During my final sem in college, I received a call from one of my friends, a senior who had finished college the previous year. He said he had a back-paper and was wondering if I would be interested in a combined study session with him and another one of his friends (also a senior). I agreed. Combined study helped me more than studying alone (because that eventually led to staring blankly at the same paragraph for unnecessarily long amounts of time!)
I worked with them on the day before the exam. Somewhere during the session, my senior’s friend interrupted and said, “Stop. He has lost focus.” I looked at my senior (who gave me his trademark mischievous smile) and I said to the friend, “No, he’s nodding at all the right times.” Even to my own ears, that statement lacked conviction. The friend said, “Look. No one knows him better than I. I can look at him and tell you what he’s thinking. And I can tell you, right now, he’s not listening to a word you’re saying.” The mischievous smile widened into an ear-to-ear grin.
My senior cleared the exam that year, but his friend’s statement stuck with me. I went back to the hostel that day and repeated it to Lakshmi, whom I considered one of my best friends, and asked, “Do you think anyone can proudly say that about me? That they know me better than anyone else?” I half-expected, half-hoped that she would say she does. But she thought for a while and said, “Maybe Shynil can say that.” I gave that a little thought. Yes, Shynil did know me better than most people. But there were times when I would be telling the truth, but he would refuse to believe me. A minor thing. But it bothered me, nevertheless. Yet, that day, I thought I would it was just better to believe that Lakshmi and Shynil knew me better than anyone else. But, just like earlier that day, my thought lacked a certain degree of conviction. I expected too much from people, I chided myself.
But we grew apart, for whatever reasons. And the question still stayed with me. I often tell people that I am an open book, but the typeset is a little difficult to read! I tell everything about myself to everyone, not because I want to, but because, I just end up doing it! (a friend once introduced me to another friend with the following words, “You know, the first time you meet Sreesha, she’s just gonna tell you her life’s story, and you just stand there wondering when she’s gonna shut up!” Glad I got over that bit of verbal diarrhoea!) That opens up a pandora’s box of judgment. And I am still left with a feeling that no one truly knows who I am.
Maybe my senior was lucky that he got such a wonderful friend, who could read his thoughts and all that. Maybe there are people who know me well too, but just don’t say it or maybe I expect too much and don’t give them due credit because of certain minor things. I don’t know. Does everyone have a friend who can say “I know him/her better than anyone else.”?