Please click on the above link to read the full article on Women’s Web.
This is my third article in the series. The first one was very general. At that time, I did not know that the series would get popular and I will be asked to continue with it. The second article was on divorce. This article is about getting over a relationship that never quite existed (to the other person).
Times have changed. Relationships are no longer well defined. People have also become more willing to explore without any commitment (not judging). When exactly does a relationship starts?
When one person says I love you and the other one reciprocates?
Texting all day and talking through the night?
The moment a physical involvement begins?
I have had friends who have got to know a man through a matrimonial website, talked over the phone, met maybe a couple of times and got emotionally attached. One fine day, the person just leaves and they have no idea what they did wrong. In dating terms it is called “ghosting”. (I don’t think there is any term for it in Indian arranged marriage set-ups. I have written more on dating in this article).
Then there are women who get into a fling or a short-term relationship. Except that they did not know that it would be short term. They were probably looking for something serious. They just realized after getting dumped the other person was not serious.
The women in the above scenarios feel heart-broken and depressed. The man may not feel anything because he never made a commitment in the first place. Was it really a relationship? Who gets to decide that? But does it really matter? The fact is someone got hurt. When you feel hurt and sad, nothing else matters much.
Such non-relationships should be easy to get over, right? But trust me they are not. There are some unique aspects to it that are painful. If you tell someone about it, here is what you are told:
It was not even a relationship! Doesn’t count! Get over it!
How could you be so stupid to fall for it in the first place!
While you are already dealing with the loss of not having someone with you anymore (no matter how brief it was), you also have to deal with your feelings being invalidated, by the guy himself, and probably those around you.
At least when a person gets divorced, or breaks up from a long-term declared relationship, they get some empathy. You get none! You feel a certain sense of shame for being so non-existent. Your friends secretly think you are weak and stupid. The best they can say is ‘forget him, not worth it.’ You did not gain any long-term benefits of a relationship, yet you got a very real sense of pain and loss? Not fair!
Somehow Bollywood has always romanticized unrequited love.
“Ek tarfa pyar ki taqat hi kuch aur hoti hai … auron ke rishton ki tarah yeh do logon mein nahi bat’ti … sirf mera haq hai ispe” – Dialogue from Aye dil hai mushkil. There was a beautiful song in the movie, also the title track which was all about being in love with someone who does not reciprocate. There are millions of other examples.
Yesterday, I watched a video of Matthew Hussey that made me smile. A lot of us try to hold on to the idea of someone, after they have left. Something to fill the void.
But think about this. There is someone of the opposite gender who you may find interesting. But they seem too hung up on someone from their past. Would you want to date them? Even if you try you will feel frustrated. Do you really want to become that person?
There is nothing attractive about “unrequited love”! Human beings have the ability to adapt! You become unattractive the moment you show that you have no ability to move on and you are stuck in the past! Even if you meet any decent potential partners, they would not prefer to have anything long term with you.
You don’t have to be ashamed of anything. You tried. It did not work. People who try eventually succeed. If you are looking for a serious relationship, you will probably find it. You are closer to finding it that most people, as you are trying for it.
I remember a girl who kept saying that a guy she met once who had shown a lot of interest in her, and suddenly disappeared was “perfect” for her. She mourned for him for a long time. She said she would never find anyone that great again. It is natural to feel this way when one day someone dreamy walks into a life only to leave making us realise that the dream was not real. But here is the thing. Someone who is right for us is someone who wants to be with us, not someone who fits the checklist. He is a great guy, and he spent some great time with me does not equal to he wants to be with forever. Harsh, but true.
Being sad and bitter will only make your personality less appealing. Less appealing to someone who may actually want to be with you.
“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It wont happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.”
― Joel Osteen,
This is my second article in the series, ‘To the Geet Without Aditya Kashyap, and The Queen Without the International Vacation’. This is dedicated to the women who are going through a break-up, or a divorce. They may not have necessarily found someone else, or have the luxury to travel to discover themselves like our Bollywood heroines. How would they heal? You could read the first part here.
I was waiting in the family court. As I looked around, I felt like I was the youngest person to be here. I probably was.
‘Why me!! Why does everything happen to me!! I don’t deserve this!’ I thought to myself or was probably screaming to God.
An older lady wearing a silk sari who looked very strict pointed towards my legs. I looked at my legs. Then at her. What was she trying to say?
“Don’t cross your legs. It is considered disrespectful to the judge!” said a slim, pretty looking young girl sitting next to me.
“Oh ok.” I uncrossed my legs, embarrassed. “I did not know that!”
