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She and I broke up, the way regular, heterosexual people break up! Wait a minute! You don’t think YOU have changed, do you?
Here is the second winner of our July 2017 Muse of the Month contest, Tanvi Sinha.
The cue for this month was from the movie Margarita With a Straw. Women more often than not prefer to do the usual and follow the herd instead of owning their life’s decisions. It is their life, it is their decision. Sexuality is something that we are born with. If my sexuality and sexual preference makes anyone uncomfortable or does not fit into the ‘usual’, then it is not my problem. Why should women or for that matter anyone adjust? This is just the way we are. Accept it or leave it.
Vanshika tried reaching her husband, Ritesh for the fifth time that Friday night. He would disconnect the call again, and send a text:
Stop calling me! Told you I am in an office party! Would be late.
You are a liar!
You are a crazy, suspicious woman! Your mind is rotten!
But Vanshika trusted her instincts. He must be ogling at that new joinee in his office, Rangoli. She had seen his text messages to that woman. From her profile picture, Rangoli looked very attractive. She could not see her face clearly as she was wearing sun-glasses, posing on a beach. A little more prodding with Ritesh had revealed that Rangoli was a recently joined employee in another team, senior to him with the clichéd disclaimer that they were ‘just friends’! But Vanshika had seen her husband’s face light up every time he would text her.
Ritesh was a balding, overweight man with a growing paunch. He was not even rich. What did this pretty, mature woman see in him? How come she was not married yet? What kind of values did she have, reciprocating the interest of a married man?
Their marriage was already a disaster. They loathed the sight of each other. An affair would just crumble it completely. She had to prevent it.
The next evening, as Ritesh came home, she sent a text message to Rangoli from his phone, asked her to meet at Hard Rock Café. Rangoli agreed. For a wannabe adulterous husband, he was not very smart! She had managed to crack his phone password yet again, delete the conversation and block Rangoli’s number.
Two hours later – Hard Rock Café
Vanshika could spot Rangoli from a distance. There she was in a corduroy pair of trousers, and a formal shirt. She had flawless skin, shapely legs and a generous bosom. She was even more gorgeous than her picture. Why did God make wicked women so beautiful?
She tip-toed quietly to Rangoli’s table. The cunning woman was about to get the shock of her life.
Unsure what she would do next, Vanshika tapped the table. Rangoli looked up from the menu and flashed a welcoming smile.
Those hazel eyes. The dimple. The soft, full crimson lips!
“Roli?” Vanshika exclaimed in disbelief.
“Yes, my dear, Vansh!!” said Rangoli, her eyes shimmering with mischief.
It all came flashing back. The all girls’ party after her 12th grade exams. Vanshika’s high school clique had been invited to her best friend’s posh bungalow, whose parents were out of town. It was the first time they had tried alcohol. The host’s cousin, Roli didi had come to stay with them for a six-month internship in the city. Roli didi was tall, pretty and spunky. Vanshika had taken an instant liking to her. She was delighted when Roli didi decided that they would be sharing a room.
What happened that night is still etched in her memory. The desire that she had heard her friends talk about for their boyfriends, was unknown to her. She had never found men attractive. Her friends would make fun of her when she would talk about her crushes on movie actresses. But when Roli touched her, she knew. This is what love felt like.
Roli and Vanshika continued to meet for the next few months until Vanshika’s mother had caught them one day, kissing. She had slapped her, and shamed her. She was told that she is sick. She was taken to a baba, and given some weird things to eat. Her parents made her complete a bachelor’s degree through correspondence. They did not want to take any risks by sending her to college. Ritesh’s proposal was the first one to come. She was married off. She had forgotten her moments with Roli as an unattainable dream, too good to be true.
“I am surprised you did not recognize me from the profile picture!” said Rangoli, bringing Vanshika back from her trance.
“So, you were still in love with me! You kept looking for me and befriended my husband to get to me?”
“Whoa! Control the imagination! I am not some Bollywood hero who would go to such extents! I did not know you were Ritesh’s wife, honestly. I joined the office, and from the very first day, he started flirting with me! One day when he texted me, I saw the display picture of the two of you together. I was amused! When I got a funny text from his number, I knew it was you. He never texts, ‘Baby l want to feel you!’ He is horny, but he is not a moron! He would never risk a sexual harassment case!”
“I can’t believe this. How stupid of me! I did not even know your real name, Roli! So, you have… You have changed?”
“Haha! No, my dear Vansh. You are still as naïve. What is there to change? I was always happy with who I was.”
“You are not married?”
“No. I was in a relationship with a lovely girl for four years. But we parted ways.”
“Oh! Why? She changed?”
