Posts Tagged ‘Relationship’
When Zoe first kissed Shrey, he wrinkled his nose and immediately wiped it off. Looking at his expressions Zoe giggled and went to kiss him again. But this time Shrey was ready, he crawled away as fast as he could. Zoe followed him steadfastly. Looking at Shrey’s plight both the kids’ mothers burst out laughing. The innocent chase of turtle and rabbit, as they were known as, went on for years.
They weaved a cocoon around them and nobody was allowed to penetrate it. Once, Shrey picked up a fight for Zoe when one of their classmates made a pass at Zoe. Shrey beat the light out of him. But when Zoe went up to him with a smile, he gruffly told her to behave properly. And his tone was such that Zoe’s eyes brimmed with tears instantly. Looking at her crestfallen face, Shrey sighed and hugged her. She just shrugged his hands off and walked down to their school bus. She did not talk to him for the entire time till they reached home, but by evening all was well again. Tiff forgotten, Zoe and Shrey’s were playing tennis by evening. This was not an isolated incidence, but eventually Zoe would forget her anguish and they would be together again, as always. Zoe and Shrey became inseparable, two sides of one coin, always together but never seeing eye to eye.
However, as they grew up it was evident that how much ever they loved each other or cared for each other they were not cut out to be together. Zoe was bubbly and effervescent while Shrey was a thinker and loved to read. Zoe would go on chattering away her thoughts while Shrey would just nod or give monosyllabic answers. It was difficult to know what went on in Shrey’s mind whereas Zoe was an open book. Shrey would like to keep to himself while Zoe constantly sought his company. So much so that she would expect him to shop with her too! Their adolescence being at peak, things started changing, or say, Zoe started realizing how much she was imposing on Shrey. She realized he needed space. His gruff behavior started hurting her more; she started reading more into his monosyllabic answers and felt left out. There was a time when she would drag him out of his bed just to go on a long drive or go window shopping. Now, she felt embarrassed or sometimes insulted when he would just refuse to be with her. Shrey’s behavior was probably the same, but Zoe was growing up and her natural vanity wanted to be pampered.
All her grievances went up like a smoke in the air the day she came to know that he was going to US of A for higher studies. It was just for a few days that they were together and the thought of being alone filled her with dread. She could not think of her life without him. She went to see Shrey and could not hold herself back when she saw him packing. All the wonderful years of their childhood came to her like a flash. She just stood in the door way looking at her best friend. Shrey sensed someone in the room and turned around to see Zoe’s crestfallen face. She saw the same turmoil in his eyes and the hell broke loose. She just threw herself in his arms and he held her tight, as tight as he could. Both were crying openly now. They never had any friend other than each other all their lives and now the thought of being without each other was killing them. They sat on the edge of his bed, holding each other’s hands, caressing softly. Words failed them but they were not needed today.
“You be good, rabbit! Don’t go on hopping here and there.” Shrey said softly.
“And you pick up some speed, turtle. Else you won’t be able to find any girl for yourself.” Zoe tried to make their mood light.
“I am not going there to chase after some stupid girls. I am going there to study, got it!”
With that the spell was broken and they laughed together. There were no promises made, none were needed!
Time flew by and life went on at both the ends. Whoever said, “Distance made hearts grow fonder” was proving to be wrong in this case. The good natured sparring turned to tiffs and finally heated flare ups. Increasingly the feeling of not belonging to each other started creeping in. The joy of being together was turning into a dread. Zoe was getting possessive about him, while Shrey was feeling suffocated with all the love and devotion. He hated to be answerable. Zoe tried to keep tab on his online life, Shrey hated it to core. The final blow to their friendship came on the New Year eve when Zoe called up Shrey to wish, and made a passing remark about some hot young man in the party. A heated and hurtful argument followed, and how much ever they regret it later, the damage was done.
That was a decade ago.
Fate brought them face to face again. Their eyes met and the world around them ceased to exist. They did not know how long they stood there, in that crowded room lost in their own world. After what felt like an eternity, Zoe noticed someone tug at her pallu, she looked down and Shrey’s eyes followed her gaze. A little girl looked up at her and Zoe smiled at her daughter. Little Zoe clung to her and shyly looking at the man getting all her mother’s attention. Just then a little boy came bouncing and jumped into Shrey’s arms. The boy looked at Little Zoe and asked his father,
“Dad, doesn’t she look like a rabbit!”
A happy, contended smile spread over their faces and the lost years fell by!
