Five feet apart- Her side.

Padma Mohan
3 min readFeb 20, 2021

I had a long day. I sat on the floor, my head resting on the wall, closed my eyes, took a deep breathe and looked on the empty wall opposite. “Are all these struggles worth my efforts? Should I just run away from all the troubles?” I thought of myself. “I don’t have answers. Why is it so hard every time I try something, how do we know what to do and when to stop trying?” I said out a bit louder thinking no one could hear me.

“Your heart knows it all. Sometimes, we lose our vision and that makes us question ourselves.” She said from the other side of the wall. “How can you say so? You don’t even know what I am talking about.”I protested.

“I have lived more than you can imagine. I know the importance of almost all doubts a woman of your age can have. Trust me, I have lived enough to make that out of the way you sigh”, she said.

“Women of my generation never knew the importance of struggle, hardships or unacceptable behaviours from others. We never knew when to stop. We kept toiling thinking that it is our duty to please all. We settled for average even when we deserved way better than that.” She said in a huge disappointment.

“Is confusion normal? Why do I feel like I am choosing wrong? Should I compromise my dreams and independence? I am happy to struggle but what if I lose my family and in the end, all I have is my fulfilled dream and no one to celebrate it with? or what if I fail with my dreams?” I asked her.

“ I wanted to study. I wanted to get a job. I wanted to fly. I was very curious and hopeful about life. But they married me off without even considering what I wanted. Even I had dreams. If they were really my family, shouldn’t they have considered that? So, tell me is such an inconsiderate family worth keeping close to my heart who could not even see what was in my heart?” She asked me and paused for my answer.

“Family can be hard at times. I agree. But how can one choose between family and dreams when they don’t coincide?”I asked.

“It is funny how my granddaughter is like me, she also answers a question with a question when asked for an answer. You seem like my mirror image.”

“Tell me, grandma, are you happy with all that you have? You have a happy family, children who love you, grandkids who pamper you. Do you have complaints with life?”

“I am happy with what I have. But I still regret what I could have achieved if my family believed in me. They thought of settling me with a man, have a family of my own, kids and decided that I live for them. THEY DID ALL THAT FOR MY HAPPINESS WITHOUT EVEN ASKING ME ABOUT WHAT ACTUALLY MADE ME HAPPY. Assuming that something is good for someone does not make it actually good for them.”

“Everything comes with a price. It depends on you how far you are ready to pay. Happiness is a choice and a decision. ” She said.

“I want you to remember one thing. It is fine to be a rebel. It is fine to fail. It is absolutely fine to have disagreements with your loved ones. No one owns you. No one has the right to tell you how to live. Did you tell them how to? No, right? You might think it is selfish to think of your happiness, right? But is it so? Isn’t it called self-love? You are doing what is making you happy. If others decide that what can make you happy and unhappy then it is not your happiness that they are talking about, it is all about their happiness, is it right then?” she asked in her shaky voice.

“No, then should we all be selfish on some terms? Is that how you love yourself.” I asked.

“My little woman, there lies the essence of life. If you figure the difference between that, life is resolved, isn’t it?” I heard her moving and I knew she left the room to let me think on my own. She was five feet apart and yet she brought me closer to my answer.