Starting A New Business? 7 Key Points To Keep In Mind.
“Are you married?” he asked in an urgent and angry tone, and without waiting for an answer he continued desperately. “Please listen. It took me five bad years of a failed marriage to realize that only you and I are meant to be."
He was sure that it was her… almost! He walked briskly down the pavement, overtaking several fellow pedestrians. She wore a white top and a flowing blue skirt. Her hair flew tantalizingly behind her as it used to all those years ago.
“She looks like the summer sky in that attire as a white cloud drifts across the expanse of the vast blue sky,” he thought. “To date, she invokes poetry in me!” he smiled.
As he made his way towards her, tearing himself from in between the crowd, he recalled how flawless her skin was, with all the features so sharp. People found her beautiful but he always saw their appreciation as an exaggeration.
Perhaps God has moulded human beings from the soil of ingratitude and watered that soil with dissatisfaction. They can never appreciate what they have, what they own, even if it is perfect… until— they have lost it! He thought sadly and suddenly found his feet glued to the ground.
His guilt was too much to take him forward and he couldn’t remember those words that he had been practising for the last two years — ever since he started searching for her. Those words which he thought will bring her back. It was a state of total void; a vacuum, that he was feeling.
He stood there like a sweating corpse whose soul has been taken away from him and he could do nothing. “Watch out!” the driver from a passing car yelled along with the honk of the horn.
Startled he stumbled against the sidewalk bringing a young boy down with him along with his cycle. Some people rushed to help while he tried to trace where she had gone from the corner of his eye.
And there she was at the end of the street, sitting on her favourite chair in her favourite open-air restaurant, just like she used to do in those good old days.
She was seated in a chair with bright royal blue fabric with handles designed in shining violet. Her light blue skirt was in striking contrast with these other shades of blue. The table was surrounded by lush green plants and from behind, the colours of the setting sun were being added to these hues.
And from there, she looked like a rainbow.
As he stood up, his gaze was held in a gasp at her sight. She looked as beautiful as ever. It seemed as if she had succeeded to freeze time in all these seven years. He was 39 and she was 37.
Yet she looked the same as she used to at the time they had parted. Only she looked more fulfilled; more satisfied; and more beautiful while he had the lines of stress on his face and grey streaks on his hairline.
Dusting off dirt and reverie, he finally approached her. And why wouldn’t he? He could see his whole life ahead that from now will be spent with her. It was he who took his steps back seven years ago and now as a true gentleman, he must take the first steps forward.
He watched her lips move as she ordered the waiter cold coffee with lots of sugar and chocolate ice cream. He could easily have guessed that even without hearing it out loud. After all, that was her favourite.
And before the waiter could leave, he hastily said “Make that two.”
She turned and smiled saying “Hi”.
Her reaction to this unexpected encounter was so calm and composed that he was taken aback. It was quite the same as was the last time they had met—or rather left.
When he had broken the news to her, she took it calmly, said nothing, took out her purse, paid for their coffee and moved out as a silent tear dropped from her eye.
Her tears were raining then, her smile looks like a lightning now. But the thing that remained missing in these two stormy encounters was the roar and fury of thunder.
He took his seat and said, “Long time!”
She smiled and said “yes.”
The awkwardness of these missing years doesn’t seem to exist between them and why not they were best friends — before their break-up, he thought.
He said, “I heard that you joined that job they were offering you at that New York branch. It was such a big opportunity. I told you not to miss it at any cost. But you didn’t listen to me earlier.”
“Yes, because our relationship and you were my priority then. I knew I could excel here also and as for visiting other countries, it was always on my world tour plan that I had intended to take with you. But with your marriage, I thought that was not possible anymore, so I decided to see the world myself. And what could have been better when the office was paying for that.” She continued with a giggle, “By the way, that reminds me to ask, how is your wife?”
The word brought him out of the present moment of bliss. The last time, she mentioned that word was in the card she had sent on his wedding. It read:
“I pray that your wife will love you at least as much as I did because more isn’t possible for anyone else in this world and you will not be able to live with less. But somewhere I know she would not be able to love you and your flaws half as much as I do.”
Whether it was the Brabantio effect or some real reason, it turned out to be a disaster of a marriage. After 10 years of their relationship, he took everything about her to be granted and slowly he fanned out the initial spark and blamed it on her.
When he met his wife, he found the initial spark of excitement rekindled and at its age, he decided to marry her, breaking off the old ties. He told her, that this new girl in his life is more beautiful and made him happier.
And she was baffled at the idea of more beautiful as he never told her that she is beautiful so she has nothing to compare.
What had been her real beauty dawned upon him after his marriage. She knew him better than anyone else. She could understand his silence; she understood his words; she could make out what his mood was even by the pattern of his breathing, leave alone his looks or voice. She left nothing desired for.
She was perfect for him. And this was what made her a mere commodity for a comfortable life in his life.
He couldn’t love her as a person because she became an indispensable thing to him.
