“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Tribute to Friendship


In the rebellious youth of yore, I declared to my mother - 'You love me not because I am Balachandran V, but because I am your son. As an individual, I demand respect and love for what I am. That is something neither you nor my siblings and relatives can ever give me. That is why I value friendship more than blood relation. You are bound to love me, whereas friends are not. There are no obligations in friendship'.  Words to such effect delivered oh-so-pompously, self-righteously. 

I can now imagine how hurting those words would have been to her. I can understand that shadow of pain that crossed her face, because now as a father I realize that I love and respect my son not only because he is  my blood, but for the good fortune that I have in knowing him, in nurturing him - it is like watching a tree growing; you love the tree not only because you gave it water and sunlight or  for the shade and happiness it gives us, but also for what the tree is, for the very being of that tree. 

Anil's latest post, 'Matters of fact', in which I figure rather too prominently ( glaringly, like my bald head!) is about friendship. Friendship, I now know is not something that you can have with only those other than blood or familial relations, but your spouse and offspring too can be friends. 

Suddenly, I am engulfed in a surge of great joy - I realize that P & K are among my best friends! 

Below is a poem I wrote long ago. I reproduce it here for all the friends in my life. From Cheriyan in the US, one of my oldest friends that I am still in touch with ( we haven't seen each other in the flesh for - 45 years!), Pradeep, Venu, Shibu, Abe, Jacob, Balu, Rahul, Anil, Sreekumar(s), Vincent, Dr Sreenivasan, Satheesh, Gopi, Parameswaran, Unnikrishnan, Suresh, Mohan, James, Bindu, Dr Antony, Arun, Ousu, Kalpana, Sumi, Thomman, Kavitha, Melange - (I realize  there are too many to write, so those names omitted, pl forgive). 

I look at the panorama of the circle of my friends and I see that it extends, extends, extends....

Thanks for being around, guys and gals! This poem is for each of you. 

A Library of Love

My friend! What brought us together?
Was it the love for each other’s presence?
Was it the comfort in each other’s being?
Was it the glow in our eyes and hearts?

Was it the joy, the warmth and mirth
Was it regard, respect, the reason
Or was it because we just felt at ease?
Was it just the way we were?

Weren’t there times when it came to an end,
Weren’t there moments when we flew apart?
Why to each other did we take
Why each did we value, more than others?

What made you my friend, my friend?
What was the chemistry, what was the fusion?
What, pray tell me you see in me
What made you say I am your friend?

It couldn’t be just the love for music
Or for mountains and musings on life.
It couldn’t be just the interests same
Or sharing the simple joys of life.

Something did happen when we met
When we said hello and looked in the eye.
Something right did fall in place
A seed, a bond that then grew in time.

The rides on bikes! The walks on hills!
The spray of rain, lashing winds!
Numbing cold! Gasping breath!
Evenings cool, a warm drink in hand.

Sun at dusk, sun at dawn,
Moonlit nights and starry skies.
Green clad forests, snowy peaks
Chaotic cities and villages calm.

Long were the paths together we trod,
Lord! How short, how short was it all!
How much further would we have
To walk on, think on, side by side?

My friends! There is such gladness in my heart
That I could be all I wanted in life.
Each of you filled a void in me
Each of you were what I weren’t.

Each of you were what I wished to be
And each of you had a little of me.
What would it matter if we had to leave
When we have filled each other’s cup?

My friends! Like my books you are
Always kept within my view.
Just within reach, always at hand,
My friends, my little library of love!

Balachandran V, Kottayam 28/07/2005


  1. OK! you cleared my suspicion. While reading Anil's latest post; I somehow felt that one of the friends he wrote about with such fondness would be you. :)

    That was a lovely poem. Each verse - each and every words; makes so much truth and sense. I am glad to known come across beautiful soul like you and Anil.

  2. Lovely post.

    Mother,her pain..can understand.Your approach to the love and care for son..genuine.

    Though I never ever told anything like that to mother,now as I experience,go through and look back,I have to honestly admit that I value friendships more.The relations,whether they are blood or not,the value is for kindness, sincerity,honesty and of course selflessness.I have only few friends,but then I value them so dearly.Just with experiences.But I am not into a generalisation.Lucky are those who find kind,selfless souls..whether blood or friendship !

    Btw,I am humbled with the mere mention of my name there.Such a dignified soul you are to do that.Thank You.

  3. balan, this is too overwhelming a piece. how can you write so passionately? unalloid passion is the loving thing about you, suffocatingly loving.

  4. Wow !! I am so touched by your words .Read these lines again and again.

    Each of you filled a void in me
    Each of you were what I weren’t.

    Like my books you are
    Always kept within my view.

    Wish i could express my friendship as beautifully as you do .I think i will do it my way ... when i see beautiful hilly terrains ,i think of you .I tell Chandan - i bet Balan is going to love riding his bike here .When i come across a beautiful poetry or a good book you are on my mind .When i get angry at my kids and about to yell i remember your advice ...be nice to kids .
    We always carry our true friends in our heart .You are someone i respect and regard so much .Thanks for being such a wonderful friend.

  5. Your Post reminds me of many matters.It is of great luck that the void in you gets filled by something nice.
    Why not a good friend in a spouse , in a son or in a daughter? Certainly something of great fortune too.

    The whole gamut of discussion on friends and friendship makes me think of the fable of "Mallanum and Mathevanum" though I did not want that fable to come back. I did post a story in my blog quite long ago.

    Your mother loved you for being her son,and you are what you are because of being her son.

    And friends they love you , dislike you for what you are, for what you are not and for what you cant be.

    But I think your mother still had her point made,- Legal mind!!

  6. I am speechless and wordless...

    Enjoyed reading it

  7. Loved reading this post .. I keep frienship at a very high pedestal to me friendship is sacred .. and yes it coms with a lot of responsilbity ...

    Thank you so much I enjoyed this post a lot .. lovely little poem in the end ..


  8. Insignia: Don't believe everything that Anil wrote; he has a tendency to exaggerate. Glad you liked the poem - hope that will inspire you to read some in the book! :-p

    @Melange: 'Lucky are those who find kind,selfless souls..whether blood or friendship!'

    Like we say, 'Sat-sangam'. Let us fill our lives with good people...

    @Venu: Passion - yes. What are we without passion? Not human beings, I'm sure. Nothing comes to anything, everything comes to naught, so why hide one's true self, and if being passionate is what I am, so be it. You are right. I love, if I do, with passion, be it dogs, mountains or nature or occasionally, humans!

  9. @Kavitha: I am so happy to read that you remember me when you see some place bike-able! From what I know of you two, you make a great pair of parents!

  10. Kalpana: Thanks, K. Don't see you in blogworld much these days?

    Bikram: When are you going to write about your bike tour to Scotland?

  11. and we love you for being just you, Balan.
    not many can do that. most of us are used to using words to veil our true feelings, thus stiffling the flow of our language. your flow is unstoppable.

  12. Beautiful poem. In February I lost my best friend, my wife.

  13. Beautiful poem.
    What made me get in touch with you?
    May be the fascinating and captivating make-believe real-life stories you told me when you are only 8 or 9(All those stories about a girl and your adventures!)or may be series of coincident events in our lives - sudden departure of my father when I was 13, wedding August 26, my older son's birthday July 15.
    Balachandran! You are exceptional! You are bold in expressing your views and feelings unlike most of us.
    I am bit jealous when you are celebrating your life and destiny every day. All the best!

  14. Friendship realized....... really.


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