Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A Lost Friendship

Sometimes life is a constant battle with nostalgia of a time that can't be real again! Memories still linger and remind me of our secrets and laughter together. That was a time we were carefree and happy, unaware of the sad twists and turns that destiny had in store for us in the future.

There are bitter sweet memories of us. Walking hand in hand, off to our most cherished place on the basketball court. Sitting and watching our friends play. Learning lifelong lessons, ones that would help us on and off the court. I still think of the times of us sharing and caring, innocently loving, I still think of the times I silently prayed things would last a lifetime. I still treasure the little gifts that we exchanged with our meagre pocket moneys. We dreamed so many dreams for us, of our lives and of changing the world for the better. The dreams have been modified with realities and although life is not exactly as we planned it to be, I hope yours is close enough to your dreams. I hope that life is still keeping your gorgeous smile on your face.

Today, it is not the memories that hurt.. but the realisation that there shall be no more. For in the short time I spent with you, I formed a bond so strong that the threads of it still hold strong to this day. Today I am scared to form others like them, for fearing of losing them again. The pain never subsides. The reasons for why we lost this beautiful friendship is still unknown to me. But I ponder over them no longer.

It has been over a decade that we were as in my memories. Since then life has changed completely for both of us. We are no longer the young girls with dreams in our eyes and fire in our bellies, taking on the world around us. I know not what your life is like. Only what little I hear from others and the social media stalking that I do quietly, to know you are well and happy. Your recent blogs have helped me learn more of your life and I am happy to see you have a beautiful life filled with people who love and care for you, and many more who admire and encourage you. 

I love you, quietly, without anyone's knowledge of how important you still are to me. Even I know not why! Maybe because you made me a better person, and still continue to do. I will always quietly turn to you for guidance, and I will always follow the little things I learnt from you. For it is you who taught me patience and it is you taught me immense compassion. You are the one who taught me to listen and it is from you that I also learnt to speak for myself. Your kind heart and honest words taught me that I did not need to be someone else to be accepted, and you taught me to accept myself. You are a powerful woman today, and for me you will always be. I am proud of you and want to tell you that you will always hold a piece of my heart. I will always say my silent prayers for you!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Invasion of Privacy

A recent article I read about the well meaning neighbourhood aunties who feel it is their rightful duty to advise young couples on the right time to have children got me thinking. I am well familiar with these nosey neighbours and have had my share of uncomfortable conversations. Not so recently married and still without an issue, I am often rudely and directly reminded of my perceived purpose of existence. Many a people from the reliable house help to the well wishing aunty from next door remind me how I need a child to be complete. Some have even directly told me that I need to have a child for my grandmother-in-law would need a companion to play with in her 90's. The irony of which is that grandmom was one of the first people who warned me against such advise. She had laughed and told me a year after my marriage that there would be lots of family, friends and acquaintances who would advise me to start a family now and that I must pay no heed to them. In her view, honeymoon babies were a thing of the past. Today, a woman needed to be educated, independent, successful and mature before she could take on the responsibility of a child. She believes, and often reminds me, that I need to be complete and content inside before I can nurture a child and teach him all that is to learn in this world. Today's world requires a knowledgable mother, one who knows her place in this jungle, for without knowing and living this, she might not be equipped to bring up a child to take on what they might encounter in his life.

In all this nosey business, what bothers me is this sense of rightfulness and intrusiveness these people have in the lives of others, especially those younger than them. Come to think of it it is not merely a matter of people but one that is deeply ingrained in our society. "Well meaning" people think it is alright to talk to and talk about other people if they have what they believe is their best interest at heart.

From asking a person their age or salary, to discussing marriage and child planning no topic is left personal to an individual anymore. I have heard innumerable uncomfortable conversations like those exemplified below, which not only leave me wondering about how some people think it is alright to give unsolicited advise if their intentions are well meaning.

To a successful working 20 something your girl -
Aunty - "Are you married?"
Girl - "No"
Aunty - "How old are you?"
Girl - "26"
Aunty - "Then when do you plan to get married? This is the right age to settle down. If you delay too much everything from children to retirement plans will get delayed"

To a soon to be mother (hence referred to as STBM) - "
Aunty - "You look big, you must be due soon"
STBM - "Yes the due date is in 2 weeks"
Aunty - "Really! That is good. I am glad you planned to have a child within a year after marriage, unlike these other girls living here, married much before you and yet to plan a family"
STBM - "We did not really plan it, it just happened. We were hoping to wait some more time, but destiny had other plans"
Aunty - "It is all good. You will know later in age how it was a blessing. But tell me, the baby does not seem to have come down enough to be ready to come out in 2 weeks. Are you sure it is 2 weeks?"
STBM - "Yes, my doctor has rechecked. She has also advised lots of walks and some special diets to help"
Aunty - "That is all fine, but I would suggest taking household suggestions from the local midwife. They see many such cases daily, they know how to deal with these issues without much trouble. I will ask her to drop by at your place today itself."

To a young independent working girl -
Uncle - "I saw a lot of cartons coming into your home yesterday. Are you shifting?"
Girl - "Yes uncle. By the month end"
Uncle - "Oh, it is sad to see you go. But then we rarely ever saw you. You both work long hours"
Girl - "Yes. We have demanding jobs and long hours. We are only home in the mornings and nights"
Uncle - "I know how it is with you younger lot today. But you must ask your husband to be home at an earlier hour. He usually comes very late, sometimes I have seen him return even around midnight. Tell him it is not safe to let you be alone this late at night alone. The world is not a safe place today, unlike in our times"

The conversations were all had with the best of intentions and often the advise was genuine. What I find difficult to fathom is the comfort with which these people asked these personal queries to simple acquaintances. I would shudder to have some of these conversations even with friends and relatives, for fear of them being too personal.

In earlier times, when people had deeper and longer lasting relationships with their neighbours I suppose such conversations seemed fine. Neighbours were like family and were part of all the celebrations and sorrows with each other. But with the changing times today, where we do not have time to talk to our family and friends, let alone neighbours, I do not think those close relationships exist for many of us. Today, there are conversations we sometimes don't have the time to and at other times choose not to have even with our closest friends and relatives. Thus, it is extremely uncomfortable to have random people ask such personal questions.

It is not welcome when people we whom seldom meet and even more rarely speak to discuss our personal issues. We feel that our plans, our space and our life are for us. And if we would like your advise we would ourselves approach you for it. Discussing us with others and then coming to us and advising on how we must lead our life is not welcome. Not because we do not appreciate your concern, but because it makes us uncomfortable and sometimes even insecure to know that you are keeping an eye on us and our lives.

Thus, it is my humble request, please let our space and our issues remain personal to us. Please do not invade it without permission.