Mridula opened her eyes and saw his smiling face. She took a dyspnoeic breath and smiled contentedly. At last he had come.
She closed her eyes again and went back to the day he had entered her life. She remembered his first touch all too well. She was ecstatic every time he smiled at her. How she loved it when he came running to her and hugged her as if there was no tomorrow. Her world revolved around him. His choices became her choices; starting from his favourite food to the colours to the TV shows… everything! Even her clothes were decided by his choice.
But slowly and inevitably things started changing. Other people started getting more attention than her. She felt sidelined but smiled and tried to understand. She assured herself that it is just a phase and he will come back to her as he used to do earlier. Of course, he hugged her and kissed her before leaving home every morning but she missed his undivided attention. They no longer sat together and talked about his day or watched movies together with a bag full of popcorns. He did not have time to tell her each and every detail of his life any more. Most of his time at home was spent either on phone or on the computer. She tried learning computer for him too, but he laughed at her. The laugh was not a mockery, she told herself.
As if this was not enough, she sensed other girls in his life too. She tried to enquire about them nonchalantly but he would say they were just friends and she should not be paranoid about it. But she kept a check for any tell-tale signs. She found none. She increasingly felt insecure. More she tried to hold him, farther he went.
She remembered the last fight they had before he left home for good. She had found some gift in his drawer. She kept looking at it and as the time passed she became increasingly agitated. By the end of the day, when he came home she was livid with rage. She started shouting and calling him names. He was stumped, could not understand her reaction or the things she was saying. He tried to make her understand, tried to calm her, but she would not listen. She did not know when she started abusing him. She could see the shocked expression on his face and later the tears too. But she was unable to control herself. She just went on and on. He tried to hold her tight, a hug she was longing for so long. But this time it did nothing to calm her. In her heart she knew, what she was doing, what she was feeling was entirely wrong. And yet, she was unable to control herself. She did not know for how long she went on but somewhere she heard him say that he was sick of her insecurities and sick of her hold over him. He said he needed space. And then she heard a thud, he had closed the door after him.
He was gone, forever.
That was the last time she saw or heard of him. He never called her or reached out to her. She did not know how and where to look for him.
Today, after about ten years, at her death bed he had come back. At last, her son had come to take care of her. At last he will be all hers! With these thoughts, she opened her eyes again, smiled at him once more with all the love she had for him and her soul gently left her body.
What she did not know and would never know was that he was always around her. He stood by her with all his love and care. He diligently visited her in this asylum every single day. It was just that she could not recognize him.
It was a miracle that she could feel his presence and see him for last one time!
Aakriti felt so agitated that Aakaash was going to be at the conference. It had been 15 years since she had seen him. 15 years since they had spoken. Since she had told him that her life was to be tied to another. It was her parents’ decision, steeped in tradition. She had hoped that Aakaash would protest – that he would fight for her. But her had just sat there with his mouth hanging open. She had waited for him to call. Hoped. And then the hope faded away. Perhaps her mother had been right – perhaps Aakaash had jut seen her as some minor amusement to pass the time – but not to marry.
But she had accepted her fate as graciously as she could. Until she discovered that her husband did not want her at all. His parents had arranged the marriage and even waived any dowry requirements, to keep a cover on their respectabilility and the fact that their son preferred men. He was gay and saw this arranged marriage as yet another rejection by his parents. He resented Aakriti, not because he had a problem with her specifically, but because of what she represented in his life. Her parents had been so thrilled that they did not have to worry about the dowry. It was something that had weighed on them for so many years, since the birth of their daughter.
So Aakriti threw herself into her work. It was her only solace. Her only outlet and escape from the realities of her personal life. And at first it worked. Her colleagues treated her with the respect due a woman, ostensibly successful in her professional and personal life. But as the years passed, and she continued to live the lie to protect her parents from the truth, to keep the facade of respectibility, it became hareder to cope with the questions of when she was going to have a baby – something she wanted so much – of her in-laws’ taunts about her barren womb, even though they knew the truth about their son. Aakriti hardened herself. If she was gruff with people at the outset, then they would not ask questions that she didn’t want to face, let alone answer.
So now, all these years later, she dressed carefully as she prepared to meet Aakaash, her one true love again. And yet as she applied her lipstick so carefully, she saw the harsh lines on her face. In place of laugh lines, there were frown lines. In place of smooth skin across high cheek bones, there was blotchy, loose skin that gathered in folds across her jowls and neck. Her face showed the ravages of so many years of trying not to care. It could not be turned back now.
