Here’s the second part of the four stories novella that deals with love, marriage, and relationship, by Meenakshi, in the weekly column. A Different Truths exclusive.
Hi! I am Rishika. I divorced recently. And I run my own little clothing line. I know I started my introduction with the divorce bit and it’s kind of unsettling but then that has become my name tag wherever I go. People now refer to me as the poor, young, divorcee with the young baby, helpless, demure and now available for any man who will show her some love. Unfortunately that’s been my tag name so long that sometimes I believe it too. I am now more than ever wary of any man talking to me for more than five minutes.
I am cynical and skeptical too of a lot of things. And chief among them is marriage! How a divorcee would know much about marriage, you will ask. But let me tell you, we have become experts in human behaviour more than relationship advisors. I can tell you when a person is happy in a relationship and when they are suffocating.
Yes, I knew about Ravi the instant I saw him in the theatre the first time. Okay, here is the scene. He was coming out of the theatre with his wife and two sons. All of them were talking very animatedly and everyone seemed excited about something except Ravi. He was superb at masking his feelings in front of his family but I knew instinctively that he wasn’t happy. Rather he did not share the same enthusiasm his family shared. Something was amiss. And when for a brief second our eyes met, his look spoke volumes. No, this was not the moment when things “happened” between us. That happened much later.
We met accidently at a conference in Pune. He was representing his company and I was attending to build my network for my business. It was a purely business meeting and I did mention to him that I had seen him earlier at a theatre, to which he was thoroughly embarrassed and confessed that the movie almost killed him! That was the point that lead us talking and we realised that we could talk for hours flat and not get hungry at all. The rest of the conference was a blur and we enjoyed each other’s company thoroughly.
That night both of us went to our respective rooms feeling so wonderful about ourselves. For the first time in my life, I could hold a conversation and that too an interesting one for so long. I had always grown up with the image of a gawky, introverted child who didn’t like most “normal” things and liked walking and trekking and sleeping on the grass. I would wander to such wonderful places in my day dreams that it would be physically tiring to sit through any lecture for more than 15 minutes!
And here was a man who loved exactly what I loved and it didn’t feel weird at all. It was so wonderful to know a man who was quiet yet had a very deep knowledge of the world. That day I realized that two things happened. I had found a great friend and he had found a friend in me. We promised to stay in touch and we started talking, chatting and generally updating each other about our lives.
A year went by and both of us had never even remotely felt the need to get physical with each other. We just bonded so well that we would joke to each other that we were like long lost friends. Best friends at that. He could tell me his darkest secret and I could tell him anything under the sun and never feel judged. We just loved each other’s company and we respected each other deeply. On time, we also planned a trip together. I had asked him to introduce me to his family so that we could all travel together. My son would have company and I was very keen to know more about his wife who was talented (she wrote poetry! Whereas I can barely sign well on papers!). She had decorated the house so beautifully and clearly he was very proud of her. Yes, he did talk to me about the intimacy and between us we made a pact that we would not push each other when the conversation got uncomfortable. But he chose to tell me everything and he also confessed that he felt he had failed her on many levels. Anyway, when we were to actually meet, his wife and me, his wife was very upset and she fought with him for cheating on her and she threatened to leave him if he met me or texted me.
How do I know this? Didn’t I tell you, we were best friends? Hahahahaha! He promptly called me and told me how she completely misunderstood our relationship and accused him of cheating and brought the roof down with her hysterics.
It’s a fact, the relationship I shared with Ravi was out of the ordinary. We were not lovers. We were best friends but this society doesn’t understand that. How can a divorcee be just friends? How can a man and a woman just be friends? How is it possible that when they meet they don’t get physically intimate? How can two people of the opposite gender get along so well and not be in a relationship? What is a relationship based on? Physical intimacy? Then we didn’t have a relationship at all! And if it was based on what we shared as two individuals, then yes, we were in a relationship with each other. But I’d want to clarify here that what we shared was a simple, beautiful friendship that ran deeper than the friendship definitions of our childhood or adulthood. We in a sense, redefined the word friendship!
What’s in the future for us? We don’t know! Either we continue to stay friends and this time a whole lot more clandestinely or we break off from each other and say goodbye to a beautiful relationship we had forged which lead both of us to rediscover ourselves, enjoy ourselves better, accept each other as we were and share a relationship that didn’t expect either of us to be any different from our original selves! So, yes, time will tell what will actually happen to us and our “relationship”!
(To be continued)
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Meenakshi is an alternative therapist/ healer, recruitment freelancer, volunteer at the Spastics Society of Karnataka, works for a women-centric NGO, Durga, and an entrepreneur. Recently she started an enterprise in association with some weavers, in sarees and accessories. Writing poetry, prose, articles and short stories is her favourite pastime. A keen observer of life, she gets her inspiration from everyday situations, and people that make her canvas come alive with their lives, styles and emotions.