Thursday, 26 March 2009

Crossroads

My mother has often told me that life comes in phases; we go through one after the other just as the moon wanes. So I guess this is just another phase that I am going through. But I am not alone in this; I have quite a few friends who also happen to be standing on the threshold of something bigger. You are wondering why I have gotten so philosophical.

Well the reason is quite simple though I am not sure if my thoughts are just as clear. One of my best friends got married recently and loyal friend that I claim to be, I was there for her wedding. It was a splendid affair with all the rituals, customs and traditions you would see in a typical Hindu marriage. There was lots of fun, teasing about, dances and a bit of tears too! The tears part always come in, because you know that your daughter, the apple of your eye will from then on be starting a new life.

We were three of us who did our Post Graduate studies together. Though like any other normal friendship, ours too went through a period of affliction, but the important thing is that we rose above it and our bond grew stronger as we tried to understand each other better. And as we sat down to a sumptuous Indian regal feast, my friend commented to me how far we had come within the span of about two years. A few months ago, we were just three silly girls discussing and fantasizing about the future and where we would go with all our high and lofty dreams, and yet there we were, attending our friend’s wedding.

Our mind does have the habit of playing dirty tricks, and mine chose that very day to get nostalgic and sentimental. I went into rewind mode and was replaying all the days spent together, be I in person, over the phone or most importantly during our lectures in class. Each and every thing we did came back to mind. Bunking class to go out to the food court, coming late, and the hell we would rise when it was time to submit our assignments. It would not be fair on my part if I don’t mention the additional course that my friend was taking- Masters in Social Service! (That’s a private joke though)

Suddenly all those memories seemed so close to the heart, so dear, even the tough times we went through. But those were now too distant, what mattered most was that we were with her on her most important day. We had promised her that we would be there and I should thank the Almighty for making that happen. Seeing our best friend get married was such a beautiful event. Something that we will treasure.

Looking at her glowing radiantly on her wedding day, I felt very happy for her and sent a silent prayer unto Heaven above. But the happiness was laced with a little bit sadness. She was no longer just our friend. She had a new life, a new beginning, and new roles to contend with. But if you knew her as well as we do, there will be no doubt in your heart that she would come through with flying colors. A few tears were shed on that account but let’s not get into the sad part. It was a day of celebration, she was stepping into a new phase and we, her friends were right beside her.

I feel very proud to have known her and more grateful to both my best friends to have accepted me for whom I am, with my eccentricities and all. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift than the companionship of my closest friends and especially at the crossroad that I am standing at right now in life. With all the difficult choices that we will have to make, I know they will be there right beside me. I do hope that when I have to move into a new life, I muster at least a fraction of the courage and bravery that my friend has shown.

I guess this is what my mother was talking about. We were born into a family, being their pampered princess, we grew up, learnt to deal with life and some how win too, we are daughters, sisters, and friends and then everything changes. We become someone’s wife. That is a whole new identity we get and yet, we take on the challenge. But life gets so much easier when you have great friends such as mine.

Three cheers to our friendship…

Monday, 2 February 2009

This is what dreams are made of...

Whitney sat at her desk typing away on her system, trying her best to concentrate on the report that had to be finished, but her thoughts were elsewhere and most definitely not on the task at hand. Questions were running through her mind at top speed, questions that she had no answers to at the time. Varied subjects that her mind was grappling with most of them beyond her scope of comprehension, but deal with them, she must. This she knew for sure, after all, it was her life and she was done with others making her decisions for her. Where had it landed her? In a worthless job where she was always invisible?

At 24, Whitney was quite normal looking though it was her innocence that drew people to her. She had finished her professional degree and also gone on to finish her Master’s degree with distinction. By the looks of her anyone would describe her as a timid person, but only her close friends knew, behind that mask of outward timidity lay a well of emotional strength and a very strong will. Whitney was an ordinary girl but normal might not be the best way to describe her. All her life she was told what to do and what not to do and in the whole process of trying to do all those things, Whitney had lost herself. She had lost her identity. Even she couldn’t answer who she was anymore. In all her years of existence, what had she achieved so far? Nothing! Another day was over in her monotonous life and Whitney packed her stuff and left for the day. Driving home that day, she was still deeply engrossed in her thoughts. They had been intermittently clobbering her mind the whole day, and she was no closer to a solution now than she had been earlier in the day. “This wouldn’t do!” She told herself. “I need to clear myself; I need to clear my mind and my heart. Maybe it is time that I listened to what my heart has got to say.”

