I have felt this way multiple times in my life. I used to feel guilty for not staying connected with most of my college friends after graduation. Besides 2-3 close friends, there were many classmates whom I had helped with studies and other things. Even though we never shared secrets or hung out together, I thought that we had a friendly relationship. However, as soon as they didn’t need me anymore, the nice treatment stopped too. Over time, my views changed and now I realize that I am one of those “selfish” people too – acting involuntarily in the same way. Recently, a small incident made me realize this even more clearly.
Mriha is one of three Bengali girls in my hostel, and her room is directly across from mine. The rest of the residents are either local or from other parts of India, speaking no common tongue. When Mriha found out I was also Bengali, she approached me to talk. However, we never exchanged a smile or had small talk after that initial interaction. Something about Mriha seemed weird to me.
One day out of nowhere, she asked if I could lend her a book I owned. This struck me as strange because she had never been inside my closed-door room before. Perhaps while passing by, she saw the book when my door happened to be open? Despite not knowing each other beyond our faces and hardly talking at all previously, she still asked for it.
Normally in the hostel environment, I keep to myself and don’t engage in idle chitchat with others.
Days passed, but my interactions with Mriha didn’t improve. Then, I received a wedding invitation that required me to wear a saree. I realized that there was no one around to help me put it on. Maybe Mriha knew how to wear one? If all else failed, I could ask her.
From then on, I made an effort to be kinder towards her. It wasn’t that I had been avoiding her before, but now whenever we crossed paths, I greeted her with a smile. While I still didn’t know if she could actually help me or not, the possibility alone changed my behavior towards her.
It would be rude of me to stop talking to her again once the wedding is over!
At the end of each day, I ask myself if I can do better. When did I become what I despise? Now, I strive to be polite without expectations. Though small talk is not my forte, connecting with others in my own way is important to me.
That’s all for today. Stay well folks! Much love xo
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