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School friends and others September 20, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in littlerockers.

Natasha has an interesting post here about school days. What I particularly like about that piece was how it begins :

There’s something about friends who knew you from kindergarten to the tenth grade… (not that the friends afterwards are different. but they end up being somewhat similar to you.. )

Thinking about it, there are so many people from my primary/high school that I would hang out with who, if I encountered at college level, would perhaps loath to talk to – not because they are evil but because we would be very different people.

One of the consequences of growing up is shaping of our identity – our place in this world – and a corollary of that is automatic partitions and categorization of people as “like us” and “unlike us”. As they say, to define is to limit. Thus, we tend to hang around people who are like us or look for people like us.

School buddies are different. They are friends because they have always been friends, friends from a time when such definitions didnt exist. Just for an additional insight, consider 2 individuals – a 20 year old and 6 year old. 6 years old have one word for everyone they know at school – friends – sometimes qualified as “best friends”. However, a 20 year old has friends, classmates, batchmates, collegemates, acquaintances, roommates, seniors and juniors. These are not just words, these are patterns of thought and their outlook on the world.

Coming back to my own story, actually I am not ‘satisfied’ with the diversity resulting from people I have known in school. Quoting from my earlier to my school alumni group on May 23, 2005 :

Was under the impression ( and still am ) that Little Rock has produced mostly doctors and engineers. There were professions that were a matter of pride because of their sheer scarcity ( and still perhaps in some quaters ) has today become a matter of routine ( thanks to the abundance of the same). So much so that – if dont know what a certain Little Rocker is doing in life and you want to guess, you would be more often right if you just ‘assume’ that he/she is an engineer or a doctor.One of the consequences of this is that since most of your friends are either from school/college, you end up having mostly doctor-friends or engineer-friends and maybe even a spouse too – that is if you were courageous enough to fall in love with a guy/girl ( as the case may be ) in Little Rock ! And thanks to distortions that parents consciously or unconsciously create, even their children end up being doctors/engineers since both their parents are either doctors/engineers. Now, contemplate the misery if, over and above all that, the child is brought up in a place like Manipal – where if you are not an engineer/doctor, you are a tourist !

If you havent realized yet, let me put it in no uncertain words my lament regarding the lack of people from interesting backgrounds from my childhood – not just because of the school I went to, but the place I grew up and times I grew up in.

And yes, to be fair my being a computer science student doesnt contribute to the diversity of friends’ friends-circle either ! But I dont know where I am headed after graduate studies, so you never know ! Sorry until then 🙂



1. Anonymous - September 20, 2006

i wish my school was coed !!! :D!!

2. Sharath Rao - September 26, 2006

me too

if you knew my school ( and u probably do ! ), you get the irony 😉

3. aquarianalien - September 27, 2006

okie 😀

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