FROM DESERT TO GARDEN

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I was a desert where nothing grew –  barren, infertile and almost dead. I never gave anything to anyone for the gloomy and drab person I was. I never shared love and happiness. I carried a broke face wherever I went. I was this person who carried all her daily activities silently, talked less, never poked in other’s business; but always despised and bitched others in my mind. I didn’t even spare my best friend.

The problem with me was I did not know how to be happy. How to find light in midst of the darkness? I had everything; caring parents, a roof called home and no financial problems. Though I was not working, yet my parents had earned enough that would last us many years to come.

Things that depressed me were, why do I own a scooty when our neighbours owned a car? Why does my best friend wear branded clothes and I wear cheap clothes from Monday market? Why my crush doesn’t like me but someone else? Normal, routine things;but these troubled me. I despised my friends, my neighbours, my first love and my life.

And I kept eating, being depressed of how my life had turned out; and not the way I expected to, and not the way I dreamed. Then I became furthermore depressed when I looked at my reflection in the mirror. I looked like a stuffed gunny bag. And with this look, I had lost all the chances of winning my crush back. And so I became more depressed. Irritation was my new best buddy. I got irritated even at the sight of food, nonetheless, I never stopped eating.

My parents were worried and they sent me to weight loss classes, gym, yoga but I never continued to attend any of them more than a week. I had given up because no matter what you do, life is not going to be the way you want it. There will be more cars that you can’t afford, more attractive men whom you cannot attract, and beautiful women with beautiful clothes you cannot afford. I had become sluggish happy, doing nothing. I would marry some gunny bag like me and end up cooking and feeding him and his children. And if that is what my life is destined, why should I do anything to look beautiful and earn myself a degree or a full-time job.

But one day everything changed. It just took one day to make me understand how life is beautiful, and how we should thrive on keeping it beautiful. How we should rear and care the garden of life so that flowers bloom perpetually here.

That day, our neighbours whom I envied for their rich lifestyle were asked to vacate their house under a court order. They had nowhere to go. My father allowed them to stay at our house for a week until they found a place to shift. I was angry. I said, ‘It is their own fault, daddy. Let them suffer.’ My father smiled and said, ‘As human beings, we should help.’ I didn’t say anything after that, but I wasn’t happy to help.

The same day, the final examination results were out, and I passed with first class. My best friend whom I envied for her style and branded clothes passed with distinction. I envied her more now. While everyone congratulated each other, my crush for the first time walked over to me and congratulated me. Not something to be very happy about,just a casual congrats. I nodded, smiled and said, “same to you “; thinking that was the end of the conversation. But it did not end.

“I loved your essay on ‘Modern India’, what language and so well researched. The paragraph where you…..”
He kept talking and talking and I just nodded and smiled. I was in a state of shock.
‘Can I have your number?’ He asked before we parted.

I happily gave it. It was the best day of my life. I felt like I mattered. He liked my essay. He liked my thoughts. I also came to know that he had broken up with his girlfriend earlier and now he had another one. It did not matter to me. I existed for him. And that was what mattered. In that stroke of happiness, I talked to so many other people and made more friends.

That evening, when I was home the lady neighbour was all in awe of me. She said how careless I was of the society and the people around me and how I was happy being myself. That was totally wrong but she felt like that anyway. She and her husband flaunted a rich lifestyle because they wanted to show off among their rich relatives and neighbours. I wish I was like you, she had said. This was another shock. That night my best friend called me. She started a fight arguing that I did not introduce her to my new friends and that she felt ignored. And then I realised that my perfect friend too had problems like me. The clothes, the smile; all was just outward. Inwards, she too was like me.

That night I thought of how my life had become a garden. The choice is with us, to be a desert or to be a garden; to spread love and happiness or be a desert; crib and nag ,and only see the negative side of people and life. That night I made my choice. I would be a garden; blooming with love, care, and happiness and carry a positive attitude towards life. I would draw more and more bees towards my garden who would suck the nectar from my beautiful flowers, build honey and spread sweetness everywhere.

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