Different hues of friendship

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

The world of friendship is full of joy and laughter and jokes and secrets and what not! It takes on a different hue with each friend we make. But some relationships go beyond the usual definition of friendship we all know of.

So this time, on Friendship Day, I decided to look at some unique friendships that go above and beyond the cliches that the word “friends” is associated with. 

“Na umr ki seema ho”

(When age doesn’t matter!)

Nisha and Ludmila

Nisha and Ludmila click a happy selfie.

When we temporarily moved to the USA in 2013, I always wished to have a friend from a different country. I had a strong desire to discuss different cultures and lifestyles with someone. 

But I always ended up making Indian friends. It was only two weeks before I had to leave permanently for India in 2019 that I realized the friend I had been searching for, lived right downstairs. 

Ludmila is 78, I am 36. She is from Russia, now living in the US with her dog. We used to see each other at the parking lot now and then, wave a quick Hi and hardly ever spoke. 

In a few instances when we tried conversing, I realized she couldn’t speak English. We still communicated in few words and signs whenever necessary. She would show up with gifts on special occasions and yet, we never really had a chat. 

A smile was our only mode of communication. As I left for India, she hugged me tight and looked right into my eyes as if telling me she found me special.

Our friendship truly began when she gave me gifts she had brought all the way from Moscow and a handwritten note along with her email ID when she bid me farewell. 

Since then, we have exchanged many mails in which to my surprise she writes in excellent English about her childhood, her studies, her job as an engineer, her late husband and her grandchildren. She is humorous and full of life. 

There’s so much warmth in her writings and I count myself blessed to have found such a wonderful friend in her. 

I don’t know if we’ll ever meet again but that’s another wish of mine that I hope comes true.

“Ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi ho sakte”

(A girl and a boy can never be just friends)

Sakshee and Kamlesh

Surprisingly, Sakshee and Kamlesh don’t have a photograph together.

It’s been 13 long years since I first met this special friend of mine at a time when we were searching for schools for my youngest brother.

His father helped us a lot during the process and yet, I met him much later, when his brother passed away. On such a difficult day of his life, it was strange and mystic that we would hit it off instantly and yet we did. 

A couple of years later, I realized we share our birthdays too and he’s just hours younger to me! We did hit a rough patch when his mother died in my arms after a brief illness and he wasn’t around. Maybe he blamed me for it in his heart. But even after a year of not replying to my texts or calls, when I didn’t give up on him or his family, we bonded once again and this time, to never part ways.

Our relationship goes beyond all that the world knows of. I jokingly tell him that he’s almost my adopted son and I know I trust him with my life.

This world is full of friends who backstab or have an agenda to be friends with you, but Kamlesh is unique. He’s helped me grow into a better person in these last 13 years and I hope I’ve done the same for him! He’s totally my human diary. 

People do tell us we should maybe make more of our bond but we know that what we have is something that can’t be labeled by society. 

I am sure we knew each other in another universe and when it was time to come to earth, I told him, “See you in 21 years!”

“Badi mushkil se magar duniya mein dost milte hain”

(It’s difficult to make friends for life)

And finally, I want to share my relationship with my friend Ritesh who’s literally seen me grow up from a teenager to a mother of a toddler! 

My friend Ritesh and I at my birthday 8 years back.

There was a time when we would meet regularly and share our problems from love to career to studies to almost everything. But then, I got busy with my job as a journalist and started to prioritize everything else but him. I took him for granted and didn’t make time for him. But this guy never gave up on me. 

It’s been more than 18 years now and I am glad I could reconnect with him again after many years and share my heart with him one more time.

We still don’t talk regularly but whenever we do, it’s a meaningful conversation that always leads to value and learning. True friends never leave. And one must not let them. My journey with my friend has been one of learning in selfless love. I am so happy that our bond has stood the test of time. Our Buddhist practice has made it even stronger and every chat we have, whenever we have it, is about inspiring and encouraging each other to be better partners, family members, and Buddhists. I am fortunate to have him around even now when I am married as I know many women who had to let go of their male best friends once that happened. 

On that note, may all our friendships make us grow into better people and be full of respect and compassion for one another. 

Happy Friendship Day everyone!

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