“You are here for…”
“Yes.” I nodded. “You too?”
“You have kids?”
“Oh no no! We were just together six months. You?”
“I have two daughters. Nine and seven years old!”
“Wow! You look so young”.
“I am 29!”
“Oh! Just three years older than me!”
“Yeah I got married very early.”
“No Arranged. You?”
“Same! You have come alone?”
“Yeah. My father used to come with me. But he has not been keeping well since last week. Ever since I separated, I moved in with them. My mother passed away from cancer last year. Since then he has become weak. He was hospitalized. Low BP. Past four years have been like hell.”
“Oh my God! You are going through a lot!”
I watched my parents outside the room, looking out for me protectively.
First time, during that day I did not feel like a victim. I felt grateful.
“Do you work?” I asked her.
“I have started teaching. Completed B.Ed. I was not working earlier. But since we separated I had to. Two children I have to support.”
“Was he giving any child support?”
“No nothing. That is why this process getting delayed. He is not agreeing to give a penny. I have been struggling like anything just to survive!”
A man in a fluorescent coloured shirt walked in and spoke to my lawyer. The lawyer then came and said something to me.
“Is that your…?”
“That’s his brother!”
“What a bright coloured shirt he is wearing! Who dresses up like this in a court!”
“He is a very moronic person. Maybe he thought this is a wedding.”
She giggled. I giggled too. The lady in the silk sari gave us a sharp look. We felt like two school girls being scolded by a teacher.
A hefty looking man entered. He looked very aggressive.
“That’s my…”, she said.
“Oh! You both look like a mismatched pair!”
She smiled. “Yes, you both too” – She said, looking at another man looking equally aggressive. “He looks much older than you too!”
After a moment, she said, “You know the Judge should grant us just by looking at their faces! They look like they will start hurling abuses here any minute! I mean just look at them! ”
We both laughed again.
“No they won’t. They would not take such a risk here. That behavior is reserved for the wife.”
“These idiots don’t realize how they ruined our lives. They deserve to be alone because of their behavior and actions! It was our horrible fate that we ended up with them. They will grow old and regret everything! We will find someone else!”
“They will too!”
“Isn’t that scary?”
We laughed again.
“Doesn’t matter to us. We have to focus on our lives. You will be fine. You are a strong woman! And you have to live well for your kids. Have faith in yourself”
“Yes dear. Everything will be fine! You too be good. We are getting our freedom today. This is day to celebrate!”
After the hearing, I stepped out of the room to have a discussion with the lawyers. It was time to leave. I went back to the room to look for my friend. The stranger who had made the day light. Who made me laugh on a tensed day. With whom I shared hope. Who took away the loneliness.
Her hearing was about to come up. She was standing in the queue. She was also looking out of the door, probably looking for me. I smiled and waved. She waved back.
To all the Geets and Ranis out there, my two cents and non-expert yet tried and tested advice:
- Count your blessings. There is no end to suffering in the world. Look around you. There are always people dealing with so much more. I get annoyed when people tell me the same thing. But it is the truth. It is also the only way to go on.
- Don’t underestimate the power of small joys in life. Little moments help in healing. Be greedy for them and grab them all. Sharing a lame joke with a stranger, going out with friends, watching an old comedy movie, downloading the latest Punjabi number and playing it in gym, ordering brownies, binge-watching Friends and Seinfeld for the nth time, 2 am Maggie, playing with your niece. Do it all. When you laugh, you laugh. It does not matter if you were sad the moment before.
- Remember why things ended. Either someone was not good to you, and you had to make the choice to leave or someone left. Either way, they choose not to be with you. And there is nothing you can do about it.
- Keep loving yourself. Your relationship with yourself is the most important. Keep working on it! Only you can nurture it!
I was 12 when I had the term “closure” for the first time.
At that time, I was living in the United States. A 17-year-old woman had gone missing after her morning jog. She was a high school student, ready to apply for colleges with her whole life ahead of her. There was an extensive search initiated to find her. Everybody was praying for her safe return. After some 15-20 days, her decomposed body was found in some forest, with her throat slit. The murderer was already caught, and he was the one who has led to the body.
The news reporter broke the news with a solemn face. She added,
“We hope that this has given some closure to the family.”
I hated the term. How could knowing that their daughter was dead, killed brutally, and finding her body bring anything positive? The reporter was trying to say was that were in trauma for the past weeks by not knowing what happened to their daughter. Now at least, they knew…
At least. Another term I despise…
As I grew up, I came to know that the term closure was used in the context of relationships very often. My next encounter with it was in an episode of Friends. Rachel falls in love with Ross but only after he is with Julie. Rachel is now at a restaurant on a date with a new guy but all she can think about is Ross.
