Ek shaam, dosti ke naam
Celebrated on the 1st Sunday of August
The day has arrived when cards and bands would float in the air, people would be seen hugging each other (beware of that notorious virus!), cafes would be filled with people (but, ohh the lockdown!), and love would be in the air. Wait there, don’t be imaginative. This isn’t Valentine’s Day that we are talking about.
But the famous festival of friendship that finally allows us to celebrate that special bond in our lives, the bond that was our choice and not a compulsion, the bond that makes us Winnie and the other one piglet, and last but not the least, the bond that is deeply embedded in legends of history, diplomacy and mythology that makes this Friendship Day even more interesting.
Have you ever imagined the history that friendship day carries with itself? Have you ever wondered why those Archies' cards that sit somewhere in your drawer gleam with glossy papers and beautiful handwriting wishing you a happy friendship day? Well, there’s more to friendship day than just colourful trinkets, friendship bands, Café Coffee “Days” and beautiful wishes.
Once upon a time, a man named Joyce Hall founded a greeting card company named Hallmark, and guess what, he was an amazing businessman at that. Announcing Friendship Day in 1919, he made his company rise to the top with his expansionary business propaganda.
Going deeper into the world of history, we find yet another interesting event. Finally, in the year 1935, World war I came to an end. People who were distressed with the constant blows and attacks finally decided to lay the cornerstone of peace, stability, trust, cooperation, and eliminate hatred and mistrust between nations. It was then when President Woodrow Wilson came up with an amazing idea of Peace Principles. Carrying on this beautiful thought, the ‘World Friendship Crusade’ finally came into existence in 1958 and July 30 was commemorated as friendship day.
Now, talking about India where friendship is not only a relationship but an emotion. With innumerable religions and an unlimited population, our country has proved that friendship has no boundaries. With the peaceful philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (meaning the world is one family), India moves forward with an all-inclusive concept of comity and amity.
With timeless treasures from the mythological trove of India, certain tales of friendship touches our heart. One such tale from the classical Mahabharata makes us realise that friendship is nothing without mutual trust.
One fine day, Queen Bhanumati, the wife of King Duryodhana was playing a game of chess with Karna. When Bhanumati was almost on the verge of losing the game, Duryodhana entered the room. As per the customs, the queen stood up to show her respect.
But Karna pulled her jewelled belt thinking that she was trying to escape the games because she was on the verge of losing it. The white pearls and other precious jewels were scattered all around the room. Interestingly, anyone in place of Duryodhana would have killed the man who dared to touch his wife who was also the Queen of Hastinapura.
But instead of being suspicious and angry upon witnessing this scene, Duryodhana simply smiled and asked Bhanumati, “Shall I just gather these scattered pearls? Or shall I string them too?” This was the kind of trust and friendship Karna and Duryodhana had.
Though this was one story that depicted the true meaning of friendship and trust, many such stories prove that India is indeed the “global friendship brewer”. Be it Krishna-Sudama, Trijata-Sita or you and your amazing friend, tales of friendship are never-ending.
From the days of yore to the days of today's hustle bustle, when we travel around in trains and buses, we often tend to find that one person with whom we share our gali ki kahaniyaan, or maa ke haath ka khaana. We all had those chaddi-baddi yaars in school and college with whom we share the topmost secret stories of crush and enemies. Even when we attend those fancy kitty parties where long discussions on those fancy pieces of jewellery and LaOpala dinner sets take place, there will be a pair snickering at the back at almost everything that is being discussed. When we go for school reunions, those friends whom we see in suits and boots with their tummies bulging out were once seen as the “national crush of the school”.
When we finally grow old, those class photographs indeed remind us that despite looking like a crazy baboon, our friends accepted us with all their hearts, despite not being able to afford canteen ka khaana, our friends made sure to give us treat from their not-so-extravagant pocket money, despite not being able to keep quiet even after several warnings of the teachers, we went outside to kneel with our friends in those corridors.
This is how life transforms, teaches us new things but the one thing that stays constant until we set our foot in the grave, is a friend. Perhaps, that friend would be the only one who will not touch the food during your funeral but do you remember the words, “Jab tu iss duniya se jayega, toh acchi si party dekar jaana”.
This story was first published on ThisDay.app.