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An Ode To My Friend April 5, 2010

Posted by Gomathi Reddy in Desi Indian, General, Love and Life, Personal, Women and Children.
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I know her as Ode32.  That’s her chat identity.  I don’t know her real name.  I didn’t want to.  She was comfortable that way.  She was hesitant.  But I don’t know what it is about me that got her into a conversation with me, on Skype.  She did.  She kept in touch, on and off, initially.  But over a period of time, we became good chat friends.  She wouldn’t reveal much about her geographic location. She said she knew me.  I thought she was from my home town, Chennai.  I asked her.  She said no.  She giggled for the first time.  Maybe I sounded a little daft to her.  But she said, she’ll keep it a surprise.  I just didn’t want to spoil her sense of fun.  I could sense she was a very sad person. I understood this, over many months, many chat conversations and many more long emails.  I felt sad for her, as I played the agony aunt.  A very intelligent person, trapped in the institution called marriage.  She was abused, physically at one stage, but she took it all, assuming that she was doing it for her daughter and for the sake of her family’s honour.

I didn’t want to get judgmental about her.  I didn’t want to preach to her.  I just told her that I was available for her, always.  She said she liked talking to me, because I just let her Be. I understood the pain she was going through.  I knew what it means and I assured her, that this too will pass. She was too sensitive to talk about it.  I told her that, if there is one thing she should never let go, it is her own sense of identity, her tenderness, her sensitivity and her wonder for life.  She sobbed.    She said that God was very unfair.  Silence.  And suddenly she said she enjoyed my blog.  She said she was inspired to write, all over again. She said she very badly needed to be successful.  She needed to find her self-esteem.  She needed to be alive again. And she stopped sobbing. I felt helpless. But I cracked a joke and cheered her up.

I was amazed at what life can do to people – how it can breakdown people! An intelligent person, getting caught in a web of relationships that do not nourish – Relationships that slowly but steadily strangle you – strangle you just enough, that you are too paralyzed to move, but will keep you alive enough, so that you can continue to be a little more than a vegetable. It takes enormous strength to tear these cobwebs, after you reach this stage. It takes a different person from within you, to understand that these are just cobwebs and do not merit giving them the strength to sap your soul. The realization that you allowed this to happen to yourself is lot more painful, than working against it.  It is the bane of a middle class educated, cultured, respectable, and simple-at-heart Indian woman.

She has not been online for the last 5 days.  I am worried.  But I know she is a very bold, brave and courageous woman.  She is a proud mother, who will raise her daughter to be lot gentler than her, but one with a steely resolve to find her place in this universe.  I want her to know that not just me, all those who read this about her, will be with her in spirit, and in her fight to rediscover herself.  I want her to know that the Universe conspires FOR ALL those who believe in themselves.  I want to share this story which came to me as an email forward.  Even if you have heard it before, my dear Ode32, this one is just for you.

One day I decided to quit…
I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality… I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.

“God”, I said. “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?”His answer surprised me…”Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”

“Yes”, I replied.

When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. It’s brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed.

But I did not quit on the bamboo.

In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed.

But I did not quit on the bamboo. He said. “In the third year, there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. In the fourth year, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. “I would not quit.” He said. “Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth.

Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant… But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall.

It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.”

He said to me. “Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots.”

“I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you. “Don’t compare yourself to others”  He said. “The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern … Yet, they both make the forest beautiful.”

Your time will come, “God said to me. ” You will rise high! “How high should I rise?” I asked.

How high will the bamboo rise?” He asked in return.

“As high as it can?”

” Yes. ” He said, “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”

I left the forest and bring back this story.

To you, my dear Ode32.  Your glory is yet to come.  Give HIM glory by rising as high as you can.

It is time.



1. paddy - April 9, 2010

Dear Ode32,
We can’t wait to hear from you.
This story as narrated by Gomathi is intriguely poised – akin to watching a gripping serial which is interrupted by a break ‘to be continued’. Pl return to conversations with her as there will be a definite way forward which will emerge in time.
Btw, all relationships have to be two-way as otherwise they wont sustain. Strong relationships are like co-valent bonds in a carbon molecule(they become diamond). I am drawn to the statement ‘caught in a web of relationships that strangle….’ -perhaps your solution lies in here..

2. Vasu - April 10, 2010

Hi Gomathi,
This was very scary to read, and I hope our dear friend Ode32 is doing fine wherever she is. It is not fair for me to say anything about her without knowing her, but I am sure every man and woman has the inherent capabilty in them to get out of shit in life.
We all wish her well.


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