A learning experience!! - short story
Arun and Sahil were good friends…they had been so for a long long time now….much before either was married!! Sahil got to married to Anushka when he was barely 25 .. Sahil was living in Pune with his family where his work was….. Arun lived in another town, but work brought him to Pune… After another ten years or so, Arun got married to Sanaya….In the meantime, Sahil was already “Pa” with their only son Sankalp, being 8-9 yrs old.
Arun and Sanaya too began their married life and with Sahil and Anushka they became a fivesome , doing most things together…..…It was fun ……while the newly-weds had just started on life together, and were making the most of it, the other couple, already well ahead in the game now, had to cope with their joint family, their own work commitments and the most important commitment of them all, their child!! Inspite of it all, the friends always made time for and with each other and thus ran their lives....till their little one came along and it now became a sixsome!!!! The little guy brought much joy into their lives as he started growing up…….the older child had fun walking and talking him around on outdoors and the little one doted on him , too!!
Years rolled and there were no occasions in either homes without the other friend family being present on all of them…….so much so, that they believed to be the extended family of each other…....that did not mean though, that either of them did not have other close friends nor that they did not spend time with their other friend/commitments , but, yes, the time that they had been spending with each other , irrespective of whether it was a weekday or a weekend, whether it was early evening or late night , whether those working from amongst them, had heavy work commitments the next day or anything at all….they were always together and that is what had made the bond so special……. Infact, the couple with the older child even came to be called as “everready” by the other couple since they always kept aside their issues and made time for the other couple!! And thus built a strong friendship bond amongst them…….
......Or so one thought……until one day………when a turn of events (and I call this an “experience of a lifetime” for the purpose of readers), changed that to “NeverReady”…….cos an unexpected event took place, which killed that sweet something between them …..and it was never the same again…..
Arun and Sahil shared their birthday month too………...so it was not unusual for the couples to celebrate their birthday event jointly, most times…It was not as if it was an everytime affair but it was there………..so, at those other times, when they were to be no celebrations too, the two friends went to each others homes on those special days even without being invited….Surprisingly, apart from their family members, there used to be none of the other so-called friends during those times…….maybe , either, because those friends were too busy with their own lives or maybe they had their very own other set of close friends then??.........Anyways, so it went with the Arun-Sahil team for many many years until the “experience” happened!!!
Arun, being the older of the two barely by a year, had a milestone birthday approaching soon! Sanaya was keen on celebrating the birthday together and so she kept mentioning it to Anushka and Anushka was okay with the idea too…….However, life on its everchanging mode was at work and new things were happening in either friend’s lives......…..Sahil was involved in a new project and was preoccupied with its inception, Anushka did not have fair weather at her workplace either…….Arun was busy too and so was Sanaya, training in a new project…..With all of the four being busy in their own commitments, the birthday topic was completely washed away………..so much so, that Anushka even forgot to wish Arun or remind Sahil (the always forgetful) , to wish Arun on his birthday !!!
Maybe this was the reason for Sanaya to behave in a strange way in which she did (wonders Anushka, even today!!!!) . She intentionally (and intentionally I say because it was an “all friends” celebration, there were no family members involved and till that day, Anushka and family, believed to be one of their “best friends” too…) did not invite Anushka and family (whom she told the “whole world” was her “extended family”..........a joke, shall I say??) for a “milestone birthday” she celebrated and that too, only with the,suddenly very close friends from her workside(whom, she told Anushka later, had asked her to drop them)??? Or was there another reason?? Funnily, the next day she called up Anushka and gave some lame excuses for not having invited them; said she had invited only two families and if they(Anushka’s family) had to be called it would be three people too many……………….three people too many???? .........
Now, that came as a real shock!!!!!!! The fact that she had not invited did not seem to matter so much to Anushka as much as this disclosure…………….Since when had Sahil’s family become three people too many for Sanaya?? Someone, with whom you had spent so many beautiful moments/hours/days,years, who you expected to be ever present when you wanted their company, who never forgot to invite you with their own siblings , when they actually could have done without you, (as they were never necessarily invited with the Sanaya family siblings around!!!),who were always there for you and you for them, and whatever suddenly happened that made them three people too many?? All because Sanaya came across some others, living in the same town for years, she occasionally met, now suddenly closer because of work or whatever?? What happened to those days of joint celebrations, forget that, of that so-called “extended family” that Sanaya herself used to go about calling the other couple??? why did all of that vanish so suddenly??People who had been in your life for so many years, your best friends were “not wanted” by you on your “special day”, when all they wanted was to feel a part of your special moment??Could you forget them so blatantly? It was not about the eats/drinks, it was about the feeling that you gave them of "not being wanted" on that special day…….and could somebody claiming to be your best friends have skipped this simple yet meaningful understanding of your feelings??? So then, was all the calling only when and because you found nobody else to spend time with????
And know what, until today, Anushka does not know why Sanaya had behaved in that strange way!! But, from that day on everything changed……..Now, Anushka never felt the same comfort in continuing as if nothing had happened……..Sanaya did try to cover up by inviting like old times etc etc, but now, it never felt the same way………for no rhyme or reason, Sanaya had behaved strangely, she had even invited somebody she said she was not so close to, but,, not Anushka and family; hence, now, any amount of sweet-talking, caring acts etc; made no sense, whatsoever………..
Anushka decided to continue being friends but certainly never felt like before as something which did not make any sense had happened to her from someone she thought were her closest friends, nay, “extended family”??........J….
Sanaya tried to make out as if nothing had happened by making humour out of the way Anushka and family had started behaving, calling them VIPs etc in the presence of other common friends because now they were NeverReady??……..…….she gossiped with her other friends about how Anushka’s family were stuck-up, hard, rigid beings having no sense of humour at all, but never for once thought that they could have been hurt with the insensitiveness she had displayed and therefore, when Sanaya now came up with dialogues like, “are friends only for eating and drinking together?” “should we not call up and let the other know we are ill, or need help or “ or something equally maudlin……all Anushka did was to just smile to herself! Where was all this “bhaichara” when you did not even remember people you used to always hang around with, is what she thought!!!
For a while, Anushka was so upset that she had misjudged the relation by thinking of these people as her "best friends" ……she felt so disgusted at that she did not want to even associate, socialise or have anything to do at all! But subsequently, as time passed, she decided to try and continue as before, but yes, she had learnt something on that day, which, which she would remember for the rest of her life!! That something she called a “ life learning experience”
She had realized that ;
1)there is never a reason for how people will want to behave with you at different times and for reasons/conveniences best known to them;
2)that, they will expect you to forgive and forget anything and everything they do unto you, quickly, as if it never happened and continue as you did in the past;
3)that it is wise to never expect anything , even from people you consider your “best friends”;
4)that people who you thought were your “best friends” may actually have other “best friends” and you may be only those that they call on when there is nobody else for them to spend time with;
4)that in whatever way the so-called friend may call you or themselves in relation to you, it is always your siblings alone, that is you real family and you mean the World to them!!(they would never forget you inspite of anything and that there are no extended families!!People will help you, do you favours and later, put you under obligation by their strange behaviours!)
5)that, if your siblings were to do any such thing to you, you have a right to thrash it out with them and find out the true reasons for their strange behaviours without being judged, and without sudden change of hearts!!! But, you will never know how the others tick……..
So, try and be “real friends” to people who call you friends and be careful when you call somebody your “extended family” cos once you call them that you are under an obligation to remember and carry out the relation in that exact way!!