“I have been wanting to visit you and your family for long you know. But, every time I came to the bus terminus, I just wouldn’t get a bus to your place. And I just didn’t have the strength to wait for one. So, whichever bus came in first I boarded it. If it was the one to get me home I would go home straight. Otherwise, to my relative or some other friend’s place.”

(An auto or taxi to my place from her place of work to my place was totally unimaginable as the distance was just too much.)

It had been a while since I had seen this long lost acquaintance. We had been in touch by phone off and on in fits and starts. I wasn’t very comfortable with this kind of now yes, now no kind of relationship. I had visited her briefly but then, the ravages of time seemed to have usurped our relationship. Suddenly, one day, when I was resting one afternoon, the doorbell rang and who should I see but this very acquaintance!

Just imagine! Social relationships, friendship were being determined by convenience, by bus numbers! I just couldn’t comprehend such a thing. I either gave my very best or not at all. But, as I went talking with this friend, and she shared her views, her reflections based on her experiences in life, I realized that her approach to life was exactly the way the bus numbers decided her destination. If things happened, so be it. If they didn’t, there was no point in trying. This was her principle in life. I tried explaining that God helps only those who help themselves. But then, after an ordeal of listening to her problems I realized that I just could not judge her because I needed to be in her position, go through her conflicts, her emotions to understand her completely. But I also understood why certain problems of hers refused to budge and continued to plague her.

Sometimes, life seems one great mess where we are all planted to make a difference, to sort out the mess and make things worth living for. Unlike the Garden of Eden that existed initially with happiness, love, peace and joy, today, we all are surrounded by a garden of unruly weeds of negativity, shrubs of hatred, of prejudice and what not. Most of us are either too lazy or just too indifferent to take the initiative to reform or bring about change. Very soon, what seemed uncomfortable (the garden of weeds, etc) becomes just the right place to be in. And very soon we all begin to love this illusionary world of comfort and pleasure completely forgetting what our minds, hearts and souls really want and need to do.

Illusion wrecks

Our souls

Driving deep

Clawing into the fissures

Of our desires

Making us foolishly believe

That our wishful wants

Are our needs.

Making us shamelessly impotent

To reflect, act and transform

Despair into joy,

Hatred into love,

Cynicism into belief…..


12 responses »

  1. Beyniaz says:

    Very thought provoking. Great writing, Shail.

  2. Nivedita says:

    In friendships and relationships, people get attracted to those who are opposite to their nature. With time, when they try to change the other person, the relationship cracks.

    If this friend is someone who you truly look as a friend, you will accept her the way she is. Her experiences in life gave her, her lessons and beliefs. If I have 5 friends, I cannot expect all of them to have the same views as mine. People are bound to be different and that is the way it is.

    You have a choice too. You can chose to ignore your friend or stop communicating with her, if you do not like her on-off business.

    Your friend is being practical when it comes to Chennai’s buses. They are always overflowing. I remember when me and my sister lived in Chennai, during the early 2000’s, we would decide whether we would go to T.Nagar or Mylapore depending on the bus that we would be able to board. It really is no silly matter trying to board a Chennai bus and stay inside like a sardine in a can.

    Your friend is not here to defend herself. So, it would not be fair to judge her.

    That said, your writing style is good.

    • Dear Nivedita,

      Hi. Good to see you here. Nice of you to share your detailed views.

      Firstly, as I have mentioned in my article, this person is an acquaintance. If she was a friend, then, I wouldn’t be discussing her problems in public. As far as keeping in touch with her is concerned I cannot ignore her because she is a frequent visitor to my relative’s place and she often discusses her problems inspite of my resistance. Nothing new, have been that Agony Aunt from my College Days:)

      I would let things be and not even give things related to her any thought. It is just that she used to be this brave girl once upon a time. Now, when her own daughters suffer, she permits situations to usurp her sense of reasoning even when there are other ways out.

  3. ladynimue says:

    Am not i9n a state to say what way of living is best … I have days wen i follow one way . and days i follow the other. each has its pros and cons i feel .. live the way that keeps u happy 🙂

    • Dear Ladynimue,

      I agree. We should live life the way it keeps us happy, not morose, complaining, depressed. Yes, there are times when the lack of choices in life can make one to just plainly accept situations and events in our lives. However, we can’t do that when we have options.

      And, I always believe that no problem comes without a solution. What do you say?

      Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. gc1963 says:

    Dear Shail,

    I recently read somewhere what the great philosopher J. Krishnamurthy once said about the best way to go about life….It was something like not to mind whatever’s happening to you or coming your way. I think your friend follows the same principle. That is also a way to live.



    • Dear Geeta,

      I have read J, Krishnamurthy’s work too. But, I do feel that it is unwise to have an ostrich in the hole kind of attitude when there are other options to make life less complicated and more satisfying. When there are no obvious choices then, there is nothing much one can do.
      This friend has choices but lives life like that not just for herself but for her entire family which is wrong. Her family has been suffering for long too because of this attitude and that is what is infuriating and frustrating.

      Thanks for sharing your views Geeta.

  5. Shernaz says:

    A reflective piece, Shail.

  6. deepikaamit says:

    Very true Shail,
    An introspective piece.

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