As the old adage says, “A Man is known by the company he keeps” and so it is prudent to choose your friends wisely. Nearly twenty five years ago, I chose a wrong friend: He was a tough fellow from the Punjab, and since I was also running my own business, I had to drive around a lot in my little Maruti, which had just come into the market. This young, muscular fellow, sat by my side and came along with me to all my worksites.
I realized I enjoyed having somebody like him in my car. In any altercation with a fellow motorist, be it a car driver or truckman, he never talked, he just used his fists, and I marveled at the way people ran from him after just one blow.
It was a late night phone call, from the police that woke me out of my reverie; he had landed in jail, after bashing up a cyclist. I went over and pulled him out, but started realizing that I would have to get out of this friendship. And I did, but not before it had ruined quite a bit of my own reputation.
From that day I’ve tried to be careful over those I choose to be friends with and have worked out some rules I follow: The first thing I check nowadays is the person’s sense of honesty: Not just with money, but with his family. I do have friends, both men and women who cheat on their spouses, but in their guilt and pain, I see honesty. Secondly I look for baggage: Yes, hates and jealousies from childhood, which manifest in sometimes erratic behavior. Suddenly someone you have met and are beginning to like acts strangely when confronted with a problem or challenge. I see this often with women when talking of a pretty woman. We all have some stuff we carry from our past, but it is important to see that these things don’t mess up the present.
Thirdly I avoid those who are intolerant of another’s faith, caste or race. This comes out through jokes, or hateful talk. I know that same person waxing eloquent about another of another faith would do the same about me if given the opportunity. I avoid them like the plague. There are many more rules you could follow, and if Karuna had been a little careful too, he would have celebrated a happier birthday..!