This is a oft-repeated saying that one hears during childhood. But the true importance of this saying came to me when I watched a friend of mine make a complete mess of her life.
Let me introduce Meena, my friend. She is 25 years old and has been blessed with fabulous good looks. As if that is not enough, she is also well-educated and employed in a rather prestigious firm. The incident I am about to tell you relates to her reckless attitude towards her personal or rather should I say love life.
The whole thing started when Meena met Vineet. Vineet is a colleague of her who works in the same company, but in an entirely different department. And as luck would have it, Vineet is the male version of Meena. Meaning he is also endowed with good looks and enjoys enormous luck with his job. The two met each other in the office canteen and as some would say the rest was history. The attraction was instant and both agreed that they should start dating seriously and exclusively. It was like watching a fairy tale unfold in front of your eyes.
They met for coffee, the first time and the date simply extended to dinner and ice cream afterwards. Even both the parents seemed to offer only token resistance to the two of them as a couple. Soon the whole office was abuzz with stories about the two and their romance. Since both were in good jobs and earning well and also happened to have relatively little in the form of monetary commitments, they enjoyed lavish dates and elaborate outings.
This led to lavish compliments to both about how lucky they were and how good they looked together. Vineet was really happy to have found his ideal match, however Meena started taking the compliments seriously and started to act a little arrogant. Her family and friends ignored the matter thinking that she is indeed allowed to gloat a little.
Things were moving along smoothly till the mails started coming. Meena started getting mails from a guy, who claimed to be madly in love with her. He started by complimenting her extravagantly on her looks. He said things like watching her smile made him think of a moonlit garden. Initially Meena seemed to take the mails in her stride and ignore them. But as time passed, the frequency of the mails increased and she started to look forward to the flattering things the guy would write to her.
Soon she became a little curious about this guy and started asking him to identify himself. He started dropping tantalizing hints about his identity to get her curiosity up to fever pitch. In the meanwhile, Meena - Vineet relationship was starting to get affected by the anonymous mails. Meena used to open the mails with Vineet in the beginning, but soon she had started to obsess more and more time for the anonymous guy and stopped sharing the details with Vineet.
Things came to an impasse when she stood Vineet up for a few dates so that she could chat with the new guy. The new guy started revealing a few tangible bits of information about himself. He said his name was Sanjay and he was 32 years old. He also revealed that he had his own business and was quite well off. Soon they exchanged photos. Meena was impressed with his rugged good looks. She started imagining her future with Sanjay. Vineet in the meanwhile had become disheartened with Meena's indifference, though he continued to love her. He decided to invite Meena for coffee so that he can put his feelings across to her clearly.
Meena told him she was too busy that day and she would meet him the next day. The fact was that she had made her first date with Sanjay and she did not want to break it. Sanjay and Meena met in a upscale restaurant. Meena was stunned to see that Sanjay looked even better in person than in the photograph. She was impressed with his dress sense, his style, his car and his obvious wealth. She found herself comparing Sanjay to Vineet on each aspect and found Vineet lacking.
Sanjay charmed her and showered her with all his attention ensuring that Meena would totally fall for him. Soon they started meeting on a daily basis and Meena started dreaming of her future with Sanjay. Her romance with Vineet and even her job started seeming boring and mundane to her. She decided to come clean with Vineet and tell him it was over. They arranged to meet for coffee and she gently broke the news to Vineet and told him the relationship was over. Poor Vineet, he sat there looking totally stunned and heartbroken. He told Meena to take care and walked off with a heavy heart.
Meena on the other hand, though a little sad about hurting Vineet was delighted that she was now totally free to be with Sanjay. She decided to surprise Sanjay with the news on their next date. He seemed thrilled to hear the news and even bought her a diamond pendant to celebrate the occasion. Vineet in the meanwhile had decided dating was no longer an option for him and asked his parents to look for a suitable girl. Given his looks, education and job, finding a nice girl was no problem. Vineet soon chose Preeti a pretty, soft-spoken girl who worked in a software company. Both parents were eager to conduct the marriage at the earliest and things really moved fast from thereon. Vineet found himself a happily married man within the span of two weeks of meeting Preeti.
Though he had some doubts initially, he found that marriage to Preeti was one of the best decisions he had taken. Preeti was not only an intelligent girl, she also had an amazing sense of humor. She knew about Vineet's past and was comfortable with the situation.
Meena was a little taken aback with the speed of Vineet's marriage, but could not grudge him the happiness. She was however a little impatient to take her relationship with Sanjay to the next level. She started noticing that Sanjay was always a little evasive about any talks about marriage. She soon confronted him about it and gave him an ultimatum. He broke down and confessed that he was a married man. He had married a rich but ugly girl six years back. He said he had done this for money and had signed an agreement with the girl's father promising to stay married till such time they had a male child, in which case he could divorce his wife and walk away with half the money. Otherwise he would have to stay married to the girl till such time that one of them died.
Meena was shocked and a little disgusted with Sanjay. She realized that she had been foolish and fallen for empty flattery and good looks. She was devastated to think that she had hurt a nice person like Vineet for a shallow person like Sanjay, for whom the sacred bond of marriage did not mean anything. As she walked off from Sanjay she realized that "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush". The realization was however too little and too late.