"Sachi you don't have to be perfect all the time, the beauty lies within the imperfection I said to her."
I was running a few errands on a lazy Saturday afternoon at a shopping mall. I happened to run into a friend whom I had known from high-school days. We quickly exchanged telephone numbers and promised to keep in touch. I had known Sachi and her parents from the good old school days but lost all contact when I had to shift to the city.
Meeting her for just a brief moment was enough to jolt my memory back to our schooling days whereby we often thought and talked about how we wished to grow up quickly and run our own business, have a family to go back to and children to nurture. Whenever we looked at our parents, we believed that life would be perfect once we got out of school. Schooling seemed really tough and complicated with all the exams and the various competitions we felt burdened with. Little did we know that life is really not a bed of roses that we often perceived as a child.
As I arranged the groceries, I had bought earlier, I was interrupted by the beeping of my phone. As I quickly glanced over the notification, I read a message from Sachi. She invited me over to her place for an afternoon tea and cake. She suggested in the text that it would be a good idea to meet up. I was excited and eagerly looked forward to catching up with her and getting to enjoy the sinfully scrumptious and delicious cakes which were often popularly mentioned among my friends.
On a warm Sunday evening as I got ready to meet Sachi, I wore a flower printed pastel dress. I gathered the bunch of fresh flowers, that I has handpicked earlier along with a box of chocolates and began to drive towards Sachi’s residence.
The sun’s rays gently warmed me up as I drove. Beautiful hues of pink painted the blue evening sky making the evening dreamy and magical. Soon I reached her driveway and carefully parked my car under a beautiful tree blooming with orange flowers.
As I approached the door, I rang the doorbell and within a few seconds I was greeted by Sachi, she wore a beautiful pastel blue skirt and a white blouse. Sachi looked radiant and was very excited to have me visit her.
I hugged her and gave her the flowers and chocolates. After thanking me she guided me straight towards the living area and asked me to feel at home as she quickly rushed back into the Kitchen. The living room had large windows and dark tanned leather sofas that complimented the off-white walls. A brown carpet was placed under a wooden coffee table. The coffee table had a decorative crystal tray piece with mint sweets placed on it. A large TV was mounted on the wall with speakers surrounding the unit. On the opposite side of the wall had numerous family portraits and photos. As I sat and waited for Sachi I couldn't resist the smell of the cinnamon cake being baked.
Shortly Sachi appeared with a pitcher of freshly squeezed seasonal fruit juice and two glasses along with it. As she sat at the edge of the sofa she poured the juice into the glasses, served, and quickly apologised for the last-minute running around. "Sorry Disha, lately I have been too caught up in work and end up running around trying to finish up chores and errands lined up for the day." I smiled and said to her not to worry about it.
As I began to sip the juice her eight-year-old son and six-year-old daughter could be heard shouting, screaming and throwing tantrums from one of the rooms. Sachi felt embarrassed at her children's behaviour, and she looked away from me. I signalled to her that it was fine to check up on them, but she said that it was a normal thing for the children to behave like that.
Shortly she asked me to join her in the kitchen as she wanted to serve the cake. The kitchen was beautifully fitted with tiles on the wall. Beautiful white cabinets were placed opposite each other, the kitchen sink made of stainless steel with brass fitting faucets. The dining area had an elegant table made of marble with a large chandelier hanging above the middle of the table throwing iridescent crystal effect shades. It looked like a scene from the home décor magazines.
As she got to the oven and removed the cake, I noticed tears rolling down her cheeks as she gasped for air. She was overwhelmed and couldn't contain her emotions and hugged me and said "I am so sorry " and continued to sob. As I hugged her, I noticed that the cake had sunk in the centre.
" How can I put everything together? I am a mess. I don't know how to be perfect. I am tired of trying to make everything perfect around me", said Sachi. “My children do not listen to me, and my husband keeps comparing me to all his friends' wives. Today I thought I'll show my baking skills to you and this too failed. I am a failure" she said as she sobbed.
As I continued to listen, I hugged her and then stood up to give her a glass of water. As she began to compose herself, I said to her Sachi " I am tempted to try the cake You've baked".
She watched in horror as if to say I was mocking her. She stood up in anger preparing herself to throw away the baked cake. I quickly held her hand and asked her to remain calm.
As she sat down, I asked her to hand me a dessert bowl, she didn't seem thrilled and sluggishly placed the bowl in front of me. I then asked her if she happened to have any ice cream.
She looked at me with confusion as I asked her to bring it out from the freezer. I cut a slice of the cinnamon cake and placed it in the bowl and to it I added a scoop of ice cream. The warm cake melted the ice cream. I put in a spoon and offered it to Sachi and asked her to give her opinion about it.
Not happy about it Sachi took a bite and as she continued to chew her sad, dull looking face began to brighten up as she smiled, and said “This is so tasty why didn't I think of this before!”
I didn't utter a word and watched her enjoy it as I began to serve myself as well. We silently sat and relished every bite. Sachi looked at me and said "Disha how do you remain positive even in the worst scenario?"
"Sachi, you often always try to be perfect in every situation but at times the best results come from being imperfect. It's really not about being right all the time. Perfection does not exist," I said to her. I continued to tell her to let go of conditioning thoughts and asked her to remember the example of the cake she baked whereby what she actually thought a flop was the birth of a new recipe. Sachi smiled and said you are right Disha. I have learned that perfection lies in imperfections, and we continued to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
By Disha Sharma