Friends or relatives, asks Meera

The other day, when I visited my close friend, I noticed she was not the usual bubbly self that she was. What put me off was the lack of warmth when she greeted me. Her hello sounded so mechanical that I almost regretted my decision to spend a couple of hours with her.Unable to contain myself, I asked why she looked so forlorn, whether something had upset her.

Meera, tell me, don’t you think friends are always better than relatives ? her words came out in a burst and from her expression I thought she expected me to agree with her at least for once.

What prompts you to make such a sweeping statement ? Have any of your relatives irritated you? I asked quite hesitantly, afraid my question might annoy her further.

It is so like you to answer me with a counter question . You always held that both friends and relatives are important in our life, no use asking you, she accused.

Cool down, and tell me what happened, I am sure someone has hurt your feelings; come on, out with it and you will feel better, I said.

Ok. You know what, the whole world knows I have won a beauty contest, you were the first to congratulate me, among my many other friends but not a single relative bothered to do so, she fumed.

Oh, is that your problem? Probably they will come in person to congratulate you or better still organise a function to felicitate you, I said, trying to pacify her.

Felicitate me, my foot , how could you ever think of such a possibility; no chance, you must be out of your mind, she said.

I pondered over her words and suddenly remembered something. Sujatha, do you remember you told me once that your cousin had stood first in the university and she had won a gold medal?

May be I told you, but what has that got to do with my winning the title of  a Beauty Queen?

Everything, I said . I remember you didn’t think it was important to congratulate her because she was only a relative and not a friend.

Don’t you think you got a dose of your own medicine, for once?

Saying so, I beat a hasty retreat.

N Meera Raghavendra Rao

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