Ups and Downs of Friendship!

Ups and Downs of Friendship!

‘Hi VR! I am a bit upset with my best friend Rajeev. I had done all the planning for his birthday party but he says he is not joining mine as he has a lot of work at his new internship! Is this how friends are supposed to treat each other? I bet friendships were stronger during Ramayana times!’

‘I am sorry to hear about your conflict with Rajeev, but conflicts are a part of friendship aren’t they? In fact, it was there even during the time of Rama,’ replied VR.

‘Really? Who are the friends you are talking about, VR?’

‘When Rama and Lakshmana were wandering the forests in search of Sita, they met Hanuman who led them to Sugreeva. Even though Sugreeva was a king in exile, Rama treated him with utmost respect and they pledged eternal friendship towards each other. True to his word, Rama killed Vaali and helped Sugreeva get back his kingdom and his wife’.

‘I remember you mentioning this when we had discussed Vaali,’ recollected Maanav.

‘Good that you are connecting the stories now, Maanav. After Sugreeva regained his power, he got so lost in enjoying sense pleasures that he forgot all about his promise to Rama. Rama waited patiently for the entire monsoon season but even after the monsoon ended, Sugreeva did not seem to make any effort to find Sita.’

‘Hmph! What an ungrateful friend, just like Rajeev! But I am sure Rama, being kind hearted, would have not said a word to him’.

‘Not true at all! Rama, in fact, sent Lakshmana to warn Sugreeva of the dangers of such an attitude and to not take his friendship for granted!’

‘Wow VR! I did not expect that from Rama. But isn’t he always calm and patient?’

“While that is his disposition, Rama also displayed anger where necessary. The reason he got angry with Sugreeva was not just because he felt cheated but because he realised that Sugreeva’s actions would bring him great disrepute. As a friend, he felt it was his duty to be harsh but honest with him’.

‘Hmm… sounds more like Rama now. How did Sugreeva react?’ asked a curious Maanav.

‘Sugreeva understood his mistake and fell at Rama’s feet and apologised. He immediately set about his task. He gathered his army and sent them in all four directions to find Sita. He also led the Vaanara army towards Lanka once Hanuman came back with Sita’s location. At different times, whenever Rama would feel sad and dejected thinking about Sita’s suffering, Sugreeva would cheer him up with his words and deeds. He followed the duty of a friend perfectly since that one incident. Rama, too, did not rebuke Sugreeva for his past behavior and accepted Sugreeva’s friendship wholeheartedly!’

‘Hmm… a lot of points to ponder there, VR! I think like Rama, I, too, need to be frank and honest with Rajeev. If he is genuinely sorry, then I should also drop this and continue our friendship. Once again, Ramayana has given me a perfect way out of another sticky situation. Thanks, VR!’

‘Happy to be of use, Maanav. Until we meet again, thank you for using Ramayana Reboot!’

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Chinmaya Udghosh