Saturday, November 21, 2015

Imaginary Friends.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Saturday, November 21, 2015

When I was a child, I was popular for having imaginary friends, or as sane people would put, popular for not making any real friends. As a child who transferred seven schools throughout school, I had a trouble making friends and relied on the imaginary friends I had in my mind. It was quite comforting, though!

My mother tells me that I had my first imaginary friend when I was two. Yes, that's right. It was a spirit, that was as amicable and adorable as Casper. I had this friend till I was in the second standard, and in those years, he would help me with my homework, walk me to the school, and gulp down the orange juice my mother would give me every evening. I distinctly remember writing and narrating stories about this imaginary friend to my parents, cousins, grandparents, and anyone who would  lend me an ear. My conversations and inside jokes with my friend would go on and on, and I made it a habit to break down my daily events into funny stories while narrating them to him. Like some friendships that break at a certain point, ours did too. I was heartbroken and took to writing a journal after that.

In the years that followed, I have made a bunch of imaginary (fictional) friends, I have had an imaginary pet, and an imaginary library too. As children, we tend to be utterly sensitive, we can never completely comprehend why we cannot make friends at a new school or a new place that we move to, we cannot entirely understand why we are treated as an outcast at places we are unfamiliar with. We fail to decipher why there are a lot of regional disparities.  It was totally normal to face issues while making friends at a new place, but it was even tough to make and maintain friendships when you transferred from one school to another in two years. We did not even have the internet in the 90s, and by the time it arrived, it was a hassle using it.

I took a lot of time and effort to make real friends, and after I did, I never had to look back. I kept on making friends, I kept on making memories, and I kept on cherishing the time I'd spend with them. I have realized that unlike imaginary friends, real friends respond, they are concerned, and they tell you about things that you wouldn't know otherwise. Real friends stay up late in the night talking you, they bunk work to come meet you when you are down, and they accompany you on your shopping trips. Unlike imaginary friends, some real friends that you make might prove to be unhealthy for you and you are driven to a point where you push them out of your life. Real friends are cooler. But sometimes, I do think, what if I never made real friends? Would I still have relied on the solace my imaginary friends offered?



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