'More Than A Shoe': Why I Relate A Lot With Rachel Green

The sitcom, F.R.I.E.N.D.S., became my comfort where I go each time life pushes me into the tunnel. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. became my coping mechanism and the vision for my future. Do you know why? Because I saw myself in Rachel Green. 

Rudrani Gupta
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Rachel Green Feminist

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green in a still from FRIENDS

I was always a Bollywood fan at heart. I never got exposed to content from Hollywood or any English sitcoms, except the ones dubbed in Hindi. However, life always changes. When I moved to Delhi for my higher studies, my friends made me watch the classic sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Since then, there has been no looking back. The sitcom became my comfort where I go each time life pushes me into the tunnel. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. became my coping mechanism and the vision for my future. Do you know why? Because I saw myself in Rachel. 


Let's dig into the sitcom first. Rachel Green is introduced to us as a spoiled brat who lives off her father's money. She has everything in life that a woman of her age dreams about. She is rich, has a number of credit cards, can buy anything she puts her eye on, and is up to getting married to an orthodontist who too is a rich man. But Rachel quits all these luxuries, leaves her rich groom at the altar and enters into the lives of broke adults figuring out ways to pay the rent. 

How I was a spoiled brat like Rachel Green

Now let me introduce myself. I belong to a business family residing in a small town in Bihar. My grandfather began the business and my father took it to a new height adding another empire to it. So naturally, my father is a known person in the entire town. I grew up with staff around me doing all the basic things- be it carrying my school bag or washing my dishes. My parents gave me a life of comfort where there was nothing to complain about. I was not a fan of toys but loved watching cartoons. So there was no restriction on the TV time. Even a simple scratch on my body got my parents freaked out. I used to go out in cars and visit malls and multiplexes in the other cities every month. 

But the comfort bubble busted when I realised the aim of my life. Rachel's intervention was the realisation that she doesn't love Barry. My intervention was that I don't like Maths, Biology or Engineering

When Rachel started building her own life, I said "me too!"

After working for a while as a waitress, Rachel started applying for jobs. Soon, she realised her interest and goal in life which resided in the fashion industry. She had fought with her parents who were not ready to accept that their daughter worked as a waitress or in the fashion industry. They believed she should have married Barry and lived a life of comfort which she always did. But as Rachel said, "You're a shoe, you're a shoe!...Well what if I don't want to be a shoe?"


I wanted to be a journalist but to satisfy my parents, I took English Literature which has many scopes including journalism. I was a rule breaker as no one in my family did anything other than Engineering or government jobs. Soon, I started realising the realities of life- rent, cooking, grocery shopping and even cleaning the house on my own. I realised the importance of money and how difficult it is to earn. After reading literature, my interest in writing, which was enclosed in my childhood diaries came back. And then as Rachel Green said, "I am gonna get one of those job things." 

I began interning as a writer at various websites. Initially, I started as an unpaid intern. But later it turned into a paid internship and I got my first pay. When Rachel Green earned her first pay as a waitress, I could totally relate to her happiness. We both hailed from a rich background where minuscule money meant nothing. Even then, the small amount meant the biggest success for us because it was our own!

Rachel Green gradually attained name and fame in the fashion industry which was fuelled by her interest and passion. She started paying rent, buying luxuries and even the over-priced cat. In simple words, she attained all the comfort that her father was offering but with the freedom that she might have never earned with her father's credit cards. 

Here my life is slightly different from Rachel's. Though I was earning through my passion, the freedom came with a lot of cost. Regular arguments with my parents and taunts about being useless ultimately affected my mental health. Struggling with anxieties and an improper sleep cycle, I forgot my dreams and goals. I faced a downfall in my career reaching a point when I had no job.

But I stood back up and got my job back. And I hope to be as successful as Rachel was in her life. 


The broken relationship of our parents

There is one more thing that is common between me and Rachel Green - the broken relationship of our parents. Remember when Rachel got to know about her parents' divorce? She said, "Why can't parents just stay parents, you know? Why do they have to become people?" We all idolise our parents as the perfect humans with no flaws whatsoever. But that is just a construct because no human on this earth is perfect. 

Have you heard that saying? Big houses have big secrets? My house too which was the tallest in my area and was decorated with glass menageries had unbelievable secrets. The silence of the house was created by the huge fights between my parents. Sometimes tears drenched the floor, sometimes suicidal attempts scared the menageries and other times blood smeared the walls. But unlike Rachel's parents, my parents didn't get a divorce. They decided to live with the broken relationship for their kids.

So here is an end to the story of how I found myself in Rachel Green. The difference is that Rachel was fictional and so were her rule-breaking struggles. But my life is real and so are the rules that I am breaking. 

Views expressed are the author's own. 


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