Do you have time? A heart touching story about a friend

A sweet friendIt was 6PM as I was giving instructions to my team for the technical presentation, which we have for the next morning. My phone rang. It was from an unknown number. I thought that it must be some marketing call and disconnected it, so that I could finish off my discussion and leave for the day.

Fifteen minutes later my phone rang again and it was from the same number. This time I picked up the call. A female voice greeted me asking my whereabouts, how I was doing and few other details, without giving me a chance to speak. Finally she asked "Did you recognize me?!!”

How could I forget her? It was Sharmi, my childhood friend. We studied in the same school for just three years, but we stayed in the same apartment, my family was in 2nd floor and her family in 4th. My father and her father were colleagues. She used to spend a lot of time at our home, as her only brother was in a hostel, away from home. We used to go to school together, shop together and sometimes dine together. She was like a sister to me.

Later my father got transferred and we moved to another city, and she got admitted into a premier engineering college and moved out to pursue her education. Internet and mobile phones were not popular at that time. The only option we had was to write letters, which we did for sometime but it got discontinued.

Now after nearly 10 years she was calling me. She was telling me how much effort she had to put in, to find my mobile number, and we both were very happy to get in touch again. We spoke for more than an hour and we thought we would meet soon. Her office was on my way to home. She asked me to drop by some time and I promised that I would.

Time was just flying and a year passed. I got busy with so many things that I never visited my dear friend. I have emailed her my wedding invitation and asked her to attend my wedding. She could not make it to the wedding, as she had to travel abroad on a project assignment.

We planned again to meet after she comes back. Every day I used to travel by her office, and all I needed to do was just take a U-turn and travel about half a kilometer to reach her. I never took time to do so. I always thought I would do it later when I had some free time, so that I could spend a lot of time with my friend.

One more year passed. I got a good offer in another city and all of a sudden I had to move. I called her up to update my new contact details and she shared some happy news with me. She was getting married and invited me to the marriage. I made arrangements to go to her wedding, but I felt seriously ill and I could not travel. I called her up and wished her good luck.

We both got busy with our new lives and new responsibilities. We did not get time to talk to each other for six months. I made her a casual call on a weekend. Her Husband picked up the call. Hearing his voice, I could make out that something was terribly wrong. I asked him about my friend. He burst into tears. She passed away a month ago due to some infection in her brain. My mind went blank, and I could not listen anything what he was saying. I disconnected my call. I was in for a complete shock. How could this happen? She was just 28 years old, and how could such a terrible thing happen to a person who was so sweet?

I was still holding my telephone, expecting someone to call me back, and say it was just a prank. But it was not so. It was the hard reality.

I felt deeply hurt. I did not meet her when I had the chance. Now even though I want to meet her, I cannot. I regret for not making out time for my friend. This will stay with me for my entire life. Whenever I look at her picture, I feel like she is asking "Were you that busy, that you could not find 30 minutes in 3 years?”. I feel so guilty when I think of her.

As they say, life takes the test and then teaches you the lesson. I have learnt my lesson. Now I have made it a routine to call all my friends on weekends, and meet them at the slightest possible opportunity.

I am sharing this with you so that you do not make the mistake that I have done .You never know what happens the next moment, so never say “I am busy” for your loved ones. All I can say is that life is too short and nothing stays forever, but memories do.

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