Ayushi was one of the happiest persons you will ever come across. Chirpy, talkative, Blessed, adorable, she is someone who can make anyone smile. Whenever she comes to college, her best friend Eshaani would come to her with all the problems she faced at home, college, city bus and so on and so forth. Ayushi would listen patiently and tell Eshaani, “See, for some problems, there are solutions. For example, if the bus conductor of a specific bus does not give you the required change, then next time, don’t board that bus. However, for some other problems, there are no solutions. For example, if your mom always says that the root cause of your not doing well in exams is not waking up early, there is nothing you can do about it because no matter what you say, she won’t listen.” Eshaani would laugh at Ayushi’s solutions and then both of them would merrily spend the day in college.
Ayushi was a beautiful girl. The most attractive part of her beauty was her jet black long silky hair which she never tied. Eshaani would ask her, “Why don’t you tie your hair in this heat?” Ayushi would reply, “Well, that’s a blessing I got from God. I don’t want to hide it. Let me flaunt it.” Eshaani would laugh and then both of them would go about their usual tasks at college.
Ayushi was married. She was married off very early, at the age of 18. However, her husband was very supportive. He ensured that Ayushi completes her master’s degree. Ayushi lived with her parents-in-law, two sisters-in-law and three brothers-in-law and their wives and children. Theirs was a huge house with multitudinous family members. Her two sisters-in-law, that is, her husband’s elder sisters were separated from their respective husbands. Eshaani had met Ayushi’s entire family. It was certainly not easy to live there. It’s not about materialistic comfort. Ayushi’s husband’s home had everything. Right from comfortable spacious clean rooms, to attached bathrooms in all the rooms, to air conditioners, geysers, househelp, everything. But, what was not there was ‘peace’. Her sisters-in-law were always busy eavesdropping, creating confusion and then catfights amongst the women of the home. However, what surprised Eshaani was, Ayushi never ever complained about anything. She, in fact, became prettier and happier day by day. Eshaani used to think, if she had been the daughter-in-law of that family, she would have had to go to a psychiatrist for depression.
Today Eshaani came to pick Ayushi from Ayushi’s home. She rang the doorbell when one of Ayushi’s sisters in law opened the door. She sneered at Eshaani and said, “Your Queen is coming.” Eshaani was shocked at the language that lady used. Eshaani fumed with rage. When Ayushi walked up to the door, the sister-in-law told Ayushi, “All decked up and overdressed, God knows what on earth you do in college.” Ayushi smiled at Eshaani. Eshaani was shocked. Ayushi did not say a word to her sister-in-law. Ayushi waved at Eshaani and then called the driver. Both of them boarded the car. In the car, Ayushi brushed her silky hair thoroughly and then looked at Eshaani and said, “Why are you gazing at me like this? What happened?” Eshaani said with rage, “Good gracious Ayushi, didn’t you hear what your sister in law said? How can you even tolerate such nonsense? You have been living here for the past 5 years and you don’t complain. What kind of human are you?”
Ayushi smiled and again brushed her long silky hair and fixed something on her left ear. Eshaani said, “Stop it Ayushi. You need to stop flaunting your jet black hair, and your so-called blessings and your craze for earrings. Focus on this problem. How can you even live amongst such people every day?” Ayushi laughed out loud and said, “I lied to you Eshaani.” Eshaani hugged Ayushi and said, “I knew it. You were always lying that you are happy. You are not happy there.” Ayushi laughed out loud again and said, “No, I did not lie about that. I am very happy here. I lied to you about my blessings. It’s not just my hair that is a blessing. There is something else.” Eshaani pulled herself away from Ayushi and asked with a confused look, “What is it?” Ayushi held her beautiful curls of hair and tied them to a bun. Eshaani kept on looking. Ayushi then pointed towards her ears and said, “See these. I fix these and not my earrings. I use my hair to hide these. They are my blessings. In an accident, I had lost my hearing. I need these hearing aids to hear. I wear these only in college. The moment I reach home, I take them off. My hair helps in camouflaging these aids. I don’t hear a damn thing anyone says at home. Only in my room, I wear these aids to listen to what my husband says and I wear them in college to listen to you and the professors. That’s all. My deafness is my prized blessings.”
Eshaani stared at a smiling Ayushi, marveling at her attitude towards life.
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