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  • strong woman


Updated: Dec 20, 2021

My understanding of being a friend began when I was very young, observing my mother, who had an army of “friends” from all walks of life. I thought they were just people she knew but she referred to them as friends.

I grew up under this influence of a much-loved individual and I wondered what it was that attracted people to her. It was her friendship. An unconditional love and empathy, towards everyone she met. She said it made her happy. She worried about their problems and was eager to help. She had the knack of knowing you needed help, long before you released it. She was generous to a fault and helping her family and friends and their friends, gave her immense pleasure. Her legacy lives on.

I too have many friends and acquaintances. Some childhood friends, school friends and the friendships made in adult life. Then there is my family, that is a very big part of my life and who I am. There is mutual respect and admiration and my gratitude for their friendship. I agree with my mother, as my friendships bring more happiness into my life, than anything else I can think of.

I always tell people that my circle of friends is my other “family”. Helping my family and friends gives me a sense of belonging and purpose in life. I must be sounding like my mother.

It makes me wonder how I became so brave to face situations that I had no experience with. I guess as we get older we have a different perspective on life. Reflecting on events that have stayed with me; a couple of my friends have divorced and having to comfort the aggrieved spouse is very sad. Deaths of friend’s family members and helping with funeral arrangements and the wake is a reality check with one’s own mortality. Dressing my beloved friend in a Saree at the Undertakers before her body was flown to Sri Lanka for her funeral, was a surreal moment. Hospital visits for chemo, caring for patients after surgery and the list goes on.

In my experience being a friend is being present in the moment, with the person facing a trauma in their lives, as its life changing for them. Being mindful of this, is the key to their mental well being.

Not long ago I had a medical event that changed my life for ever. I was an energetic person always with a few things on the go and over night everything changed. It’s a miracle that I survived it, but during that time and my long drawn out recovery, I experienced a friendship like no other. My family and friends rallied around me with unimaginable support. There were prayer cells all around the world praying for a successful surgery, get well-wishers from family and friends far and near. People rallied around bringing meals and offering consoling words to my distraught family. My husband and children being there for me around the clock, contacting colleges and monitoring my situation and progress on a minute by minute basis was comforting. It’s the general consensus, that I dodged a bullet. The true essence of Friendship was a revelation and something I never expected and will never forget. I don’t expect any thing back except their friendship and I was drowning in everyone’s good deeds. I was truly speechless and in awe of everyone’s generosity.

Keeping in touch with my family and friends across continents, countries, and cities is seamless and free with social media, as I do believe friendship is a two-way street and we must make the effort. True friends come into your life for a reason and not a season. I leave you with this quote by Hubert Humphrey “The Greatest Gift of Life is Friendship and I have Received It”.

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