As a 31 year old bachelor from a small town in Jharkhand employed in a firm abroad (a so called happy NRI), and like all Indian parents my parents too wanted me to settle down in life.
“We’ll find you a good girl. Get married.” What irony that is!
What else do you want in life when you have your own house in Bangalore, and a car that speaks for itself? I decided to be a dutiful son and get married as per their wishes.
We found the “perfect girl” on a matrimonial website. Her parents approached us and expressed the greatest interest in getting us married. She was very well educated and was working in a prestigious place. She had all the brand names tagged to her. What else could my parents and I hope for? She was a catch.
Our meeting was arranged and I met her in the presence of her parents; her father was strictly against the idea of me meeting her alone. I wondered why they were being so old school, but I respected their wishes anyway. Within an hour of our meeting, it seemed as if her father would get her married to me that very day. It was odd that I didn’t feel flattered at all. Still, we told them to take some time to talk to the girl and only then let us know their decision. After a day or two her father called my parents and told them that she was more than happy to be a part of our family, she would consider it her blessing to be one of us — but the only concern is that I have to relocate to India and be employed in Bangalore. I was stunned that they had asked for such a thing. I had a wonderful job that would be foolish to leave. Still, I agreed. Yes I agreed. She was the “good girl”, and I would get to stay closer to my family.
I was more than willing to make that sacrifice, all the while telling myself that it was “change for the better”.
My parents had a personal conversation with the girl on the phone to find out whether anything was being imposed on her, to which she disagreed saying it was entirely her decision. As a dutiful son to my parents, I ignored my turmoils and decided to return to my homeland after getting married.
Our engagement date was fixed on 17 August 2013. I too started dreaming of a happy married life back in India, close to my near and dear ones. I decided to give my would be fiancée a visit in Bangalore before the D day; I wanted to make an impression on my future wife by gifting her some of the latest gadgets I got for her and her favorite Lindt chocolates which she had asked for when we spoke on the phone. We had decided that we would spend some quality time together to know each other before getting engaged. I landed in Bangalore and got ready to meet my fiancée. I called her, not once, not ten times, but all day long but not once did she pick up her phone or respond in any way. In a disastrous mix of jetlag and panic, I was relieved when she finally picked up my call. She cancelled on me, claiming that there was a friend’s party to attend, but I didn’t care. At least she had spoken.
The next day, I got all dressed up and went to pick her up from her PG on my bike. You know that feeling when you finally hit the road with your favourite bike, and the love of your life will join you and make the ride all the more memorable? It ony ended in disappointment because she refused to come on my bike. She behaved as if I was being indecent. I did not want her to be uncomfortable in any way, so we took a cab instead.Dinner — with its soft lighting and its low music, every detail looked after so she gets her favourite food in one of the best places. I had put every beat of my heart into making it special for us, but the whole thing backfired so badly when she flatly said that she didn’t want to marry me. I received the shock of my life when she claimed that she just wasn’t ready. And I had no choice but to accept it because nobody could force a girl into a marriage, right? To add to it, she said that her parents should not know that she cancelled. She asked me to cancel it from our end. It was stupid of me to agree, but I didn’t know how to say no. We had an engagement in two days and I came from abroad for this function, but the princess was not ready for it. I tried reasoning with her but again gave up on her insistence.
I explained the situation to my parents and we decided to call it quits from our side. My parents called her family and told them that their son does not want to take this relationship to the next level and pleaded with them to forgive us. Even when my parents were willingly demeaning themselves by doing this, I said nothing because I had honest concern for her welfare.
Like any girl’s parents will do, they too started blackmailing us emotionally that people who don’t have daughters don’t understand what a girl child’s parents have to undergo. We had no other option but to tell them the truth that it was their princess’s decision not ours and we do not want to reason with her now as it’s her life.
Here’s when her father astounded us with his logic. If she did not want to marry me, then why would she spend an entire day with me alone? Why would she personally choose our engagement rings? Obviously, she was a bit nervous about making such a big change in life. It was only temporary and we should understand. She was only a bit confused, but she was totally prepared for this marriage. She too called my parents and apologized, claiming to be very excited to be a part of my family.
I received the first message of love from her saying,“Please try to understand. I was a bit nervous. Please give me one chance. I want to be yours and only yours throughout my life.”
I also reflected on eight missed calls from her during the day and decided that I couldn’t ask for more. I too thought getting cold feet before marriage is normal (we are shown in so many movies, correct?) and now my girl was ready to be the love of my life. We had a grand engagement after which I returned to complete my last assignment before I could wind up and come home.
A series of phone calls started between us. I would surprise her with gifts occasionally, which she would be happy to receive. It seemed life was going smooth and I started feeling that my parents were right in their idea of me getting married. What is the point in earning money if you have nobody to share your happiness with? I found contentment in making her happy. I gave her everything with all the sincerity in the world. I refused to accept anything as part of her Dowry because it seemed to demean my love for her.
We got married in the end of January 2014 and shifted to my flat in Bangalore in February.
One day my sister told me, “Bhabhi seems to have a special friend whom she speaks with a lot. Things seem okay now. Don’t worry, everything will be okay.”
A thousand doubts stormed through my mind, but I took faith in my sister’s words. Soon enough, I found out that she had a boyfriend and she assured me that she was trying to get over him. After all, overcoming your first relationship is difficult. I understood and gave her space. But it only became worse. She seemed to be bonding with him instead of letting him go. I would pretend to be asleep while she spoke with him for at least two hours at a stretch all night. Our relationship never progressed.
