For me, traveling to India is always exciting. The moment you near your hometown, no matter how long its been since you were here last, your heart races a little bit and a thrill traverses your inner self.
I met a lot of my friends and relatives on this current visit, some that I had not seen for the last 10-15 years. And the connection was instantaneous. It was as if I had always been here and had been a part of their lives all these years. Its good to renew bonds & relationships, it makes you feel more at peace with yourself.
Everyone is born into a family. There are no options for a newborn to choose a family! So I guess after Life itself, Family is the next most important gift from God. As we grow in years, our families grow too. This results in varied personalities, divergent views and different values. Occasionally there will be friction and a clash of ideas. As a result, family members sometimes drift apart. Aren't we then distancing ourselves from one of the first gifts that God gave us? Well, that's just my perspective. I think the strength of the "family thread" should be stronger than any divergent idea, value or faith.
Friends, on the other hand, we choose. Friendship is a gift we give ourselves. As these relationships develop, sometimes the distinction between friends and family becomes blurred. And that is a blessing. Here's an interesting paradox..... "We look for friends amongst our family, and something akin to family amongst our friends." If you consider some friends to be like your family, then for you, it is your extended family. It's more fulfilling if the feeling is reciprocated, but it should not matter if it is not. One measure of friendship consists not in the number of things friends can discuss, but in the number of things they need no longer mention.
"Seek out your roots and you will find your life" ~ Winston Churchill