“’Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.’”
~ E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web | Art by Lakhan Singh Jat
She was crying profusely on the other side.
“I am shattered, can we meet?”
“Is everything okey? Is your son unwell? What happened?” I rattle on very worried.
She was sobbing.
“Do you want to meet?”
“I have never been disappointed so much in life. Yes, if you don’t mind?”
We have been friends for more than a decade. I was anxious. What troubled her? Did someone misbehave with her? Did she have a fight with her husband?
I closed my laptop hurriedly. Aahh… hated myself for not saving the document.
“Meet me at ‘Basil with a Twist’ at T Nagar,” read her text.
Is she going through any health problems? Worse, did someone die? I honked my way through the chaotic afternoon traffic. I hate honking. But a friend was in trouble, so all the drivers can go to hell.
The road to the restaurant was chocked with cars and autos lined up next to the school. I was late. No one was moving. I was stuck for more than five minutes.
“On my way, will be there in 2,” I texted. She did not respond.
I finally reached the restaurant to find her at a corner. She was reading the latest India edition of Granta.
“Hey what happened?” I asked.
“I ordered the roasted pumpkin soup, it’s fabulous out here,” she said.
I was confused. Surprised at her calmness.
“Hey, what happened? I was worried,” I said.
“My latest iPhone 6 broke and I am shattered,” she said with a sad face.
“Are you kidding me? Seriously?”
“Stop being a dork. Eat the soup,” she chuckled.
I officially hate my friends now!
“Is there any logic to the kind of people we attract?” I asked my friend Raghav.
“These people could just remain acquaintances; some become friends and a few closer as lovers,” I continued.
Raghav runs a technology startup but also moonlights as a teacher of Vedanta and other spiritual texts. Please read my earlier post about him here.
“Yes, you chose them,” he replied and smiled.
“Well I know that but some people just appear out of nowhere, you click like magic, some stay for life but some leave earlier much against your wishes,” I asked unsatisfied with his simple answer.
“Alright, let me explain it this way,” he began.
“All of us seek experiences in life, for the sake of understanding let us label them as happiness, pleasure, contentment, adventure, etc. That’s given, we all have motivations, and we cannot reject them or escape them. When we seek an experience, we are always presented with choices. For example, if you would like to be entertained, you may have to choose between playing a video game and watching a movie. You make a decision. Some choices might give you instant gratification while some might be slow but the happiness maybe sustained for longer periods.”
“Every decision pushes you to seek either the same or new experiences. And every motivation presents either the same choices or more refined ones. So if you like playing martial arts video games you might like to try more gory ones. If you liked reading a Sidney Sheldon you might like to try Jane Austen next time.”
“I want to clarify that lets us not confuse here with morals, dharma and other judgements. You make choices based on what appeals to you at that moment. No choice is inherently good or bad, better or worse,” he said emphatically.
“Every time you select the choice that does not give you instant gratification, you will slowly realise that the subsequent choices that present before you are getting subtler and more refined.”
“You are making the decisions but the types of choices appear very mysteriously.”
“While all this is happening you will become sensitive and aware of a certain kind of people around you. The more you go subtle with your choices you attract people with similar sensitivity.
“Am I making sense?” he asked.
I nodded my head slowly still assimilating all that he had just said.
“Like your choices, the people whom you meet will be various kinds. As you go subtler with the life’s experiences you will make deeper connections with people like you. These people always existed, but you have discovered them only now,” he concluded.
I was reminded of this quote by Rumi
“What you seek is seeking you.”