And what he didn’t realize was that this thing couldn’t be bought or replaced. He never knew that she had been his life support system until he married his wife who knew that she had been valued and preferred over some girl he had ten years of the relationship already had the upper hand in the relationship.
She knew she need not take the pain and efforts for their marriage as she is the loved one in this union and he is the one who loves her. Having these love roles reversed he realized how he made his previous relationship cold.
He realized that a relationship requires two persons who work towards it equally in the magnitude of love and effort. And even when he didn’t provide her with that, she continued to love him while he couldn’t love either of them-his wife and her.
“We are divorced.”, he finally said.
“You were right. She couldn’t love me half as much as you do. It has been five years.”
The waiter arrived with their orders and he was thankful that it gave a break to the direction their conversation had taken him to. He brought two cups of black coffee with vanilla ice cream without sugar.
“At least the ice cream remains constant,” he said with grim humour.
She smiled and picked up her cup to take a sip. It was then that he noticed her ring finger. There rested the same ring she had once asked him to buy for their marriage. He had never proposed marriage to her. Somehow they understood that they love each other and started living together.
But they knew that it wasn’t some passing affair and they will marry each other eventually. It was before his wife happened.
That was the ring she had asked him to give her at their engagement. He felt some sort of possessive claim on it.
How can she take it from someone else? She had always told him that she will love him forever and will never marry any other man.
How can she do this to him? He felt betrayed. All the hopes he had cherished throughout these past two years shattered at that one sight.
“Are you married?” he asked in an urgent and angry tone and without waiting for an answer he continued desperately. “Please listen. It took me five bad years of a failed marriage to realize that only you and I are meant to be.”
He continued, “I have gone through the pain and I don’t want you to suffer. What happened to us? We are meant to be together. I had waited for two long years to tell you that I love you. You always knew I did and you always understood it without any effort on my part.”
“So what happened now? You can’t marry someone with whom you aren’t meant to be. You can’t marry someone you aren’t in love with. You can’t marry him. Tell him that… Please stay with me.”
He watched her finish her coffee. Seven years ago the coffee was cold that she drank with a warm lump of emotions that were filling her throat.
Now the coffee was warm but her eyes were as cold as the winter snowfall-beautiful but cold. He watched her with a plea in his eyes trying to melt them with his own emotions. She said nothing, took out her purse, paid for their coffee and moved out again.
“Yes, I am married,” her voice came from behind.
“I have every right to. I have experienced a bad relationship that failed even after ten years of unselfish and unfailing love. I loved a man. I remained through all his ups and downs, supporting him. I gave him all that I had without realizing that I have become crippled in the process.”
“And then he left me crippled and brutally injured to the depth of my soul.”
Her voice was steady, “I thought why I am not dying out of the pain from it. It was then I realized that I am being supported in the same crippling way by someone as I supported you. That someone never did hurt me after being continuously hurt by me. That someone never complained but always loved. For that someone, I always remained the most beautiful girl ever. Do you want to know who is that special someone? It’s me!”
She continued, “In the process of loving you I forgot to love myself but myself never stopped loving me. I won’t die as an old spinster as I know what a man-woman relationship holds. I won’t regret not having any relationship. I decided from my experience that none of us is meant for other or belongs to others.”
“We belong to ourselves and are meant to be with ourselves. You need to heal your bruise from somewhere else because I am not your nurse anymore. This wedding ring I bought to mark my commitment to myself. I promised that I will never let anyone hurt me again. And I won’t let you do that again.”
He felt like the leaves of fall, lifeless and shaken even by the softest touch of breeze, as he watched her go.
Image source: Triloks via Getty Images, free and edited on CanvaPro
Dr. Nishtha Mishra is an internationally published author. She is a Doctorate in English Literature from one of the reputed Central Universities. She has been an all round topper and has 5 gold medals to read more...
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There are many mountains I need to climb just to be, just to live my life, just to have my say... because they are mountains you've built to oppress women.
Trigger Warning: This deals with various kinds of violence against women including rape, and may be triggering for survivors.
I haven’t climbed a literal mountain yet
Was busy with the metaphorical ones – born a woman
Fighting for the air that should have come free
And I am one of the privileged ones, I realize that
Yet, if I get passionate, just like you do
I will pay for it – with burden, shame, – and possibly a life to carry
So, my mountains are the laws you overturn
My mountains are the empty shelves where there should have been pills
When people picked my dadi to place her on the floor, the sheet on why she lay tore. The caretaker came to me and said, ‘Just because you touched her, one of the men carrying her lost his balance.’
The death of my grandmother shattered me. We shared a special bond – she made me feel like I was the best in the world, perfect in every respect.
Apart from losing a person who I loved, her death was also a rude awakening for me about the discrimination women face when it comes to performing the last rites of their loved ones.
On January 23 this year, I lost my 95 year old grandmother (dadi) Nirmala Devi to cardiac arrest. She was that one person who unabashedly praised me. The evening before her death she praised the tea I had made and said that I make better tea than my brother (my brother and I are always competing about who makes the best chai).
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