But I don’t know why I find you to be such a very special and good human being. When I see you, my heart automatically wants to help you. I guess your lean and thin body, your health problem and loneliness might be the reason. He said with a smile on his face. Later, I found out that he was also a recovered TB patient and that must have been why he treated me in the way he did and reminded me when and how to take my medicine.
Now the both of us had made up our minds to become soul friends.
I was still receiving DOTS treatment for TB. But slowly I was improving day by day. I had also gained some weight. I had many opportunities to rest because there I was free from the non-stop work that I was used to at home. Moreover, the health professionals at the Chaurjahari Mission Hospital were continuously observing me and I was improving a little every day. Time passed and I was finally in the last days of my treatment and stay in Chaurjahari. And for this reason, we made a plan to become soul friends. However, before we could do this, we still had one thing left to check in order to find out whether or not we could indeed become soul friends. And that was to check if our horoscopes matched – if they did, we knew that nothing would stand in the way of us becoming soul friends.
Wow, now everything was sorted out and we were in the mood to fix a holy date to formally become soul friends. Finally, on 11th December 1998, the date was fixed. It was just after 3 days I would leave Chaurjahari Mission Hospital. For the occasion, I called my whole family to Chaurjahari. Some of my relatives, as well as my friend’s relatives, were also invited.
According to tradition, one of us had to buy a goat to sacrifice and I bought one because I had lived for 3 months in my soul friend’s hotel, but he didn’t take any money from me. We both ordered some clothes for each other because, in order to become soul friends, we had to offer clothes to each other. We also bought some gifts for each other. A priest was also invited on that day to perform the rituals at such a ceremony.
Finally, the day arrived. My friend and I woke up early in the morning and had a shower. At around 8 o’clock, the priest came and the ceremony could begin. The invited guests also started to arrive gradually. The priest instructed us to face each other. He said several mantras and told us to promise to help each other in every difficult situation and also to share happiness in every joyous moment. As soon as we made our promises, the goat was slaughtered and its blood was collected in a basin. Then the blood was mixed with raw grains of rice to make “Tika”, which is a mixture of colour (especially red) and rice that people put on their foreheads at festivals and ceremonies in the Hindu culture. We put the Tika, which was mixed with blood, on each other’s forehead as a symbol or proof that from now on, we were soul friends and we were related by blood to each other.
After that, we offered each other the new clothes. The meat of the sacrificed goat was cooked to offer to the guests who had attended the ceremony. A small party was organised for the event. Now, we started to introduce each other’s family members as well as relatives. The atmosphere became very cheerful and pleasant. After all the rituals were completed, we started to chat with each other. The priest was given some money and vegetarian food and after a few hours, he left. The ceremony was over – we were now formally soul friends.
In people’s lives, there are many things that are required. Among them, the most special and precious is friendship and friends. Friends are assumed to be an incarnation of well-wishers who come into our lives unexpectedly and give without asking. In everybody’s life, many friends come, but only a few of them are meant to be real friends. And only a few luckier people have soul friends. Here, I am happy to say that I was also on the list of those luckier people who got a soul friend.
After being soul friends, the relationship between our two families became very deep. Several times, for example, when our daughters got married, we helped each other. At the bigger Hindu festivals, like Dashin and Tihar, we exchange our love and affection with each other. When times have been hard, we also helped each other, for example, in matters relating to our children’s education. Life has become easier, I can feel it.
When we are able to help friends, life somehow seems to be easier and more beautiful. Every one of us will experience bad times in our life. At those times, if we have friends, we can turn those bad times into good times. Problems and hurdles that come on the way to struggle in life can be easily overcome if we can count on someone’s help and support. Thus, our friendship has somehow made our health, life, and family healthier, wealthier and happier.
Finally, I thank God for sending such a friend into my life and I hope that everybody has such a friend in his or her life to share not only the beautiful moments in life but also the bad ones.
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