Honestly, I got thinking about this after reading this article in the New York Times.
So we make friends when we are younger. Well may be we are less choosy and have more time. Let's face it, we are not very smart when we are just KIDS!
We do not choose our school or classmates. Our parents decide those based on their economic circumstance or their religion or whatever. We do not choose our relations, our cousins. If even after we grow up, we continue to confine our lives to a small circle of family relations, we prove that we are pretty antiquated in our mindsets.
As we grow older, we have less time. We do less exploring.
I think that's our loss. And how do you RETAIN those old friendships if and/or when you discover that the paths you have chosen in life diverge rather than converge.
Just because you happen to have studied in school together, you cannot overcome differences if such occur.
What I have observed in my own limited life experience is that some people stop growing as they are focused on their careers and family.
I find NO ONE -- not a single one -- from the set of school classmates on twitter for example. Some are on Facebook sharing stupid photos or talking in their (and mine) mother tongue on Facebook with their cousins or whoever.
It then becomes difficult for me to relate with them.
How can educated people remain content being disengaged with the issues of the day? How long can you spend in the same orbit that you did as a kid or an adolescent?
I was as crazy about cricket as every Indian young boy tends to be. I used to wake up at 3 AM to watch India vs. NZ ODIs on TV. I have seen enough Amitabh Bachchan movies on Doordarshan.
I even used to go to the theater to watch movies ... back in those days. I remember watching, for example, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, 1942: A Love Story, Rang, DDLJ, etc. by paying for tickets.
But surely you can't spend your entire lives watching these Bollywood movies which are made at best for a 20-something audience. Writing in July 2012, for example, I can imagine 16-year-olds getting excited about Cocktail and the new lady and the Padukone lady in the movie or looking forward to the next Katrina Kaif movie.
The weirdness is if IT professionals in offices excitedly look forward to the next Salman Khan movie or proclaim how much they 'love' Shah Rukh Khan. And that is unfortunately the state of affairs in India as I have 'overheard' ladies in offices precisely expressing such noble sentiments.
And do (or should) 35 or 40 year olds watch cricket or discuss it? Grow up! I hear of retired old people who apparently watch cricket on TV. Well I can't speak for that generation I guess.
Old people are more crazy than my limited vocabulary can express. I will merely state the story of the most religious uncle in my family who spends about 4 or 6 hours everyday in religious stuff.
Like reading the same religious book -- the Hanuman chalisa or whatever -- every morning. I mean I could have used the word 'fucking' several times in the previous sentence but what's the point.
I believe it's spectacularly important to have hobbies -- interests going beyond stuff of immediate interest to you. I am sad and sorry to see so little of that happening.
I would ask -- how many (or what percentage) of India's IT professionals (let alone MBAs) are tracking the journey of Mars Curiosity right now ... with excitement and anticipation.
What? How is that relevant? Well, I would answer -- certain Curiosity is more important than making babies.
The larger canvas of which Curiosity is a part is of course space exploration. How many educated Indians are interested or passionate about that? How many have ever bothered to understand the barest details of multi-stage rockets like the Apollo or stuff like trans-lunar injection.
How many know that it took eight and a half minutes for the shuttle to reach space. Heck, most people have no idea how far away that 'space' is. Or how high the ISS flies. Most people don't know that you can look up at the sky and see the ISS in space flying overhead on the right days and at the precisely right time before sun rises or after the sun goes down.
How many bother to develop an interest in Indian or world history? Very many people proclaim definitive judgement on Nehru and Gandhi, etc. They might confidently say that Nehru was the bane of India and Bose would have been the Great Savior. Of course they don't see the necessity to read any historians on these matters.
I have been greatly influenced by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris. I don't know why educated people should not be familiar with the thoughts or videos of these men.
There are no Lionel Trillings or Gore Vidals in India. It might be too much to expect everyone to read Hemingway and Faulkner and such.
But at least people should grow tired of Bollywood and start watching Hollywood movies. I don't mean Batmans or Pirates of the Caribbean or Spidermans.
So I am left with no old friends and not many new friends either.
I hope some day TECHNOLOGY will become REALLY smart and help us find friends ...
Imagine a social networking platform that was smart enough to suggest friends for us based on an analysis of who we are -- not just suggest folks who went to the same school at the same time we did but a deeper analysis.
May be twitter could do some sort of an analysis of the content of all our tweets and suggest others whose tweets are similar.
That would be truly wonderful.