Friendship: What does it mean to you?

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"Friendship is the only cement that can hold the world together" – former US President Wilson Woodrow.


In today’s world when every moment in life seems like a rat race and everybody seems out to get you, you need someone who can help you unwind and can help keep your sanity in check.  At times when the stress levels are high and morale is low, nothing can beat a cup of coffee with your best friend or a heart to heart chat with someone who makes you feel that you matter. We all need a special person in our life with whom we can be ourselves, someone whom we can trust, someone whose shoulder we can lean on, someone who makes you want to sing ‘Yeh zameen gaa rahi hai". That special someone could be your mother, your husband, your next door neighbor, your colleague or your childhood friend ? someone in whose company you feel comfortable.


Friendship is like a plant. With the right amount of sunshine and water, it flowers and blooms. But should you forget to water it, you can be sure that it will quickly wither. Friendship needs to be nurtured. A friend doesn’t need diamonds or a mink coat, all a friend asks for is the reassurance that they are important and make a difference in our lives.


Considering the valuable role friends play in our lives, isn’t it befitting to dedicate at least one day in the year to these wonderful people whom we call friends?  


What is Friendship Day?


Friendship Day is a day to commemorate friendship; a day dedicated to friends all over the world and is celebrated on the first Sunday of August. The first friendship day was celebrated in the United States in 1935. In 1997, the United Nations named the adorable Winnie the Pooh as the world’s Ambassador of Friendship.


Here is what some of my friends, old and new, scattered across the globe had to say about the role of friendship in their life.


Ernest Cutinho, Dubai, UAE


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(After having spent a couple of years in Qatar, Ernest has recently moved to Dubai and is working as an internal sales representative in National Oilwell Varco Dubai. It would be of interest to those who have used Favorite Collections to buy their greeting cards including Friendship Day cards, Ernest’s father owns the place).


"Friendship is a ship between two shores – two individuals who wish to unselfishly reach out to the other and create a bond that could last a life time.
 
Joy shared is joy doubled and sorrow shared is sorrow halved. On our journey of life, we come across many people on a day to day basis. Some of them come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave their footprints on our heart and we never will be the same. However, if we meet people with an extended hand of friendship, we quickly bond with them and that will make living life worthwhile. Instead of expecting others to a good friend, we have to be a good friend to others.
 
August 5, we celebrate Friendship Day. Let us all try to be good friends not only in enjoyment, but more importantly to reach out in others hardships. Let us make a resolution to be "A Friend in Need" and surely we will cultivate a lot of friends who will call us "Friend Indeed." Happy Friendship Day to everyone!!!"


Loveena Mamatha, Florida, USA


(Having completed her graduation from St Agnes College, Mangalore, Loveena has been living in the United States for the past six years. She is a homemaker and a mother of two)


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We have been living in the US for the past 6 years. When we were back home, family was everything. Whatever be the circumstance, we would be assured of the feeling of security our family gave us. We had a lot of friends then too & probably spent more time with them than with family. It was something that gave me so much pleasure. But when it came down to serious business it was always family first.


All this changed when we moved to a new country with different people & very different circumstances. I can say that it was then that I recognized the true value of friendship. Not that I valued my friends back home any less, don’t get me wrong on this one, what I am really trying to say is that it was suddenly a new environment, scary & confusing. It almost felt like someone had just cut off the umbilical chord. I had no family to fall back on and friends are my only source of support. I truly believe that it is God who made friends and I never cease to thank Him for this special blessing.


I am truly blessed to have a loving family & equally wonderful friends, whereas not many are that fortunate, but instead of dwelling on that matter & feeling unhappy about it, why not fill up that void with good friends? After all, even if one has no say in the kind of family they get we always have a choice in whom we choose to have as a friend. 


So here’s to all those wonderful friends who make life so worthwhile. HAPPY FRIENDSHIP DAY!


Cyril D’Cunha, Doha, Qatar


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(A Certified Human Resources Professional from Canada Cyril recently moved to Doha from Canada and is currently working as Compensation Analyst in a government organization. Cyril is from Mangalore and studied at St Aloysius and SDM Law College.) 


The book of Sirach 6.14 says "A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure."


When I first arrived in Doha I was lonely and missed the circle of friends that I had in Toronto. Would I make any friends in this new country was a question that plagued me?


How does one make friends in an alien country? Depending on the internet to remain in contact with old friends is important but it is also important to have friends in the place you reside. Relocating to Qatar was made easy for me because of a community organization here. It was a great place to meet new people. There are also organizations related to professional and self- development where we can meet likeminded people. So, there are many ways to make new friends even in a new country.


There are limited resources in our life and we should try to make the most of them. Loneliness can be scary and so the eternal quest of man is to have a person whom he/she can relate to.   I believe that we all need a friend in our life and but one must be little cautious while choosing a friend, as "a friend in need is friend indeed".


Happy friendship day – to all my old friends, new friends, lost friends and yet to be my new friends.


