The grass is always greener on the other side.


Seven year old Ajith loved going to school because his friends taught him many fascinating games during lunch hour. You’d think he was happy, but there was one burning desire which never left him, and often made him moody at times, and that was to return to the village as fast as he could and teach his favourite cousin Maitri all the games he learnt. The problem was, that the Summer Holidays seemed like an eternity away.

Maitri, on the other hand, was tired of school already and she couldn’t wait to be in college like her oldest cousin Laxman. She thought the College life was the best of them all. She would have a cell- phone of her own, and she won’t have to wear uniforms anymore!

Laxman, however, thought College life was extremely hyped. He felt that his life would really begin when he gets a job and begins to earn money like his senior Partho.

Partho lived in a big city and his facebook profile was the envy of all his peers. It revealed that his life was great fun. His was a “happening” life. But the truth about facebook profiles is that they exaggerate the high points in one’s life, and desperately hide the low points, thus presenting a distorted and deceptive reflection of reality. Partho too had sorrows which his facebook friends would never know. He was ardently in love with a girl who he was sure his parents would never approve of. His days and nights were spent in this frustrating imbalance between his regard for his parents and his loyalty to the girl.

If only this unceasing struggle would be resolved, would he finally be at rest. He thought his life would be complete if he could indeed marry the love of his life. He secretly admired his colleague Jason for doing just that.

It was true that Jason had married his high- school sweetheart and even after eight years of marriage, they still loved each other with the chirpy abandon of two young teenagers. However, his wife’s inability to conceive a child was slowly but surely drilling a hole into their happy home. Jason thought that he would rediscover his purpose in life if his yearning to be a father was fulfilled. This yearning grew even more after his sister Annie gave birth to her second child.

Annie, though she absolutely loved her children, found the life of a young mother too demanding and tiresome. She couldn’t wait for her kids to grow up to finally have the time to do everything she ever wanted to do.

She envied her neighbour Jaya, whose son was done with high school and would soon enter college. “Wow! She can just sit back and watch the television all day with no diapers to change and nobody to put to sleep,” Annie sighed wistfully. But at that very moment Jaya was at her wits’ end trying to convince her son to see sense. He had declared that he does not want to join engineering college. He was determined to become a film actor and wanted to move to Mumbai to try his luck. Jaya was terrified he might completely destroy his future. She wished her son was more like Malati’s, her childhood friend. Everyone said Malati’s son was a very studious boy and would definitely crack the IIT-JEE. What pleasure it must be to be a mother to such an ideal kid!

Malati, though, had struggles of another kind. Her son’s coaching classes were drying up the family finances. She didn’t have the heart to tell him so, and she just didn’t know what to do. If only she was rich and prosperous like that woman Lubna, whose child went to the same coaching class as her son. Malati grudgingly wished that she too belonged to a family which made money generations ago. Lubna didn’t need to work, but she was surrounded with every kind of luxury.

But Malati was not aware that Lubna complained of several health issues which all the money in the world could not cure. Lubna knew that health is indeed the greatest wealth in the world. Of all the people in the world, the person she envied the most was her maid Asiya Bi  who had been serving her family for decades now. She was old, but fit as a fiddle and as energetic as she ever was.

Asiya Bi loved the family she worked for. They were almost like her own. But when the day was over and she lay down to rest, her mind always sought the memory of her husband and daughters, who were killed in a road accident decades ago. Her two baby girls would have become fine women if they were alive. She knew she would be happy, truly happy and truly satisfied only when she was reunited with them and she waited impatiently for that day.