Sunday, 15 April 2007

19th October, 2006. 2010 hrs

Advice is a curious thing – unsought, unsolicited and often so completely not in sync with the person we are advising. I realise this now. We all give advice according to how we would do things. Little do we realise that what may be right is not necessarily right for you. My advice is best applied to me.

Still we give and take advice. Still it gives us solace though I can never put into practice exactly that which you preach and vice-versa. It is comforting still to know that someone considers me important enough to consider my situation or problem, to spend time pondering over it, to want to resolve it.

Perhaps, it is because this need does not exist between us (my friends) that I have never really sought advice form them on important issues, nor have they from me. We have only told each other things, never wanted to know what the other would do (except perhaps to prove a point!).

This chain of thought was set off by a rather curious incident a few days ago. I was sitting in the mess eating breakfast with Dhriti and there was just the two of us there. I was lost in a world of my own now that I finally had the time to absorb everything that has happened in this month. Debating on whether I should head home for the vacations or not, I was quite oblivious to everything else. Anyway, coming to the point, Dhriti noticed my somewhat melancholy self absorption and probing further came to what was occupying my mind.

Her intentions I do not doubt, nor am I ungrateful for the fact that she was there when I did not want to be alone. But the advice I got was seriously shocking. What shook was not the advice but that someone was actually giving Me that advice. Smoking, or smoking up, or drinking is not my way of dealing with life and that I thought was obvious to anyone who spent even half an hour in my company.

That is when I realised that maybe when somebody comes to me for advice, what I say sounds just as incongruous or incredulous to them. To ask for advice then is purely pointless. Most of the time I find myself disagreeing even with those I get along with best on the appropriate course of action. What import then, do the casual acquaintances we make along our journey of life hold?

The proper function of a friend to me is just someone who will listen to you when no one else will; who will lend a listening ear when the world has shut its ears; or when you cannot say all that you want to. Advice of any kind is perfectly pointless unless it serves the purpose of making someone think along lines that they have not considered before. Beyond that it is useless and that is how it should be for each of us has to bear the burden of the decisions we make, shoulder the responsibility, the gains and losses thereof with equal weight.

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