A friend of mine who is based at Mumbai (who also happens to be a smart, young Corporate Banker), sends me two good-morning wishes every single day. Each wish has a beautiful inspirational message and a very appealing graphic. The pictures make all the difference to the messages. I have never asked where he gets it from, but I open my Inbox each morning and it is there.
Sometimes they are perky messages that say someone cares. For example a message he sent today said “Mornings are just like paintings. You need an inspiration to get you going, a smile to brighten it up and a message from someone who cares to colour your day.” Sometimes they are inspirational messages. For example, he sent a message a few days back which was a quote by Swami Vivekananda (who used to be my inspiration in my college days, but my friend didn’t know that) which read “In a day when you don’t come across a problem you can be sure you are travelling in the wrong path.”
I like almost all the messages he sends. More than that, I appreciate the gesture because the messages are marked individually to me (and not a part of a group chain mail which is sent to all).I always reply to every message—a few lines about whether I agreed or disagreed or found nice. He always replies back too.
A few days back he sent a message which said “Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.” Almost as a reflex I dashed off a mail saying “ If both S and I get swine flu will you come here and take care of the kids? Don't worry --even if you say you won't I will still keep in touch :-)” I was half kidding of course but behind every ‘just kidding’ there is always a big patina of truth, perhaps thinly spread, but it is there. He replied back almost instantly saying he surely would. He was dead serious too and wasn't kidding at all.
Today, we spoke for nearly forty minutes on the phone. I had called him up in the morning and he called me back later in the evening. Till then I had been having a day where you feel like you have been through the wash-rinse-dry cycle in the washer, that too on highest temperature and I am not referring to the weather which incidentally was cold and windy today. :-) I later made the water colour painting which you see at the beginning of this post and I will be sending it to him.[ He coloured my day, I had to colour his :-)]
What has been my experience which I learnt rather naively, the hard way ,was that not every friend will offer to help you or even care. The true test of friendship comes only in hard times. It is only when your chips are down that you know who your true friends are.
Fortunately for me, I have been blessed with an ability to really connect to people and I do have some great friends in all corners of the world. Today I spoke for nearly an hour to a very good friend who is in Pondicherry. She happens to be one amazing person, a very astute business woman with one of the sharpest minds I have known and a single mother to two lovely children. I again spoke for about 40 minutes to another very close friend who is a total radiator who sparkles with life, who is in Fiji. (If you don’t know what a radiator is, read my book!) It was time well spent.
The message about staying in touch with those who matter, as cliched as it is, is true. So don’t forget to connect with yours. It is indeed worth the time, effort and the long distance phone bills (if they happen to be in a different corner of the world). Trust me, it will colour your day too even if you don’t paint. :-)
If you have any stories of your friendships to share, I am listening. (and yes --if you humour me and tell me my painting is really great I'll listen with extra attention.) :-) :-)