June 14, 2016; I will never forget the day for as long as I’m alive. Calm down, I am not contemplating suicide; just commenting on the glorious uncertainties of this thing we call life. That was the day when you were in a hotel in Kolkata while I was in Hyderabad.
We were talking on a WhatsApp call, and it was the first time you confessed that you’d fallen in love with me. We had been talking for exactly two weeks, had never met before, and had only Skyped once given the craziness of your schedule and the physical distance that separated us.
I was surprised, even shocked. What could you have seen in me?
Me, a struggling startup owner, who had invested all his money into his dream, was living with his parents, and the only thing he could've offered to you was honesty and unconditional love. I was someone you had never met before and we were poles apart.
You were a gregarious, outgoing girl who hated books. I was a shy introvert, with my life stuck inside books and computers. You had seen the world. I had only ever seen Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, and Manali. You were vivacious. I was a nerd. And yet, your expression of love didn't feel unnatural. Because I too felt a connection with you.
I could be myself around you and I never felt that you judged me for it.
On that day, I was apprehensive about labeling my feelings for you as "love". But as time went on, I couldn't imagine a day without speaking to you. Your stories about visiting places like Sri Lanka, Phuket, etc. provided me with a chance to live through your eyes. And gradually, I fell in love with you.
I am a very guarded person and for good reason.
But you made me open up to you in ways I never thought was possible.
I had no hesitation in introducing you to my parents. You were the first girlfriend I had introduced to them. Because I knew that you would respect them. And never hurt them. I knew you came with your own baggage and I accepted it.
You told me about your ex-boyfriend with whom you spent 8 long years. You poured your heart out about how he abused you, how he hit you when your bag made a little noise in the elevator, how he mistreated you. And how he'd fly off the handle if you missed even a single call.
You showed me the messages where he called you names I wouldn't call a woman I hated.
It brought back painful memories of another girl I'd loved, someone that no one else in my life knew about. Her life was destroyed by a man who "loved" her in the way your ex-boyfriend loved you. She was his personal sex slave. One night, he beat her so badly that she lost their baby. Her fault? A male colleague had called her up at 10:30 p.m. to discuss an official trip.
The day I saw her for the last time, I made a promise to myself - I would never let this happen to any woman I knew, ever again.
But I was proud of you for having the courage to leave him behind. You didn't need to be saved. You had saved yourself.
The first time I saw you was when you visited me in September 2016. I remember the night clearly. I had waited at the airport for 3.5 hours, while you were frantically searching for your luggage. It took them 3 hours to inform you that it would be arriving on the next flight to Hyderabad. You were so mad. And yet, you found the time to try and help another lady in the same situation as you.
When I took you home, you never felt like a stranger in our house. The next five days were probably the happiest days of my life. My parents had found the daughter they wanted. I had found the partner I desired.
On the way to the airport on the last day, I asked you if you wanted to marry me. I could see the happiness in your eyes when you said yes.
If I had known that it was the last time I was seeing you, I would have held on to you. And never let you go.
A couple of days later, you were in China when you called me. You were hysterical. Apparently, your ex was harassing you to come and meet him. You had told him that I was someone your parents had chosen for you, and you were going to meet me. But he was trying his best to make you come down to Mumbai and meet him.
You told me he was crying, and you couldn't hear him crying.
You gave me his number so that I could call him and tell him to leave you alone. I did that, and all was well for the time being.
You wanted me to meet your parents and brother. I knew it was too soon; my startup was just beginning and there was no way I would've appeared to be in a stable position to ask for your hand. But my parents and you insisted on making things official, and I relented. I went to Mumbai to meet them.
That was when we had our first fight. We fought through the entire night of the train journey. And made up during the day.
I met your brother and parents and made sure I did everything in my power to impress them.
I was completely honest about my current economic situation. I felt it was a good start until I came back to Hyderabad and the phone calls from you started. Your mother didn't like me because I was too short. Or fat. Or whatever.
