The same thing has happened to us. There was this family (R) we knew since a long time back. Long time means around 10-15 years. In fact, their daughters were the same age as V and me. Let's call them Sm and Sy respectively. R-Aunty was also pretty friendly and chatty. The families were introduced through me and Sy. Although in different schools, we used to often talk/ discuss about our curriculum. She was my playmate too. That brought us really close. Eventually, R-aunty decided to pay us a visit.
Friendship between my mom and R aunty also blossomed. Idle chats, coming over for tea, invitations for pooja and every other small things that is involved in women friendship was present. As time passed by, trust and faith seemed to deepen. Soon R-aunty started opening her heart to my mom. She would often speak about her domestic hitches. How her husband would not provide enough money at home, how it was difficult for her to manage expenses despite her salary, how insensitive the girls were, how they don't pay attention to studies, how her husband was least bothered about savings, how in this world was she going to get her daughters married etc.
She would often come to our place to unload her baggage. She said it relieved her to speak it out to my mom, as she was a good listener and her advice made sense to her deranged mind. She would also come for small favours. "I will not be home today evening when Sy comes home. Can she stay here till I return?", "Do you have a change for Rs. 100?", "Would you mind taking Marathi tutions for Sy? Both (me and Sy) are in the same class. You can teach her when you teach your daughter."
One day there was an unusual favour asked "Can I tie Rakhi to your husband? He's like an elder brother to me."My mom heeded to this humble request. That year during Raksha bandhan, R aunty came armed not just with a pretty Rakhi but also gifts for all of us. Mom felt a bit uncomfortable at this, since we had only bought a sari for her. In spite of politely denying her gifts for us, she insisted that my mom was now like a bhabhi to her and we were like her own children.
As days passed by; which eventually became months; R aunty would be a regular visitor. Every time she would wail out her woes, curse her husband and say how lucky my mom was to have such a beautiful household. She would sing praises of her new "bhaiyya" and nephew and niece.
These sessions started getting a bit out of hand. Every single day, she would come and start crying. Ours was a happy household. In spite of hardships, we were never dissatisfied. Even in worst situations, we have never seen our parents slapping their foreheads. Neither did they like that. It would thus be very awkward and uncomfortable for us when she continued her lamentations.
Mom still didn't have a heart to tell her directly that what she was doing was undesirable. Discreetly, however, she made R aunty understand that problems were every where and crying over them would never help. She said the first thing you should do is stop grinding the problem, instead look for a solution and work upon it. If husband was not supportive, then it was time for her to involve her daughters and take them into confidence. If they never came to know of their mother's hardships, how were they going to help?
Thankfully, these words of wisdom did have a positive effect on her and slowly the sad visits dwindled. Her problems seemed negligible before her enthused self. She truly rescued herself from miseries.
The Raksha bandhan stint lasted for just 3 years. After that she conveniently forgot all about her "elder brother" whom she worshipped. Although, all this time she was friendly and would discount a polite conversation on two whenever we met. Growing kids left no time for idle afternoon chat. Thus, meetings were strictly restricted to meeting on the way to the market.
Within some more months, some more changes took place. Where my mom was always the first one to be invited for all sorts of poojas to her place, now she came to know of them through other ladies. Not just that, R aunty started avoiding talking to her even on the way to the market. Whenever they met, she would only answer the questions asked and try to get away as soon as possible.
At first, we didn't pay much attention to this. Mom disregarded it saying probably she was caught up in something.
We shifted our house when V was getting married. She was invited for the reception. There she was her usual self. Showering blessings on the couple and filling N with details and saying how lucky she was to be in the family. Naturally we thought all was well.
Since we'd moved to a new area (though not too far from our old house) crossing paths with R aunty was rare. Whenever it did, one would think there'd be hour long chats exchanging pleasantries and swapping news. Instead, R aunty started looking the other way, and sometimes even resorted to crossing roads just to avoid my mom.
Through Orkut, I came to know her elder daughter, Sm, got married. Among 500 odd people that were invited, we were blissfully forgotten. Decked in gold and diamond jewelry, the bride was looking stunning. Not to mention the exquisitely decorated, orchid filled mandap!
Not being invited didn't hurt as much as not being informed at all even after meeting by chance after the wedding. Mom did not bother asking. She was way too dignified to demand an explanation for the same. Recently again mom was face to face with her. And it certainly isn't her nature to insult any person standing in front of her. She acknowledged R aunty with a smile and got back as much as a grimace from her.
Through some sources, we came to know that R aunty holds a high position in her work place now. Mom wonders if this fact has some thing to do with the haughtiness in her attitude. Is financial position a valid reason to strike off friendships? To forget those who have been there when needed? To throw people off your life like they were a fly in the milk?
If that was the case, my mom should have never befriended her in the first place. There was a time in our lives too when there was not a single Re. in the house to be spared for extra expenses. Hardships knocked hard on our doors too. Parents have dealt with such situations maturely, not once letting it show on their faces. Relationships are the same as they were before. A promotion from 2 bedroom house to a large 3 bedroom house; from a second hand Premier Padmini to a Honda City and Alto; from unemployment to high post salary did not even once affect the good relations we have had with people all along.
I wonder whatever went wrong. I wonder why people change. I wonder how is it justified.
Is it how people are meant to be? Or are we living in prehistoric times?