Michael: Look, I’ve been through a divorce, trust me you’re gonna be fine. You just can’t see it now because you haven’t had any closure.
Rachel: Yeah! Closure. That’s what it is, that’s what I need. God, you’re brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that? How do I get that?
Michael: Well, you know, there’s no one way really, it’s just, you know, whatever it takes so that you can finally say to him, “I’m over you.”
Rachel: Closure, that’s what it is. Closure.
She then borrows a phone from a reluctant man and dials Ross.
Rachel: [on phone] Ross, hi, it’s Rachel. I’m just calling to say that um, everything’s fine and I’m really happy for you and your cat who, by the way, I think you should name Michael: And, you know, ya see there I’m thinking of names so obviously, I am over you. I am over you and that, my friend, is what they call closure. [hangs up and tosses phone in the ice bucket]
By the end of the episode, Ross realizes he is still in love with Rachel, and they end up kissing.
Bollywood loves closure too. Lovers almost always come back. They apologize. They repent. They want to be taken back. The heroine either takes them back and they live happily ever after or she find another guy who is so much better! Pyaar to hona hi tha, Queen, to name a few.
The best example I can think of is Jab we met (I loved the move like everyone else). I have blogged about it before in To The Geet Without Aditya Kashyap and The Queen Without the International Vacation. Geet calls up Anshuman, and showers him with abuses. He hangs up, looking traumatized. He also realizes his mistakes and comes back to Geet. Meanwhile, Geet falls in love with Aditya Kashyap. She gets to reject Anshuman, make him feel like an idiot and then marry Aditya Kashyap. What a wonderful closure!!
But real life is so messy. If someone actually says the things they want to say in an attempt for closure, they will get to hear an earful, and end up feeling worse. It could be a chain that needs to be closed for our sanity. Maybe we reach out but get no response. Maybe we decide not to call in an attempt to savor what is left of our already damaged self-respect. I don’t think we get that many closures in relationships, (unless we are a fictional Bollywood character). Quoting from my own article:
What about women who don’t necessarily find another man like Geet? What about the ones who don’t get to travel like Queen but continue their routine life feeling worthless after getting dumped? Living each day with a spout of misery with the most cherished moments of their lives becoming mere memories and evoking mixed feelings? How do they ‘get over’ someone?
Maybe closure is overrated. It is still as absurd as when I had heard it for the first time in my life. When someone is gone, they are gone. There are no ifs, buts, what ifs, how, why. There are no answers. At least not answers that we will get from another person.
The harsh truth is there may be NO closure. We have to somehow make ourselves understand. I did research to find the best thought to complete the sentence – Sometimes he best closure is…
But I did not like anything I read. So here is my list. Please feel free to add to it.
Sometimes the best closure is knowing that I tried.
Sometimes the best closure is knowing that there is nothing else I could do.
Sometimes the best closure is accepting that I may be hurting, but I am not broken.
Sometimes the best closure is knowing that I have survived the biggest pain I have ever known.
Sometimes the best closure is closing the door to the negativity within me, and I alone have the power to do it.
Adding a good one sent to me by a friend, after reading the article:
You have to accept that some chapters in our lives have to close without closure. There’s no point in losing yourself by trying to fix what’s meant to be broken. – www.stevemaraboli.com
And finally the one from ‘He’s just not that into you’ , the dating Bible for women (along with Mathhew Hussey’s videos)! It is not on closure, but it is on happy endings. Isn’t that what we are all looking for?
And maybe a happy ending doesn’t include a guy… maybe its you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is…just moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this… knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken hearts, through all the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up.”
Some time back, my sister and I were having a discussion on marriage vows.
“For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish”
We said how difficult it is to commit to another human being like this – for better or for worse? Is it even possible to love another human being so unconditionally? Our parents teach us that it is.
I do not know what makes my mother continue to love me when I get from bad to worse! What I do know is that even at the age of 29 I can throw tantrums because mothers can’t break-up with their children.
Few years back, I was crying about something to my elder sister. She tried to console me with reason. It did not work. She tried to give some positive examples. I got even more angry. No matter what she said, I continued to be hopeless. Finally, she said that I need to STOP, because it is very upsetting for her and my parents when I cry like this.
“This has happened to me! You won’t understand! Only I can understand! I am the victim here! Not you!” I snapped.
“Nothing can happen to you alone! Whatever happens to you affects the rest of us! And maybe I cannot understand. But you don’t understand either how painful it is to watch someone younger than you, who you love, suffer, and not being able to help them!”
