It’s amazing how you can speak right to my heart… Oh, that’s a song. Not how I meant to start this.
But well, it’s amazing alright. How the best of people always have the best of friends Like how Calvin has Hobbes; Asterix has Obelix; Tintin has Snowy; the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. have each other; and well, Boban has Moli.
I think the best of the lot is Calvin and Hobbes.
And if I be Calvin, I’ve found my Hobbes [Or vice-versa, if my ‘Hobbes’ doesn’t like being a tiger *But for now, you’ll have to make do with being Hobbes. The other option would be to make you Richard Parker, who coincidentally is again a tiger. I think Hobbes is much cuter, nicer and definitely more fun to be with*]
I’m very, very, VERY choosy when it comes to friends—especially the kind that can be ‘Hobbes’. And this one was, well, totally unexpected. Someone I definitely did not see myself ever getting so close to or being such great friends with!
The time I first met Hobbes, I never thought we’d ever strike a chord. Hobbes seemed a very serious, withdrawn person. The kind that is so withdrawn, they barely look up at you when you’re being introduced to them and quickly nod before going back to their work. Uh uh…definitely not the kind who would be friends with someone goofy like me So well, I maintained a distance, and was always just courteous and polite.
I liked Hobbes, but that was about it. In the meantime, I also heard bits of conversation here and there of Hobbes being this serious person; people seemed to be quite scared of Hobbes, and I saw very few people being comfortable and carefree around Hobbes—cementing my impression of Hobbes as someone who could not easily be “friended”. Well, that impression lasted about a week.
Till I first heard Hobbes laugh. It was a loud, clear, right-from-the heart guffaw. Yes, a guffaw. You have to hear it to know what I mean Despite not knowing what the joke was or who it was shared with, I found myself looking up and smiling at Hobbes. Well, to be precise, at the back of Hobbes’ head! And that was when I figured Hobbes out: in an instant. And I liked Hobbes a lot more then
Only someone that’s completely genuine, sincere, adorable and so full of humour can ever laugh like that. Seriously. Laughter—especially the kind that emanated from Hobbes that day, and many, many times after that—is something that will give away a person’s character immediately: it can tell you who is fake, who is real Hobbes was definitely very, very real! I figured I could be myself, goofy and well, just me. The only question was if Hobbes wanted that. Hehe.
You need to know the nuances of laughter to be able to figure people out When I shared that piece of insight once, Hobbes said “I refuse to laugh like that from now on!” Well, the damage was done already, my dear Hobbes once told me “Not everyone retorts to me the way you do. You picked my sense of humour too fast. And I’m not like this to everyone either. I appear serious, proud and very quiet. It’s a facade…kind of a protection that I put around myself.” Well, I’m glad I broke through the facade, and damaged your “aura” (which I still insist on never having noticed ). I now have a friend for life—and an awesome one at that
When I look back now, I still cannot believe Hobbes and I became friends. I would never have believed it if someone had told me then that Hobbes and I would become such friends someday. I would’ve scoffed, I suppose But well, we did become friends…though very, very, very gradually.
With Jaya, my best friend—an alter ego, maybe I should say—it took just about 5 minutes for us to bond and become friends for life. Was I not so choosy then, you ask? Well, is it tough to like yourself in 5 minutes? Anyway, I thought a friend as valuable as that would never come by a second time. I was wrong. I guess 2 really is a good number for me
Hobbes is perhaps one other person who is equally choosy about friends. I guess we have both had enough experiences that hold us back, make us take our time to fully understand another person before going from ‘just friends’ to ‘great friends’. And now, I can say without a moment’s hesitation that Hobbes is a “great” friend to have.
I’ve seen Hobbes in good times and bad—and I have immeasurable respect for the way Hobbes wades through it all.
Hobbes’ sense of humour and quick wit, for one. It can leave you laughing uncontrollably till you end up gasping for air at times…OR leave you so stunned, you wouldn’t know whether to laugh or just gawk. Spontaneity at its best. Certain conclusions and one-liners Hobbes comes up with are…well…bloody hilarious. Something you just do not expect from a person who appears “serious, proud and very quiet”.
There are times when Hobbes gets washed over by a wave of depression…and I pretend not to understand that and keep insisting that Hobbes smile at least “half a smile” *Hobbes, I really do understand when you’re in the dumps, but there is nothing I can do to help you at such times. Apart from telling you to smile! Apart from listening and saying “Hmmm”*
There are times when I am pissed off with something and I go crib to Hobbes—knowing very well that my problems are nothing compared to Hobbes’. But well, me being me, I still crib I could go on and on and on and on, and Hobbes would patiently listen. There would be nothing Hobbes will have to say, to help me, but listen Hobbes will. No questions asked, no judgements made. And all this, while I am just making a mountain out of a miniscule mole hill.
