it is rare that two friends will face the same adversity, with the exception of a common boss of one sort or the other, or friendships that form when people share similar challenging interests like mountain climbing etc. Friendships are however still formed under various circumstances but here again, the second most important word in that quote comes into play – ‘firmest’. Treating that word on its face value, I suppose that it would mean, long enduring relationships under all kinds of circumstances including geographical separations.

I elaborate on this aspect for the reason that I am one of those who cannot distinguish between friends and acquaintances as most people I know, very comfortably do. For me, some one is either a friend or not. Not that the person automatically becomes the opposite – enemy, but just that there is no relationship there worth the mention. I accept that there are other enduring relationships of other kinds like the relationship that I have with my Man Friday or our maid servant or with my barber. If however one discards the social ranking attached to such relationships, I should imagine that they should be ranked among my friends. They would come to my rescue, if ever needed, at a faster clip than many others, as I would do for them. Somewhat like the relationship that P.G. Wodehouse brings out so entertainingly between Jeeves and Bertie Wooster.

So, given this naturally endowed blessing of many friends, I find it difficult to understand how someone can become my enemy or I to some one. At the individual level, that just does not seem possible to me. I of course understand that others do have room in their lives for enemies, but it is just that I have never thought of anyone as one.

Since I have no personal experience of an external enemy, I must conclude by saying that the only enemies I have are some of the unruly thoughts that trouble me occasionally, like what I went through immediately after the bomb blast in Pune.

Lest I be misunderstood, I can be inimical to a collective entity like say the lashkar e taiba and I accept that for some people in those kind of organized groups, I can be considered an enemy. It is also possible that there are people out there in the world who consider me to be their enemy. That is their problem, not mine. I simply cannot waste energy on such a negative concept.

Perhaps, for people like me friendships and absence of friendships are two sides of the same coin, the yin and yang of relationships. I wonder if that makes sense. What do you think?

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