People say friends are like flowers and I truly believe it. I have met so many special individuals in my life who have made my life much easier and comfortable. When I was crying with pain, I always had somebody to sit beside me to stop my tears, and when I was happy, I always had somebody to smile with me. I didn’t really get the opportunity to grow up with my parents and siblings as my mother died when I was four and all my siblings died before I went to school. But those tragedies did not empty my world. I was glad that wherever I went, I always had a circle of good friends who never made me feel lonely.
During my almost twelve years of stay in Khaling as a student, I faced so many challenges mainly due to the lack of financial support from anywhere. I knew my friends also came from the village and did not have the luxury of living a sophisticated life, yet they had the heart to share with me whatever they had. I could not even pay for my school uniforms and shoes, forget about carrying pocket-money for casual fun. My father was partially paralyzed and was living with my uncle and aunt in Samtse and hence, I had no source of support throughout my school days. But I was comparatively lucky because I always had friends who advised me not to worry and that they were there if I needed any serious help. Only God knows how relieved I used to feel when my friends said that. They did not only provide me moral support but also shared their old uniforms and shoes whenever I did not have one. Even when we had winter coaching to prepare for ICSC and ISC exams, I didn’t have to take out even a penny. My friends knew pretty well about my situation and advised me not to look for any financial support. They promised to help me. I am still very much grateful to those friends who rescued me during such difficult times. Seriously, they were more than friends to me. Outside the circle of friends with visual impairment, I also have a network of very supportive and kind-hearted sighted friends who have played a very important role in my life. Although many of them have disappeared from the radar now, I still hold them deep in my heart and respect them for their sacrifices and generous support given to me.
As we celebrate the World Friendship Day today, I would like to remember all my friends, both old and new, and genuinely thank them for their generosity. As social creatures, we have valued the importance of friends in our lives for ages and I can say with confidence that what I am today is mostly due to the support of my large network of friends, both within and outside Bhutan who have cared and supported me in my life’s journey over the past 35 years or so. I am just wondering what would be our life like if we did not have anybody to turn to for help when needed. I can see friendship as a special gift of God designed to keep all of us in harmony, unity and peace. Friendship is certainly more than just association. It’s a stronger form of interpersonal bond without which the human society cannot survive. I don’t know if I have been able to make any difference in others’ lives, but for me, I have a very long list of friends who have been very much part of my life. That includes even my colleagues in my office who often help me in my daily work. So on this very auspicious and special occasion, I would like to wish all my friends from the bottom of my heart a very very happy Friendship Day. Although I have no flowers or special gifts to give you, I hold your names deep in my heart and I shall cherish your presence for the rest of my life. I would like to thank you all for making my life as beautiful as yours, if not more, and taking me to greater heights to help me see the world from a different angle. Once again, thanks a lot for your unconditional love and support. God bless you all!
The World Friendship Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of August every year as an occasion to honor friends and to recognize their role in our lives. It became a holiday in the US in 1935 when the Congress declared it as a day to honor friends and friendship and its role in promoting peace in the society. However, different cultures have different dates to celebrate this day. But no matter when it is celebrated, the underlying significance is the same. In fact, I wish every day was a friendship day because our friends will always be there whenever they are needed and their love and support must be valued and cherished throughout the year.