You don’t need to know each other since childhood or college to be friends
It is common to have friends, and in metros like Mumbai, it is very common to have ‘unknown’ friends. Yes! You read it right, ‘unknown’ friends. Who are these unknown friends? And if they are unknown, how can they be friends?
Early morning as you step out of the house to leave for work, on your way towards the bus stop or railway station you often come across parents who come to drop their little ones for the school bus. When you look at those cute little innocent faces it is natural to exchange a smile at that kid followed by another one or towards the parent. No spoken word, but just the exchange of smiles. And every day your time to leave for the office matches with the kid’s school bus timing, the chances of these smiley encounters are more than often.
As you move ahead you usually have a fixed time to board the bus or train. There are others just like you, who cannot afford to miss the bus or train if they have to reach office on time. So, in most of the cases you again encounter familiar faces, with few pluses and minuses every single day. Some end up striking a conversation in an attempt to know the fellow passenger better and, at times end up becoming very close friends. But there are a few who follow the same school kid-formula: Exchange a smile to make their presence felt.
It is the same bus stop or same railway station and exactly the same scene surrounding it. As you walk towards your workstation you see many regular office-goers indulging into their early morning dose of tapriwali chai or vendors experimenting with their vocal chords in an attempt to do brisk business at the start of the day.
In case you had ever bought anything from them and they happen to see you pass by, they try their best to remind you of your one-time loyalty in anticipation to make it two-time loyalty. Here also, a smile which costs nothing works wonders as you head to your office.
A cute looking school kid, a parent who comes every morning to drop that child, fellow passengers in bus or train and the regular office goers at the chai ki tapri and the hopeful vendors end up becoming a part of your daily routine. Minus even a single person from one day of your life, you will feel incomplete. For a couple of days one of these goes missing, you will be driven to think about their absence.
Who are they after all? They are not your school or college friends. They are not even your office colleagues. But there is certainly a connect between you and them. A connect of smile, a connect of acknowledging each other’s presence every single day. They are your ‘unknown’ friends.