As I was crossing the road towards my car, with my shopping bags on a Sunday evening, someone pushed me from back and I took a jerk to hold myself. I managed not to fall down creating an embarrassment to myself and my husband who was walking ahead of me. My anger took over my calmness and I was about to pull the person back to give her a bang. My hand stopped for a moment in the air as my eyes caught the person who pushed me and tried to walk ahead. "Harsha.." I called to myself. Could not believe my eyes having come across her after almost 2 decades. The last I met her was in our school farewell day celebrations.
The night was almost sliding down towards the dawn when we realised that we haven't thought about sleep that night. Harsha was in her own world and went on talking, that I noticed that I have in fact become a good listener. May be what I was hearing made me not to stop her at all. It was almost 6 hours and yet her tears did not dry up nor did I try to console her. Sometimes, you need a shoulder to lean on and make you burst with the ages of agony that you withstood. That's destiny. That's childhood friendships are for. That's what we call luck, to stumble upon someone to share ourselves once in a while in this otherwise deserted society.
Harsha is struggling between two different poles. Irony is that she herself created both the storms in her life and still justifies doing so. Her 6 year old son Vinay is having a life outside his parents under the guardianship of his maternal uncle. Harsha saw him some 3 years back on his birthday.
After eloping with her college mate in the final year of her graduation, Harsha could not complete her studies, instead took up a small time job after a discreet marriage, only to realise later that her husband is an addict and is dependent on his parents for his survival. The so called wisdom that a child will change things only worsened her situation. With an infant in tow, and a petty job fetching her money for a livelihood and a highly demanding husband, Harsha was at the most vulnerable moments in life. What best could happen to her than a shoulder to lean on in the form of a colleague. The icing words of a married colleague who spends most of the time with her at work, brought in a solace to her troubled mind. Slowly the friendship blossomed and she found a new energy to regain her life and let go her tragedies behind the curtains for a while. After initial days of pampering, sharing, caring, there started the unique woman characteristics of possessiveness and expectations from this other man outside her marriage.
The other man got scared of his life, his social image, his own family and his growing up children. Managing finances started to give him the required pinch adding coals to the fire as Harsha kept on demanding more of his attention and time. In the due course of time, the passion faded away and what remained was a scar of a painful relationship that had no meaning. Reassurances of not betraying her from the second man did not make her life any better. Instead challenged her own position as his other woman in the society. Her husband caught her one day while she was fighting with this person on the road side in his car. That's the end of the story. Both the men accused each other and finally dumped her on the road. That was the day she bumped on me at the shopping complex in the city.
All I could do as a old friend is to immediately hug and make her cry... at least to relieve her from the pain of betrayal by two men who promised her heavens and broke her world apart. I am her friend and I don't want to upset her by asking more questions or providing useless advices. The fact of this story is that we try to escape from one agony and end up in a bigger one unknowingly. Her story is an eye opener to all those people who jump into hasty decisions and meaningless relationships in this world. Inter wined emotions and vulnerable situations provoke us towards those unwise decisions. There are hundred's of Harsha's in this world who suffer silently amidst the pain and trauma of various relationships in life.
I took Harsha the next day to a music concert. I could see a new happiness in her eyes. I suggested she take up some new work and also start to go for her passion of childhood- Music. It was after almost a year, I met her again, this time, with her son and a decent living. She is today a single parent, a confident professional and a strong woman. This time too, she did not let me talk. She gave me a big hug that made me proud. Proud for having been there when she actually wanted me, just letting her lean on my shoulder and unwind herself for long. I learnt to be a listener since that day. Letting people pour out and start afresh, amidst the dirty betrayals this world can never stop.