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Commitment never goes out of fashion, and if it does, the world will truly be a sad place to live in, says this short story. Agree/Disagree?
21st February 2018
You have finally championed the art of heartburn, so much so that it can burn the world around you. Guess after 10 years, this is truly my final adieu to you. You see Vikram, I am exhausted…exhausted of carrying you and the storm within you in my heart for so long. My heart feels sore and my feelings lie tattered. You are so angry with me that merely hearing me smile, laugh, and talk peacefully vexes you. What an irony, isn’t it? The love that once was, is tarnished by the fumes of resentment and hatred that you feel for me. You have so much of you still bleeding that I cannot soak it all even if I want to. And it wasn’t really my fault.
I have come to understand something about love, the love that we shared. It came at the wrong stage of life. I was 19 when I first met you. St.Stephens was my dream college and I had come from Dhanbad to Delhi with a dream of UPSC in life. I was talented, the topper of my city and as my father boasted ’extremely deserving’. To not get through the hostel at St.Stephens was the start of what life had in store for me.
Had I got a hostel, I would have never met you in that Mukherjee Nagar co-ed PG accommodation. LOVE happened suddenly while I was immersed in Sigmund Freud theory and you in your job. I was so not prepared for it but I surrendered to this feeling only to realize it later that love is the most glorious form of self-harm. You accused me yesterday of ‘being happy’ in my life with my husband and daughters while you are merely surviving. Your words tore me apart. “Huh! What’s the point Naina, you anyways couldn’t become an IAS. You are a homemaker, doing what women have done for ages. If this is what you wanted from life, you could have married me. Your husband is not an IAS either.”
Really, Vikram? Is this where you place me now? Yesterday, you broke the last thread of the fragile bond that I had cradled even after we parted ways. Do not accuse me of betrayal, Vikram. My father trusted me, believed in me, and expected much from me. When I stepped into St.Stephens, he had been laid off from his job, 15 years before his retirement. You have no idea how it broke him and his family life into pieces. He is 68 now and his house back in Dhanbad still carries the sign Shri. TP Sinha, Engineer, BCCL. The organization abandoned him 15 years ago but it will live with him till his last breath. For a IIT engineer this blow was too hard and it hit right where it hurt the most. He withdrew from everything, did not ever work again and 15 thousand rupees/month was all he had to educate his two children in Delhi and ensure survival. I got through St.Stephens and I started my chase for the coveted IAS. My father’s lost prestige and identity was at stake. It couldn’t have just tossed it aside for love. It was beyond me, Vikram. He was not against you. He had turned his face away from life and I was his only hope. Why do you forget that I also compensated for a not-so-talented, academically weak and careless son who had barely managed to get through B.Com hons in Patna University?
I should have restrained myself when I first met you. But matters of heart are not based on logic or rationale. They are unaffected by the reality of life circumstances. And my reality stood between us. Vikram, I was just 21 when you and your family started pressurizing me for marriage. You were at the right stage of life. I wasn’t. You threatened me of parting ways and I accepted. You got married and I shattered into a million pieces myself. It took me a lot to gather myself and start my UPSC preparations’ only to fail twice and give up the third time. Love had done the damage. I quit UPSC. I crushed his dreams right under my feet, with my own hands and eyes blinded by what I felt for you. With you gone, a part of me died and so did my dream of UPSC. Later, I got married and here I am. Yes! I am peaceful, and content for I have chosen to be so.
But yesterday I realized that some relationships deserve a cremation. Vikram, love sometimes happens at the wrong stage of life and we have no one to blame if it doesn’t work out. I do not blame you and I wonder how long will you hold me responsible. It just wasn’t our time. I had to let you go. But to come back and shame me for my choices, my failures, my husband and my life is the worst suffering you can inflict on me.
Your words, spoken so boorishly, painfully echo in my ears, “I am sure you still love me.” You really think so? You are right. I still love you, but in ways that you cannot even come close to understanding, considering how purblind and undiscerning you seem to have become. I love you to the extent that I wish you a happy and peaceful life with your family and your children. THE END.
I care for your happiness but not at the cost of the commitment I have to my husband. You see, commitment never goes out of fashion. It is not about marriage vows, the rituals, the vermillion or the sacred mangalsutra. It’s about a promise I made to Shubham and we both are living up to it. This promise isn’t easy for anyone who is tied in the nuptial knot. It has a beauty and bliss saddled with the burden of family responsibility, the fuss, the teasing, the torment, the nagging, the confusion, the fights, the boredom and monotony and some jadedness too…you see, it’s a long life but that is what commitment is all about. We don’t choose the ‘good times and spit out the ‘the not so good times’ like an unwanted piece of ginger in a curry. Orthodox? Conventional? Thank you! I prefer it this way.
With all the saudade that a broken heart is capable of, the fact remains that me and you, each have a family, people who need us, love us and care for us and we love them and need them too in our lives. Let us not lose ‘what we have’ to ‘what could have been’. I am going …leaving you with hope and faith and with people to whom you mean the world.
Image via Pixabay
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