Count your Life by Smiles
Count your Age with Friends
When I quoted the above saying to my husband , he chuckled and said, There you go again with your stock of quotations. I don’t believe in it. Whoever said this might have had a lot of “friends”, he said, stressing the last word.
Might be, but what’s wrong in having friends, don’t you think one needs them in life, I said.
Yes, I agree, but not many of them.
How many? I asked.
Perhaps two or three at the most, he said.
By the way how many friends do you have? I asked.
Now you sound like a typical woman, he accused.
I don’t see anything wrong in my question. If you want to know how many friends I have, I will be too happy to tell you, I said.
O.K. Tell me, he said.
Let me see, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, ele…
Stop, he said gesturing at me, you can’t have so many. If you think you have, you must be a fool.
Why do you say so? Just because you may not have more than two or three friends, you can’t generalise, I said.
I still feel you are a fool to think you have so many friends. Probably, half of them are mere acquaintances.
You mean to say I don’t know the difference between the two, I retorted.
Exactly, he said.
O.K. You tell me the difference, I said.
Since you ask, let me explain. Even among friends, you have gradations like ‘a good friend, a close friend and a fair weather friend’, and all others who don’t fall under any of the three categories are mere acquaintances and not friends in the true sense.
Now, tell me, how many friends do you have falling under these different categories? he asked, appearing like a schoolteacher confronting a pupil.
That set me thinking. Wait, I said, and began counting. I found most of my “friends” did not belong to the first or second category but did not like to admit the fact, that too to my husband.
I am waiting, he said impatiently.
O.K. Here is your answer, I think I have just one friend, I said.
I knew you would say that, he said, sounding very sure of himself. I don’t have to ask who it is, because I know who he is, he quipped.
N Meera Raghavendra Rao