“What’s with you and change? Nobody can just change! It is not a disease that needs to get cured! She and I broke up, the way regular, heterosexual people break up! Wait a minute! You don’t think YOU have changed, do you?”
“Me!! What do you mean!”
“You know what I mean. Don’t pretend you don’t remember what happened between us?”
“Don’t remind me of that stupidity, Roli! I was not even 18. But you were an adult. It was technically an assault!”
“Wow Vansh! That is how you convinced yourself! So, you did not like what happened? Agreed, you were three months short of your 18th birthday then! You had just started to discover yourself. I already knew who I was. But I can’t believe that at this age you are living a sham life, denying being a lesbian!”
Vanshika looked around almost in a reflex, afraid somebody would have heard Roli.
“Shut up, Roli. I am a happily married woman!”
“Sure, you are married! But who are kidding dear? You are in a sexless marriage. You ruined not just your life, but your husband’s. He told me you are a crazy woman, who is never in the mood, and marrying you was the biggest mistake of his life! Poor guy hits on every damn woman at work!”
“Well, that’s the nature of men! They are philanderers!! They always want something new.”
“Let’s forget about him for a moment. What about you? How are you living such a lie?
“Roli, what happened between us was a mistake. I was young. I could not let that mistake ruin my life. That does not mean I am not a normal girl. Ritesh and I are a respectable couple in society. Had I not got corrected then, I would be like you today – unmarried, wandering, and settling for little bread crumbs offered by confused women and married men!
“Wow! You think my life is pathetic? At least I am true to myself. I have had caring partners, and fulfilling relationships. But you! Your life is hopeless! You and Ritesh will keep each other away from finding love. Or end up cheating on each other! Go back to your fake life. But if wisdom ever prevails, give me a call. I am well connected, and could set you up with someone…”
Vanshika stormed out without letting Roli finish.
She reached home to find Ritesh asleep. It was another night they would spend as complete strangers. During the first year of their marriage, she had tried to love Ritesh. But every time he touched her, her body cringed. Sometimes he would go ahead anyway. Sometimes, he would stop, reasoning that she needed time. But soon, he had started feeling rejected and humiliated. He had concluded that she did not like him because he was fat. He stopped trying at all. The frustration within both of them manifested into fights for the most trivial things. There was so much resentment yet neither of them mustered the courage to change anything. They were afraid to end up alone.
Give me a call. I am well connected. I could set you up with someone…
That night as Vanshika went to bed, she felt a thrill, as she played the thought in her mind. She fantasized about her encounters with Roli, and the feelings she had tried so hard to suppress came gushing back to excite her.
Two months later
Ritesh and Vanshika were out for dinner. Ritesh was surprised that Vanshika wanted to go out. She had dressed up too. Was he about to get lucky?
“Ritesh, I have something to tell you!”
“I am a lesbian.”
Ritesh became silent. His big, chubby face suddenly looked so small. Over the next hour, she explained everything to him. How she had met Roli, how she was attracted to her, how her mother had responded, how she was brainwashed to the point that the desires within her had died.
“It was never your fault. I am sorry. I should not have married you. We should let each other go. Both of us deserve happiness.”
“So you were having an affair with this Roli girl all this time?”
“Oh no. We were not in touch. I met her recently. You know her. She works in your office. Rangoli!”
“Rangoli is a lesbian? Unbelievable! Man!! Such a waste of beauty! It is a loss to mankind!”
“Your wife just told you she is a lesbian. And you are more concerned about the woman who you have been hitting on since three months? Someone has said it right. The opposite of love is not hatred, it is indifference. We both really don’t care about each other! But that is the kind of damage a marriage like ours does.
“I will be moving out of the apartment soon.”
It took two years for Vanshika to complete the divorce proceedings. Despite such an earth-shattering revelation, both the families thought it would be better for them to ‘correct’ Vanshika. They even suggested that they should have a child to resolve this problem.
Vanshika is in touch with Roli although she has not started dating women yet. She feels let down by everybody in her life. She wants to forgive her parents. She still feels guilty about Ritesh. The bitterness of the past years had weighed down her spirits.
But it is also a new beginning. She is trying to love herself.
The correction has begun.
Tanvi Sinha wins a Rs 250 Amazon voucher, as well as a chance to be picked one among the top winners at the end of 2017. Congratulations!
Image source: pixabay
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I like to write about the problems that have plagued the Indian society. I feel
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Knowing oneself is the first and foremost thing required to have a successful life, as i believe, for which we need to gain patience to explore ourselves. Else we end up forcing ourselves to lead a mechanical life like Vanshika, which has no goal like a sea water, that often touches the shore and heads backward. However, it can be “corrected” once realized.
Yes Sanjay. Absolutely.
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