How tough it must be for parents? I don’t know what it must be like to constantly worry about a grown-up child. To keep telling them that everything will be okay when in your heart you are too scared to imagine that it may not? To feel like it is your primal responsibility to protect them and make them happy, and yet feel powerless because the universe does not care. Or because God does not listen.
How do they deal with it? How does a mother feel when she cannot really make things right for her child? Maybe she can solve the manageable problems first. She can cook her daughter’s favourite dish. Or tidy her wardrobe. She can still do whatever she can in her human capacity to make life easier and better for her child. And the thing with mothers is that they keep doing it. For adult children. Then their children. How exhausting it must be! Both physically and emotionally!
I have blogged about this before:
Just a couple of days back, my mother had packed my tiffin box with fruits and salad. I got busy with work and brought back the food home, untouched. After dinner, my mother started eating the leftovers.
“How come you are eating the pomegranate, I thought you didn’t like it. Never seen you having it.” I asked.
“It’s not that I don’t like it, slicing the vegetables and fruits is a pain. I give it to you and your father, but don’t bother slicing for myself.” she replied.
There are small (big) things that our mothers do for us. Sometimes it may be having the leftover rice for dinner because she is too tired after making rotis for the rest of us. Or maybe buying that ridiculously expensive dress that I was drooling at the mall, and then claiming that it was on a sale.
We notice that they do all of this. We just don’t thank them enough. If we did, how many thank yous would we owe them each day? And who says I love you and thank you every day anyway?
Today is my mother’s birthday. She does not check Facebook regularly. On her last to last birthday, I had to tell her that people have wished her on her timeline. She is supposed to reply or at least ‘like’ their post. She had asked me if she has to comment on their timeline or hers. On her last birthday, she had requested me to respond to all her birthday posts because what if she makes typos! I had refused. I told her she should learn. She will comment just fine. And she did. Perfectly! She has not subscribed to my blog because she does not check her emails. I doubt if she will read this post today. But I hope she does! 🙂
Mera kuch samaan tumhare paas pada hai…
I don’t know what made me want to watch Izaajat now. Maybe because all the songs from the movie are on my pen drive, and I listen to them on my drive to work every day. Or maybe attending Gulzar Sahab’s poetry session at the Poetry Festival recently. After the session, I had looked at some of his books. There was one book that had the lyrics of all his songs. I could just read that book forever.
I knew the story of the movie though, despite not having watched it earlier. I usually do not like knowing anything about a movie before I watch it. But it is hard to not know the story of a classic movie that was made three decades ago. I had even read the story online few years back, probably in the context of ‘mature cinema’. I already knew that Rekha’s character was already remarried, and her husband would show up in the last scene. I also knew that Anuradha Patel’s character would be dead. How? Because every time a motorcycle song scene comes on television, my father says,
“Woh kaun si film thi, jismein heroine ka dupatta gale mein fas jata hai, bike pe?”
And my mother responds for the nth time, “Ijaazat!”
Woh shakh gira do, mera woh sama lauta do
I loved Hindi songs even as a child. My knowledge of old Hindi songs was much better than my peers. One time I was playing Antakshari with a friend. I must be nine, she would be around seven.
“Shuru karo Antakshari lekar Hari ka naam, Ma,” she emphasized pointing to me.
“Mera kuch samaan”, I started singing, but was interrupted by her laughter.
“This is not a song!” she said.
“It is a famous one! You have not heard!!”
“But how can it start like that?”
“It does! I have seen it too! A lady leaves some of her stuff at a man’s house. So, she is asking him to send it all back!”
“Okay. Funny song! Why can’t she just pick it up herself? Why sing a song?”
“She has a long list of things. That’s why.”
Weren’t those years blissful when that was all these songs meant to us?
Patjhad hai kuchh… hai na
But a few days back, when I started watching the movie late night, I could not watch beyond the song. I was in tears, and had to stop. After a couple of days, I continued from where I left off.
The movie is poetry on screen. I cannot think of any other movie that has handled a love triangle so beautifully. I sympathized with all three of them, though Naseeruddin Shah’s character probably only in the last scene when he looks like a lost, lonely child. All three characters were respectful of each other. Sudha (Rekha) was a self-respecting woman who would not tolerate her husband’s adultery. Maya (Anuradha Patel) was passionate, independent and impulsive. She never really got over Mahendar (Naseeruddeen Shah).
