This is my fourth article in the series. The first one was very general. The second article was on divorce. The third article was about getting over a relationship that never quite existed (to the other person). This article is about moving on. No nothing drastic happens here. I will never preach something that is not doable! She will not find Aditya Kashyap or go on an international vacation. Moving on to me is not a decision. Just like falling in love is not a choice. It is a feeling.
He has moved on! You should too!
It has been seven months!
Geet had heard this so many times. It was embarrassing. She thought of herself as a strong woman. People around her thought she was strong too. Anshuman had made her weak. Desperate. Desperate to have him back.
Time is the best healer, they say. How is this true? It is not just the moment he left that is painful, but every day and moment after that. When he is not there. At least the day he had left, she had hope. Hope that they would meet again. He could not really be gone forever! She had imagined conversations. Things she would say to him. Things he would say back. They would bump into each other somewhere. This is what happens in movies, right? People always came back. Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.
Something else would happen. It could not possibly be the end.
But it was. It was over. It had been seven months. She had not seen him. He never called. He never texted. She never bumped into him. His going away seemed so permanent now. It was not just the loss of not being with him that hurt, but the experience of watching him leave. The memory of him saying that he did not want to be with her anymore.
Geet would look at other couples at restaurants. A guy with his arm around his girlfriend. Anshuman always did that. Whenever they would enter or leave a restaurant he would put his arm around her. He wanted everyone to know she was his. She liked to wear pretty, sexy dresses while she was with him. But the moment they would leave to reach the car parking, he would say, ‘Wear your jacket’. ‘It is called shrug, not jacket!’ She would tell him. ‘Put on your shawl’. ‘It is called stole!’ She would say. ‘You are against women’s freedom!’ She would say. ‘You feminists, have no common sense also, this is the road not the pub!’ He would say. She would pretend to get annoyed. Except that it was a lie. She loved how protective he was of her.
Now there was no one to hold her. No one to hug her. No one to bring a smile to her face. No one to tell her that she was the perfect combination of cute and sexy, and smart and caring. No one to tell her that she was the best thing that happened to them. The way he looked at her made her feel beautiful. The way he admired her even when she wore her pajamas, with her hair hastily tied into a messy ponytail. His mischievous glance trying to distract her while she worked on her laptop, serious and focused with her glasses on.
Geet would stare blankly at couples she saw at restaurants. Was she ever like them? It seemed like a past life in which she and Anshuman were together. Every morning, she woke up with the feeling. The same feeling. The awareness that Anshuman was not there. Where was Anshuman?
Geet was trying her best to distract herself. Every Saturday she would leave for Starbucks. Morning to evening she would sit there with her laptop. She could not bear to be with herself at home. Evenings she would spend with her friends. Geet was an attractive girl. She got attention from men. It felt good. She felt like she had options. I can find another man easily, she would tell herself. She did go out with a few. The dates were okay. She tried to smile. Have a good conversation. But on her way back home, she would cry. This happened all the time. She would go out, meet people, but the moment she was alone with her thoughts she would cry her heart out. She had stopped taking care of herself. She had stopped going to the parlour. When was the last time she got her eye brows done? When was the last time she went to gym?
She met one of her friends for dinner. She was telling her friend how every night she tortured herself with the thoughts of her last few days with Anshuman. She kept replaying those events again. Blaming herself. She should have said something else. She should have done something else. He would have still been here…
“You need to love yourself, Geet. Be kind to yourself. Every night instead of thinking about Anshuman think about yourself. Just say these words to yourself, – I am such a kind human being. I am beautiful inside out. I am intelligent. I deserve the best things in the world.”
“That’s crazy! Who says that! I don’t even believe that!”
“Just try it! Instead of thinking about your times with Anshuman, or what could have happened”
Geet went to bed that night. Invariably her mind drifted to Anshuman.
“I am beautiful and kind. I deserve the best.” She forcefully said to herself. She continued to do this for another three days. It did not help. Anshuman was still the first thought of the morning and the last thought at night.
A week later, Geet went to watch a play. She had asked her friends to join but none of them were available. So, she went alone. The play was a lot of fun. She laughed. She enjoyed. After the play, she met the actors back stage. She told them she wanted to write an article on their journey. They were happy to be interviewed. They were all getting together for a party. They asked her to join. She did not know anyone. Should she go? She was so modestly dressed! They were all looking so glamourous! She decided to go.
She spent the next two hours with them. They talked. Geet was a very reserved person. Socializing was a lot of effort for her. But someone she gelled well with them. They all seemed impressed with her, and genuinely liked her company. They would be performing in Mumbai next month. They asked her to come. She said she had work, but she might. They exchanged numbers and said goodbye.
That day, as Geet was in the cab back home, something happened. She was smiling. She was thinking about how she spoke to these new people who belonged to a completely different profession. She was so confident. She was charming. She looked at her pictures. She was looking good. Her kohled eyes, her curly hair resting on her shoulders. She felt beautiful again. She felt confident again. She felt charming again. It was the feeling of falling in love. Where someone seems so wonderful. So unbelievably amazing. So very perfect. Magnify their qualities. Ignore their flaws. The feeling of being lucky to have found them… Except that there was no man. It was Geet feeling lucky to be herself.
You are so kind and amazing. You deserve the best things in life. The thought came to her mind. This time naturally. Without any effort.
Something changed that day. Geet did not want to cry anymore. She wanted to be happy. She wanted to be happy in the present. Not in some distant memory. Not in some uncertain future. But today.
Anshuman was not gone completely. He used to come back in her thoughts every now and then. But he did not make her cry anymore. He was not the first thing on her mind when she woke up. He was not the last thing on her mind when she went to sleep.
Whenever he would come up in her thoughts, she accepted that she had not forgotten him.
But she chooses herself over him. Anshuman was important to her. But her life is much more. She is so much more. He was just a character in her story. Yes, it was the end. Of a chapter. Not her story.
She is the story.