When it comes to a fault, Hobbes does not see if there’s friendship or enmity. If Hobbes has to blast, Hobbes will blast. Despite being such close friends, I’ve been blasted too (which surprised a few people because we were supposed to be ‘friends’; now who blasts friends, huh?). Well, I do. Hobbes does, too. What are friends for, if they can’t correct you when you’re wrong? If there’s credit to be given, Hobbes gives it generously—again, irrespective of friendship or enmity. I think that’s a fabulous quality: to be able to separate life from work
If you are a friend, Hobbes will perhaps die for you. Well, not literally, of course. But if you want Hobbes to do something for you, Hobbes will do it, despite perhaps not liking it at all. It always surprises me, because I would never do that! I’ve kidded about certain things, and Hobbes always agreed to do it, even after admitting it may not be the best thing to do. Maybe one should NOT be so fiercely loyal to friends. You never know how loyal your ‘friend’ is to you. *Note the point, Hobbes *
There are times when Hobbes deserves a kick—for judging people wrongly, for making the wrong ‘friends’, for trusting the wrong people (repeatedly, at that), for helping the ones who do not deserve to be helped…and in all this process, getting hurt. But well, can’t be helped…because Hobbes is Hobbes. I like that *No matter what the other person is or does, you have to be you, Hobbes *.
Yes, now that I think about it, I really like that! People come and go, some even walk over Hobbes, leaving bruises…but the next time they need help, Hobbes does not think twice before helping (and most probably getting hurt again). Though I’ve blasted Hobbes for that many times, I think that’s amazing. *Remain so, just stop expecting any gratitude, whatsoever. And I still will blast you the next time you do that * In Hobbes’ own words, “You fool me once – you are clever; You fool me twice – I am stupid; Hobbes is not stupid; wow, I like that line”. I do too
Of course, Hobbes has faults. Well, who doesn’t (except me!), right? Hobbes frets too much about the past; is too perfect and orderly (yes, that’s a fault!); goes into a shell and refuses to talk about it if something upsets Hobbes; does not appreciate telegrams (!); is not a great fan of Calvin & Hobbes despite being christened Hobbes (!!); thinks an i10 is better than a Punto (bah); aaaaaand walks way too fast Saddest of all, Hobbes does not forgive the mistakes made by self (if they can be called ‘mistakes’, which I personally don’t think is what those are; I think everything is a lesson, a learning, an experience…it makes you one bit stronger, one bit wiser). *You need to get over them, Hobbes. I know it is easier said than done, but you have to. Otherwise, you won’t really get time to make new mistakes What’s life without mistakes, to crib over and learn from?*
There are times Hobbes can be absolutely morbid, absolutely mind-numbing and absolutely shocking. I have fallen off my chair quite often at certain things Hobbes said. I’ve laughed sooooo much that I’ve gone so red in the face, making Hobbes all alarmed that something might happen to me.
I’ve also gaped in awe at certain other things. Like the courage, the perseverance, the patience, the sense, the logic. Most importantly, the pure will to survive and succeed.
The most amazing thing, however, is the way Hobbes can get up or down to any age level Right from 5 to 50 We are capable of being two kids fighting over who is better than the other…and can, in the blink of an eye, be two very mature adults, having a serious discussion on life’s complexities
We have long conversations and longer spells of comfortable silences. I read somewhere “The best kind of friend is one with whom you sit on a bench, saying nothing and when you get up and go, you feel as if you had the best conversation of your life!” Oh, I believe that to the last word now
*Hobbes, I’m immensely grateful to you for the companionship you gave during some real bad times; for listening to all my cribbing like it was the most important thing at that moment; for guiding me on when I needed directions; for the many, many coffee breaks and walks; for the many deals; for some real impressive pep talks; for the umpteen laughs; for all the mentorship; for cheering me up when I was depressed; for making September 2011 a bearable ordeal; for correcting me when I was wrong; for being a true friend all the time. And most importantly, for being the delight that you are…for being you.*
Friendship is a rather strange thing. It is not about going out together and ‘having fun’ all the time; it’s not about having weekend trips together; it is not about lavishing gifts on them; it’s not about sitting around a table together and secretly wondering if you have everything your friend has. Most importantly, it’s NOT about being supportive even when your ‘friend’ is obviously wrong: that’s being the goody-goody, I’m-there-for-you-whatever-you-do Samaritan. Friends don’t let each other tread the wrong path.
Friendship is definitely about being there for each other, through good times and bad. But more importantly, it’s about being a critic and a guide. Goof around, have fun, call each other names, pull each other’s legs, land a surprise, lend a shoulder. But when your friend is wrong, have the courage to point it out, help the person correct the wrong and get back into the right. Be an unconditional friend, but be a valuable one first. That’s when you’re a true friend.
Which is why…
Guess with Hobbes, I just got damn lucky
P.S.: Hobbes, here’s wishing you a fantastic new beginning that remains fantastic till the end. What you leave behind, is definitely something that is best left behind
P.S. of P.S.: I’m not to be held responsible if being known as “Hobbes” does further damage to your “aura”
P.S. of P.S. of P.S.: I still insist: there is no aura