Ek sau solah chand ki ratein, ek tumhare kandhe kaa til
No amount of sex scenes in our contemporary movies can show love and passion the way this movie did without showing anything. It made me cringe all the more at the current movies, which do not put any thought into the characters. In Ijaazat, it is very difficult to blame any of the characters. They were all so well defined and developed. I felt for all of them.
The songs are absolutely mesmerizing. Katra katra, Chhoti si kahani se, Khali haath sham aayi hai, are all awesome though Mera kuch samaan is arguably the best.
Mera woh sama lauta do
Ultimately that is what life comes down to. Time passes. Relationships end. The only thing that is left is memories. Cruel, stubborn memories that are like a disease that refuses to go. I don’t know how a haunting song like this can bring pain and comfort at the same time. But it does.
It is magic.
I watched the movie ‘Jab we met’ again over the weekend. This time it made me think very differently. It reminded me of the movie, Queen.
These two are my all-time favourite movies. The protagonists in both movies are women who have been ditched by the men who they thought were the ‘love’ of their lives. After the initial shock, desperation, and pain, both woman move forward in life, becoming better versions of themselves. Here is what happens:
- Geet meets Aditya Kashyap who she eventually falls in love with him. Aditya is not a cowardly idiot like Anshuman. He cares about her and likes her for who she is. Aditya literally rescues her. They live happily ever after.
2. Rani (Queen) ends up going on her honeymoon alone. There she sees life outside the confines of her life in Delhi. She makes friends from different walks of life, including a boy who has lost his family in Tsunami yet tries to be cheerful in life. She discovers an identity for herself, as she meets people who appreciate her culinary talents, increasing her self-worth.
3. Anshuman and Vijay, the respective exes of these women realize their mistake and come back. Geet and Rani get to dump them this time.
I completely support the endings, and like the way they were empowering for women. But do all men actually realize their mistake, regret their actions, and come back? The world would have been a much more perfect place. In reality, people dump somebody for good. They may not come back. What about women who don’t necessarily find another man like Geet? What about the ones who don’t get to travel like Queen but continue their routine life feeling worthless after getting dumped? Living each day with a spout of misery with the most cherished moments of their lives becoming mere memories and evoking mixed feelings? How do they ‘get over’ someone?
I am not a therapist, but still that would not deter me from expressing my thoughts on the subject.
- The world is a big and weird place. There are all kinds of complicated people. Anything can happen. Stop torturing yourself with ‘Why,’ and ‘What ifs’. There is nothing you can do to change things.
2. Try some kind of fitness regime. Whenever I have done any form of exercise on a regular basis, I have felt good about myself. Set a goal. For example 30 minutes on the treadmill. When you achieve it, you will feel like you are in control of at least something in your life. Aspects of your life like relationships that involve another person may not be controlled. But this is something you alone can accomplish.
3. Get out of the house. I don’t mean to go and date. Focus on your interests other than men (I know I have used this line in my previous articles, I guess I just love it). You may not immediately wish to travel alone or with friends. The thought may make you feel sorry for yourself (as you would have rather gone with a significant other). Then don’t do it. But go for a movie, play, poetry recital anything that you find doable and affordable. Then keep doing it regularly.
4. Try working towards self-growth. You must have heard that ‘Living well is the biggest revenge’. Resist the urge to immediately find someone else to spite your ex. Do not be the other extreme either – Swear to ‘ruin’ your life by staying single to make him feel guilty. Instead, try to become better (eventually more successful) in whatever you are working on.
5. Take care of yourself. Go pamper yourself with a spa or a facial. Look good. When I was younger I used to think that being good looking was a pre-requisite for looking good. But over the years, the definition of ‘looking good’ has changed.
My friend’s mother is undergoing chemotherapy. She has lost all her hair. She sent me a picture of the mother recently, bald and lean. She was a very beautiful woman, and it pained me to her this way. But there was something lively about her picture. She had put on a dark maroon lipstick, enough to brighten up her face.
‘Aunty is looking good’, I had texted her.
Was I saying something inappropriate? Is it okay to say that when someone is suffering from cancer?
She had replied, ‘Yes, she is better. Thanks’.
Another woman I knew lost her husband unexpectedly few years ago. She was unhappy for the longest time. Her daughter posted a picture of her from one of their recent vacations captioned, ‘Mummy wearing salwar suit for the first time’.
It was a very natural picture. She was not even smiling. She looked consciously at the camera, squinting her eyes probably because of the blazing sun. The salwar suit was also very ordinary. She looked more graceful in her saris. But everybody had complimented her, including me.
What made her look good? Maybe the fact that she had put in effort to do something different. She had hope. Hope that although she had lost the most precious part of her life, she was still trying to make the best of whatever she had left.
