Connecting over conversations

In the list of things unique to Kolkata, the city of joy, the culture of adda (heart to heart conversations) finds an important place in almost all colonies. In the city, the addar aashor (places where friends have heart to heart conversations) at the nook and corner of almost every street and locality is like a daily celebration of friendship day. It is not only a custom of togetherness but of being open-minded and relaxed at the end of the day to a circle of friends with whom you share your thoughts, can be intimate with and who will stand by your side at all situations.

As related by our elders, the adda of friends finds its place by the courtyards of old buildings to the local tea shops. Though the place or the topics of discussions may vary, the bonding of friendships that is reflected from the togetherness of the adda culture never withers.

The topics of discussion in an addar asshor can range from anything to everything over a cup of hot tea and evening fried snacks like aloor chop (potato fritters). From discussing politics and evolving of modern values, to the lost traditions and sharing of usual problems, to the planning of a vacation, everything finds a place for discussion with friends and relatives. Sometimes there are heated arguments while at other times there are cracking of jokes to laugh on. It finds equal importance among people belonging from all age groups. It is often said that the idea of celebrating durga puja in clubs has risen from such adda sessions.

Predominantly a culture among friends, it also serves as means to include and bond with the newcomers in a locality. As it becomes a habit, a time comes when we feel lonely on missing those days. Such sessions help releasing the stress of hard toil of the day and enjoy with friends, family or relatives. Unfortunately, in recent times, this culture is gradually dying with people becoming more self centered.

They are more into social media for friendships and relationships lack the warmth of addas. But then, when we see our elders cherishing quality time with each other, this friendship day, we should feel more responsible on our part to revive this culture of celebrating friendship and maintain it as an identity of Kolkata.

(Sayan Chandra, Coordinator, Class XII, St. Thomas' Boys' School, Kidderpore)

Being buddies

Friends play an integral part of our lives. The attachment and connection that we share with our friends is quite unique. True friendship knows no treachery, treason and betrayal. Friendship is that association, which makes us feel lucky and happy.

A true friend always knows our weaknesses, strengths and our potential of making life better. True friendship allows people to accept both vices and virtues of each other.

We may fight with our friends as much as we want but at the end of the day the friendship which overcomes all obstacles and still stands firm, is the one that lasts the longest. We all have that one friend in our lives with whom we can share all our secrets and be ourselves.

In today’s world, we love to show off how amicable and social we are by sharing and updating statuses through various social media platforms. However, that amounts to a total void, considering the lack of genuine affection. Having a real friend is as difficult as owning a diamond.

Friendship sometime changes people for the good as well as for the bad, so it is necessary to be in the company of good friends because even if we are wayward, true friendship will automatically force us towards the right path and direction. We all need friends and thus this Friendship Day, let us all revisit those moments in which we would not have been able to survive without our true friends and let us give them a phone call for old time’s sake.

(Oindrila Gupta, Coordinator, Class XII, St Joseph and Mary's School)

A true friend

There was a blast of colours. Everywhere Mohini’s eyes went–there were ribbons, glitters, sequins… and laughter. It was friendship day. The class was buzzing with activity. Everyone was busy tying colourful friendship bands around their friends’ wrists.

Some were going through pretty cards while others were presenting little gifts. Everyone was having fun except Mohini. The little girl sat in a corner of the room all by herself.

No one noticed her as she let go of a deep sigh. Mohini did not have any friends. Nobody liked her. No one talked to her. She never got to know why. She had not received even one friendship band in all these years. Not that she cared. At the other end of the room, Nanni, Miss Popular, sat on a desk, surrounded by a huge group of giggling friends. Both her arms were adorned up to the elbows by clusters of bands.

A tower of chocolates stood beside her. Mohini sighed again. Every single friendship day of her life had passed away as a day of utter misery. This year was no different. Little did she know about what was going to happen. The school ended with another dose of misery as Mohini slipped and fell down in the corridor. Her books lay scattered over the floor. Everybody pointed and laughed at her.

She felt so embarrassed. Suddenly a hand came down and helped her. A strong, but friendly hand. To her amazement, Mohini saw Donny lift up all her books and hand them over to her with a smile on his face. Oh, the warmth of his smile. A friend’s smile! Nobody had ever smiled at her in such a way. “You… okay?” Donny asked. “Think so,thanks for… the help.” Mohini smiled for the first time that day. “No problem. That’s what friends are for, aren’t they?”

The word friend was a mystery to her. So this was how it felt like having a friend. From that day onwards, Mohini was never lonely. She had a friend. Donny. A true friend whom she could rely on and confide in. And this was better than all the treasures of the world.

Better than wearing hundreds of friendship bands. Poor Nanni. She would never find out the true meaning of friendship. Just a helping hand is all we need to change our life. That’s what friends are for.

(Renesa Mukhopadhyay, Coordinator, Class VIII, Patha Bhavan, Kolkata)

Sands of time

The teacher left the class as the bell rang and the lively little girl screamed, “I have broken my teeth and now it’s bleeding! Oh God!” And, the entire class of her dwarf musketeers rushed to her bench. For them, it was indeed a matter of panic.

When the teachers soothed the girl with compliments for being brave and that a new tooth would soon come out. Until the school ended that day, her friends took care of her and kept on telling her stories about fairies who take away broken teeth of kids.

Now, when the same girl, grown-up today, broke her heart and called her friends to talk with them to feel good, where were they? They were and still are all busy with their careers. So, they just replied that they are always too busy to talk. This is how friends change, with the changing time. Still, it makes us laugh when we ruminate over our kindergarten stupidities.

The innocence, funny games and running tirelessly was all so magical. There was an abstract but real image of ‘friendship’ in those times. Where are they today who promised to stay forever? It is indeed saddening to find friends confining their exchanges to text messages only these days.

The concept of sitting together and laughing over gibberish talks endlessly is lost today. These textual chats can never be a substitute to the laughter shared together, the voices heard and the help rendered by hands.

When I lean back on a couch-the long lost precious moments spent with my friends flash upon my mind leaving me to wonder about a time-machine, only to fly back to those days.

(Oishi Pattanayak, Coordinator, Class XII, Belda Gangadhar Academy)

An affable relation

Who is a friend? How can he or she be defined? Probably, this question is known to all. Friendship is like a lamp, enlightening people. Once in a story, friendship was defined as a thread joining minds and thoughts of people irrespective of age, gender, castes and creeds.

From our childhood, we learn the ideology of friendship whilst studying “summer friends”, “rainy day friends” and watching cartoons showcasing heartily friends like Nobita and Doraemon, Motu and Patlu and others. But now-a-days, it seems that friends are no more virtuous friends.

Because, at this stream of so called modernism, in various social media apart from real friends we choose somebody as our buddy, but we forget the means designing friendship in true sense.

Take for instance; you can block a friend in social media when you find it to be inadequate, albeit it is never possible if we make genuine pals. From that point of view, this is not a virtuous friendship. And far from getting plunged into ‘adda’, madness for cordial talks with friends, friendship is getting adulterated. In every stage of life, being baffled or for being jovial or for sharing secrets, we need friends to appease us.

In spite we see that one who shows sympathy to somebody gets closer and the one, who as a true friend admonishes, makes one aware of his faults and flaws, gets farther. Friendship can be created with anything. One can consider books, diaries as their companies.

Nonetheless, the society also needs a better amity, in this age of nuclear families. For promoting a better social value we should also expand our arms towards the have not’s and stand like a bird beside them.

‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’, runs false when it comes to describing true friendship, as it is not a way to fulfill requirements, but of immense love and bonding.

(Manjush Halder, Coordinator, Class VIII, Bongaon High School)