On my blog here, I generally haven’t been very forthcoming with my opinions on happenings around me in the country or the world. All I talk about is my small little universe here with the twins and the Husband. It does take up most of my thoughts (I am obsessivemom, remember?).
That’s not to say I don’t have opinions. How can I not, living in this age of information overload? We have unlimited access to news 24X7 and yet the truth remains ever more elusive. How weird is that! It might have to do with the fact that our media is so highly polarised. We get umpteen versions of the same truth. No matter what side we’re on we find more than enough information to sustain our point of view.
And so we end up believing what we want to and can continue to stick with it and argue about it without even considering that a different viewpoint might exist.
Many times when I’ve been reading a piece that doesn’t resonate with me I’ve shut it down in disgust because it made me so very frustrated and angry. I’ve unfollowed and unfriended for my peace of mind simply because some points of view unsettle me so.
However, there’s a bit of a danger in that, a danger of the formation of an ‘us’ and a ‘they’ - people who think what I think and those who don't. That certainly cannot be healthy.
So how then do I get a reality check?
I get mine through friends. Friends who come from different backgrounds, belong to different parts of the country, friends who think differently, who support different parties, who come up with arguments different from mine and who argue vociferously.
I keep them close.
You should too.
The other day I was out for dinner with a bunch of them. Between spoonfuls of cheesy pasta and some first class biryani our conversation veered towards a recent political development. Before we knew it we were in the middle of an argument, a rather heated one. Ten minutes later we were back to the biryani and the baby potatoes and all was well with the world.
And that is how it should be.
As long as you don’t make each argument a point of prestige, as long as it’s not about winning or losing, as long as you’re willing to be convinced, to admit you didn’t see it like that, that you didn’t know a certain fact. It will be fine.
There will be times of course when you won’t agree at all and days when you won’t part on a happy note. But that’s fine too because you’re friends and you bond on many many levels not just on that one political or social point. And so you will come back to each other sharing exam woes and teen troubles while laughing over ‘fat’ jokes even as you plan breakfast outings or lunch dates.
Just as pasta and biryani share my plate happily making it richer for the difference, so can different thinking friends stay together and make your life that much richer, make your viewpoint broader, more tolerant.
Keep your friends close and your 'different thinking' friends even closer.
End note: If you find me getting into an argument with you it means I consider you a dear friend, a very dear one.