Two childhood friends renewed their friendship over Friendship Day greetings card"Friend, got the news. I am coming. Happy Friendship Day". The Friendship day card containing this brief message reached the weak sixty-plus man lying in a dirty bed of Government Hospital in Kolkata in mid-eighties. His eyes were full of tears. In the prevailing indifferent atmosphere of the hospital, the man stared at the Friendship Day card which arrived from the USA. Although his body was lying on the bed, his mind travelled backwards to a beautiful village of undivided India, presently in Bangladesh.
It was the last leg of 1930s. In a local school of a beautiful, lush green village of Dhaka district, two young boys were friends. One of them was the son of the local landlord. He used to get first position in the class. Another boy was the son of a poor priest. He used to stand second. Despite the difference in the social status of their fathers, they were best friends. They shared their meals, they played together, they shared their books, and more importantly, the shared their feelings.
Both boys used to get scholarships for their meritorious performance. One day a notice came in the class. It was announced that due to escalation of war expenses (Second World War), the Government decided to grant only one scholarship in each class, instead of earlier two. After the school, the two boys were returning. The son of the landlord asked his friend: "Why are you so thoughtful today, what happened"? The second boy started crying: "Friend, my study will be over now". The first boy was astonished and said: "But why"? The second boy replied that the Government would grant only one scholarship which the first boy would get. Without scholarship, he could not continue his study. The son of the landlord thought for a while and said: "Friend, do not worry. When your friend is here, who can stop you from getting the scholarship?"
After one month or so the annual examination started. Both the boys prepared well and appeared in the examination. However, on the last day of examination, the son of the landlord could not complete the Mathematics paper. He abruptly left the hall only after one and a half hour because of severe stomach upset. The result came. The second friend stood first and got the scholarship.
Then the horrible days of partition came. Both the boys' families came to Kolkata with empty hands. The landlord lost everything in the partition. The priest did not lose much in terms of material things: only his family was re-located. His son continued to get scholarship at every level, completed his Masters degree and went to the USA to become a scientist.
The fortune of the son of the landlord changed drastically. He had to accept a low-level Government job to sustain a very big family.
After more than 40 years, the son of the landlord was now lying in a Government Hospital suffering from a heart disease, the treatment of which was not available in India. The other friend eventually got the news, came to Kolkata and after lot of efforts, took his childhood friend to the USA for better treatment.
After six months, in an US Airport, the scientist bid farewell to his childhood friend; he was now fully cured. The final call for the passengers came. When the first friend from Kolkata expressed his gratitude, the scientist smiled and said: "How can I forget your stomach ailment during our Mathematics examination, friend"?