#ChennaiThroughMyEyes: When the online world mingles with your offline world

I know it's been long since I wrote something in the #ChennaiThroughMyEyes series. My plans of making it a weekly series have definitely gone for a toss. But I am glad that I am back with something to share with all of you once more. In this post, I shall tell you about the bond that I have developed with a few online friends who have become an integral part of my offline world. Though there are many such friends I have made living in Chennai for the past four and a half years, these few recent additions seem like those long lost friends, whom I discovered thanks to Facebook. It is not just the friendship that I feel good about. It is the strength that I gather when I speak to them, mostly online, because of our busy schedules.

How we connected

We all share a different sort of camaraderie. None of us know each other for more than a few months, but the way we met and interacted seems like an eternity. It was one underline thing that connected all of us- Food. Part of a social media group, we became friends. The first person I interacted with was looking for a recipe of a Bengali dish. Someone had tagged me to pass on the recipe. And, my reaction to that was- well, I can eat the dish but not cook it. That was it. We became friends online. Since then, there was no looking back. At first, I found this person to be socially too active. My feeds were half of the day filled with his updates. I wondered, does this person not have work? But I was wrong, he was working and interacting and waiting eagerly to return home to meet his kids. It was during once such regular updates that I learnt about his wife's demise. I didn't know until then that his wife was no more. That status update was a little longer than his usual ones. With messages pouring in from all quarters, asking him to be strong and believe in his life with his children, I felt a sense of attachment. Like how you would feel towards a stranger. We interacted daily online. He talking about his sailing expeditions and I about my day to day hurdles.

Meeting the first person in person

Often he asked me to come over with my husband and child, but I being the usual social media freak, wondered whether it was wise to go and meet a 'stranger'. More so, with my husband who isn't much a social person. I decided nevertheless to go and meet. And, oh buoy! I was in for a surprise. Surprise not by things, or person but by the hospitality, the warmth, the gesture of the man with whom I had interacted only a handful times online. Never did I ever feel that I was meeting him for the first time, he made us comfortable like we were his own kids. We talked, we ate, we chatted, we drank, we were merry. While he talked about his newly acquired culinary skills and expertise, I couldn't help but notice the love and passion he had for it. Why? Because his wife was an excellent cook, who would churn out recipes like never before for her children and him. And, he by acquiring this skills on his own, and cooking different types of cuisines and food daily for his kids wanted to bring that smile on their face. I knew parents love their kids a lot. I knew that parents would go to any point to make their children happy and satisfied. But seeing someone do it in the absence of another parent, and ensuring that his children do not get to miss out on the best of their times with their mother, this father was building a relationship which surely existed but was getting stronger by the day.

A wife's proud and loving smile

There stood on the yellow wall of his drawing room, a large portrait picture of his beautiful and gorgeous wife - the queen of his heart as he likes to call her - smiling at him. The smile was captured many years ago but I am sure the smile widens even now as she sees him from the eternal abode of the almighty. I am sure the satisfaction, the fulfillment and the love that she feels seeing her king do all that he could to make his children happy is making her swell with pride even from up there. The fact that the king left no stone unturned to get her back on her foot but couldn't really retrieve her completely doesn't really matter- to her. The fact is that the king is not just supreme in his demeanor but is supreme in all his actions. His love for his wife will make any wife swell with pride and yearn for the same from their husbands.

The king who won my heart

From being a doting father, to a passionate cook; from a loving husband to a passionate lover; from a supportive friend to a pillar of strength; this king has won my heart in more ways than one. He has instilled in me the faith that no matter how hard your life is, you have to move on. No matter how tough you act from outside, there is a small emotional fool within trying to get the best out of you. No matter where you are in the world, you will find someone to rely on in need if you trust them. He has been an agony aunt, given me a shoulder to rely on, adopted me almost as a daughter, and more than anything offered himself and two other beautiful souls as a friend.

The other two beautiful souls

Now these two beautiful souls are women, whom I met at the king's house. One of them in fact called me on the day I was supposed to meet her. Our conversation was without any hesitation. We just talked, as if we had known each other since so long. Like the king, these two beautiful souls, have had tough share of their lives. I do not want to disclose the tough part of their lives here fearing I may rekindle the forgotten trauma. One is a mother to a year and half old princess, while the other lives with her two children and mother- a lady with a valiant heart.

What these two beautiful souls taught me

I have learnt a lot from the king. Then, I met these two souls. It seemed like the world had gone somewhere else. Here I was, thinking daily that what a messy life I have been leading, and there they were coming out of some heart-breaking moments but with a strength hardly seen in women. They taught me to be strong, steady and most importantly, patient. They taught me that we all have our share of ups and downs but what matters in the end is your own happiness as well. Unless we are happy within, we cannot be happy for others. The sense of attachment we feel with our children or husband is always genuine, but there will be times when things may turn ugly, and it is then that you have to take a call keeping in mind your own and your near and dear ones' happiness.

I am glad to have met these three people online, who have mingled so well offline that it hardly makes me feel that I have known them for only a few months. I hope wherever we are, our bond shall remain the way it has till now. 

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