A caterpillar is slimy, ugly and struggles a lot to survive. I don't even know if a caterpillar knows that it will turn into a butterfly someday. I assure you that this cliched analogy will make more sense than a (I)phone without an audio jack. I wanted to start with something that can represent the feeling that I want to drive home.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S, both the show and people, played a very important role in my life. I think my friends shaped my personality and have played a critical role in where I am. Not sure whether it has been for bad or the worse, tough I am confident it is not for the good. Remember the villains of Home Alone movie Harry and Marv, they are one good example of the influence of your friends.Be it be their profession or their stupidity. Nonetheless, their friendship and influence on each other made for a great movie.
Here is an example of the influence my friends had on me, I remember being immensely satisfied and somewhat proud when I scored the highest marks among my friends. Even if in reality I was comparing among the bottom 10 students of the class. It is an accomplishment to be the best of the worse among your friends. I also had friends who were more sincere and better at academics. I tended to perform better when I hung out with them. And then there were other friends like Harry and Marv.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S at college
Friends I made in college were different from all the friends I had earlier. We all left our homes, there were no one to talk and rely on, except each other. We did not have smartphones and hence relied on each for support (man I feel old now). After a few awkward conversations, everyone opened up and post that there were no formalities. Everyone knew each other's vulnerability pressure points and how to exploit them. The main objective became to celebrate the failure and denounce the successes. Though it may sound somewhat counterintuitive, but it turned out to be a great foundation to our friendship.
There were also some important skills/rules that I learned with these bunch of friends. First and foremost, that your self-respect is as important as the human Appendix. It did serve a purpose in past,now it creates unnecessary pain, and it would be better to get rid of it. Second, there are very very creative ways to insult your friends.Third, randomness and impulsive decision make the best stories. Fourth,irrespective of the ask, my friends will always do their best to help me and then insult me on the same problem.
Friendship at a college hostel is different because it is a friendship without supervision. It is a natural selection, with an element of interdependence that differentiated college friendship with every other friendship. I think that college friendships are meant to last the longest.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S after college
My first year after graduation was an extended college with a key difference of having more money and cars. Consequently, there were more opportunities to do impulsive and stupid stuff. Also, most of my friends were in and around the city I stayed.It was one of the best years. But as the Game of Thrones can not go for more than 8 seasons , Harry potter for more than 7 books,Sachin Tendulkar for 24 years and a friend of mine till 5 ft 5 in tall. It had to end and everyone moved to do something else.
When everyone moved apart I realized that there is a lot of effort and time that goes on making a good friend. The internal jokes,the 'HEIGHT' of jokes, the backgrounds of failures and breakups is hard to find again. Another interesting thing is that after college my friends have started accomplishing stuff both professionally and one personally (Pitin). You know your friends have come a long way when the friend who always made up stuff during college is a guest lecturer at business schools and still making up stuff.
Coming back to the first reference of a caterpillar's life. When you know someone from their early days of being caterpillars. It's always hard to appreciate the extent of their accomplishments. Other people see those accomplishments but college friends see the irony and humor in those accomplishments. One of the biggest departures from normality would be the first marriage (Pitin). I have no idea how this will change our friendship but it will be interesting to see. It is always interesting to see the contrast in reaction when you see someone accomplishing something and when your good friend does the same.
To all those impulsive and stupid decisions and hoping for more to come.