There are human relationships everywhere --at home, at office, in the society, and near our own houses, as neighbors.  However, there is nothing to beat Friendship.

Who is a true friend?  A true friend is one who understands us thoroughly, and who literally hand holds us throughout our life.  Such a true friend will be selfless, will be really interested in deepening relationships throughout our extended family of cousins, grand parents and their relatives and so on.  He or she would stand out as one man or woman, often as a one man or one woman army, literally carrying out all work in our marriages or even when there is a death in our family.

Obviously, such true friends will have a huge control over of our personal affairs, and even know about our bank balances.  Yet, such a person can be trusted to handle hundreds of thousands of rupees on any occasion like a marriage.

Such a true friend, will be a true philosopher and guide.  He or she would have the purest of hearts, and would normally be God fearing.  Of course, there are people who do not believe in God.  But even they would have the purest of hearts.

A true friend would have a very wide view of the whole world, and would have a very high degree of street smartness.  He or she would wander around the world, and yet be in touch with us, through whatever means are available, at any point in time.

True friendship will normally transcend all caste or community or regional barriers.  For example, among people who work with the Air Forces or the Army or Navy, it is very common to find such very close friends, and very often, marriages often happen between people of different States, for example, a girl from Kerala getting married to a man from Punjab.  Such weddings are often based on huge respect that the families have for each other.  Such is the quality of friendship, that it becomes a relationship at some stage.

A true friend is also one who is very broad minded.  A true friend is also one who works for us, selflessly and is a person who does not expect anything in return.  However, we often reciprocate in the same manner, and the friendship becomes cemented further.

When we have true friendships our minds are always full of positive thoughts.  True friendship will make light of any crisis, and we are often left wondering why we actually worried about the problem at all.  This is mostly due to the kind words of comfort we receive from our true friends.  

True friends would also be those who really consider us as persons who can be trusted, because their behavior would automatically reflect such trust at any time of the day or night. True friends can and will not only trust us, but also make us trust others.  They would really bring people together, and contrary to public perception, such get meetings where people meet with each other, do not have to start and end with a booze party.

Such meetings can be over lunch and dinner.  The very highly informal talk and fun and frolic would take over, and out true friends would take us to a different world altogether.

Lest any reader think that such true friendship is not only not possible, but sheer Utopia, let me share my own experiences.

I have friends who studied with me decades ago, in school.  Yet, they are so much concerned, have so much affection, so much of love and true emotions and feelings, where commercial considerations simply take a back seat.

We get together in some place, and when it happens, my mind becomes so relaxed, and am transported to a different world, where ideas keep flowing from end to end.  Such true friendship reminds me that money is never all in life, and relationships matter.  Such true friendships offer me windows of new thought and doors of happiness, that I simply tend to forget the world.  There is so much of caring and sharing and we even discuss matters that we normally discuss only within families.

I have heard that there are some superb true friends of others as well.  For example, I have heard of one voluntary organization started by a highly qualified professional from the USA.  He has joined hands with one of his true friends, and they have set up such an organization in a remote village, some forty kilometers from a big town called Tiruchirapalli, in Tamil Nadu, which is in the center of the State, and has an airport with International connectivity.

This voluntary organization has set for itself an ambitious agenda.  Through a process of social involvement, it has touched the lives of thousands of villagers through health programs, educational facilities, new buildings, personality development programs, and a couple of Business Process Outsourcing organizations, offering gainful employment in a rural environment.  

This is exactly the meaning of true friendship. A person who wanted to do social work in a rural area, after forgetting all the comforts of a highly paid job in the IT sector in USA, fiends a true friend in another, who values his friendship more than anything else, and gets down to do work that makes a huge difference to hundreds of lives.

So, true friendship should be selfless, it should make others happy, and should go beyond commercial considerations.  In urban areas such friendship is very difficult to find, and is very rare indeed.  This is because money making is the only obsession of any person in our big cities and metros.  People are so busy that they do not have any time to spend with others.

Families are also affected by the rat race for money.  Friendship between the husband and wife -- which should be true and meaningful -- is so difficult to get into shape, and worse, does not even take the baby steps for one simple reason: the husband and wife rarely get any time to even wish each other good morning, or good night.  The children have to fend for themselves, and this sort of rat race only ends up in misery -- the family never gets to understand the meaning of true friendship.  In fact, friendship in marriages can be the best model of any good and meaningful relationship.  For, such a relationship would help the man and woman develop very good understanding of each other, without any ego problems, and would also help each other develop empathy -- a vital need of the hour.

Only when true friendships are formed, can any society develop.  Only when true friendships are formed, there will be less tension, there will be less of social commotion or violence.  True friendships can be infectious -- they can bring in new friends having similar thoughts and this can and will, indeed, lead to some meaningful action, that will benefit the wider society as well.

We ought to understand that with all our tensions and our worries. only true friendship can and will result in most meaningful trust between people at all levels.  It will positively provide us the best emotional cushion required in our rat race and in our anxiety to excel.  

In conclusion, we should be aware that we need to ourselves become true friends of someone, at some point in time.  When we can make a difference, we should, and true friendship is the route to ultimate happiness, trust and all good things in life. 

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