What makes us a good person?
Our selfish acts, which hurt others but keep us happy or selfless ones, which make everyone but ourselves happy?
Helping someone in need, even if it involves giving away a part of your life, is self-satisfying but giving in to someone else’s demands or sacrificing your life and happiness to be the perfect daughter or son or husband or wife is neither correct nor fair. To explain this in detail, I’d like to tell you about a very dear friend of mine. She is not just my friend; she is my life. It is complicated but here, I want to tell you about her life and not mine.
Ever since I’ve known her, her life has always been about sacrifice and pain only to make others proud and happy.
Her fake smile may fool others but not me because I know her more than myself. Since childhood, she was an exceptionally obedient child. She knew how to respect elders especially her parents. Her inspiration, her only idol and her ultimate dream were to be like her father. He was a fantastic personality, a good-looking man, and an excellent doctor and she wished to be like him.
A daughter always looks up to her father as her role model.
It was no different here. She was the princess of their family. She was a good student who topped in every class year after year and was also talented in every extra-curricular activity from dancing to singing.
She was a jack-of-all-trades and a master of all too, a truly rare combination.
However, when she was about 12 years old, her father’s demeanour started changing. He became indifferent towards her and taunted her every now and then. No matter how well she performed, he was never happy, always pointing out the smallest mistakes. She even wrote a heartfelt letter to him on his birthday but he didn't care to change.
For us, she was a gem but for him, she was a worthless daughter.
But he was a good actor. In family functions and social events, he made everyone believe that his daughter was his life while in reality, he left no opportunity to insult her. During these tough times, she found solace in her grandma, her mother, and her pet. She confined herself to these three people and created a fake world for the others where she pretended to be happy.
Sadly, her mother couldn’t console her always since she had to support her husband too.
While dealing with this fake world, she never realized when she grew up. She turned 18, completed her high school and moved to another state to become a doctor just like her father and mother. This was just a temporary relief from her tormented life. Little did she know that this was the beginning of another chapter, which was going to change her life forever.
She was a lively, energetic, friendly and fun-loving person. She had several friends and was always the star of the group. Though she was a diehard romantic, she never fell in love or got attracted to anybody. However, she did have a crush on one of her professors since the beginning of college.
He was also young, energetic and good-looking, the prince charming in every sense. Yet, she kept her feelings within her heart and continued with her studies. In the final year, she got a hint that he liked her too. This was the start of a fairytale love story. They began interacting and within no time, they became good friends and soon, lovers.
One can only imagine the feeling of happiness when your crush becomes your love.
She was also on cloud nine, as she was living her dream. They would go on long drives, talk all night, sing songs for each other over the phone and live in their own world where there was only love, happiness, and dreams. They decided to get married as soon as she finished her studies. Her final year of college ended and she moved back to her hometown.
During this time, they couldn’t see each other regularly but they stayed in touch. Sometimes, he would visit her hometown to meet her. She told her family about their relationship and surprisingly, they agreed to meet the guy and his family. Unfortunately, this meeting changed everything.
They discovered that the guy’s family did not match their social status or standard of living.
They didn’t even have a home of their own. On their way back from the boy’s house, her parents, mostly her father started taunting her about her choice of love. But love is blind, right?
When in love everything seems possible so she decided to stick to her love till they could get married.
Finally, her parents agreed but they wanted the guy to complete his Ph.D. and my friend to complete her Masters before settling down. All of a sudden, the guy changed. He became repulsive. From someone who called her day and night, he became someone who barely cared for her. When she fell sick, he didn’t bother to check on her and was busy partying with his friends.
My friend was hurt and broken. One fine morning, they had a fight because of these issues. At the end of the conversation, the guy asked if she would marry him immediately.
She was angry and simply refused without realizing that this decision would change her life.
The very next day, he cut off all contact with her and her life turned upside down. She was hospitalized due to critically low blood pressure and severe other ailments. Even then, she kept hoping that he would return and everything would become normal but it was all in vain. Seconds turned to minutes, minutes turned to hours, hours to days and months, but he never returned.
She was a fighter and slowly, she started getting stronger but internally, her heart never stopped hurting.