And then she saw Aakaash at the conference. She felt herself light up as she observed him. She hoped to make at least the connection of friendship, after all these years. And she felt her internal light dim as his eyes moved towards her and then passed over her in complete lack of recognition. When his eyes returned to her, she saw him trying to place her and then the shock as he recognised that it was her, Aakriti. She was about to go up to him when he hurriedly excused himself and fled from the room. And she realised that he didn’t really want to see her at all.
The realisation was like a rock on her heart. And yet, she composed herself once again and found strength in her work as she had so often before. When she had her work, she didn’t need anybody and they could not hurt her in any way. She ignored Aakaash for the rest of the conference because to talk to him would be too painful. Not just for the love she had lost 15 years ago, but also for his rejection now. And she knew that her mother had been right all those years ago – Aakaash had never thought of Aakriti seriously – she had just been his play thing for a little while. And now she was finally free of all the romantic illusion that she had created for herself – and she could throw herself completely into her work.
This work is by a dear reader. She wrote this as a comment but I thought it deserved to be a full post. Thanks sioneve!
“Thud…” He was thrown on the bed so hard, he wailed, more from the shock than pain, which irritated his mother even more. And he got a tight slap again. Suddenly the bell rang and he was spared from getting strangulated. He was all of three months then.
Though he never had the memories of those incidents of younger years, he distinctly remembered when he wanted to sleep with his parents once. He was of four years. His father would have loved to have him with them but the look on his mother’s face told him otherwise. But a child that he was he tried to pursue her to allow him.
“You better sleep down there; else you know what I can do when your father isn’t there!”
Oh, he knew it very well. He urinated that night again in his bed. Of course one more punishment was waiting for him for spoiling the bed. He was stripped of his clothes and was made to stand in the balcony facing the road!
He never understood why his mother behaved the way she did. His father was always nice to him. And he had noticed that mother was a different woman around him. But he was scared to tell any of these atrocities to his father since he was threatened with more dire consequences if he ever dared to do so.
But for him the scenario became a bit more pleasant when his sister came to his world. He was overjoyed to have a little bundle of love. But he was horrified when the little baby was also thrashed the way he was! It was a pure miracle that the brother-sister duo survived.
Their love for each other was like a silver lining of the black cloud.
“Chinky, I have lost my sweater today at school. I went and tried to find it but I don’t know where I lost it!” He was almost in tears and was scared to go home to face his mother.
“Kuchh nahi hoga bhaiya, don’t worry!” Chinky tried to pacify her brother, who was shaking like a dry leaf.
Miraculously their mother didn’t say a word about the sweater and they both breathed sigh of relief. But it was indeed a short lived one. The next day when he was tying a knot to his pajama, his mother came and tied it so tight that it was difficult for him to even breathe. He was left that way the whole day and when he couldn’t hold back he peed in his pajama! Thrice, since he was not allowed to change his pajama!
He was 11 years then.
He always wished that some relative should come and stay with them since that was the only time his mother didn’t met out the “punishments” to the duo. He never understood what irked his mother. Everybody in his family and extended family praised him for his behaviour and he was in good in studies too. He always tried to please his mother. Somehow he never succeeded.
But recently his anger was brewing, especially when he saw his sister also getting the brunt without any fault of her. Yet, he was courteous in his behaviour lest something irked his mother!
But today when he came from school he saw his sister standing in balcony, facing the road… without clothes!!! Something snapped inside him.
He rushed up and covered his sister! His mother came menacingly. She had forgotten that her son was now no longer a young boy whom she can intimidate physically. But she did not stop and tried to remove the blanket from her daughter. He couldn’t hold himself any longer.
“Thud…..” with all the anger brewing for all these years he hit his mother.
“Try touching her once more and you can be sure that you will not live to see a new day in your life.” The thunder in his voice conveyed the message loud and clear.
He hugged his sister and took her away with tears running down his face. Tears of what, he couldn’t understand!
“Come on, yaar! I think when one is older the need of a spouse is even more. Be it a man or a woman.” Pankti remembered her own words when she had vehemently defended elderly remarriage among her group.
“What if, God forbid, your father was to do the same? What will be your reaction then? Pankti, it is one thing to talk about something and other when you actually have to follow it!” Krish had argued.
“No, I will always be at my dad’s side if he chooses to remarry after my mother!” She had replied strongly. The discussion went on and ended without a consensus. That was about two decades ago.
