I am blessed in that I have many friends like that. Let me just share a few incidents with you.
It was in 1997 that I got grounded during a weekend due to a storm in a place called Silvassa on the West coast of India. At that time, I was marketing among sailors of all kinds and the storm had kept all maritime activity on hold and I was stuck with nothing to do. I remembered that I had a friend Youhanna, from my teen age days, living close by in a place called Umbergaon.
Accompanied by my colleague Nandu, who was touring the coast with me at that time, we drove down to Umbergaon and with some difficulty located my friend. Youhanna and I had not met each other for over a decade before that day. When we got off the car Youhanna got down from the veranda where he was sitting came and gave me a bear hug and took me by hand and led me inside to his home. My colleague just followed and when the initial welcome was over, I introduced them to each other too. Youhanna’s wife came out and greeted me and the three of us started off talking to each other as though we had not, not met each other for over a decade. We spent a few very happy hours with them, had our lunch with them and returned to Silvassa.
In the car and during subsequent meetings, my colleage, Nandu found it incredible that despite such long disconnect, we could simply start off where we had left earlier. Subsequent contacts with Youhanna have been on the telephone and sporadic, but I have no doubts whatsoever that if we were to meet again, it would be exactly the same.
Just a few weeks ago, I got a phone call from another old friend Nat who had arrived at Pune the previous evening and waited to surprise me the next day. He and his wife Usha subsequently landed up at home during the time that I was still using the walker to move around, and the meeting was exactly as the quotation above states. We simply started off where we had left off during our previous meeting which was also a few years ago.
Anil and Nina were great friends to have during my first hip replacement surgeries way back in 1985/7. They lived very near to the hospital where I was operated upon and would bring delicious home cooked meals for me. After I moved out of Mumbai in late 1987, as did Anil and Nina too, we lost touch with each other. In one forwarded email that I received four years ago, Anil’s name popped out of the list of recipients and I sent an email to him asking if it was the same Anil and finding that it was, we reestablished contact and it was as though we never lost touch with each other.
I have other friends like Vela in Chennai, Sultan in Mumbai and Kashi in Kolkata, with who, I am not in regular touch, but who are dear friends nevertheless. We call or mail each other every now and then and get updated about happenings in our lives.
Friendship is like good wine. It gets better with age.