It’s a damp evening, slightly chilly. Its about 7.30 pm, an uneventful evening almost lazy. It is reminding me of a similar evening many months ago. I was lazing around the house. Had just passed my CA exam and was waiting to start off with a job. In fact it was a crazy day. I never sleep in the afternoons and that day I slept like a log till about 7 in the eve. When I woke up, I saw my cell was switched off 'coz I had managed to sleep on it. When I put it on, there was a message that someone was trying to call. Now, I don’t return calls on such numbers, but that day I did. It turned out to be an acquaintance; I wouldn’t even call him a friend. Of course, I know this person well, but yes he wasn’t one in the inner circles. He casually asked me for a coffee, if I wasn’t upto something interesting. Again, this is something really crazy, I hate going out on an off-the-cuff invitation, with acquaintances. Not 'coz I am a prude, but I am quite a private person that ways. (I know many of you laughing your wits out at that one, but people that’s coz you are the club I go out with, ask the ones I haven’t gone with!)
From that point started a pointless relationship. A friendship to which I don’t know who contributed more. It was timeless and yet time-bound. Everlasting and yet had to last just so much. But yes, I learnt my lessons, impressions deeply engraved.
And when I looked around myself, I found so many of them scattered like million stars thrown across the dark blue night sky. Each shimmering like a diamond, but everyone knows that they are burning balls of fire, scalding and tumultuous, and not so pretty.
Every time now, when I meet someone and look in their eyes, the eyes ask a question, “so, what’s your story?” Those other sets look away as if they have heard my question, and they don’t want to open that closet that was closed and nailed long time ago! Each tale is buried under layers and layers of humour, new found joys, bitterness in a few cases. But we are animals after all, how long can we stop living because of these Pointless Relationships. There are basic needs of survival and the animal instinct imbedded deep within keeps you going.
But that effort God made, to make you a species different than every other animal, creeps up sometimes. It will die out eventually by our constant battering, but it keeps showing up as long as it is alive.
This one’s about a girl who dealt with her story with a lot of courage. She wasn’t exactly in my ‘group’ in school. But the year that we were leaving school, she gave me a very sweet card. She didn’t give it to everyone, so I knew she meant something when she did to me. It was a silent acknowledgement to a Pointless Friendship (frankly I can’t think of any word, and friendship is the most loosely usable word). She had a heart inside that didn't merely pump blood.
Now she wasn’t somebody really innocent, in fact miles and miles far from that. But must be some reason why my mom always liked her. She used to say, “there is something very simple and innocent about that girl.” At that school girl’s age, I could never understand Ma, but I think I am seeing the point now.
Her innocence lies in the fact that, she feels she can place her trust in someone and forget about it for the rest of her life. She can follow her heart wherever it takes her, and as long as she is honest about it, it’s all ok. She feels the world is a learning ground, you are allowed to make mistakes when you are learning. But there was no one to tell her, it was plain recklessness. This world is still light years away from being that open-minded. This may sound like glorifying her, and many don’t see her the way I do. But I have no reason to associate her with anything vile.
I caught up with her and she was engaged recently after a long groom-hunting exercise her parents undertook. (well that is an epidemic that has struck our generation lately) Which meant she had put behind the fellow she was dating. I never asked her any details, as I never showed interest when she was dating him either.
She was somebody, who in school was a ‘Doormat’. She was the favourite punching bag, favourite butt of every joke, people just walked all over her. Something which I could never tolerate and I would have to stand up for her many times. That time I am sure she must be the lowest in her self esteem. She would ask me, “Do I look pretty? Would guys ever find me attractive? Would anyone ever find me interesting?” I was so young myself, I didn’t know the answer. And I can’t lie.
Next year we went to another class, the only friend she had to start off was me, and I had a different group of my own, but she started hanging around with some other gals. And that turned the tables around. That gang was of gals that guys call the “tote variety”. I kind of lost track of her life after that, that ugly duckling was turning into a swan. Afterwards, there were many stories that started doing rounds, which weren’t nice to hear. I never let my Ma know about those stories about her, somehow I didn’t want to. Probably it happens; when suddenly a flood gate opens, the first thing is always a gush, a strong one that sweeps you away.
I had contacted her after almost three years for a friend who was looking for a bride. I had no intentions of match-making but my friend was after my life and just had to trace her. But then she had found someone. Uncle somehow was very keen on her tying the knot before he retired which was end of this year. In her words, he wasn’t interested if the meeting of the minds and the chemistry happened or not. She had to marry! Many guys came and met her. She is a pretty looking damsel now, so everyone she saw would be quite positive, but when she met them one-to-one, none of them had the courage to handle her past. Uncle didn’t know what was going wrong.
It came to a point where he avoided these one-to-one sessions itself and fixed her up. This time she met her man alone only after she was engaged. But resilient as our lady is, she still wanted the man to know! I must mention here, the Religion that she comes from, doesn’t tolerate a girl after a broken marriage. Its unimaginable how she would have lived with a taboo for the rest of her life, firstly of her past and secondly of the failed marriage. She would have paid a heavy price for a relationship which was absolutely Pointless when it was. It should have been inconsequential ideally because it was meant to end, isn’t it? So then why did these guys who came to see her hold it against her?
She narrated the story of her first meeting with him to me. She first told him everything, and he was listening to her without a pause. In her heart she had prepared herself for the storm. When she was done, she could see he was livid. In a fit of rage he caught her by her arm and dragged her to the car and took her to his home. There was no one home that day. He paced up and down for a long time. She didn’t say word in her own defense. Finally when it was about to get dark, he dropped her home and left without saying anything. She was simply waiting for him to call up the next day and call the wedding off. But nobody called the next day. A day later, her Mom called the groom’s family for dinner. Rafat didn’t know what was happening. She dressed up for the evening and was waiting for the inevitable.
“Masha-allah! She is looking absolutely beautiful”, said the future Mom-in-law. Rafat didn’t have the guts to look up at her groom (well maybe).
Her brother added to it, “Jeeju, you should consider yourself lucky to have found my Api!” Rafat so wanted to dissolve in the air when he said that.
“Yes, I am!” he replied. Rafat couldn’t believe it. She just looked up at him in search of that smirk that she missed in his voice. He wasn’t smirking. He returned her gaze and smiled. She knew she had met her man.
I am so happy that she found someone who would take care of her now. It’s a man’s job to take care of his lady, and lucky is the woman who finds a Man; her Man! And these relationships are the ones that have a point!