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The spreading sky is looking beautiful and marvelous. The sun at a distance is about to drop below the horizon slowly turning the sky colorful . The fountains in a nearby park catch the rays of the setting sun and are dancing with an orange hue. A small garden turns golden as the rays kiss the wetted grass.

Sumeet’s eyes moved all around soaking in the magnificent scenery in display before him. The sun slowly dipped away behind his apartment towers. The eventide started to set in slowly. Lamps lit up in the vicinity. People around dispersed. Illuminations from the nearby residences become radiant as the sky lends a black backdrop. It was time for him to retreat to his coop. He gathered his strength to proceed, but something is holding him back. He takes a step back and drops back on to the bench.

Solitude often overwhelms him. Forlornness holds him strong. He was all alone in a concrete jungle filled with a multitude of people. In the maddening rush, he has lost his enthusiasm to dash on. At times, it appears as if he is no more in the race. He had decided to remain an unknown face in the crowd. Loneliness grips and suppresses him stopping him from going ahead. The zest of life he once had has now become a dullness that was hard to get rid of. He was lost within and without.

A chord of flute in the air suddenly broke the silence around him. He composed himself with its accordant note and lazily carried himself home. He reached into his pocket to take out the key and opened the doors of his room. He could not get back to the usual cores. He quietly grabbed a chair and rested for a while. The emptiness in the house haunted him. Silence is most eloquent here. He attempts to keep himself busy. But friendlessness isolates him. He shifts to the sofa and relaxes for a while. Memories of his past gush out of him.

He moved to the city as a student. Like anyone, he had dreamt of success in his studies and career. He pursued his dreams with dedication and single-minded devotion. Friends could not distract him. Circumstances never stood as obstacles. He passed out of a prestigious institute with flying colours. The next move was very crucial. Like many of his friends, he too went abroad for higher studies. But seeking fortunes in foreign shores was never on his mind. He was disenchanted by the culture over there and decided to return home to serve his own people. Employment could have been a comfortable option for him, but he always desired to start something new and to be different. He still remembered how he met his two friends. He shared his future plans with them. They provided the support and partnership for his new entrepreneurship. The start-up flourished as their friendship blossomed. Life had gained its vigour and vitality with these friends around him. Someone was always available to share his sorrow and joy. They understood each other perfectly. They smiled and wept together. They enjoyed each other’s company. Their friendship bonded and became strong. They did not do anything without each other’s consent. Each one appreciated the other and endeavoured in the venture with one accord. He trusted his friends more than anyone else. His world revolved around them. Years passed by. As the scale of business widened, all of them became very busy. Interactions became few and far. Priorities changed. They slowly drifted from one another for some reason or the other. One was not available for another’s need. Both of his friends fell into wrong company. The new group moved in different directions. Sumeet was surprised to find them in improper places. Sometimes Sumeet felt they were misguided. He attempted to bring them back. But then misunderstandings cropped up. They threatened to pull away from the partnership and end the friendship forever. Sumeet implored to save their friendship. But the attraction of the other side was so strong that it could not hold them together anymore. They slowly separated and finally withdrew themselves from him and their support from his venture. They deserted Sumeet and left him for good.

Sumeet could not withstand this rude shock. Wherever he went, loneliness followed him. He withdrew himself into his own cocoon. He felt let down and alienated. He just could not return from the betrayal of his dear ones. He was broken and shattered. He had lost all his hopes. He had never imagined – even in his worst dreams that his friends would leave him alone. The world around him crashed.

One evening he walked to his usual corner in the park. As he sat and watched the children playing, elders walking, the young flocking near the fountains to see colourful lights, a pet dog and its master drew his attention. The man was playing and enjoying with his dog. The man would fondle the pet every once a while and resumed playing. He seemed to be happy. Sumeet moved close to the man and watched. After a while, the man introduced himself and asked Sumeet if he is dog lover. Sumeet did not know what to answer. But the man replied, ‘My Dog is my best buddy.’ and offered him a a pet of best breed if he was willing. Sumeet nodded. Soon he had his pet ‘Milo’. Milo followed Sumeet everywhere. Sumeet kept himself engaged with it. He taught Milo many tricks. Milo follows him and nods its head. It runs and leaps onto Sumeet when he returns home. It circles him and makes different sounds to prove its loyalty. Sumeet had some company but not companionship; an attendant but not an associate. Loneliness still lingered.

Sumeet struggled to put the torn pieces together. He knew he had to come out of his mindset and begin a new journey. He did not know where to start. No help or assistance was in sight. One day, he felt choked inside and walked out for fresh air. He kept walking as if in search of someone who could heal his wounds. He cannot go along further with hurts any more. Unknowingly, he walked away quite far. Some melodious music made him to halt in front of a hall. Two young men ushered him in. With hesitation he entered and sat in a corner of that unknown ambience. He enjoyed the songs and music for a while. Then he heard someone speaking, “God knows our desire to be known and to be loved. He made us for companionship. A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Jesus calls us as his friends. He is the True and Faithful Friend. Greater Love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. Jesus loved us and laid down His life on the cross as our real friend. As the True Friend, he is the greatest source of love, healing, joy, and encouragement. As you accept Him as friend, saviour and Lord, he is ready to forgive you and lead to forgive others when you are hurt.” These words were great comfort to Sumeet. He was convinced that only Jesus could bind his broken heart. He will remain as his true and ever present friend and His special friendship will continue forever. He will never leave nor forsake him. Whoever comes to Him, He will never drive way. That evening, Sumeet invited Jesus into his life and accepted Him as his never failing friend. His burdens rolled away. Peace and joy flooded his heart. Presence of this new found unique friend filled his life. He is never alone. He kept musing on, ‘what a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! . . .’ as he strolled back home.

The next morning, Sumeet woke up early and stood in his balcony. He gazed beyond. The horizon is bright. Myriad of hues are kissing his balcony glasses. It is a new dawn; a new life. (Scripture References: Prov.18:24, John 15:13, I John 4:8, Heb.13:5 and John 6:37)

Dr. Nanda Dulal
The author works and lives in Bangalore. He and his wife Geetanjali are involved with UESI ministry right from their student days.

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