This post was shared by one of my friends some time back. It reminded me of an incident I had heard from another friend some 25 years ago. I can narrate it even after so many because I had written it down in a small scrapbook after hearing it. Please give it a read and do share your thoughts. Let me first narrate the anecdote.
This story is from when I used to be a teacher. Every year we (teachers from other branches of our educational organization) used to assemble at our head office to set question papers. That’s where I met this cute little friend, or (should I say) acquaintance, as we might have met only twice for two consecutive years.
Being of the same age group, I enjoyed talking to Rohini. We both taught Science; therefore, we were responsible for setting question papers for all the classes. Our friendship never blossomed as we met only twice a year. You see, those were the simple days without mobiles, and now I wonder why we didn’t even exchange landline numbers. I have lost touch with her, but I remember her story very well. Anyways, here’s a tiny peek into her life’s little incidents.
We met again after a year of our first meeting to set question papers for that year’s annual examination. So after the morning session of juggling some questions, we sat down for a hurried lunch to quickly get back to our pending work. In that small interim…
“Hey, I have some good news to share,” Rohini whispered so that only I could hear her and continued in a single breath. “We are relocating to the U.S. for three years. My husband, Sagar, got a company transfer to Pittsburgh.”
“Wow, that’s great. So happy for you. This is huge. Where is my treat? “I said as we ate from our respective lunch boxes. I could sense she had to share her happiness with someone. She was excited and just jubilant.
“Shhh… Let’s talk when we are done with this. Yes, let’s go for some ice cream.” Rohini said in hushed tones.
“So, When are you guys leaving then? Have you informed the management yet? Quite surprising, haan…did not have any idea about it last year when we met.” As we walked to the nearby ice cream parlor, I hurled a volley of eager questions and settled down at a far-off, lonely corner.
She let out a feeble Hmmmm, which kind of surprised me.
“Something bothering you? Hey, we can do this treat tomorrow, you know.” I suggested.
“No, No…nothing… let’s talk..” Rohini tapped my hand, assuring me to relax.
“Really good, yah…When did all this happen? I remember you telling me that your husband is in sales.”
“Yeah, he was in sales for the past 5 years. Sagar always wanted to do his M.S. but couldn’t pursue it because of financial constraints. He had to clear the loan taken for engineering. Now, this ERP thing has helped him to shift careers. I am happy for him.” Rohini explained the facts in a monotone.
“Oh! That’s really good to know. So from sales to software… awesome shift haan.” I tried to make it lively by showing some excitement.
“Yeaah…All his hard work has borne results, Kalyani,” She said in a somewhat morse voice.
“Hey, Rohini. What’s the matter? Is something bothering you? I know we hardly met and may not be the best of buddies. But if it makes you feel any better and lighter, please share it”. I tried to help.
She stared at me as if to gauge my honesty and trustworthiness.
“Nothing severe, you know. But sometimes, a few things really shock me. Maybe I took some relationships at their face value.
“You know, the reaction I got from my own family..especially my brother and his wife, was something that shocked me. Or rather has pained me…”
“Why, what happened? Are they not happy for you both?” I inquired.
“Hmmm, Sagar got the confirmation from the U.S. Office yesterday morning. So I wanted to share this good news with my family first, assuming they would be the happiest. So, after Sagar returned from the office, we headed straight to my parent’s place.”
“Oh! Good, your parents live in Bangalore?!” I blurted, interrupting Rohini without intending to do so.
“No, my brother bought a home in Indra Nagar after returning from Japan. We live a few crosses apart. My parents shuttle between Bangalore and Mangalore.
“So coming back to what happened at my bro’s place…Let me tell you the exact words, Okay….” Rohini straightened up to narrate the incident.
“You know, Kalyani, I was so happy and beaming with joy when I shared this good news with my brother, sister-in-law, and parents. I said.
“Thank Goodness, by Bhagawan’s blessings, somehow we pulled it off…Sagar got the confirmation letter today morning. We will be moving to Pittsburgh by August end. We got an L1 visa for three years.” Saying this, Rohini continued to talk.
“You will be surprised to know my brother’s reaction, Kalyani.”
“What have you done that you are dancing so much? What’s your contribution to it? You have only pushed Sagar to achieve your goals. So don’t show off, okay…” This was my brother’s reaction, and his wife joined in, saying, “Yeah, true that! Actually, your contribution is Zero!”
“What?!… I mean…” I didn’t know how to respond, so I let Rohini talk all she wanted to.
“These words have been ringing in my ears ever since I returned from my brother’s home. Even when we rode back to our home on the bike, I could hardly hear what Sagar said. These words and how they uttered them are piercing me like poison arrows.
Sagar was too happy and excited, so I thought not to trouble him with this. Of course, I am super thrilled at the thought of moving to Pittsburgh. We have been working on it for almost a year. The past few years have been very daunting for us as Sagar’s parents hardly supported us in anything and were against the idea of a job shift. As there was no saving, Sagar used up all the PF money after resigning from the sales job to do the ERP course. With so much happening on the career front, we had deferred on having a child.
“I am thinking, is this what relation is all about? How rude of them to say such things. Are they not my well-wishers? And I, like a fool, went there to give them the good news. They were the first ones privy to all the info. Why? Because I thought them to be mine. I took them to be my well-wishers. They know my situation well and how Sagar and I have struggled. Even in this condition, we had to pay Sagar’s parents to contribute to the household expenses. I am okay with it. But at least as parents, they should support Sagar. Hmmm…”
Rohini was becoming increasingly restless as she kept thinking about all that had transpired… I let her talk.
“And look at my brother and his wife. Why can’t they have a live and let live attitude? Even though they are younger than me, they have already bought a home. He is working for the best chip company. He has already worked abroad. They already have a son. Our parents have a robust background and care for my brother and his wife. I haven’t asked for any help so far. Whatever the situation, it has always been my husband and me.
And you know what, Kalyani, all these thoughts of comparison were never there in me…I never thought all this to be a race. It was never like I wanted to beat my siblings and finish first. I just shared my dream with Sagar, and we worked on it…
I could see how this impacted Rohini; she was on a loop repeating most things. So, just to break her thoughts, I asked her, “Hey, at least your parents are happy, no? Then, just ignore them.”
“My father doesn’t bother much…quite self-centered, you know.” Rohini continued.
But the tone with which the words were spoken made the whole thing very bitter. My mother suggested to my brother and his wife just to ease the situation…” Arre, What’s there, Raja? (My mother addresses my bro “Rajah) You both can also try and go to America.
Mothers are like that, you know; they want their kids to be good to each other and be each other well-wishers… Rohini continued.
And I was not even bragging. I was just happy and wanted to share it with my people. Because I have been happy for them every time, they jumped for better jobs. Every time I saw them off at the airport as they flew to better horizons. I was just pleased to hear about their happiness, even though I had a truckload of issues going on… Expecting the same from them was my mistake.
I am unable to get over it… I will think twice before sharing a piece of good news with anyone.”
Eagerly waiting for your feedback on this topic. I would have never shared the story. But, the Facebook share by one of my friends made me dig this story from archives and share it with you all. I wrote a few points now after I reread this anecdote. I would love to share those points with you all as well. But only after I read your feedback.
Thanks for your time, friends. Have a great Sunday 💕
Kalyani S Kakade
03, Bhadrapada Krishna Paksha, Tritiya 2079 Rakshasa, Vikrama Samvata, Singapore,14 August 2022 Sunday