Archive for October, 2007

Long Long Ago

I spoke to this really old friend today. We were best friends in school. Completely different people, completely different backgrounds, completely different upbringing. She was a punjabi who lived in a palatial house in Alipore and I was this middle class bengali girl who hailed from Santoshpur. Except for the two ” purs” that were the same, there was nothing that was similar. But somehow somewhere we really bonded. And when i say we bonded, I mean that Iv never had a friend like her. We were very fond of each other and we shared the deepest secrets that we wouldnt tell anybody else. T was a very popular girl in school and everybody was quite fond of her. Its not that we spent all our time together in school. We had the same group of friends and we never hung out solely with each other but when it came to talking about something, we didnt know anybody else.
T moved out after Class X and joined another school which was more up her league. And surprisingly we lost touch. We did meet once in a while because her sister also studied in my school and she often came to pick up her sister. We smiled and hugged but something somewhere went wrong and there was a coldness between us. After that, we went separate ways and she went abroad to study. Though we never kept in touch, I always knew her whereabouts from other friends who had heard from her. She didnt keep in touch with anybody in particular but we knew where she was and what she was doing.
It wasnt until last year December that I suddenly got this urge to get in touch. I had this wierd dream where she was calling out to me and I couldnt reach out. I spent a whole day in office just calling up random people trying to get in touch with T and looking for her number. And then I suddenly got it. I called her with a lot of mixed feelings. Would she remember me? Would she even care that I called? would she bother to even speak to me?And I found myself just dialling her number and hearing her voice at the other end of the line. I said hello in a very shaky voice, almost not knowing what to say and she just caught on to my words . She said that she saw a picture of a girl the other day who reminded her of me. and it all eased out. We spoke for an hour, catching up on the 11 years we had spent apart, not knowing whether the other was alive.
Its been almost a year since then. We still dont talk regularly but we manage to catch up once a month. And it feels like we are back again to those amazing days where we shared news and secrets over an orange ice cream, talking of things that really touched our lives. Thanks for being such a great friend!!!!!!!!!It really does mean a lot

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Of Tales Untold

Iv been under a lot of stress for some time now. Im generally not the type to get bogged down by stress and create unnecessary tension for myself- although my husband completely disagrees- but I think Iv managed quite well. Until now. I know that lately I have been thinking of a lot of things and there is a lot on my mind- professional, personal, support system, in laws, parents but I thought everything was under control when just the other day a friend who knows me quite well turned around and told me I was nowhere close to the person she knew. I have always been very lively and jovial, trying to make a joke of everything in my life and laughing all my problems away. But it is only now that I hear myself so distinctly only cribbing and moping about everything in life, all the goddamn time- I spoke to a few people about this and surprisingly some of them told me to visit a counsellor. Well, I always believed that i could never pay someone to listen to me talk, but even my husband ( who refers to counsellors as shrinks and all doctors as quacks) turned to me and asked me to see someone for my stress. He said that a third person’s perspective might be useful and help me see things as they were and not blow them out of proportion. I think he did it for his own good because I know that Iv been driving him completely mad for the last few days. This set me thinking and took me on this huge roller coaster ride of all the emotional baggage I was carrying.
Iv always been quite good academically. Iv done quite well right through school and also decently enough through high school also. The okay and mediocre result in 12th was not because I had not studied but because the board was screwed. It was at this point in my life that I met M, my husband. And my life was on its biggest roller coaster ride ever. I got admission into one of the most prestigious Eng departments in India and just missed my first class in my Bachelors by a slight margin. And my parents went on this complete tangent. They never liked M from the very first day they met him. And for no reason. They just hated him because they thought he was intellectually not upto the par and would be a complete mistake for my life. And the person that I was – I stuck to him like a leech because I wanted to and at the same time revelled in doing exactly the opposite of what my parents wanted. They blamed him for my low grades in college and when I achieved a first class Masters degree, they blamed him again for not letting me study or otherwise I would have come First Class First. They hated the sight of him and made it very evident that he would have nothing to do with my life. To the extent that M did not walk into my house for the 9 years that we knew each other before getting married and my father once got onto a parallel line and abused his whole family when I was speaking to him. And till this day I completely credit M for not abusing my dad in return or showing them an iota of disrespect to this day. If I was in his place, not only would I have abused the parents, I would have stopped seeing the person for whom I was taking this bull crap.
It was soon that my parents realised that I was extremely serious about marrying M and I would do so even if it meant walking out of the house for good. My mom relented and agreed on a marriage date. However, M and me wanted to get married on the day we had started seeing each other and this day does not fall under the auspicious part of the year according to hindus. We still went ahead and got married ON THAT DAY AND IN MY HOUSE. My dad, of course, the actor that he is, walked out of the wedding in full view of the guests. We just had a very small gathering of 25-30 people over lunch and the ceremony was over. Everybody who wanted to be in my mom’s good books walked around the house looking like they had come to attend a funeral, instead of a marriage. It was thanks to a few close cousins and some sane friends and my happy in laws that I managed to go through the registry without abusing or killing anybody. Of course, my dad was on the phone with my mom because he wanted to come back home but wouldnt till I left. And even after we left for M’s house in the evening, some of my closest aunts caught my best friend and interrogated her about M and his family and whether he would beat me to death soon.
My inlaws were always fond of me and continue to be so till today. My Mom- in Law is not my emotional anchor, no doubt, but I know I can go crying to her about something her son has said and done and she wont waste a minute screaming at her son if he is indeed in the wrong. Today my dad loves M. Mom holds no conversation with him but makes it a point to cook him all the bengali dishes that he likes- it is so wierd. And this hypocrisy takes a toll on me. I am in some ways like my mom- she is extremely jovial and can be the life of the party. Some of my cousins got married recently and my mom was there laughing, singing, dancing and having a ball. My own marriage has not only made me bitter towards wedding ceremonies but I just stood there looking at my mom in amazement, wndering why she could not be as happy for me. It hurt real bad and just pushed me away even further from their world.
Today, when I sit back and think of all that Iv gone through, its probably not been even 1 per cent as bad as someone else’s life but its bad enough for me. Its made me a very bitter person and extremely cynical of things. And Im so scared that I wll become my mom. And to top it off, as I grow older, Im looking more and more like her. I never doubt the fact that they love me. I know they do but Im not ther ideal daughter. Because I didnt finish the Phd they always wanted to do- because i didnt get married to a doctor/engineer they could flaunt and because they cant tell me people what a lovely daughter they have. It does not make me sad- it makes me angry and hurt and te tears dont roll down from my eyes but sting them like they were needles poking through tight and taut shells. Everytime I dont succeed in life, whether its a quarrel with my doemstic help, or M, or whether I hate my job, or whether something I cook turns out a wee bit salty or slightly over cooked, I go down a few more notches in my own self esteem and hate myself for doing so…………… wish I could live again.

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