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Sunday, 7 August 2016

Who is your best friend?

“Travel and tell no one,
live a true love story
and tell no one,
live happily
and tell no one,
people ruin beautiful things.”

- Kahlil Gibran

I’ve been noticing this post being shared by many people in the past few days. Every time I read it, it brought out a different aspect.

“People ruin beautiful things” is true. But to me, it seems more like the fault of the narrator than that of “people.” I mean – shouldn’t I know whom to tell what? If, in the rush of wanting to share my joy, I choose to share it with people who are incapable of understanding what I’m saying, isn’t that my problem rather than theirs? There’s an idiom used in my mother tongue that roughly translates into “people can see only up to the edge of their nose.” So, it is perhaps foolish on my part to expect others to be able to see things the way I do.

And yet, once in a while, we do come across others who are able to catch the particular nuance we’re trying to convey. When you find such persons and they resonate with you, it is a truly wonderful feeling and you find your joy multiplies.

But it looks like the poet was also trying to drive home a more subtle point. That there are some feelings we must retain in their pristine glory of being an unshared experience. Of all the examples he could have used, why did Kahlil Gibran chose these three – travel, love and happy living? Is it because these are the ones especially that one experiences in unique ways that cannot really be understood by someone else?

I’ve heard people describe their visit to some place. What I “see” when I visit the same place is often quite different – and that has to be a result of the way my “mental” eye functions for anatomically and physiologically, my physical eye is the same as my friends’.

When it comes to love, every single person in this world feels his or her story is the best. If you feel someone else’s is better, indeed, yours cannot be a love story! No matter how exquisite your experience of love is, even if you are a master wordsmith, there is no way you can transfer that feel to someone else.

In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that even the two people who are entwined in the bond of love will not experience it in the same way. Of course, they may claim to do so – but that’s just because we’ve grown up with the idea that conforming to each other’s notions is loyalty. Deep in the recesses of your own mind, you know that the outcome of loving – joy, happiness, delight – may be common to the one with whom you bond, but the nature of your experience is yours alone.

As for a happy life, every single one of us has our own concept of what makes us happy. Happiness to me may mean spending the few early morning hours on a Sunday writing this post. If you’re reading this and smiling, happiness to you can mean reading my blog post. For some of us, happiness is in owning things, for others it is experiencing them even if you don’t own them. To some people, happiness is in providing for a family, for others, it comes from not getting trapped in a family and to still others, it may come from making the entire world their family.

When you try to live life your way, especially if it is not cut to the conventional mould, there will always be people to advise you on how to live their concept of a happy life. Perhaps that is the reason why Kahlil Gibran says, “live a happy life, and tell no one.” For each one's happiness too is solely his own.

The biggest message I saw in this quote was a kind of confidence-giving to those who struggle to balance between living life their way and being popular. As long as your experience is a positive one that helps you move ahead in this long-winding journey of life, you alone are indeed your own best friend.

BE such a free soul !!


  1. This post resonates my thoughts. I recently was talking of happy life, love and loyalty to my bestie, sharing pretty much the same lines. Glad that you have penned it. It becomes a ready reckoner now :).
    It is at so many levels true - To each his own.
    My truth need not be yours too. So let's be happy and make our life happier. This reminds me of a Tamil soap's title track, which says "vazhkai vazhkai inbamada, vazhvadu avar avar kaiyilada". Meaning it is our life and we have to live it to either make it better or bad.

    1. Thank you, Shilpa! And that song you quote is fitting indeed.

    2. Very soothing to read. I like the fact that the article leaves one to ponder and dwell..

  2. I think that's a very good points of view of the poems. Nice share!

    Kahlil Gibran #1 fan of all times.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. The more one's gifts increase the more one's friends decrease
    Kahlil Gibran

  6. I have been googling if this poem really belongs to Khalil Gibran or not, as it didn't look like from Gibran to me. I still have no proof.


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