Friday, October 10, 2008

Set Theory

Remember the good old oval shaped figures in the math book? With arrows flowing here and there. Unions, Intersections, complements. I was thinking how well that applies to a group of friends. We all have been in our own groups of friends. More than one for sure: From the group you form amongst your classmates in high school to the college gangs and to the group of colleagues. It is amazing to try and figure out how a group is formed, evolved and eventually dissolves. Well, not all groups.

 

I can, out of the top of my head; figure out at least 7 different groups I have been in my life. Have sustained a few and have seen the other ones fade away. So how does this thing work? It mostly starts with a simple four letter word. No, it is not LOVE. I always believe that friendships originate, if not sustain, because of a four letter word called ‘need’. You have to spend time with people who you are comfortable with. People who you want to be around, joke around, laugh, pull each other’s legs – in short ‘Hang out’ with. This is when a group gets formed.

 

Basic rules – there will be atleast 2-3 best friends within a group. And then there would come each one’s friends who would tag into the group. Thus, applying the rule of union of the set theory, a bigger group is formed. The more the merrier is what they say. It is true until you reach a point where you say no more please. So if the group starts having more than 7-8 members, then the chances are that they break as quickly as they form. And God save you, if you are a part of 2 or 3 gangs at the same time. You may very well end up watching the crappiest of the movies 3 times.

 

The complication is multiplied when the group contains guys and girls. The problem is that nobody has till date understood women. And when they are amongst you in a group, then you are in for a ride. Along with need would come the additional features like love, romance and more. No doubt that this group would be the most sort after group, majorly because of the vibrant nature of the group. You might be in for some sarcastic comments from other people you be around saying, “Ye toh apne saath nahi aayega. Uske gang ke saath hi jayegea”.

 

There comes a point when you starts forming small groups within the bigger ones. These we call subsets. People (within the group) with similar interests come together in this. Anything from being movie maniacs to being nerdy can strike a note between 2 or 3 people within a group. They “complement” each other.  Then comes the difficulty with the hang outs. “Who should we call, who should nt we call. Did you call him? Oh no. I told him I had some other work to do. Why do I have to ask everyone”. But each gang would have a cohesive force. Most often, it would be a single person, who would hold the whole gang together. He/She has to bear a lot of shit from all corners to keep the group going.

 

 Most of the times it would take people in the group going away to split the group. And that is the toughest part. Because, nothing in life is stable and at the end of the day, each one has his own life to worry about. Marriage and relocations are the worst villains for any group. It is interesting to see how a guy/girl in a group gets cut off the moment he/she gets married.  Then they would have to worry about the others’ gang too and at the end of the day both end up ditching their gangs. Not wishfully though. But then the set has to collapse and a new set formed. Which by the way is Rule no. 1 in this set theory.

 

 But nevertheless, you have the memories. The good thing about nostalgia is that it always reminds you of the happy moments. The laughs and the jokes that had happened when you were once a part of the group. No wonder FRIENDS and SEINFELD have been so popular. They show us on screen what we always wanted to do. Hang out with the gang.

 

Song for the Occasion: I will be there for you/Yaron.