I have very few friends. For me, friendship just develops naturally. I dont go out to 'find' new friends.
Of them, I still have contacts only with Pradeep Nair and 'Shencottah' (as he calls himself in his blog). Both are in Bangalore. Shencottah will be moving soon to Hyderabad.
Pradeep is a down-2-earth chap - he didnt have a mobile till recently. I have met Pradeep's father. A simple man, he will always have some book in his hand. So is Pradeep. He is a book-worm and keeps himself well-informed about the latest developments.
Shencottah is doing some research. He can discuss any subject under the sun. I met him after almost 15 years. He learns violin. I have been to Shencottah's house only once. I do not know much about his parents. But what I know about Shencottah is that he was lucky enough to study in what i regard, as one of the best schools _ the one run by Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam of Swami Chidbhavananda.
In Chennai I have 'Valkannadi'. One common thread with all of them is that they are all bloggers.
The third - valkannadi (http://valkannadi.blogspot.com) - is my newest friend. Valkannadi is her blog name. She is a Keralite. When we were talking about the Vishu festival, I told her that I had read the meaning of the ritual - why we open our eyes before a mirror and worship our reflection. It is done almost just as a ritual everywhere. Only a few people know the real meaning - she is one of them. I know people who keep jewels before the mirror so that it 'doubles' before the next Vishu. I was glad that Valkannadi is one of the few who perform the ritual with fully understanding the meaning, which is important.
The next time she surprised me was when she explained the meaning of a sloka and the ritual associated with the sloka. I knew the sloka, and the ritual, but I did not know that the 'why' part of the ritual was associated with the sloka.
The third time was when I told her I would be writing a samskrit exam. Her eyes immediately lit up and wrote a complex (at least for me) grammar table she had studied in school. In school! That was some 20 years ago! I asked her how she remembered it. She said it was because of her teacher who drilled it into her. Why I say Valkannadi surprised me is because I never thought she would be interested in such things. She would always be seen with some novels. (This proved I am a poor reader of people) I neve knew she would be interested in any other book till she borrowed a book of spiritual wisdom in tamil and finished it in one go.
All the three friends, I believe, have had good guidance - from parents,teachers etc.. I do not know much about Valkannadi, except about her great teacher. What I want to emphasise here is that parents must take efforts to guide their children. It is of no use banging your head later.