So finally to all the Geets without Aditya Kashyap, and the Queens without international vacations, your life is still big and potentially beautiful. Look around you. Everyone is struggling with something or the other. You may not necessarily get an opportunity to ‘dump’ anyone the next time around like these women, but you can dump your negative thoughts for the time being. Life is a series of mundane days with some temporary highs, followed by longer ‘low’ phases. Give it sometime. Things will fall in place.
I open my Facebook newsfeed everyday with the morning cup of tea (Yes, I know it should have been the morning newspaper, but it has somehow been Facebook instead).
I came across articles over the past couple of days that really spoilt my mood:
10 Ugly Mistakes Women Make That Make Men Leave!
Catch and Keep Him! (It is apparently a website).
Why Men Pull Away: 3 Easy Ways to Stop a Man from Withdrawing!
How To Make A Man Commit To You!
Reasons Why Men Cheat and What You Can Do To Prevent It!
The above articles were part of the many women-centric blogs I have subscribed to, and some well-known international publications, written by dating and relationship experts to “help women”.
I am obviously no expert on the subject, but having been writing regularly for over a year now on relationships, here are my thoughts:
1. I find these articles extremely offensive to women and men. It very unfairly puts the responsibility on women for the behavior of men. As if a man is a helpless, pre-programmed, genetically disastrous creature who has no control on his feelings / behavior / actions. A man will lose interest, cheat, disappear, it is an inevitable phenomenon that we should be prepared to prevent? I would like to believe that there are far better men…
2. Why should we try to “catch and keep him” (Seriously that is a website!) if he is not interested? Are we that desperate? Do we really have a future with someone who wants to leave us in the present? Wouldn’t he eventually leave causing more damage?
3. Wouldn’t it better if these articles were worded differently: 10 Ugly mistakes that ruin relationships, Reasons why people cheat on their partners, Why lovers drift apart?
4. Are there so many articles on dating advice for men on what they could do to keep a woman? Is it because of chauvisim, misogyny or simply because women read more and analyse relationships?
Anyway, since the intention of these articles was to “help women”, I would also like to give my two cents to the women who are struggling to “keep” dating the men in their lives:
1. If somebody wants to go, it may not be such a bad thing in the long run. One day you may thank God for saving you.
2. Take care of your health, fitness, skin and overall appearance. No I am not asking you to be shallow. But don’t neglect yourself just because somebody does not care. Everything becomes harder when you are not well physically.
3. Yes, you deserve better. But I don’t know if you (or I) will necessarily find someone (better). Focus on yourself, your goals and interests (other than men 🙂 ) .
I have a friend who says that when you are happy with yourself (and that happiness comes from doing things that you like), you attract better things (people?) in life. Maybe it is true..
It was a regular night at Hard Rock Café. Ashish and Rehan were hanging out. Every Friday these two would catch up here (except ofcourse when they were with their girlfriends). Ashish had been dating Sanaya for the past 10 months.
She was a single mother with a nine-year-old daughter.
“So where is Sanaya this weekend,” asked Rehan.
“She is travelling to Delhi for a wedding.” Said Ashish.
“Oh, so no action this weekend!” winked Rehan. “When are you telling her about Avanti?”
“I will now, once she is back”.
“Hahha, hope she doesn’t get clingy and start blackmailing you,”
“Nah, I never promised to marry her! If she expected something more, her fault!”
For the first time, Ashish’s life was going perfect. He was settled in his career, and had just been promoted to Senior Project Manager. Ashish was always the geek in school and college. He envied other guys as they went out with the hottest girls with the shortest clothes in the biggest cars.
It took him a decade since then, but here he was living the dream! A good house, a good car and a girlfriend his friends drooled at. Somebody has said it right, women are like wine, they get better with age. At 41, Sanaya had the body to die for. Ashish had joined the gym to get in shape to impress women. But how did he get lucky enough to woo the gym owner, the most sought after Sanaya Sarin, his friends still wonder?
Ashish’s parents were visiting from Dhanbad. He must get married by the end of this year, his mother had announced. He was turning 32, high time. Ashish had told his mother he wanted a girl who is fluent in English and well-educated but not career minded. She should be able to bend as and when required for family. Avanti was perfect. Fair and slim, 23 year old with a degree in sociology. Avanti and Ashish had been talking on the phone for over two months. When he had met her in Dhanbad along with her family, he knew she was the one. Young, innocent, pretty, traditional small town girl just the way he liked. Always marry a girl who is much younger, so you can mold her your way, his mother would say.
