Friendship is the only relationship one makes by choice. It transcends all boundaries, there is no discrimination of gender, class, caste, region, religion, colour or age. Friendship is all about two people clicking, commonality of thoughts and attitudes is what develops it into an everlasting bond. Two friends may or may not be related by blood; siblings, cousins, spouses, neighbours, classmates, colleagues in office or fellow passengers in the same train daily, there is no limit. Today, a friendship may even start online and flourish. It is all about developing a comfort level where two people are willing to care and share without expectations.
I learnt from father that the best investment made by anyone are in the field of health, relationship and knowledge. These investments will stand by you under any circumstances. He lived till 83 and lived healthy and happy. The main reason for his happiness were the investments he had made. I never found him lonely, even after my mother passed away he preferred to stay alone, but was never lonely. It was his small group of friends, to whom he would always turn around in the time of need, and they never let him feel lonely. They were there with him always, till his last day. They were the major contributors and reason to/ for his state of happiness and good health.
I have tried to follow in my dad’s footsteps as far as investment in friendship is concerned. My profession has taken me across the length and breadth of my country (India) and giving me an opportunity of meeting people from all regions and religions. I can say with confidence that I have at least one friend in every state/ region of the country; the one who will definitely respond to me when I require (though we hardly meet or even talk). That said, it’s the friends from school whom I always long to meet. I was not too much of an extrovert as a child, hence developing friendship was not too easy. But, I did manage to break the ice with few (rather they managed). I can count them on my fingertips (single digit for sure) but the bond that developed in the school has continued and strengthened over years (or should I say matured). It’s only a couple of them that I turn around to talk to when I am feeling low, which is rare. I never express my emotions of feeling low (though I know they can make out), but just a long chat (maybe a walk down the memory lane) alleviates the mood. We are separated by distance but just a call away and I can say with confidence that I can give any one of them a call at any time of the day and it will be responded to (I also firmly believe that their spouses won’t hate/ kill me for this).
I find it rather strange, now a days, when I see people developing friendships based on expectations, trying to make friends with only people who matter in the professional chain. Such relationships die with the expectations and these are the people who will always remain lonely in life. For a friendship to flourish it is the child in you who matters more than anything else; honest, true, non- manipulative, without expectations.
I would certainly like to make a mention of my bestie (my wife) here. I was all of 32, going strong as a bachelor when she ‘broke through’ and after that life just got better rather I would say life couldn’t have been better. Twenty years of our companionship have flown past like a beautiful dream, a dream I would never like to wake up from.