Imagine if we had no friends in life, just family, relatives and acquaintances. Life would have been not just boring but also miserable. In childhood, whom would you play with if there were no friends, whom would you share your secret with, who would give you a shoulder to cry, whenever you faced a failure! Friends not just make you happy and gay but also support, encourage, help and, if none is working, friends lend a listening ear or sit by you when you are inconsolable. This blog post is about those who give meaning to my life every day!! Who not just make everyday worth living but also living with a smile on the face!
In my previous blog I wrote, I left Pune with a heavy heart…. My near and dear friends came to bid me farewell… There was a lump in my throat while saying goodbye to them… With tears in my eyes and excitement in my heart to discover a new city and I landed in Munich on a bright Thursday morning. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were local sightseeing days and I enjoyed it every minute. The long weekend came to an end… and the Sun rose to an uninvited Monday. I had no clue what to do?! I began feeling home sick, thinking back home made me desolate. My eyes were wet with grief, just then my phone rang, my darling friend Shruti called, “I thought you might be feeling home sick, so I called.” Entire day, on and off she was connected with me just to make me feel better. The WiFi installed at my house had some issues, and for the initial few days the mobile data too was not working efficiently. I was facing great difficulty in connecting with my loved ones. My this crazy friend recharged her mobile phone balance every alternate day to talk to me on ISD call, and make me feel comfortable in this new city. Many such days and weeks went by, household chores kept me busy. Daily challenges and even mediocre tasks like bringing groceries also seemed a tough task as the language was unknown. Slowly, I started discovering my surroundings, understanding public transport and using them. Getting adjusted to an altogether different routine was keeping me busy but unfortunately not content.
Slowly loneliness started bothering me, I was still unsuccessful in making any friends in Munich. Somehow, quilling my favorite hobby too no longer excited me. The week days use to be boring, the only outing I usually had was either a trip to the supermarket or to the kids play area. I started feeling that I was just confined to household chores and taking care of the kids. Being a mother of two brothers is anything but easy. Fortunately, the age difference between my sons Aarav and Aarya is just three years, therefore they are great companions and being kids and in company of each other all the time they got adapted to the new city faster. Although, they created a ruckus at home, as they were filled with energy and dynamism all day long. There was a major lack of productive activities which they usually enjoyed back home in India. In fact, both of them had pretty busy schedules. However, here they were free and at home for most of the time. There were still 2 months to go for Aarav’s school to open. Managing them by the end of the evening was becoming extremely exhaustive. I use to eagerly wait for Paresh to handle kids. In Pune, the entire building in our society was their home. Children in my society building use to shuffle from one house to another and none of their mothers use to be bothered. Entire summer holidays use to be this way. Hence, handling kids was never a load for any of the mothers. I had earned such friends in my neighborhood who were no less than my extended family. Spending time with each other worked as therapy for all of us. But I had found no special friend here as of now! I don’t know, what was the reason, was it my apprehension or my unwillingness to adapt or accept the change? One such day, when I was talking to Shruti about my loneliness, she said, “let’s think what all can you do here that will not just keep you busy, but such engagements that will keep content and productive too”. She found an Indian Community group in Munich, on social media site, and insisted me to write an article for their Cultural magazine. I had an option to write a recipe, a poem or an article. I opted for an article. After brainstorming for a day or two I selected a topic which was very close to my heart, a subject that I was living everyday. I thought of writing an article on, “Remembering India”. This was the first time that I was writing something in my mother tongue, Marathi which I never academically learnt. Therefore, this experience was challenging and newfangled for me. Since I was not very confident with the language, it was proofread by some of my near and dear ones. Notables were, firstly, my mother in law, who very patiently read and pointed my errors, wrote them on a paper, clicked a snapshot of it and send me, as she isn’t very conversant in typing in phone or using laptop. Secondly, Swapna, my brothers wife, who not just found the errors but also rectified them. Swapna is not just my sister in law but also my very dear and supportive friend, my close benevolent and a honest critique! Thirdly, and most importantly Shruti, who helped me in every possible way, as if this was not mine but her article. My laptop crashed while writing this article and typing on mobile phone for long hours, especially in Marathi, is not easy for anyone, but I had support of my super friend. The kind of unconditional, selfless and supernatural support she always extends to me, leaves me spellbound! Finally, the article was successfully submitted and we were relived and eagerly waiting for the magazine issue to be released.
