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If He Can Have An Affair, Why Can’t I?

Posted: April 17, 2020

She had no idea how long she had stood looking at him. The doors opened to her floor. Holding her by her elbow, Arjun guided her to her seat.

Their eyes met over a cup of chai at the office canteen. She looked away. There was something in his gaze that sent shivers down her spine. She couldn’t resist looking back. He was still looking at her. And then he winked.

She finished her chai in a hurry and took the elevator. Pressing the button, she rested her back against the wall. The women were right. There is something about this fellow, she thought. The door opened again. He came in.

Now this would be tough to handle. His presence made her claustrophobic. .

Just when she thought she could take it no longer, a hand stretched out. Long, slender fingers.

“Hi…I am Arjun. The new Manager.”

“Hi. I am Leela.”

“Ahh, a lovely name for an equally lovely lady.”

Leela blushed. She extended her hand. The moment their hands touched, a current seemed to flow through her body. And his eyes…ahhh…brown and deep.

She had no idea how long she had stood looking at him. The doors opened to her floor. Holding her by her elbow, Arjun guided her to her seat.


Arjun, the new site manager had joined their branch a fortnight ago. His good looks were the only topic of discussion in the office. While the young women were vying for his attention, the older women kept lamenting about their sodden luck.

Leela was also amongst them till that day in the cafeteria when she met Arjun.

Older than him by a decade, Leela was surprised with the effect that the man had on her. The level-headed woman was reduced to a pliant mass of nerves every time their paths crossed. And their paths did cross. At the cafeteria every day. At lunch. On their way home.

In a month, Arjun, the most sought after bachelor was openly courting Leela, the divorced single mother. What had begun with a wink over a cup of chai had steadily progressed into a raging affair. An offer to drop Arjun at his bachelors pad had found Leela on his bed the next morning. Thank God, her mother was at home that night taking care of her boy. The night-outs gradually became a weekend affair.

Leela was quite happy with the development. She believed that she had found in Arjun a soul mate and was even contemplating a future with him. “I will broach the topic of our marriage this weekend,” she decided. And she planned a gala surprise.

They were not meeting that Friday as Arjun was out of town on a tour. Leela had the keys to his flat. She let herself in and arranged the flowers and the candles. She would not go wrong with her relationship this time. The ring sat ready in her purse. It had cost her a lot. But how did it matter when it was a matter of the heart!

It was almost midnight, when she heard the lock opening. Lights were switched on. An inebriated Arjun stepped in leaning heavily against a woman. Aghast, Leela had no trouble in recognising her. The young and pretty receptionist. A sharp slap resounded. As Arjun swayed in the momentum, a livid Leela grabbed her purse and confronted him. “How could you…How?”

The man rubbed his cheek which stung.

“You scoundrel…sleeping with that bitch…”

“Ahh darling. Go and have a look at yourself in the mirror. And thank me for the good time I gave you. Otherwise who cares a fig for those saggy boobs of yours. Tell me who’s going to stick into an old woman? I was just being generous…you see! Ahh those sad eyes. They needed some light. By the way, you fared very well in bed…ahhh…oooh…those noises that you made….and those techniques….Well that’s the reason I stick around experienced women. They have a lot to teach.”

“You you…..” .

“Scoundrel? Now just get out from here and yes, leave the keys behind..”

Shaking, Leela ran away that night.

Saturday and Sunday saw her laid up in bed, distressed and saddened. It was hard to believe that fate had dealt her another blow.

Monday morning she got ready to get back to work and to learn to face Arjun again.

As she stepped in to work that morning, she found the elderly doorman refusing to look up. Strange! This was the same man who always greeted her with a cheery good morning asking her about her weekend. Ignoring it, she made her way in.

Heads looked up from their desk as she made her way to her cubicle. She checked her watch. It was not late. How is it possible that the entire office was early. As she passed by her group of friends, she waved at them. They smirked and turned their heads away. The trainee made queer noises. She tried to listen carefully. Was it an oooh? or an aaah?

Organizing her desk, she logged in to her official id. The password was incorrect. The repeated attempts failed. Exasperated she got up to check with the administration.

“Leela.”

She turned around to find Rakesh, the HR head.

“Hey good morning.”

“Could you please come in to my cabin?”

“Rakesh, sure. Could you give me ten minutes? I am unable to log in to my id. I have to check with the network guy.”

“ That can wait, Leela! Please follow me.”

In his cabin, there was an awkward silence. Leela wondered the reason behind his hesitation. She was one of their star performers.

Raising his hands up, Rakesh turned his laptop around for Leela. A video was being played on it.

“What the hell….how dare do you show me such stuff? Porn? You? I can sue you….for sexual harassment….”

“Leela. Calm down. Look at it properly.”

She looked at it closely. The man’s face was blurred while the woman….the woman…. ….that was her. Holy Shucks!

“How…how how can this happen….?” She choked.

Someone had made a sex video which featured her. A sharp pang of anxiety seized her. Drinking some water that Rakesh offered her, she tried to maintain her composure.

She realized that the videos were all the intimate moments that she had shared with Arjun. The man had captured it all on a camera.

“Rakesh…”

“I know it all. It’s been circulating in the office. It was emailed to everyone last night.”

“But it’s a…”

“A conspiracy. A ploy against you, my dear friend. I am trying my best. The only advice I have for you is take a few days off from here. You won’t be handle to handle the barbs and the taunts.”

“But Rakesh even he is into this. Everyone here knows that we were in a relationship. And then I found out he is sleeping with someone. But…why is the company victimising me? Why isn’t he being pulled up?”

“If you look at the video, the man’s face is blurred. We have no proof. Please, lie low for a while and let me sort this mess.”

“Hah, is this justice? That man stays on the job and I am being given leave. I know what’s going to happen. You will offer me a transfer. There will be no promotion. No hike. But..but that **** gets a hike. Can you tell me why? Just because I am a woman, it’s easier to blame me??”


Her predictions were right. The leave from work did spare her the ignominy. But a transfer was in the offing at the cost of her career.

The questions kept haunting her time and again.

“Why is it that the woman bears the brunt when both of us were in this together? A man can have an affair. But if a woman has one she is a slut?”

Image source: shutterstock

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Sreemati Sen Karmakar holds a Masters in Social Work (MSW) From Visva Bharati, Shantiniketan. She

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