Let me tell you a story about two girls. One of them, the protagonist of this story (we'll call her L in the interests of protecting her privacy and keeping me safe from legal action) is a smart, pretty, popular girl, with great taste in clothes and music and books etc. The other one is a bespectacled, nondescript, reasonably intelligent wallflower with one quirk: she's a smartmouth. We'll call her S. No reason. I just like the letter S.
So, L and S both join a new school in the eleventh standard. They hit it off, and become friends, because, inspite of all the dissimilarities, they have quite a few things in common. They're both incurably romantic (every Wednesday there is a systematic rehashing of the latest Ally McBeal episode), and they have big dreams. S is also quite amazed by the fact that L cracks up at just about everything she says. Then they begin to travel home together. S discovers that L is just as strange as she herself is, when one day, while walking home, L begins to croon loudly, "STAND UP, STAND UP! Stand up for your rights". S keeps wondering whether they shocked the living daylights out of a nearby grasshopper or something. On one of these walks, L coyly reveals to S that her dearest fantasy (inspired by endless Mills & Boon romances) is to be a single mother, widowed preferably, who then falls in love with her darkly handsome, suave and secretly besotted boss. It is all S can do to not roll on the ground with laughter. This should have served as a hint of things to come, but neither of them were wise enough to realize it.
The two years in school pass, and the two of them are firm friends. L goes south, to study law, and S comes up north to (presumably) get her liberal education. L soon finds out that her boyfriend, who is studying to be a pastor, no less, has been cheating on her (choke, with sorrow/ laughter at the sheer irony...your choice). So she writes tearful letters to S, about how he was the only one etc. S frets and worries and writes back, but as usual, is unable to do anything more effective. Let me mention here, that in school, L had devised a dazzlingly brilliant plan to seduce this selfsame boyfriend, by doing a risque dance to 'Lady Marmalade', and S was the trial audience for the same (more comic than risque) dance performed atop a table in the Biology lab. Anyway, getting back, soon L decides to move on and get a life. S is happy till she discovers that L's idea of moving on is to get back together with that lying cheating organism. The inevitable breakup follows, not once but twice. L has a couple of minor flirtations in between, and S keeps sighing.
Three years later, L falls in love, with a character that S finds rather hilarious, simply because of his purported 'royal' links. L is thrilled, and S smiles and hopes that things work out. She's actually surprised at how deeply involved L is, to the extent of even doing some very unnecessary things to assuage the boyfriend's ego (no, I shall not elaborate). But the problem is that the two belong to different faiths, and chances of a future are slim. S keeps telling L that she isn't the kind of person who can deal with casual affairs, and L keeps saying that she'll cross that bridge when she comes to it. S's visions of unhappy families and filmy elopements are laid to rest when the boyfriend proves to be the usual moron, and takes L for granted to the extent that she dumps him with no regrets. S thinks that L has finally wised up, but, well, no. L now enters into some kind of contraption called an 'open relationship'. S tells her a zillion times that she is not equipped to be in an open relationship, because she's still the kind of girl who wants a nice church wedding and well behaved children. She even argues that it can either be open, or it can be a relationship, it can't be both. But L carries on, S sighs some more, and inexorably, L ends up falling in love, again. Long conversations follow, where S is almost hysterical with sheer exasperation sometimes. Again, L decides its time to move on and she lands a great job, and talks to S about how there are other things in life besides love and stupid boys. S is reassured again, fool that she is, till L calls her up to tell her, "There's someone new...he's not goodlooking, for a change. But he's so funny". By now S has learned her lesson, and wisely sticks to the path of least resistance.
S sits down to think about L, about how such an incredibly smart person can do such amazingly stupid things. And then she wonders whether her own choice of a resolutely single (yawn) life is an alternative that is necessarily a better choice. She's still wondering.
P.S.: - This post is dedicated to one of my most cherished friendships, and a person who I love very much, inspite of her incredible foolishness. Be good, Lady Marmalade.