Priya Pearl Mascarenhas, Bahrain


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(A graduate from Roshni Nilaya, Mangalore, Priya is currently working in Bahrain.)


"True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost."


After school and college we get so engrossed in fulfilling our dreams that we often forget to keep in touch with our friends, may not be intentional, but it happens. By the time we get around to remembering them we would have probably lost all means of contact with them.


In my case I had no contacts with any of my friends after my studies. Thanks to modern technology, I have come across few of my friends through Mangalorean.com and other community websites, not to forget "ORKUT", which has helped me find many of my friends. I am sure without this site I would not be able to keep in touch with any of my friends. Thanks to ORKUT. I am sure, in future, I will be able to find many more.


"True friends are never apart, maybe in distance, but not in heart". A friend is like a rainbow, which brightens your life when you’ve been through a storm. The more friends you have, the happier you are in life.
Wishing you all a Great Friendship Day, may you all have more and more friends each day of your life.


Ganesh Aithal, Dubai, UAE


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(Having graduated from St. Aloysius College, Mangalore, Ganesh has just moved to Dubai, UAE)


"Peers and friends are not the same thing…"


Well! Every year the first week of August has two important dates for me to remember, one is the friendship day and the other my birthday.


At times we get so busy with our lives that we start taking our friends for granted and neglect them. Friendship Day is a reminder for us to realize the importance of friends in our lives so that we can never ever ignore the special beings sent on this earth by the supreme power just for us. So take some time out of your busy life and spend it with your friends on this Friendship Day. Who knows if you will have an opportunity to do tomorrow?


Thanks to forums like Orkut/Facebook/WAYN I have been able to connect with some of my long lost friends, classmates and people whom I have known through my school and college days.


Roopa Praveen, Oregon, USA


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(Roopa Praveen is a native of Mangalore presently living in Portland, Oregon with her husband and 3 year old daughter.)


Recently, I traveled to Mangalore for a vacation and was hanging out with old friends .We spent a whole day together. We reminisced, ate, laughed, and shared stories. I remember my physical sense of happiness, a healing feeling, like an internal hug. Experiencing loving friendships is one of the most powerful things we can do to sustain our physical and emotional health.


There is an old saying "Tell me what company you keep, I’ll tell you who you are". This is definitely not applicable to our group of friends! You will never meet a more assorted set of friends with contrasting personalities, different attitudes, varied preferences, diverse goals and lifestyles. There are the practical thinkers and the impulsive dreamers, the studious and the happy-go-lucky, the ambitious and the laid back, the gregarious and the recluse, the serious and the ones to be first to get into trouble!. Yes an outsider can never guess we are friends.


Yet we have known each other for over 25 years and I often wondered what kept us going all this time. A few years ago, a young friend of mine was describing to me his idea of a perfect life partner. He named my friends one by one and said she should have ‘A’s attitude, ‘B’s sense of humor, ‘C’s smile, ‘D’s heart and the list went on!! I realized then to what extent friends complement and balance each other. There is a sense of harmony. Friends make us whole. They give value to life.
"A friend is a hand that is always holding yours, no matter how close or far apart you may be. A friend is someone who is always there and will always care. A friend is a feeling of forever in the heart."-Unknown


Zarin Pinto, Pune, India  


(A graduate from St Agnes College, Mangalore, Zarin is a homemaker and lives in Pune with her husband and four year old son)


If I had to explain about who is a good friend then I would say that a good friend is like a mirror. When we stand in front of a mirror, what we expect is nothing but a truthful image of you. It shows you your perfections but at the same time it very gently and truthfully shows you your flaws. Friends are just like this. They show us our good points and gently correct our flaws. 


Friends can also be considered as an extension of our family. There are circumstances in our life when we feel the need of a family member. But alas! It is impossible to expect our family to be with us always. That’s when our friends fill this gap and help us in our hour of need. Now thanks to technology, we are able to be in touch with our friends even though they may be miles away from us. So wherever we are we are still able to enrich our lives with their friendship.


Friends are the best gift God has ever given us. HAPPY FRIENDSHIP DAY


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Friendship Day is an opportunity for me to walk down memory lane and think about those special people who have touched my life and made me the person that I am today. It reminds me of the friendship cards and bands that I used to exchange with my friends, of those times when we would sit in Ideal’s ice cream parlor for hours on end and make a racket much to the chagrin of the guy at the cash counter, of the movies that we watched together, of the overnight camps that we used to go to as girl guides, of the campfires and midnight feasts. Ah those were the days! Friendship is one of life’s simpler pleasures we cannot do without.


If life has bogged you down and everything seems too much for you to handle, if you haven’t had the time for a friend and friendship has taken a backseat in your life, there is no better day than today to tell your friends that you care.


"A friend is a gift you give yourself". Do you have the time to reach out and accept this gift?


To all my wonderful friends, happy friendship day!

Author: Joyce Alvares- Qatar