Pankti had never, ever thought that she would have to take such a decision in her life. The only difference was that the decision was to be taken for her mother instead of father. Why call it a decision? Her mother had given her a choice… a choice for her mother’s life!
Of course, Pankti was not averse to the idea. Or was she?
Why, then, since she has heard of it is she so upset?
Were her debates and the talks of (elderly) remarriage just empty talks? No. And, anyways, who was talking about marriage here? They just have decided to stay together, a few days at her mom’s place and a few days at “his” place.
“Then what’s your problem?” She asked herself.
Though she was still not comfortable with the whole idea, she had agreed to meet with “the man” whom her mother thought was a “very nice person” and “she would love to meet him”!
As the duo approached him, pankti was increasingly feeling nervous. She looked at her mother and could make out that she too was not in her usual chirpy mood. Pankti went into a kind of a shock when she met Mr. Shah. He was not at all what she had conjured up in her mind. He was a slight man with a pleasant personality and slowly she became comfortable in his company.
“What did you expect, idiot!!” She reprimanded herself. “He is supposed to be 65 years old, about your mother’s age.”
But his grey cells were nowhere near 65 years… he was a jovial man and well versed too. Slowly Pankti relaxed and forgot how apprehensive she was before coming here. And she looked at her mother, her smile was worth anything.
Later that night when she was thinking about Mahadeve i.e. Mr. Shah, she realized that she never had any problem with her mother being friends or more with anybody. But she was afraid of how the other person might turn out to be. It was as if she was thinking about her child’s matrimony and not her mother’s!
Today when she endorsed their friendship with a smile she truly felt she had become her mother’s mother!!
Ritu opened the drawer fifth time since morning and sighed again. A long, big sigh!! She remembered her neighbour’s comments and she backed off. Her eyes glistened. She knew she was over reacting but she couldn’t help but feel down.
She was the most beautiful girl of her batch when she was in college. And her beauty was even more endearing for she was totally oblivious to the fact that she stole a lot many hearts on the campus when she smiled and jerked her head back to keep her hair in place. Not surprisingly, she was the most sought after girl!
When she got “attached” to Kartik a lot of alcohol flowed in the boy’s hostel…
After 5 years of marriage to Kartik and a baby later now when she looked at in the mirror she couldn’t recognize herself. Well, almost!! She has put on at least 15 Kgs post delivery! She still looked charming and beautiful with that sweet smile and cherubic face. It was just that she had filled up a bit on her curves.
She had become a woman!
But every now and then somebody would comment on how she used to look in her college days and how she has changed now. Most of the time she would just smile but sometimes she felt bad, sometimes she felt enraged and sometimes she went into depression.
Kartik was always on her side. If he was around he would shoot his favourite dialogue,
“If you want a wife, your children’s mother, a best friend, a professional, a girl-friend, a cook; all wrapped into one and still expect her to be toothpick thin then probably you are asking for too much from a human being!”
But it was not always possible to make others understand how one feels when they talk without thinking.
Today was one such day. Ritu loved chocolates and she was gifted one by her best friend today. As she was about to open it, her nosy neighbour came and commented on how much weight she has put on and how it is not good for her to have chocolates and other high calorie food! She pushed the chocolate in the drawer but couldn’t push the thoughts which were rummaging through her mind!
“Was it her fault that she was genetically prone to put on weight?
Was it her fault that she was suffering from Hypothyroidism?
Was it her fault that even after taking regular treatment she was unable to shed weight?
Was it her fault that she hardly got time to exercise on a regular basis from her multiple duties of being a wife, a mother and a working professional?
Was it her fault that she could not diet as she needed those calories to keep her going?
Was it her fault that Indian females were made to be a bit voluptuous compared to their western and eastern counterparts?
Was it her fault that media was wrongly portraying toothpick thin models and showing that was the way Indian ladies are suppose to look?”
As she stood in front of her drawer, looking at her bar of chocolate longingly, warmth enveloped her from behind. Kartik had come home early with a gift for her – a beautiful skirt and a T-shirt from the “All size” store… He knew she would look beautiful, as always, in those floral clothes!
Suddenly Prithvi came jumping and her frown was transformed in a smile of a mother! In her daughter’s constant chattering she forgot all about them.
But can she really forget them? They were always there… in front of her, day in and day out! And she hated them from the core of her heart. She felt bad for these feelings; she had grown up with all the values perfectly in place and yet, she loathed them!