The Roka had been fixed for November. It was still three months away! Ashish had been showering Avanti with presents. He loved pampering her. Avanti never confessed her love for him, though. Must be shy, he thought. Unlike these confused, Westernized city girls with no values!
Back in Bangalore, Sanaya had been hounding him with her phone calls and texts.
“Please Ashish, come back. I really love you!”
Ashish had never promised to marry her. Where did she get the idea that this would be something long term? All women are the same, he thought. He did not want things to end so nasty with Sanaya but she was behaving like a needy psycho now.
“I am not the first man in your life, anyway so don’t tell me you can’t handle this!”’ He texted back after some more ugly exchange of messages.
Sanaya was eating up so much of his time and energy that he did not even get time to buy an outfit for the Roka. He selected a blue sherwani, Avanti’s favourite colour. He also bought a necklace for her.
Finally, it was the big day. Even though it was not such a big function, some of his friends had still made to Dhanbad. Ashish was looking just like Hrithik Roshan, his mother said. His friends were already drunk and dancing. Avanti’s family was late much to their surprise. The girl’s side is supposed to host, how can they arrive after the groom?
Avanti was not picking up her phone. She must be still at the parlour. Ashish’s father got a call following which there was a lot of commotion. Ashish’s mother almost collapsed. What the hell was going on, did something happen to Avanti?
“Beta, Avanti has eloped with her boyfriend!”
Three weeks had passed. Ashish was back to Bangalore. To say that he was shocked was an understatement. How could she? He was so good to her… If she did not want to marry him, why did she talk to him, meet him, and agree for the Roka? She was playing with his feelings all this time. He was heartbroken and humiliated.
He had been wanting to contact her, but had restrained himself. But today as he saw her whatsapp DP, smiling as if nothing had happened, he could not hold himself back.
“You, bitch!” he typed and pressed send.
He kept waiting to see when the ticks would turn blue but she did not come online. He does not remember when he passed out, the drinks were too much.
Next day at work, there was a flash on his phone. Whatsapp message from Avanti:
“Mind your language, you idiot.
And FYI, I never promised to marry you!”
Ashish was fuming. Look at the nerve this woman had! Another notification came. What else does she want to say?
It was a message from Sanaya.
“You are such a loser! I deserve better.”
It was a big day for Kavya. Today she was meeting her fiance’ Samir’s extended family for the first time. They say opposites attract. It is such a cliché! But it could not be truer in the case of Samir and Kavya. Samir had his own advertising agency which he had started after being a model for nearly a decade. Kavya taught Social studies to students in 8th to 10th grade. Samir was drop dead gorgeous. Kavya was average looking with a kind smile. The two had met at a common friend’s house and remained in touch. Their friends still wonder how and when they fell in love and decided to get married with nothing in common…
It was Samir’s second marriage. He was previously married to a fellow model, Ayesha. Samir’s friends still spoke about Ayesha, and how she was such a beauty. It was bad enough that Kavya felt that Samir was much better looking than her. Every time she met his friends, she knew that they were silently comparing her to his ex and felt sorry that Samir found less of a match. She had got used to their comments:
“You are so different from her!” Different was just a nice way of saying plain and ugly, she thought.
“She was perfect for him, but it was not meant to last!” If she was perfect and it did not last, how long will I last will all my flaws? She would wonder.
Kavya was academically brilliant, intellectually inclined and a loving and caring person. Samir loved her but that didn’t change her self-doubts and insecurities. She always felt that she would get dumped sooner or later. After all, everywhere we keep seeing and hearing that men only fall for physical beauty. Samir teased her about how he was the more attractive one in the couple, though not in a mean way. It was meant to be a joke. But it was the truth and it pinched her. The past year of dating Samir had been financially exhausting for Kavya. She used to spend way out of her means on dresses, and beauty treatment to look good.
Kavya started her day by buying a lovely evening gown for the evening meeting with Samir’s family, after getting personalized attention from an enthusiastic salesgirl.
“Ma’am would you like to buy heels?”
“No”, replied Kavya firmly.
“But Ma’am you are short, this kind of dress looks nice on tall girls, please take a look if you like something”.
Samir was so tall… Kavya gave in and bought a pair of stilettos.
Next, she was at the beauty parlour. She asked for a fruit facial which she thought would be mild for her sensitive skin.
“Ma’am, you are looking very dark. Please try the de-tan facial, it will make you two shades lighter.”
I must be looking like a beast, she thought and opted for the de-tan.
On her way back home, Kavya thought that Samir’s family would now be looking her up on social networking sites and WhatsApp. She must put up a nice DP.