You never told me. And then on Diwali 2016, you decided to break everything off. I couldn't understand it. What happened to those promises that you would give me time to settle down in my business? That you would wait for me? That you loved me?
Was this love? Where at the first sign of trouble, you abandon ship?
But you kept calling me. The pathetic loser that I am, I still wanted you in my life. So I kept talking to you. Never mentioning what I felt because I knew it would hurt you. You started talking to your ex again. I never said a word.
You told me that you told him you were not involved with anyone else.
It hurt me like crazy, but I still never said a word. Then you told me you wanted to go meet him, to stay with him for two days so that you could finally get closure. For two years after the breakup, he never called you about closure, and suddenly, you were planning a stay with him? In a hotel?
You promised me that you wouldn't sleep with him, or have sex with him, or even kiss him. You would just hug him. I still never said a word, but you broke me that day.
Your track record of keeping promises was already showing itself.
And then, he insulted you again. And abused you. Crying and hysterical, you kept me awake till 3 a.m., never once giving thought to what I was going through. You made me cancel the ticket you had booked, only to call me up and ask me why had I canceled it. I never said a word.
When I suggested that the best time to meet him would be when you came to India on a vacation in January, you accused me of giving you the wrong advice because that suggestion upset him.
Then one day, you told me you were contemplating a future with him. What little part of me was left alive died that day. I tried to block you out. I couldn't.
Like a drug addict looking for a fix, I kept calling you back.
As was inevitable, we fought. And I called you "saali". The next words you said crushed me, "All you men are alike. You are all born to abuse. There is no difference between the others and you."
So he wanted to come back into your life, and he was still abusing you? And you were fine with it?
I couldn't call your brother or father because I knew it would make a bad situation worse. I also knew you hadn't told him the whole truth about me. I knew how your future would be if you fought with your parents to settle down with him. I had seen it happen before.
I was damned if I was going to let that happen to you. So I did what I could. I told him you were my ex, and if he were looking to get back together with you, I would owe him a lifetime's supply of beer.
It was flippant. It was light. But I knew exactly how he would take the news. I was right on both counts. I don't know what happened between the two of you, but I do know what you accused me of - bitching and trying to destroy your life. I never said a word; in fact, I fought you so that you would remain angry with me.
What I was wrong about was the fact that I thought I could live without you.
December 24, 2016; that was the last time you called me. I haven't slept more than 3-4 hours a day after that. I wake up at night and cry while I scroll through your pictures. Our pictures. Our WhatsApp conversations. You've blocked me from WhatsApp, yet I keep writing these love notes to you. I know they'll never reach you, but that is the only way I'll keep my sanity.
I used to be a complete joker. Now, I rarely laugh anymore.
I have stopped feeling. I cannot talk about this to anyone. I have terrible mood swings, where I feel extremely happy in one minute, and then completely languid the next. I have started speaking harshly to my parents. I see the concern in their eyes when they talk to me.
They never mention it, but I know they're scared that I might harm myself.
They keep checking in on me every 3-4 hours. I can't go to a psychiatrist, because if word ever got out, my potential investors would stop backing me, my clients would abandon me. And I cannot afford that.
Going to a bakery reminds me of the pineapple cakes you love. Going to an Asian restaurant reminds me of the days you spent talking to me from Malaysia while describing your Nasi Goreng. Going to the pub reminds me of the time you were here and had gone to a pub with me; you looked stunning.
Seeing the rain clouds hover over Hyderabad reminds me of how much you loved the rains.
You say you want peace in your life. And that's why you want no contact with me. But you've not stopped calling my parents in these last six months, and I've never stopped you. Every call of yours to them is like a dose of euphoria for me. And my parents. They still think it'll eventually be all right between us.
They still love their daughter. Unconditionally.
I've tried to hate you, to forget about you. I can't. I've tried dating other women. All of them remind me of your smile. Your lips. Your broken promises. Your lies.
I can no longer trust anything they say.
If you ever get to read this, you know who you are. And you know who I am. You accused me of trying to ruin your life. Now you know what you've done to mine.