And recently these feelings were taking toll on her. She seemed to be cranky all the time whenever she was at home. She lost her temper unnecessarily on her daughter and felt like crying without reason or on a small provocation.
She came from hospital and found her wardrobe to be open and her things were at display for the neighbours and relatives.
‘What the hell! ‘, she thought. But didn’t want to create a scene on the 3rd day of her marriage!
When she repeatedly got hurt by their constant lies, she asked one day why did they lie so much, it hurts her.
“What can we do if you are hurt”, pat, came the reply!
She and her husband were in midst of a crisis. They wanted emotional support from the family… They got it. From her family! She could not contemplate how parents could not feel anything for their own child now that he was married!
Her child was just a couple of months old. And even though both of them were doctors, they were not paediatricians. They got scared when their daughter kept on crying the whole night without any reason. Nobody came from the adjacent room to even ask why their daughter was crying!!!
“What could we have done!” was the answer when asked why they didn’t come and help.
One morning she opened the door and saw his mamaji and mamiji. She was pleasantly surprised to see them. Later that day she came to know that her parents-in-law had called them as they wanted to get separated from them and without her noticing they had packed all their belongings and divided the food and vessels into two so that they can take their share along with them.
“Where was I when all these were going on?” She thought bewildered.
They had even packed her husband’s childhood games and story books since they had bought it; never thinking about the child in this house!
Ultimately, as an anti-climax, they never shifted out. Apparently, they just were checking her integrity!!!
These and so many other incidences over a period of eight years have changed her from an ever smiling, bubbly, sweet girl to a frowning, irritable and some what distant individual when she is around them.
When she thinks deeply, she agrees that now the fault is not entirely theirs. She also lashes out when she can not control herself. Now, after so many years, they have started looking after her daughter better than before. Outwardly things seem to be falling into place. She knows she should forget the past and accept them the way they are. But, somehow, she is unable do so! The very sight of them irritates her to the core. And, yet, she stays with them. Though she never feels that this is her home… never!
P.S. Her husband is always with her, but asks her to be more patient! It is his love and support that has anchored her to this house.
Scene # 1, 26 June, 2008
Alarm goes off. Swati wants to snooze it badly but she knows, she can’t really do that. Springs on her feet and she is up and about! With a whirl wind, she freshens up as soon as she can and is already in the Kitchen by 5:55 am
Cooker is on the first burner of the gas stove, milk on the second, vegetable on the third!
The alarm goes off again! (She keeps multiple alarms so that she doesn’t forget to wake her child up!)
“Please, bachchaa, get up! Its 6:15 now…” she cajoles her 5 year old to get up for the school.
As she makes her ready by giving her a bath, brushing her teeth, suddenly she remembers… MILK….. runs in the kitchen……thank God, it has not spilled over!
Runs back to her baby, makes her ready for the school!
“Drink your milk fast, sweet heart!” She coaxes her child. Suddenly the alarm goes off again! (Bhaago……..! Time for the school bus!)
Packs snacks for the lunch box and kisses her child and waves good bye!
“Come on, yaar, get up! It’s already seven!” wakes up husband…
Cooker has cooled, now the “daal” can be prepared!
Veggie is done by now. The burner is now free for the tea for the hubby and the in-laws!
Daal on the first burner and tea on the second!
Prepare dough for the “rotis” by the time tea is done.
Served everybody, had a cup of tea standing at the kitchen platform looking at the daal so that it will not spill over!
Prepares “rotis” for the whole family of four!
It’s already 8:30 am
Punches at the office sharp at 9:00 am.
Deals with the superiors, subordinates, juggles the managerial role with that of many others.
6:00 pm boss lets her know about the urgent work which just came in.
Reaches home. Prepares food for the family.
Dinner with family.
Helps in homework of the child.
“Mom, pleeeeeeeeeease, one story!” she couldn’t refuse her sweet heart.
“Hey how was your day?” asks hubby sweetly while giving a peck on her cheek. He wanted more! She wanted it too! She smiles at him… he goes to put the light off!
When he comes back, she is fast a sleep!
Scene # 2, 26 June, 2000
Swati receives a gold medal in Skating competition. She keeps her medal with others she had won in the past in various competitions.
Her parents were proud of her as not only she was good at sports but excelled at acaedemics, too. Why, this year only she completed her MBA from an reputed university!
She is everything that is expected of her… a good wife, mother, bahu, successful professional…. everything!
Everything but herself!
Recently, very frequently, Swati has started asking herself, WHERE HAS SWATI GONE?