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Life is quite funny or we make it so

Life is funny sometimes. The way it makes you act and react to situations, it can be hilarious at times.

Just the other day, I ran into an old friend. Lets call him A. He happens to be a former colleague of my husband, a good friend of mine because we share exactly the same interests pertaining to writers, books, films & music and we became good family friends. So, you are thinking "What's the big deal?" 

Nothing much. Except that we stopped talking for the last five years. Or rather, I completely cut off this friend from my life altogether. Ah, now grab some coffee if you want to listen to this story and have a good laugh at the end of it too.

It's like this. The three of us spent the early years in Delhi hanging out together most of the time especially after work. We would watch movies together, eat dinner together, go to the nearby Guruvayur temple together and party together. We were an amazing team and had an enviable friendship. 

Together, the three of have celebrated some of my professional and 'creative' milestones by going out for treats at yes, hold your breath, McDonalds, Subway and so on, where we would literally dissect my latest story or creative column as though it is next in queue for a Booker Prize. 

What I enjoyed most was about being able to share ideas, agree, disagree, debate and have an all-round conversation about everything and anything. And yes, we were an amazing team of brilliant minds especially because we are all lawyers and we are moving in the upper crust of legal luminaries. This meant that our conversations never ran short of fun. 

But none of us would have guessed that we wouldn't be looking eye-to-eye in few years time. That's what makes life funny when you look at the twists and turns that happen on the way.

To put things simply, my three year old son and A's 1 year old daughter were great friends too. Several times when my son would go to their home to play, the door was shut on him and he was told to come later. A couple of times, this happened and I didn't take it seriously. Then one day, I got a call from a mutual friend who told me that my son had gone there to play, he was told to wait outside as their daughter would wake up in five minutes after her 3 o clock nap. He was told to wait five minutes and they closed the door on him. It was a very hot summer day. He waited and waited outside thinking his little friend would come and then he became very weak and seemed to almost drop down in front of their door. This mutual friend saw him and took him to her house and kept him there.

This incident angered me beyond all words. I thought we are good friends and I could not understand how this kind of behavior happens repeatedly to a child. If there is a problem and they don't like the two kids being friends, they should communicate or address it, not ill-treat a child who is three years old. Personally, I would never ever treat a friend's child like this.

I wanted to immediately confront and ask them directly why they, being family friends, behaved like this to my son. But I calmed myself down and decided not to and talked more to Adi about the various instances when they asked him to wait outside. Each time, I got to know that it is A's wife who had done so. So, that meant if I had to address this situation I would have to tell A about his wife's conduct towards my son. I didn't want to create a messy scene between a couple over my son. My husband and I decided that we cannot alter how others behave to us but we can alter how we react to sticky situations.

We agreed on some ground rules:

1. No more friendly visits/chats/  to A's house or with A and family. 
2. Keep contact minimal.
3. Help Adi find friends of his age whom he can play with outdoors in the society building itself.
4. Treat A's kid with loving attention just like before (who comes to our home at least thrice a day from the time she wakes up).

Following this, we never met A for months at a stretch and the months stretched to years. We had no contact with them. And poof! We met them at a mall yesterday after many years because A came over, in his usual heart warming style, and began talking to us with such delight because we were meeting up after years.

In a span of thirty minutes, we were all chattering at once and catching up with a lot of the things happening in our lives as if we hadn't ever stopped talking before. A and family were genuinely happy to meet and talk with us. 

The only glitch is this - the kids were no longer speaking to each other anymore.

While, we the grown ups, began talking like an immature bunch, our kids had apparently grown up and decided to ignore each other. 

Life, as I told you, is quite funny. Or rather, we make it so.

Comments

Asha said…
Oh! that's sad the way they reacted to Adi! It hurts the self-esteem of the child and can have psychological effects later on. Good that you withdrew. Also glad you could connect with your old friend.
Anonymous said…
Really thought-provoking post written in a refreshing and easy manner.

Just makes me wonder whether we should also become kids more often instead of asking our kids to grow up. A's wife, if she was a kid, would have forgotten the 'enmity' by the next day itself. She chose to be an adult long enough to allow the children to 'grow up'.

Thanks Swapna... Your posts always interest me and you have a way of gripping the reader.

Aravind Balasubramanya
Dear Asha, It's good to read your thoughts on this because you have echoed exactly how I felt at the time. But the result was good - I was able to focus on helping Adi to find new and like minded friends outside his comfort zone. So in a way, whatever has happened spurred on a better result that one wouldn't have anticipated when it first happened. The other thing is that as a spiritual seeker, I like to see every experience in life as something to learn from. Everything happens for a good reason and this too is no exception.
Greetings, dear Brother Aravind,

I am deeply grateful and overwhelmed by your encouraging words. Your observation is as thought provoking as your spiritual writings. Like you have mentioned, sometimes we should become kids instead of asking our kids to grow up. I liked that point because I hadn't seen it in that sense before.

It means a lot to me that you read my posts because I feel as though Swami is also reading it with you. Thank you so much for that.