by Sujaya Mohan
Pia and Mitali were room-mates in a PG accommodation. They were also classmates studying a management course in Pune. Being away from home was the first time for Mitali, whereas Pia was used to this since her school days.
Mitali was an introvert. She took time in getting to know people, whereas Pia was extremely friendly. Both of them were joyful and fun loving and got along very well. There was not a single day when they fought or had issues with each other. Since they were staying in the same PG, they were very close to each other and talked about everything under the sun.
Pia was a very pretty girl, whereas Mitali was average looking. Pia used to get several compliments for her looks in the college. But this never came in the way of their friendship. Both of them were very fond of shopping and used to go shopping very often. They used to get really excited with their merchandise and were often found preening in front of their mirror admiring their new looks.
They were the first ones to get a job in the campus recruitment drive in their college. Much to the chagrin of others, they had landed plum jobs in one of the leading banks in the country.
In the excitement of getting a new job, they went shopping again. This time, Pia found a very beautiful salwar kameez. It was love at first sight for her. She liked it so much that even though the price was slightly on the higher side, she did not bother to bargain.
The next day, still basking in the excitement of her purchase, Pia decided to wear the salwar kameez to her college. It had a lovely combination of Pink and Orange and complemented her peachy complexion very well. She looked very pretty in it. The moment she came out of her dressing room, Mitali was all praise for her. She heaped so many compliments that made Pia extremely proud of her purchase. Suddenly, she felt that she was going to be the Queen of the day in her college with everybody giving her undue attention and loads of compliments.
Since Pia and Mitali had chosen different electives, they rarely got a chance to meet each other in the college that day. Added to that, the placement season was in full swing and every student of their batch was on top of their toes either attending interviews or running around with other placement related tasks.
When Mitali got home, she found Pia waiting for her. The PG that they shared provided only accommodation and they had the liberty to prepare tea/coffee and light snacks in the kitchen. They normally ordered lunch and dinner from outside. Every evening when they got home from college, Pia and Mitali used to take turns to make tea. They had a balcony attached to their room which had a lovely view of the lush green hills of Pune. The balcony had a bamboo swing. Both of them used to love having tea in the balcony, sitting in the swing and discuss about the day.
On this evening, Mitali noticed that Pia was not her usual self. She looked very happy and excited in the morning, but was looking very tired and sad now. While having tea, Mitali could no longer contain her suspense and asked Pia what was bothering her. At first, Pia was hesitant but later on she confided that she was indeed feeling very low. In her new dress, Pia felt that she looked spectacular and was expecting a lot of compliments from her friends. But people were so busy that nobody even noticed her. Mitali was taken aback at first because she had not imagined that this would affect Pia so much. She knew Pia very well and she was not the kind to let such things affect her. She teased her if she was expecting anyone in particular to notice her and appreciate her for which Pia replied that there was no such person.
Later, they went back to studying and by dinner time Pia was back to her usual self. Mitali was again intrigued by the sudden change in her behaviour and asked her what made her feel better. What Pia said swept Mitali off her feet. Pia replied, “Look Mitali, when I dressed up in the morning, I felt good about myself and your compliments just boosted my spirit. I thought that everybody would compliment too. But people were so busy that they hardly noticed me, forget about the compliments. I felt really let down and was upset for a long time. But your question, whether I was expecting anyone in particular to compliment me, was an eye opener. I asked myself the same thing and realized that I hadn’t dressed up for anyone in particular, but for myself. So, as long as we feel good about ourselves nothing else should matter.”
How true! Nobody can love you, unless you love yourself. It has been more than 10 years since this episode and her simple statement holds good even today, not just in the department of looks, but in the other facets of corporate life as well. We often expect people to appreciate us. We tend to get upset if those appreciations do not meet our expectations. We tend to crib and cry complaining about various issues like our husbands do not appreciate the dishes we cook, our managers do not praise us when we deliver the results exceeding our capabilities, our in-laws do not pat us on our back for balancing work and home. The list is endless. But wait! Do we take a minute and ask ourselves what WE feel about such things? We need to realize that the reason for our happiness lies within us. Nobody else is responsible for that. At the end of the day, you should feel good about yourself and if appreciations come by, then consider it a bonus. In case of negative criticisms, consider that as an opportunity for improvement.
If all of us lead our lives like this, earth will be no less than a heaven to live. ***