‘I know how you feel’…do we?

Posted: January 3, 2011 in cancer survivors

When someone sends us a link on Facebook asking us to support some cause, quite often we do it so mechanically. Do we really, understand what that cause means to the person who launched it? How easily we sympathise with someone with the words “I know how you feel.” When in effect, nine times out of ten, we don’t, but say it because well, it’s the most natural thing to do.

Yesterday I just returned after spending a wonderful evening with an old friend – probably among the oldest I’ve had in all these years. We’d gone there with a reason but not till we were about leave did we bring it up. She’s more a part of the family, than a friend. We were among a group of closely knit families who grew up together and covered for each other in a crisis. It’s funny, when we were growing up we hardly spoke to each other because we went to different schools and then there was always that awkwardness about being seen talking to a girl in a housing colony.

Strangely, whenever we (she, her two younger sisters and I) were in each other’s homes we would be chatting away, but the minute we stepped out or travelled in the bus together we looked the other way! V also had three aunts, all of whom talked ten to the dozen – simultaneously. It was usually a full house and it was one big happy family, as we assembled at her home in the evenings.

Funnily, her mother was my favourite! I don’t think that the age difference ever mattered, because she would tease me mercilessly about my ‘girlfriends’. Little did hr mother know that I didn’t have any because at that age I was this fat, gawky, bespectacled kid, who no girl would ever look at! But it was all in fun and one never took it seriously. I’d never met anyone who was so full of beans and someone who I really got along with – even better than I got along with any of her kids!

So yesterday, as we spent some time at this friend’s place with her husband, brother-in-law, teenaged son and daughter, and her aunt, we reminisced about life, problems in the respective housing societies we lived in and a lot else. Her brother-in-law, obviously the life of any party, was narrating his experiences in his housing society in Hyderabad and we were all laughing – she, the loudest. The conversation drifted to the ridiculous rents that were being paid by software engineers because of the even more ridiculous salaries they got.

As we all joked about the absurdity of the situations we see in life every day, I watched her enjoying herself, and wondered how she was coping. The doctors examined her and they suspect breast cancer, and there is a possibility she could undergo a mastectomy and subsequent radiation and chemotherapy, if required. Her family teased her about joining her in the hospital, to keep her company. If she was scared, and I am sure she was, it didn’t show. As someone who has known her for 42 years, I pray that she recovers soon and returns to her wonderful husband, her two lovely children. Her courage in the face of such a crisis is awe-inspiring.

I had a minor surgery some years back and as I lay on the operating table waiting to go under, I was terrified. Seeing her laughing and joking last evening, I only know how I felt.

  1. Your so right on 2 counts here:

    1. We are often mechanical in joining and saying yes to these Causes applications or just ignore it in a split second without giving it much thought.

    2. When old friends do meet, the reason behind the meeting is lost as we sit and chit chat about things of the past and the amazing times gone by….
    You rarely come up with the topic that had actually spurred the meeting, and sometimes you just dont mind…

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