The grass is always greener on the other side

two-girls-river-lake-sea

As I was dusting the shelves, the picture of my best friend and me sitting in the water when we were 4 years old fell on the ground and shattered. It deeply disturbed me as it was one of my favorite pictures. My friend Mona and I were neighbors and we practically grew up together like twin sisters. We went to the same school till 12th grade and did our college together. There was nothing that I hid from Mona or her from me. The people in the apartment used to tease us saying “Hope you girls don’t end up marrying the same guy.” That was 12 years back. We got married 5 years back in the same year, but to different guys of course.

I ended up living in India and she had to move to the US with her husband. We missed each other terribly. But distance does create a gap in any relationship I feel. We who used to hang out with each other every day could only talk once or twice a week. Then we had our babies and life became even more hectic and our phone calls also reduced to once a month or so. But the real reason I should say why I drifted away from her was the small green monster of envy that had started engulfing me. She was having a wonderful life in the US is what I imagined seeing all the pictures and the way she spoke about it. Here I was in India, living in a joint family and rendering the trials and tribulations of staying together in a small 2 bedroom house. We never went to many vacations as Mona did and did not have much fancy stuff either. But my husband was a gem. He was a kind and loving man and a good father to my kids.

The shattered picture frame felt like a bad omen for me. So I called up Mona’s mom but it was busy. I called up my mom to ask how things were and she sounded the same. May be I was panicking without any reason. Sometimes these superstitions were just superstitions and I carried on with my day.

In the evening I got a call from Mona herself. After saying my name she started sobbing. “Mona, Mona what is it? What happened? Tell me. Calm down first. Okay take a deep breath. What is it Mona? Is everything okay?” “No its not. I don’t even want my mom to know. You are the first person that came to my mind. Mona my biopsy result for the mammogram was positive. I am so scared and feel so lonely. Who will take care of my kids? I am so scared Mona. My husband doesn’t even take this seriously and he is busy with his work. I have been going alone to all these tests and taking care of the kids and house too. Sometimes I wish I had a life like you living in a joint family with everyone’s love and support. I am terrified.”

What she said struck a nerve with me. The grass is always greener on the other side. All these years I hadn’t valued the support that I had by my family and in-laws and was only looking at the negatives. I closed my eyes for a second and thanked God for what he had given me and then in a calm voice I spoke to Mona.

“Mona first don’t start panicking. It might be a benign tumor which can be treated. First thing, sit with your husband and tell him how you feel. Ask him if you can come here and take the treatment. Here all of us are there for you. We will take care of the kids while you recover from the treatment. Nothing will happen to you. You first convince your husband and once you book your flight tell your mom that you are just visiting India. Once you land here we will let them know. Mona everything will be okay. You have always been the brave one so you can do it.”

1 year later…. Mona came to India and got her treatment done with all of us around her. She convinced her husband that they should move back to India so that they could be closer to their family and friends. No amount of money can bring the comfort and love that only loved ones can provide they decided and she is also looking for a house near mine so that our kids can grow up together just as we had.

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Friend

DEAR FRIEND…..

Friend you were a stranger when I met you,

But you showed me that you can be trusted

You made me share my thoughts and my soul

You opened up a whole new world

Where I did not care I would be judged or laughed at.

Friend you gave me a safe haven

Where I could be myself.

My dear friend now you are the closest to my heart than anybody else.

Thank you for being you!

The Chat Room

It all started 8 months back. I met him on the internet chatting room. I was bored out of my mind one day and while I was browsing thru different chat rooms I got a friend request from “justme2012” so I added him. We chatted often, mostly general questions like what I did or where he was going to for the weekend. He was in Madras and I was in Mumbai. I usually never trust these chat room guys, as they are always fake and pretend to be someone who they are not. So just to keep it going I too pretended to be someone else.

I told him that I was working in the film industry in Mumbai and how hectic my life was with assisting the directors etc. when I had the most boring job on earth being the front desk receptionist. I hated my job. I had to always smile even if I did not feel like and attend to all the phone calls and direct them to the right person. I got this job because I had to support my family.

We started chatting frequently and I was sure he was jobless even though he claimed that he was into textile business. Maybe he had the same idea about me too! But I didn’t care as this was my distraction from my painful reality. We shared our likes and dislikes and our passions and slowly we started revealing about our families and I felt so connected with him at times because he always knew to tell the right thing.

Here I was getting addicted to a person who I was not sure was a male first of all and didn’t know how much of what he was telling me was true. But every day I looked forward to chatting with him and teasing him and revealing a little bit of my real self.

One day he did not come to the chat at all. I felt lost and waited anxiously and then nearly a week passed and he never showed up. I kept pinging him and asking him if he was okay. I was even tempted to give my phone no so that I could hear his voice. But… my practical mind always wins over my heart.

Finally when I was about to give up my messenger blinged.

“Hi. It’s me.”

“Hi. Where have u been? I’ve missed you.” I blurted out.

“Tell me one thing how much of your story is true.”

“hmmm why?”

“If you want us to continue I want to know the truth. The real you.”

“Why?”

“Just shut up and answer me or I’m leaving. Bye.”

“Hey hey wait. You ask me, I will tell if it’s true/false.”

“You are a girl right?”

“True”

“Unmarried??”

“True”

“Live in Mumbai”

“True”

“Working in the film industry with famous people”

“False. I work as a receptionist in a dingy firm. ”

“hmmm…. Very interesting”

“What about all the other things you have told me? About family, your college and your first love etc”

“It’s true.”

“Then I want to see you. I don’t care how you look. It will not make a difference to me. I think I have found a best friend in you.”

“Hey, what about you???”

“I promise that whatever I have told you is 100% true.”

“Send me a picture of you ASAP and I will do the same.”

Finally I decided I’m going to do it. Yes I am going to send my picture to him and wait for his response whatever it might be.

Dreams….

UNICEF/ HQ97-0097/Donna DeCesare

Born into poverty
Raised with abandon
In dust and dirt I found pleasures
In the trees and night skies I weaved my dreams
Dreams of being treasured and valued
Dream of living a normal life…
Of clean dresses and good schooling
Of sleep without the noise of crickets screeching
and dew drops pelting on my tin roof
That which is taken for granted I promised to treasure
Maybe in another life my heart whispers
But my mind wanders to fill my nights with dreams

 

 

 

Change

Coffin-Buried-Ground-Graveyard-Photo

I see the flowers wither
I see the seasons change
I see an infant take his first step
I see my child step into adolecence
I see my friends grow old
and my loved ones march to the grave
In this ever changing world
Why do I assume I am just the same
Oh! foolish one – ignorant art though
to the passage of time that flows one way
and engulfs all and leaves none untouched
Find the real you behind the veil and escape this place
For one day a grave will be made in your name and more fools
will watch thinking theres more time for themselves!

Monsoon

boat

Raindrops drenching treetops;
Mother earth quenching her thirst;
Rivers welcoming fresh waters;
Worms hiding in their holes;
Brings memories of yesteryears
of paperboats and squishy mud
and pitter patter on my window;
of gum boots and puddles and the pure joy of being a child,
The kid in me reminds me that to be happy I don’t need much.