Happy Birthday Zen!

I’ll call her Zen.  That’s because she’s my place of peace. I could be in the middle of the biggest crisis of my life, and two minutes of chatting with her will have gotten me back to my normal self. I think I’ve mentioned her here once. I first met Zen on the day of my engagement. Me and TS were onstage greeting people who’d come, and she walked right up with her Husband N. She had the most gorgeous smile and was easily one of the tallest women of my acquaintance. TS introduced her as one of his best friends. I didn’t get to talk to her much then except for the usual pleasantries, but I made a mental note to ask TS about her.

TS had had a long list of girlfriends before me and I assumed she might have been one of them. I mean her and TS obviously got on like a house on fire and their heights made them perfect for each other. For those of you who don’t know, TS is almost six feet and well built while I’m pretty much five feet and maybe a couple of inches and reed thin. Anyway, I brought up the subject later on and TS laughed and said that she wasn’t one among his girlfriends and that she was just a good friend. I remember blurting out, “Why?”And TS’s shocked expression. I seriously felt they looked good together.

Fast forward to a couple of years after our wedding, Zen came visiting with her family to where me and TS were staying then. We caught up for like half an hour and that was it. I still remember a pic we clicked then. Me in the middle and TS and Zen on either side of me. Even in heels, I look like a midget. All this while, me and Zen were friends on Facebook but that was pretty much the extent of our interaction.

Then my first pregnancy and miscarriage happened and that one loss brought me and Zen closer than ever before. Zen had been through the same and more than anyone else I had in my life then, she knew exactly what I was going through. Not to discount my amazing support system of family and friends then, but no-one understood my guilt and fear then better than she did. We started chatting online and then soon graduated to WhatsApp.

And talking to Zen was a revelation. She was like a part of my soul I didn’t know existed out in the world. We were alike in more ways than I could count and where we didn’t agree, we found we could make our peace and move on. She was one of the most fun, most grounded, most amazing human beings I’d ever met in my life. People say its hard to make friends as adults, but Zen and me got along marvellously.  So much so that the husbands started complaining about the hours we spent bent over our phones. Zen was my rock when I got pregnant with Peanut. She was carrying her daughter Nash in her tummy then so I kind of followed her lead in everything baby related. Now at ages three and three and a half Peanut ad Nash have hardly met but they know each other well from the daily dose of pictures and videos that fly over WhatsApp.

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Zen has a baby boy now as well and her family is complete while I’m still undecided about the expansion plans I have for mine. Anyway, I digress. The point is today Zen turns a year older. As she ages, she’s only getting more graceful, more beautiful and younger at heart. She has  such an amazing spirit, an irrepressible zest for life, an attitude than I wish I could emulate and a soul that spreads happiness wherever she goes.

Today as she turns a year older, I wish for her more of everything in life – joy, happiness, peace, love and laughter. And I hope I will be blessed with her daily presence in my life over the years to come; irrespective of complaints from the husbands. Happy happy birthday Zen. This is the least I can do from miles away. Here’s to many more chats, comparing baby notes and food tips, planning holidays and shopping expeditions, plotting against the husband and plotting for being on the same side of the planet. My life is richer for having known you and I hope its been the same for you too. Happy Birthday my soul sister! Love you to bits!!

 

Little Things

Yesterday was not a good day for me. Peanut was not feeling good and was crying all day long. Towards evening, I was at a loss as to what to do and asked TS to come home so we could take him to a doctor. Being in a new country for only a few months and not being familiar with the medical system here didn’t help. We finally managed to find a doctor and  although we weren’t prescribed any medicines for Peanut, it was a relief to hear that he would be ok.

Exhausted, emotionally drained and without enough time to cook dinner, me and TS decided to pick something up on the way home. I also wanted to stop by the local supermarket to buy some juice and stuff for Peanut. We went in, Peanut perched on the car  shaped cart and happily “steering”. He still wasn’t back to normal and I was so tired I would have gladly curled up in some aisle and dozed off.

We located everything we wanted and got to the cash counter. I was walking ahead so that as soon the goods were billed and put in grocery bags, I could put everything in the cart and push Peanut out; TS was paying the bill. There was this young man packing my bags and I guess he didn’t notice TS was with me. As soon as he was done packing up everything, he asked me, “Ma’am, do you need any help?”

I swear I just wanted to throw my arms around him and hug him that minute. I almost teared up. I’d had such an awful day and I still wasn’t completely back to being myself and this man, who’d probably been standing there for hours packing grocery bags had almost made me cry with his simple offer t o help. I said no thanks and pointed to TS and said, “I have him, but thank you so much.”

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Maybe staff at the supermarket are trained to ask this to women with kids, maybe they aren’t. I don’t know and I don’t care. He just made me feel a hundred times better by just asking me that simple question. I’m sure he was probably more tired than I was. But the fact that he asked made all the difference.

And that made me realise something. Often in our busy lives, in our pursuit for bigger and better things, we forget the small courtesies like asking someone if they need help or if they’re ok, of holding the door open for someone, or letting someone go first. And its those small little things that make us happy and make us feel human. In a world thats increasingly becoming hostile and cruel, we need those little things to remind us why we are human.

Next time you someone having a hard time, just ask them if they need help. You never know how much better you’ll make them feel. Dear man at the checkout counter, thank you so much for making a poor, harried mom happy and for restoring my faith in humanity.

Little things peeps… Its always the little things…

Image Courtesy: Shuttershock