This is a post written towards Housing.com
I was working hard, trying to blend in a demanding career, a family with two growing children, and still recovering from the death of a parent. The acquaintances in my life would have thought that I had it all - a career, a loving family and a happening life. That I was reeling under pressure to keep everything afloat, was truth only known to me.
It was during one of the much dreaded work trips to Mumbai (I live in Delhi, and these work trips added to my stress, as I had to leave behind the kids for 2 to 3 days) that I decided to finally call up a friend I hadn't spoken to in years - since we parted ways from college. Completely expecting the person on the other end of the call to pick up the phone, exclaim some nicety, and then hang up after a future promise ("we have to meet some time"), I picked up the phone and called.
I was in for a surprise. She insisted we meet - no, its not late; no, we don't have to worry about traffic in the city; no, the conference can end whenever, but Mumbai never sleeps.
So it was settled - we were to meet, after 15 years! She also managed to call up other mutual friends nearby, and I walked into a cosy gathering of 4 friends. I was tired, looked as if I hadn't seen a bed or a comb in weeks, wearing terribly boring work clothes that were crumpled beyond limits. The reception I got, however, took my attention away from anything even remotely pessimistic - I was among friends. The same friends who cared not if I was successful in my career, who did not judge if I was a little conscientious than most parents, who was overjoyed just to see me.
The evening progressed into much lived, and relived moments of our growing up years, all the time we thought the simple problems in our lives would end the world. We had warm soft drinks and beer (the ice got over) and cold snacks - but it was the best meal in days! One of my favorite snack as a child was hot, sweet, banana fritters (called pazham pori in Malayalam), which I was eating (albeit cold) after years - the taste of that simple, uncomplicated dish brought out tears that one of the friends noticed.
As the night progressed, she started telling me about the difficulties that she had been able to live through, and goaded me to talk. And talk we did - late into the night, infact till dawn broke. And I discovered, rather, re-discovered my love of life. I knew I had a long fight ahead, but the stopover with people who loved me for who I was, unconditionally, put things into perspective for me.
I got back into the stressful rigmarole we call life, but at my pace, with my priorities leading the way - I did not let the essence of what I had always been get eroded by what I may consider important; and I think I owe a lot of that to my chance meeting over warm hugs and cold banana fritters.