She searched through the gallery and selected a picture which was her best, but she was looking fat! She edited, illuminated and changed angles in photoshop until she looked like a slim, plastic doll and uploaded it, pleased with her creativity.
Finally, she and Samir arrived at the venue. Samir’s family was already there. They were all good-looking. Samir’s cousins who were barely 16-17 years old were very stylish and so were his sisters/ sisters in law who were in their 40s. Kavya was nervous but she was managing. Most people were welcoming and nice. After dinner, the cousins gathered around the bar for more drinks and to get to know Kavya better. They were asking about her education, her family and Kavya was starting to get comfortable. This was no so bad, she thought to herself.
The DJ announced the last song. “Noooo!”, screamed some kids negotiating for one more.
One of Samir’s older cousins, who was very drunk, put one arm around Kavya and the other around Samir and started talking at the top of his voice, attempting to make himself audible despite the loud music.
“Well, after meeting Kavya, I have understood one thing!” he said.
“What?” asked Kavya smiling shyly.
“That love is blind!” And he burst into laughter. Other people, half drunk and very loud by now, also started laughing.
“What do you mean, that Samir Bhaiya was wearing shades when he saw Kayya?” asked a younger girl.
“No not shades, otherwise she would have looked even darker!” said somebody else. There were some more laughs.
“From Ayesha to Kavya, Samir Bhaiya ki sad kahaani!”
“Oh come on! Kayya is brainy. She can give free tuitions to our kids!”
Oh home tuitions! Adi’s current teacher takes Rs 500 for an hour. Kavya I will give you Rs 1000! But you should come early morning. I feel bad for these people no, running around the city to make a few bucks..”
Kavya did not remember when the DJ stopped playing. She just wished that she could disappear. All her insecurities and her fears were right here and she was facing them. She felt naked. She knew she was not a beauty queen. She knew she was not rich. She knew Samir was everything that she was not. And here it was: Her worst fear coming true. The person she loved the most was being given reasons of how she was not good enough for him. She had tears in her eyes. Oh God, I can’t cry now!!
Samir did not react. He was also laughing, not mockingly, but more of a polite laughter. He looked at Kavya. He held her hand, and asked, “You okay?”
“I am okay. Just did not know I was signing up for such humiliation.”
“Oh come, on Kavya! Don’t be so sensitive. They are just kidding. They really liked you…” He offered her a drink.
“How would you feel is someone said such insulting things to you?”
They were interrupted by the drunk guy who had initiated the chain of nasty comments. He started pulling Kavya. “ A toast from Kavya.. Say something dear…”
Samir nodded to Kavya and whispered, “Looks are not everything. I still love you. They came all the way to meet you. Say a note of thanks to them atleast.”
Kavya went forward and smiled. She gulped her drink down.
“I am so glad to have finally met you all today. I really wanted Samir’s family to like me.” She paused. “Not because I care about any of you, but because I love Samir.”
Samir looked a little scandalized, but remained silent.
“I know I am not beautiful or rich like Ayesha. But if she was so perfect, why did she and Samir break up? If only beauty and money could sustain relationships…. You all are blessed with money and claim to be so modern. Yet in this day and age, you think it is shameful to be dark-skinned? Are you the kinds who put matrimonial ads desiring “gori” women and apply Fair and Lovely! So regressive!!
I teach kids and I can proudly say that not a single student of mine has ever failed in my subject. I build their future. I am not just a mentor to them, but also their friend. They talk to me about their problems, and I help them in whatever way I can. They stay in touch with me, even after they have passed my classes. I love my job and I make an honest living. I know the ways in which some of you have made big money, let me not even get into that.
Samir liked me for the qualities I have, as a person. Yes, a good-looking man can fall in love with an average looking woman. Why is so difficult for your peanut sized brains to accept?
Actually I can’t blame you. I found it hard to accept myself. The world loves to feed off people’s self-doubt and all this while I let them. When I don’t love myself for who I am, how can I accept that someone else would?”
She leaned on the table and removed her heels. She became a foot shorter.
There was pin drop silence in the room. Samir’ relatives were shocked. She looked at Samir and continued:
“I love you Samir with all my heart. You flunked in 12th grade. Still I love you. Your vocabulary and spelling is worse than the fifth graders in my school. Still I love you. The only book you have ever read is 45 pages of Chetan Bhagat’s One Night at a Call Centre. Still I love you. You cannot hold a conversation with my friends on any social issue. Still I love you.”
She raised the toast and said,
“Yes, every love is blind, or it wouldn’t exist!”