I still tried my best — I would sometimes prepare breakfast for her, get her flowers while returning from office, help her in any household chore she did, hoping every minute that one day she would reciprocate my love. She had unnecessarily hidden her drinking habit from me. When I found out about it after the wedding, I took her to restaurants that served alcohol and slowly watched her get progressively wasted, never once shedding her inhibitions to treat me to the warmth of a conversation. I also made a point to take her out on weekends to nearby places thinking she would have a change of heart, but I was only ever a driver to her. Even as I was driving, she would be on the phone with her boyfriend sharing every single detail of what was happening — What she is doing. What she is eating. What she is cooking. What she is wearing. And if all these were not enough she would go off to sleep in the back seat every now and then. Slowly I started giving up on her, decided it’s my fate and became a passive observer of our deteriorating marriage.
Two months later, the opportune day came when my sweetheart was in an uncharacteristically romantic mood. We finally took our marriage to the next level, and just as I was about to smile at my new found love, she said “I am going to Mumbai to meet my friend” .
It was that boyfriend she was trying to get over. I mustered enough strength to ignore the pain in my chest when I offered to take her there but she refused flat out. She was going to meet him alone. And for what? I still don’t know! Meanwhile, I had done my homework and found out that she and her first love were together in the previous organization she worked for and now he is in Mumbai. They both worked in Delhi before and it seemed like they had deliberately moved to different cities. My sweetie did not have a Facebook account as she said she did not want people to know much about her (this she told me after marriage). But she had kept all her love letters and flowers openly in the drawer. I had seen the letters and greetings before too but never read them as I wanted to ignore those things, but now things had gone out of hand. I got angry and told her if she goes to Mumbai she should not enter my house again. Talking on phone was okay but meeting him again in person was too much. She insisted that she was going to forget him.
Was talking on the phone with him all night a sign of forgetting? Was visiting him alone in a different city a sign of forgetting? Apparently, she was going to talk to him till he got married. It was absurd and illogical. It would not help either of them to move on. Despite all the drama, the fact remained that she had agreed to marry me. Nobody had forced her. And now I was being pulled into a filthy storm of tangled relationships all because of her immaturity. She was not listening to reason and in a fit of rage, I slammed the door hard. I did not harm her in any way at all, but the sound of fright in her voice when she called her parents was so deceptively convincing.
“Dad take me from this place or else this guy will beat me to death.”
I still do imagine what would have happened if I would have harmed her in reality.
Maybe I would be in some jail by now, who knows? I took the phone from her and explained about the whole thing to her father and called him to Bangalore so that we can sit and discuss on what to do next. I could not see her sitting and crying in front of me, so asked her what she wants from her boyfriend and why she hadn’t married him in the first place? Why did she marry me if she was not ready to be in a new relationship? I also talked to the guy and he asked me to give him one month’s time in which he will take her away from me with him. By this time I had lost all hopes of me getting her back in my life. I knew whatever ways I try, this girl is not meant to be mine.
Meanwhile another development took place behind my back, and without my knowledge she had planned to take leave and go to her parents’ place informing me only at the last moment that she had booked her flight to her place and that she was leaving Bangalore and going forever. I left her to the airport and informed the whole scenario to my mother. My poor, optimistic mother told me to give her another chance maybe she would realize now after visiting her parents and being counselled by them. I went to her house to get her back. I was welcomed by her parents and by her. It seemed life had changed and maybe things had fallen in place now; we came closer for the second time, all with her wishes. Nothing was imposed on her. She even thanked me for coming to take her back with me. Back in Bangalore, I noticed that her call frequency reduced. In fact, she would never call him in front of me, but one thing changed after coming back — she started working late in the office for her assignments. This was an excuse thrown on being asked.
Meanwhile, she became physical with me again. With all her love and affection, she told me to hand over her love letters and her phone which had free STD calling facility. As no relationship progresses without trust, I believed her and handed over everything and she burnt it all in front of me. I mistook it for a beginning to our new life.
Her behavior towards me changed yet again. She started doing night outs on weekends saying she had to meet her friends. I left myself in the hands of God. I would now no longer care much for her. It was as if two roommates were living in the same house without having any interaction. My mother visited us after three months of marriage just to see if things are slowly falling in place between us. I kept lying that everything was fine. I had informed my wife about my mother’s visit to Bangalore and I suppose she hit a jackpot opportunity here waiting for this moment.
During my mother’s visit to Bangalore, I received a call from my wife’s elder sister. She accused me of not accepting her in my life and torturing her by making her feel unwanted! I left my flourishing career for her. I accepted her for all the wrongs done to me. What else did I have to do?
I encountered her again after that phone call asking what exactly she wanted in her life, to which she told me, “I am being tortured here so I want to move out as I cannot stay with you any longer.”
Since my mother was already there, I also called her father explaining the whole development now and asked them to visit Bangalore so that we could discuss and find a solution to the mess. Later, I received a call one fine day from her father that they had arrived in Bangalore. But instead of helping us fix the problem, they threw more accusations at me and took my wife away. The fact that she was still hung up on her boyfriend was completely ignored and I became the culprit for everything.
Nobody cared about how demoralizing and insulting it was for me. All people did was point a finger at me because she was an angel and I was a monster with whom it was impossible to live. It didn’t matter that she was blatantly pursuing her relationship with another man while she was still married to me, but I had done the unforgivable thing of pointing it out, so I was torturing her.
Now I’m only glad that she moved out. Nine months have passed since we separated and hopefully I may get a divorce in another 3 months from now. They have agreed to file for divorce this month from their side as I do not want to fall in to a legal mess in India.
This is the plight of troubled men in this country. They cannot even raise their voice against the wrong being meted out to them. The laws are unfairly biased against men. I am just keeping my fingers crossed and waiting what life has in store for me. But I will forever be haunted by the accusations of not being a good enough husband. In my heart I know I tried my best. I loved her truly and only I know that. But now I’ve lost faith in my ability to love. I kept thinking that true love wins all, but why did it fail to win her heart?