At 7.00 pm, Sudha came out of the Conference Room after a meeting that had lasted 5 hours. There were 6 missed calls from her close friend Lakshmi. She called back immediately.
She was shocked when Lakshmi informed her that Neeta, their close friend who now lived in Europe, had lost her young daughter in a road accident the previous night.
“How has Neeta reacted? Is she OK?” she asked
“Nobody knows. I got the sad news from Neeta’s brother a few hours back. I informed all our friends, but none of us has spoken to Neeta. What will we say, anyway?” Lakshmi replied.
Sudha decided to telephone Neeta immediately. She didn’t know what she would say. All she knew was she had to share Neeta’s grief.
When Neeta answered the call, Sudha just said, “Neeta,” and started sobbing uncontrollably. After about 15 seconds, she mumbled “Sorry” a couple of times and disconnected.
Sudha was ashamed that, instead of supporting Neeta, she had added to her distress.
She thought of calling once more, but was afraid she would burst into tears again. So she sent a text message:
Neeta, I want to speak with you, but I know I’ll break down again. I’ll call when I’m sure I can be a support, not add to your distress.
A few minutes later, she received her friend’s reply:
Sudha, believe it or not, you are the first friend to reach out to me today. That’s all that matters. That’s all I need from a true friend. Words are neither important nor necessary.