Kusum and I were really the best of buddies. And as we flopped onto the sofa in the restaurant, with tons of shopping bags we must have looked like some silly school girls. Well, we were anything but that! Kusum was a 62 year old successful surgeon and I, Kamna am a 30 year old investment banker. She lived in delhi, I in Bombay and we were currently catching up in Bangalore.
We couldn’t stand each other’s guts the first day we set eyes on each other. Yet we knew we couldn’t wish each other way since we loved the same man. Her son and my to-be husband, Sankalp. The concept of a mother in law scared the daylights out of me. Kusum was also sceptical of me, since I was from a different city, came from another part of the country and above all, she would have to share her son with me.
Post the wedding we made an effort, both of us did. Neither of us wanted sankalp to feel like he had to take sides. To kusum’s credit she never said anything to my husband to colour his perception about me. I can’t confess to the same, I did crib to him at times that she didn’t like me. Once she was with us in delhi and sankalp had to suddenly travel abroad, it was just the two of us for a weekend. We bonded and how! We loved the same books and movies. We had such fun singing songs! I taught her a couple of Punjabi dishes, she bought me gorgeous handlooms sarees. I got tips on how to handle a man, she got advise on safe investments.
After that sankalp said he felt left out whenever the three of us were together! I turned to her and not my mom when I had a miscarriage. She told me about an interesting man she had met and asked me not to tell her son.
We spoke pretty often but as I took on more responsibilities at work, time was a huge constraint. Sankalp was rising fast at work too. We barely saw each other. The time we decided to take a break and go to see mom, she told us to go to goa instead and spend some time with each other.
When I got to know about sankalp’s affair, the first person I confided in was Kusum. It was the ugliest time in my life. For four months I was begging and pleading with my husband to not walk out. Finally kusum asked me to let go and not demean myself any more.
I was devastated and so was she. She tried very hard to make her son see sense but he was too smitten to care. Before leaving he accused me of turning his mom against him. I felt sorry for him. Work was a great help. My family of course blamed me in their ignorance. Kusum was the only one who stood rock solid by me.
We met and never spoke about sankalp or his new love. Our relationship made it through the storm that wrecked my marriage.
It’s been two years now. Of course she and sankalp have made peace. She can’t stand his lover but only mentions it in passing. She keeps me persuading me to find love again. I tell her I will be fine by myself, just like she has been.
At the restaurant, after yet another giggle fit, we realised how loud we had been and immediately got sheepish. A lady, who had been observing us, walked up and said she wished she had a daughter like me. Kusum held my hand and said “Not everyone is as blessed”