Am I Really That Important?

Names have been replaced with fictional ones to protect identities.

“So, Mr. Kumar, do you know why you’re in here today?” I don’t get why administrators ask rhetorical questions in these situations. How is it going to help? I don’t even know whether Shiv answered that question or not. I do know, however, that he was the only one, out of the eight of them, who was brave in the moment. He wasn’t just putting on a brave face — that’s just masking a face with a lack of fear. He was his normal self, smiling throughout his ‘interrogation’. He had gotten into trouble for something that was questionably wrong. I will not comment on whether or not he deserved to be punished. That is not for me to decide. Nevertheless, I had a decision to make. Shiv has been my friend for a long, long time but our relationship’s substance wasn’t quantified by the time we spent together. Rather, it was the quality of mutual respect and understanding. Everybody has that one friend who you don’t have to see even for a year to be close. He was mine. Now, though, I was faced with a dilemma because of his recently maligned reputation. Teachers, well-wishers and mentors all questioned whether it made sense for me to associate myself with him. The concept of ‘niswarth’ or not for self is something that many want to strive toward, yet there are few who do. On one hand, we’re supposed to not care about ourselves, but on the other we live in a society that judges us by what we do, not by what we don’t. In a highly competitive world like this, what should have I done? Is the friendship more valuable than myself? And the problem with these questions is that either way I deal with the situation, it harms and benefits me. I either lose a friend and gain a better perceived reputation, or retain an important friendship and gain a worse perceived reputation. Do you risk yourself for someone else? Is this even risking yourself?