I thought of complimenting her as soon as she entered, on seeing the slight glow on her cheeks. We were seeing each other after a long time. All we wanted to do was to talk endlessly.
The one disadvantage of girls not getting married in their hometown is that they can’t see their ‘friends for life’ more often. One of the reasons they crave to visit their hometown more often is that they often start missing ‘being silly without being judged.’ You need somebody else to tell you that ‘such stuff happens to them too!’ – and then get advice and soothing from someone as crazy as you.
I always knew that it was hard for me to find friends. I had problems when my friends bonded nicely with other girls at office, or even if someone tagged my best friend on Facebook as their best friend and got all those kiss and love emojis in return.
If my friends don’t come to see me when I visit my hometown, I feel as though a part of my visit got wasted. I get mad and always become cranky.
I blame my mother for this. She never taught me to share stuff. She was always like, “we have only two kids” – and anything that came home was enough for two. Sharing never occurred to me. And for me, it is harder to share with people now.
I tried to be friends with my beloved husband, who, by law, had no option but to avoid my crankiness as long as we lived. Soon I realized why the saying “ek aurat ka dard aurat hi samajh sakti hai (A woman’s pain can only be understood by another woman)” holds true. I didn’t stop at bothering him with the ‘girly issues’ – I also used to get irritated whenever he had plans with his friends. I used to envy him because he had friends to hang out with, while I didn’t.
I had failed miserably in finding a single friend at my marital home. It is the one dangerous social task – to find someone with whom you can discuss “Kya chal raha hai (What’s up with your life)” without the risk of the discussion being divulged to others. That’s too tricky.
After failing for three years, I finally realised that the one I was searching for lived just two floors above mine. And I cursed myself for not having initiated the talks over the past few years.
Our talks used to centre around household chores, the side-effects of being at home all day and the ‘irritation’ that others feel about many educated, married women. I have seen that the level of this ‘irritation’ is higher if we are the type of women who like movies like “Lipstick Under My Burkha”.
Soon, I realised that the issues we faced being homemakers were mostly similar. Of course, that would explain why many of us have watched two celebrated TV soaps, “Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii” and “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi”. Perhaps, this shows that nagging about household issues has been partly hereditary for us. Perhaps, we got it from our mothers – who used to watch the serials daily and used to sympathise with the lead characters, while also cursing the villains in the story-lines.
Recently, during our chats, she asked me about my ongoing ‘child planning’. I thought she was curious, but little did I know! We planned to see each other.
Still, her beaming face was coaxing me to compliment, but our never-ending talks continued. After a while, she left me pleasantly surprised when she disclosed that she was now an expecting mother. Her admission revealed to me the reason for her glowing face.
All of a sudden, I remembered our first interaction. On the first day in the club, she was trying to figure out how to swim in the midst of all the coughs and the sneezes you usually have when you first enter a pool. We soon became good friends there, as we shared the same level of immaturity. And now she is expecting to figure out how to handle a toddler!
It is different – the feeling you have when you realise that someone almost your age is having and dealing with such a responsibility. We all assume all the time that we are too young for everything.
Actually, all I have experienced in my marriage at 20-and-a-half is that ‘you learn while you grow’ and that all the wonders happen ‘in the process.’
I have fallen in love with our chats now. They generally have all the lovely details about the changes she is feeling. When I asked her about her nausea, I was very amused. She was like “Arey woh toh all okay, but roz roz kuch naya pain hota hai (That is all right, but I feel a new kind of pain each day).” She also said that she felt crappy and tired all day long.
I just wanted to go hug her when she mentioned that she had literally heard her baby’s heart beat.
After missing my call due to an extended afternoon nap, she told me, “Whatever I do nowadays, everyone is trying to make me happy.” For me, this seems to be the one good time when all the women you know are suddenly so comforting to you. Whenever there is news of a new-born, I find it amusing when women start sharing stories of their pregnancies and labour pain. After all, these are memories worth treasuring, since these are the things that changed their lives. It is also a blissful feeling that many women share.
All the monthly cramps and pain we faced are worth it because ultimately, we are creating life. All the nausea, the cravings and crappy feelings become blessings when they remind you that a life is growing inside you.
It is the only ‘blind date’ you have for an entire nine months – where you know, in all likelihood, you will meet the ‘love of your life’ in the end.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.