Long years back, I remember to have read about 'Real Friends' who are very few and rare while "false ones" like autumn leaves are found everywhere. I am not going to be sentimental or philosophical to write about my views on friendship but share or recall the experiences I have had over decades with friends in my life.
As stated above, real friends are very chosen few. The test of their true friendship comes clear more in times of our difficulties. These persons are with you in good and bad days without any expectations. They are prepared for any sacrifice and help you. They are the people with whom you can multiply joys, successes and achievements and also divide sorrows and disappointments in life. A friend could be a partner, a father or mother, a sibling or a cousin if not a mere fellow in your school or college or at work place.
Last week was full of thrill and excitement for me. I travelled to Hyderabad on Official work but landed amidst a selected number of old friends. One was as old a friend as over fifty years in my school and now occupying a very influential position in Government, Somayajulu. He immediately came to extend support to my work which was a big relief to me. Another friend, MG Gopal, was an year senior to me in my post-graduation during 1975-77 and is a now senior IAS, who also spontaneously offered to guide me in my task. Three others I had lunch with were from my former employer SBI - (Jaganmohan, Hanumantha Rao and Yerram Raju) all friends for over three decades and now in different key positions in three Organisations. Yet another, Krishna Rao, was leaving for USA after attaining superannuation and joining his two children. I also re-connected with Dr Prabhati Pati at ASCI, Hyderabad who was with TAPMI in 1999.
Off to Bhubaneswar for a two day trip, I stayed with Mr Ravi Prasad of IMMT. He took me all around the new City which I visited last seventeen years back. I also reminisced my marriage there in 1983 where he was also one of the guests from my Father in law's side. It was an occasion to meet Dr Subrat Sahu of IPMG-Ahmedabad who was on a holiday with family at his home town and visit his parents too. Another old ex-colleague I caught up was Dr Biresh Sahoo of XIMB. He felt extremely happy to recall his stint in TAPMI during 2002-5 from where he proceeded to Tokyo, Japan for his post doctoral research work.
I returned to Manipal on Saturday (12th June) only to receive two more friends - Sampath Kumar and Dharam Pal - both from Hyderabad again - one had come alongwith his daughter Manasa for her admission in MIT, and the other on a holiday to experience and enjoy monsoon in the western ghats. The later was also in SBI for over a decade (1983-96)and currently Managing Director of a Technology company in Hyderabad. He knows only my name but recalled my past in the Bank. I had good reminiscences of those varied postings in my career. Late night on the same day, Mr Y Purandar got hold of my mobile number through sincere efforts at BSNL and my friend Chengal Reddy and spoke to me at length after a gap of eighteen years. Purandar was my school mate between 1959 and 1967 in Malakpet High School while studying together from 4th to 11th standard. He was a topper of the class and friendly. He went on to study Engineering and voluntarily retired as DGM in ECIL; later joined academics in 1999 (just like me) and is currently a Director of an Institute in Hyderabad. His family also is well settled. I am longing to see him.
And the next day, I get a call from Mr Kajal Kumar Chatterjee (Dada) of Mumbai. He retired from SBI service over a decade back and we were colleagues in the Central Office between 1984 and 1993. He was also remembering and reminiscing our Mumbai days recalling a few names like Vakil, Godse, Rajagopal, Varada Krishnamachari, Dike and Dr K Srinivasa Rao - all of SBI. We always shared our thoughts during our working together and maintain friendship irrespective of some differences in views or approaches in life. We may have difference in age, position or educational qualifications. But Friendship is always ultimate.
Today's generation has the advantage of technology. They can easily track friends, colleagues, class mates with the help of social networking sites. In our days, we carefully used to keep track through letters, telephone numbers and visiting cards. Whatever be the mode, one should always continue true friendship.