It wasn’t much long since Jia had landed in New Zealand following her heart’s dream of a happy life in an alien land. She was juggling between attending university and part time jobs to fight back the pressure of her family in Dehradoon for getting married. With time, Jia became fully occupied with her assignments, job commitments and household chores and one fine day she got two girls as her new housemates. After a very long hiatus of being in state of monotonous solitude, Jia surely had a reason to smile about. Rabia and Andrea hailed from America and were there for their internship programs. Jia now had somebody to have occasional hellos and the obvious smile whenever they happened to cross her. One afternoon the aroma of Jia’s ‘sambhar’ in the kitchen pulled Rabia out of her room to inquire about the dish . As her attention was locked in listening to the detailed recipe, Andrea joined in and three of them dined together and relished the meal. It started a whole new chain of tit-bits from both the sides and it became more fun for Jia as association extended from chai times to search for nail polishes…teaching to drape sarees…eye makeup…cuisines…helping each other with assignments and what not. Although things were morphing into a fond belongingness, deep inside Jia an abstruse perplexity was etched -that of the differences in nationalities. The self doubt blurred her confidence of nurturing friendship with them. Though Jia had told them about her goals and hardships, she was still reluctant for any verbal stamp of being friends. As time came to join the second year in university, the savings turned out to be insufficient. Jia found herself losing on her dreams until she came to know about a cooking competition in the city that promised a reward of hefty amount and a sound support for the new venture in the field. Although sensing a bleak chance of win, Jia decided to take part. As Jia considered Rabia and Andrea as fond acquaintances and not really friends, she was hesitant to ask for their support. But to her surprise both of them happily consented. On d-day, the three distributed the duties of peeling, chopping, cooking and final presentation among themselves and set ready for the work in a charged atmosphere. Winding up the task well in time it was the final moment of result that sent adrenaline rush through Jia. To their wonder and happiness they were adjudged as winners. The ceremonial formalities culminated in handing over of the prize money. The girls couldn’t have asked for more. After so many sleepless nights, Jia was consumed by a sound sleep when a knock at the door woke her up. She opened her door to find Rabia and Andrea standing out. Andrea held out a packet and handed it over to Jia. With tinge of curiosity in her eyes, Jia was amazed to find their share of prize money in the bag. She was not at all willing to take that. Rabia held Jia’s hand and told her that the money wasn’t of much use to them as they wanted Jia to stay back fulfilling her desires. Tears of joy rolled down Jia’s cheeks as she now had found a lifetime bond with the people who were not really friends.
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