“रासतों मे जिंदगी के हमसफर कुछ ऐसे मिले,
मंजिलों की खबर नही, हां सफर सुहाने होगऐ ।
वो, दोस्तो की यारी है, जिसने संभाला हमे..
वरना हम तो साहिलों पर डुबते डुबते रह गऐ ।”
Mesmerizing Day of Ganesh Utsav in Munich
During these days I saw a notification on Social Media that an acclaimed, eminent Indian classical musician is going to perform in Munich for celebration of Ganesh Utsav. I was excited to attend the programme, but Paresh was skeptical. He was in a fix, neither refusing nor agreeing. It was the day of Ganesh Chaturthi, we celebrated traditionally with modak, pooja and aarti, later Paresh left for office. I started feeling homesick like never before. It was my first festival away from my India. I was remembering days with my family, my sister-in-law Pooja, my mother-in-law and my nephew Shlok. Pooja is not just my sister-in-law, but we shared a special connect which is beyond words, she’s like my soul sister. We are great companions too, always together! This festival we always celebrated with family. But today, back home everyone was extremely busy and I was checking photos uploaded on social media of Ganesh Idols in everyone’s home. That day was burdensome for me, but I had to let it go! I requested Paresh again to book the tickets for the classical programme. He was in the view that children would not find it interesting and hence we too won’t be able to enjoy. Hearing his views, I decided to go alone! Little anxious, little hesitant, I booked tickets for the show. A night before, while talking to Shruti, I expressed my reluctance going to the show alone. She not only encouraged me to pay a visit but also reminded me that after months I would be enjoying a day all by myself. She further added, “be a free spirit dear and forgets all inhibitions and enjoy your first day out in Munich”. I was pumped up with new zeal and all ready to enjoy each and every moment of the day, all by myself! I decided to wear a long gown stitched from my mothers traditional silk saree, and created a matching pair of beautiful hand-made quilling earrings. I got up early, dressed for the programme and left in time. After about an hour of travelling, I reached the venue. Everyone was beautifully dressed in Indian and particularly Marathi traditional attire! The vibrant colours, happy faces, the Ganesh Idol, the decoration and hearing Marathi all around as ambience sound was amazing. I felt as if I came back to Pune again. I was already blissed out by that traditional flavour of event. The Ganpati Sthapna Pooja was going on. I was happy to meet many new people there. Amongst those, I spotted a very cheerful pretty face with warm welcoming vibes! Like other people I spoke to her as well. Her name is Swarangi! What a beautiful name, I thought! As we started talking and we didn’t stop !!. We gelled so well that I felt like I have always known her! The connection was strangely remarkable! Through out the programme we were together. Along with Swarangi, I met her friend Sayalee. We immediately got along very well. Right there, I had my first friends in Munich, Swarangi & Sayalee. Sayalee had lot of tips to offer which were necessary for staying in Munich. We had lunch which was followed by the Indian classical music programme. The programme mesmerized us completely. It was not just captivating but also had a divine aura as pure as meditation! I enjoyed every moment of it. Like every good thing comes to an end, this programme too came to an end. Inspite of living in Pune for so many years I couldn’t attend any such programme in last 5 years, just because I did not have a company. But in an unknown city, foreign land without any acquaintances, I decided and attended such a programme. I amazed myself! After the programme we spend some time together, clicked some pictures and bid good byes to each other and I left the venue. With a smiling face, and a content heart, I thought of my children and rushed home! On the way back, I was eager and excited to share my experience with my darling friend, Shruti. I called her and narrated every bit of my astounding day and she relished my commentary with all her heart. My husband, Paresh once said, she’s like your backbone, no one sees her in foreground, but without her it’s difficult to stand straight!
In coming days, I met my new friends a couple of times. Swarangi is like a powerhouse of positivity, she can charm the gloomy whether to smile! And simple, dynamic, zealous, straight from heart Sayalee inspires and encourages you every moment to endeavour and achieve something that you haven’t dreamt of! I recognized that this was the special connection I was searching for. Both of them went out of their way and expressed their affinity towards me. It was only after they stepped in my life, I started liking this new city. My loneliness no more bothered me. Like a flash, now I had many acquaintances to explore. I realized I have earned two such friends whom I can bank on! I was ready to accept the change my life brought me to! I realized what was I missing in Munich. The need to build relationships, as they give new definition to life!