She turned off the road and took the one that would directly take her to the beach. And in the middle of the week, the beach would be reasonably calmer, she reasoned. Parking her car, she got out without her sandals.

She took a leisurely stroll on the beach for a few minutes. The sun had set in the horizon and walking bare foot on the sand really felt good, the sand was mildly warm and the warmth was slowly seeping through her over-tired feet, making her feel relaxed. “God has a nice way of giving us foot massages, you just have to walk on the beach,” thinking out loud, she continued her sauntering.

Finally getting tired, she plopped down on the beach. Right from her childhood, the beach had been her most favorite spot, her ‘get-away place’ as she liked to call it. Sitting there on the sand, listening to the lapping of the waves was soothing to her nerves. Looking out into the horizon, she saw the last traces of the setting sun and the different orange hues that it was sending out in different directions. It was a sight to behold. As far as her eyes could see, she saw only the vast ocean lying ahead of her, miles and miles of water, with no seen boundaries whatsoever. The waters always beckoned to her, it was as though some friend was out there in the oceans and calling out to her to come join. She felt as though she had some dream there that she was trying to pick up. But what it was, she could not fathom and each time she came to the beach, it was the same. She couldn’t tear herself away from the ocean and would sit staring at the waters the whole day. Today was no different. The ocean was her only true friend, someone who would patiently listen to all that she had to say.

Whitney was tired of living a lie, tired of living her life for others. Everyone seemed to think that they knew what was best for her and that they could live her life better for her. She had doting parents and very loving siblings. Yes, her family was great; there was no doubt about that. Yet she was very lonely. No one had been able to understand her, they all loved her but could not understand her, her dreams and aspirations were totally different. This was not what she wanted to be doing with her life, not at all. She was doing this to please everyone around her. They all thought that a regular job is the way to go, you have security. But not Whitney, she was a dreamer, a very imaginative dreamer.

She could cook up stories with so much of ease that her friends joked that she should take up writing as a career. She also loved to paint, when no one was around to bother her. She craved for peaceful solitude. The interference in her life went on to the extent that her parents decided who she should date and who she shouldn’t. now that was not fair. All her friends got to make their share of mistakes and learnt from them too. There was only one person Whitney had truly loved since high school, but due to her family’s interference, she had to give him up too. It is not that she was not unhappy; she just thought that it would make everybody else happy. Well she had achieved what she had set out to do, everyone else was happy, so much so that even Kevin was happy with his new job, he was trying to forget her. But she was unhappy, her heart was broken and her life was a mess. She had a right to be unhappy. Every once in a while, she would still think about him, and miss him a lot. She had to let go, her mind knew that but her heart just wouldn’t listen.

Whitney had gotten so much accustomed to being subdued, and being told what to do and what not to do, that she no longer bothered to even argue with anyone. Why couldn’t they ever understand? Why couldn’t they see through her fa├žade and see how miserable she was? Was it that easy to overlook her? Were they taking her silence to be her weakness? No one encouraged her dreams; they teased her if she told them anything, so she simply stopped telling them. The problem was not that her family did not care, but the problem was that they cared too much. They had crossed the line between being protective and being overprotective. Guess that came with the territory when one was the youngest at home.

She looked out at the ocean again, the waves were relentlessly, coming forward and then dying down, but in its places, a new wave arose, one which was more powerful. She could hear the ocean talking to her, telling her to continue dreaming. The ocean dug deep into its depth and came out with pearls of wisdom for Whitney. She was born a dreamer, she would always be a dreamer, and no one could take that away from her. And she knew what she had to do.

She had to get her life back. She had to start living her life on her terms. She had to learn to say no where it was necessary. This can’t be called being selfish, you can hardly call her that. It was time for some major changes in her life. With these thoughts coursing through her heart and soul, she looked out at the ocean again, and saw her friend waving to her. She could see her dreams on the distant horizon and this time, she was determined to reach them. She would make them all come true. There was no turning back, no going back to what she was going to leave behind. She had to be firm with her family; that was going to be difficult, but do it she most definitely would. The whole world was full of opportunities and she was going to start looking and making her place in the world, on her own terms. The clouds parted and the mist lifted, her heart felt so much lighter. It had taken her so long to make this decision. But now she was going to be happy. She was going to make her life happy. It was time to go. But before that she had one thing to do.

She got up from the beach and dusted her dress off. Searching in her purse, she got her cell phone and made a call. “Hello Kevin? ….”

Yes, this is what life was all about. This is what dreams are made of …