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Shades of Grey – Naina

Naina – 1: Friends

6 October 2010

They were meeting after more than 10 years even though they had been in the same city all this while. It was not as though they had not kept in touch. They spoke on the phone, initially frequently and then as they became engrossed in their lives, the frequency of their phone conversations reduced. Despite the infrequent communication, Naina would always remember to send an SMS on all special occasions, birthdays, anniversary, festivals, even friendship day, never missing any occasion to keep in touch. Varsha would religiously send a return thank you SMS and occasionally ask how Naina was doing.

Varsha was first to get married. It was an arranged marriage. She had been happy with her parent’s choice. Rajan, her would-be husband was a thorough gentleman, very courteous. That he came from a well to do family and he himself was doing quite well in his MNC job was also something that pleased Varsha. It was a dream marriage for Varsha, a well to do good looking husband. A small family with no siblings of her husband, she was happy at the thought that she would get all the attention in her in-laws home.

Naina fell in love with a man 15 years older than her. Raj ran his own export agency. She fell in love with his confidence, demeanour and independence. He was rich and staying alone in a large farmhouse on the outskirts of Delhi. Their romance was a dream. They were inseparable for more than 3 years before they finally decided to tie the knot. She was practically living with him before they actually got married. Soon she became used to the lavish farmhouse and the servants and errand boys that were always available for any work.

Varsha’s first few years of marriage were rocky. She had a strained relationship with her mother-in-law, both of them constantly bickering with each other. Rajan tried to balance between the two but couldn’t satisfy either his mother or his wife. They would constantly argue about his mother. Things became so bad that Varsha nearly walked out of the house. She would envy Naina and her life without a mother-in-law, her husband all to herself not shared with his mother. They spoke frequently then, Varsha sharing her pain and anger with Naina. Naina was a good listener, allowing Varsha to speak her heart out. Occasionally she mentioned happenings in her life but didn’t go into details. Varsha was too preoccupied with her troubles to worry about my life, Naina thought.

Both became mothers around the same time. Slowly the talks became less frequent as they got busy in their motherhood. Naina remembered last meeting Varsha at her son’s first birthday party at their farmhouse. She remembered Varsha leading the way and Rajan carrying their baby in his arms following, almost apologetically. She could feel the tension between them and Varsha continued to show her enviousness of Naina’s independence from a mother-in-law. It was as though she was showing Rajan around how wonderful their lives would be if they stayed alone.

Naina sat in the Barista in GK in the warm sunny October afternoon, waiting for Varsha. Finally they had managed to take the time out to meet each other after nearly 10 years. She had dropped her son for his guitar lessons. Varsha arrived with her son and daughter. Rahul was the same age as her son while Ritu was 2 years younger. Varsha nearly jumped on her as they met and hugged each other. Varsha was hugging her and giggling like a school kid, oblivious of the kids and other people around them. Naina maintained her graceful self, managing her sari while Varsha adored her.

“You look wonderful Varsha. The kids, my they are all so grown up now” Naina said

“I know. But you should have got Bunty also. Rahul and he could have had so much fun together.”

“I know, perhaps another time.” Varsha made a sorry face. “You are growing up to be a pretty young lady I must say” she said to Ritu who shyly hid behind her mother.

They sat and ordered Cappuccino for themselves and Chocolate Excess for the kids, exchanging notes of the last 10 years. Varsha couldn’t stop beaming and telling Varsha how wonderful her life had turned out. She had made peace with her mother-in-law and Rajan had managed to play his balancing act well. She had started working again and between the work, two kids, in-laws and a supporting husband, she had little time for anything else. Once again Naina was a good listener, enjoying the moments of Varsha’s life. She didn’t share with Varsha the loneliness she was going through. “She’s so happy to worry about my life” Naina thought as they parted.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alka permalink
    May 19, 2015 11:19 pm

    I could relate to the story..good work!!

    • June 9, 2015 1:17 pm

      Thanks Alka. You could relate to Varsha or Naina?

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