She wrote an email to him before his birthday, a mail that could melt the toughest of hearts but he never replied. After six months, she gathered all her courage and called him on his birthday but he was as cold as ice.
She realized that he never loved her even for a second. If he had, he would never have left her.
She realized that this door was closed forever and her heart was shattered to pieces. Somehow, she decided to carry on with her studies and move on in life. She completed her Masters and started her practice as a doctor. She never stopped smiling in front of others but in reality, she was dying from within. Her father continued his antics of insulting her and her failed love life gave him a fair share to say yet she carried on with her life.
She was 25 now and her parents started looking for a match for her. She reluctantly agreed as she wanted to move away from home and the city where every memory reminded her of her harrowing past. She met several guys but didn’t find anyone suitable while every guy chose her at first sight. Ultimately, she found her match in another doctor from Delhi and she felt that she could spend her life with him. They met just 4-5 times before deciding to settle down.
More than her, it was her parents who liked the guy and compelled her to say yes and yet again, she compromised.
Her marriage was fixed and strangely, she got married within 13 days of meeting the guy. This is where I enter. I was in love with her when she got married, however, I chose to be her friend who was by her side in happiness and sorrow. After the marriage, they went on the perfect honeymoon. She was happy but happiness soon ditched her like always.
Her husband was good at heart and responsible too but he was not a good husband.
He never took the time to understand her. She was living with him, sleeping with him but there was no soul in their relationship. He never took the initiative to praise her, love her or simply be with her. The truth is that he never felt for her even for a single moment though he fulfilled his responsibilities as a husband.
Her in-laws were equally terrible. They belonged to the typical upper class from Delhi but they forced her to do all the work. She was made to cook and clean even when she was unwell.
I guess it’s the mentality that matters and not the bank balance and they had a cheap mentality.
They’d never bother to check if there was food left for her or if she ate at all. She was in pain, terrible pain. This time, she was trapped more than ever and with no solution in sight. She loved to travel and ever since we met, her only dream was to see the world before she dies. This desire was partly fulfilled, as her husband loved travelling too.
They traveled together but hardly had any conversation.
Most of their conversations were related to buying properties or topics anything to money. They were poles apart and had nothing in common. Her husband made no effort to talk.
She tried her best to be a dutiful wife but he didn't reciprocate her feelings.
She is breaking now; actually, she is broken beyond repair. Once a romantic person, today she craves for love, the love she has never received. Her Facebook pictures get several likes and comments and people tell her how lucky she is but no one knows the truth, no one can feel her pain.
The last time that I met her, she asked me if she was responsible for her unsuccessful marriage. But I made her understand that a relationship cannot work with one partner's efforts. I asked her if there was even a single instance where her husband had taken any effort to do something special for her or change the situation they are in now.
She was silent and there was a blank look in her beautiful eyes, her silence was more than words could express.
I’ve supported her since day one and I know that no matter what I will never leave her side. She is clinging on to this relationship because her parents will never forgive her if she leaves him and her husband’s ego will also get hurt. Her parents believe that she is the luckiest girl to have a husband like hers.
I don’t know whether they are ignorant or simply don’t care about her while this girl continues to lay down her life for them.
I spoke about being selfless or selfish and this girl is an example of pure selflessness. She was always the best daughter, lover, and wife but in return, all she received is pain and a bleeding heart.
She can give herself another chance but she is not willing to because she is still concerned about the people who hardly care about her.
Everyone is fooled by her fake smile but I have seen her eyes, heavy, blank and hollow with no emotions and withering in agony. Probably I am the only living soul who knows everything, every truth of her life. I will always be here to support her and give her the life she deserves but being the person she is, she will never hold my hand and will continue fighting her battle alone.
I just want to tell her, “This battle is not only yours anymore, I am right here by your side and I will never let you go nor let you be unhappy. I will keep trying to make you selfish for once so that you get to live your life to the fullest.”
I hope that someday, there is a bleak chance that she becomes selfish and starts living for herself.
I hope that in the future, she can tell her story of how love conquered all and how all of us should live. And that day, I see myself right by her side.