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Friendship- Nurturing it by ‘Giving’ and Flourishing it by ‘Forgiving’

“We make a living by what we get. 

We make a life by what we give.”

Winston Churchill

‘Giving’ is a selfless gesture and better explained by a greek proverb- “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know the will never sit in.” 

‘Forgiving’ (FOR + GIVE) on other hand is a ‘mirror image’ of ‘Giving’ where the offender is required to ask ‘For’ an apology to make the wronged person believe the intent of the offender and then ‘give’ back the positive gesture. The only logical difference between ‘Giving’ and ‘forgiving’ is that former is one-way and best done when uncalled for while latter is where an exchange of feelings happen. While ‘Giving’ nurtures a relationship, ‘Forgiving’ flourishes it further. “Forgiving’ is the role sunlight plays in the growth of a plant.

I will try narrating a story on ‘Giving’ . The characters defined here are my imagination and do not relate to any person living or dead. 

Jagdish had carried a sapling of a mango tree to his house where he worked as a servant for 20 years now. He was hired primarily for attending to the cattles owned by his masters who had migrated from a village in Punjab to a small township somewhere in east of India. He belonged to a remote village in Hazaaribagh district of Bihar. In order to facilitate an effective utilization of his time and also help him earn a little more, his master had helped him find a contractual employment with a large company in the town.

He planted the tree just in front of the main entrance of the company quarter that was allotted to his master. He said, ” I have got this special sapling and I know we will enjoy its fruits in coming years.” Master’s kids held Jagdish in high regard but called him “Jagdish”. They took over the responsibility to share the maintenance of the sapling in future. His master retired in next two years and decided to settle down in his village in Punjab. Jagdish continued to be a contractual employer at the company. He shifted with his elder brother who was a milkman in the same town. Master vacated the house and the company allotted the house to some other employee of the company. 

Twenty years later,  master was visiting the town to get his routine medical tests done at the company hospital where he was eligible for a free medical service for life. Since he had lost touch with most of his associates and friends, he booked his stay at a hotel in the town that was his hometown for forty years. He visited the hospital in the morning and while waiting for his turn, was greeted by a middle-aged lady confirming his name. Master said “Yes, I am Sardara Singh.” Delighted to see him, she said she was residing in the same house that he had occupied for years. Sardara Singh got up to listen and placed his shaking right hand on the lady’s head blessing her for the gesture she showed towards him. 

Next day, Sardara Singh visited the same house and relived every moment of his house- when he got married, his first child, when his elder son left  his house to live alone, when his first grandson was born, the liquor celebration that started well before the grandson was born and finally the tree that Jagdish had planted. The lady brought Sardara Singh the mangoes cut in a plate that were plucked from the same tree. He was in tears when he took his first bite of the fruit and remembered Jagdish. Jagdish had left for his hometown that Sardara Singh had never visited and hence had lost touch with him. 

The lady said, “Thanks. This tree has been giving us so many mangoes that we are literally forced to share with all our neighbors, friends and relatives.” She said, “Thanks to you and your Jagdish who had planted this tree.” 

On forgiving sometime later…

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