The four of us sat around the table, catching up, laughing and talking, sometimes serious sometimes light. It’s amazing how good friends can fall back into each other’s lives without much fuss, after months of not seeing each other, and pick up right where they left off.
After being married for just a few months, I needed to stop being obsessed with Husband to the point of exclusion of everyone else. I still do want to spend all my free time with him, but after lunch with the girls, I realised what a breath of fresh air different company can be.
Fatima had sat quietly through most of lunch, listening and taking in our new news. But halfway through, she firmly made the announcement that she’s pregnant – a few months pregnant – and I was surprised that I had failed to notice. Beautiful, intelligent and self-assured, she delivered the news with measured calm while the rest of us erupted in elated hugs and amazement.
Fatima is always managing to do about 100 things at once, studying, running a business, working at a big firm, running a household, making time for friends and family. She has a grunge rocker style, her long brown hair flowing in waves, sometimes elegantly covered in a scarf, her black boots a staple even in summer. Her features are delicate yet strong and her brown eyes sparkle with a mystery that is enchanting.
Priti on the other hand, loud and full of gumption, the f-bombs flowing freely, always with short hair and shorts and a t-shirt, was regaling us with tales from her internship abroad. Priti can make conversation with a brick wall if she had to, and her friendly bubbly personality is what brought us back together that Sunday afternoon – she is the glue that holds our group together, getting everyone organised and mobilised and in attendance.
As usual, she had great recommendations for the bistro that we had to try, being the foodie that she is. While nagging her about why she didn’t just go into the gourmet world, she made an interesting point – if you take your passion and decide to make a career out of it, for example cooking 15 hours a day while trying to start up a restaurant, it becomes…a job. And that’s why she’d rather separate work and play. I’ve always admired Priti’s ability to cut off from work and draw a firm line between work and the rest of her life. I on the other hand am often thinking of work even when I should be kicking back.
Finally, my best friend Mishka was her usual sweet and loving self, tears in her eyes at the announcement of Fatima’s impending baby. Also living the juggling balancing act of corporate maven versus Indian wife, Mishka always has a methodical plan, having recently bought a house, being involved in committees at work and trying to figure out the next optimal career step.
While Mishka would carefully plan when was the best time to have a kid, Fatima was content in her belief that things work themselves out and that when things happen, we are able to just deal.
Priti, ever the viva-women ra-ra girl, agreed that women can handle anything thrown at them. We’re just built that way.
Driving home I kept thinking of Fatima’s exciting news, but also about my own plans to study, work part-time, learn how to cook, get fit and start a family soon, InshaAllah.
Life is exciting, and instead of being overwhelmed at all that is on offer, I am grateful that we are able to have such full, rich lives. Whatever problems we have are inevitably first-world problems, because we need not struggle for basic necessities. Sure, I won’t be spending lots o’ money on a new Hijab style, but buying a house is probably more important right now.
Life is a balancing act, a push and pull.
But for now I will remember – everything in moderation – and always make time for the girls.