I am a chubby Malayali girl with average looks. I landed my first job in Chennai.
My boss was an arrogant man who came across as a perfectionist. I totally loathed him. I cringed when he was around me and his irritating nature unfailingly annoyed me.
Though both of us belonged to the same state I avoided any casual conversation with him. On a late Friday evening, I was busy finishing some work when he walked in with his laptop. I tried to wind up my work quickly but he struck a conversation with me and asked me about my family and whereabouts. He told me that though he was a Malayali, he had been raised in Ahmedabad. He said he had no friends in Chennai.
It was a brief conversation. But he seemed like a normal person to me now.
Since it was getting late, he offered me a lift. I politely declined. But he insisted so I accepted. While we were driving home he spoke of his favourite songs, movies etc. and then told me that he felt lonely in this city. He texted me after reaching his house and this continued for the next couple of days.
With every new conversation that I had with him, he seemed like a better and more likeable person to me.
We became close but he advised me not to discuss our ‘friendship’ with others in the office because it would affect the workplace etiquette. Days changed into weeks and months. We started meeting regularly for dinner and went out for movies. We spoke, laughed and giggled over cups of coffee and tubs of ice-cream. I cancelled all my plans to be with him.
My entire world shrank to this one person. He was the centre of my existence!
Despite the close relationship that we shared, he chose not to name our relationship. We were more than friends now. But I still wasn’t able to clearly decipher as to what exactly I meant to him. But I clearly knew that I had fallen head over heels in love with this person. He never uttered those 3 words – ‘I love you.’ But he made me believe that he was in love with me.
Almost a year later, I came to know from a mutual friend that he was married and had a kid.
My world came crashing down. I did not know how to deal with this crisis. I knew I could either ignore him or confront him. But the pain was too much to bear, so I decided to confront him. When I asked him about it, he initially brushed it aside. But when I insisted on knowing the truth, he decided to tell me the truth. He told me that he was married but had separated from his wife and daughter.
He said that his divorce proceedings were going on and he didn’t want to be labelled as a divorcee.
I understood and accepted what he was said. We continued with our happy routine. A couple of months later, I somehow intuitively sensed that he was not being honest with me. Earlier, he would text me all through the night. He would call me if I did not respond to him immediately. But now he had almost no time for me.
He no longer accepted my calls or answered my messages. He cancelled plans routinely now and failed to give me valid reasons for his behaviour.
We would still meet at work. But our conversations were short and formal. He would come in late and leave early. He ignored me for days together. I cried myself to sleep every night and walked in to work with puffy eyes. But he never bothered. Often he would go missing for days together for no apparent reason.
Then I got to know about some of his affairs through a common friend who was concerned enough to tell me the truth after seeing the pathetic state that I was in.
Yet, I never asked him about anything. He would occasionally call me out of the blue and take me out for dinner. I would forgive him instantly.
A couple of days before New Year’s Day, we took a weekend break along with a colleague. One night, after having a couple of drinks, he told me that he loved me. I told him that he was drunk and that he should sleep but he kept telling me that he loved me a lot. When we got back to Chennai, he promised to meet me that evening saying that he wanted to spend the New Year’s Day with me. I waited for three whole days but there was no news from him. He never responded to my calls or messages. I spent my days and nights crying in my room.
I even resorted to self-harm.
On New Year's Day, a friend of mine called me up to inquire about my well being. On hearing my story, she told me to come to her house and stay with her. I was on the way to her place when I tried calling him again. He picked up the call this time. I asked him where he was.
He screamed at me and said, “I will be wherever I want with whomever I want. Who are you to ask me?!” He then slammed the phone.
I froze. I wiped away my tears and crossed the road. Maybe I did not see the bike heading towards me because I was in a state of shock. The next thing I knew was that I was hit. When I regained consciousness, I saw that a few passersby had gathered around me. One of them offered me some water. I was hurt but minimally. I had a few bruises on my arm and knee and had sprained my ankle. My friend took me home. She informed him that I was hurt. Surprisingly, he called up. I begged him to come and meet me. But he refused. He said he had to meet someone else.
I was unable to handle his contradictory behaviour.
So I asked him if he remembered what he had told me when we had been together for that weekend getaway. He said, “No. I don’t remember anything. And even if I did say anything to raise your expectations, you can forget about it.” I was shattered. And this is how our ‘on and off’ relationship went on.
But I loved him all the more with every passing day.
One day, he left his email open on my computer. I read all the flirtatious chats that he had with his girlfriend. He had saved the numbers of his girlfriends after creating pseudo names for them. I never asked him about any of this even after knowing all this. He also took short trips within India with one of his girlfriends. I came to know about this when I found his travel tickets and hotel bookings.
Meanwhile, my parents were looking out for an alliance for me. I declined to meet any of them and even distanced myself from my parents.
I never had the courage to ask him what he wanted out of our relationship.
But every time I mentioned that my parents were looking out for a guy, he would become furious and ask me not to leave him.
It was at this time that we had to go on a 3 month all India tour for a project. We were creating a book on the 108 temples of Lord Vishnu. The team comprised of three people. I was the writer, he was the photographer and a colleague was the videographer.
Our combined efforts culminated into a photo book which received a lot of accolades.
Later on, we also got an offer from a renowned international publisher who asked us to redo the book on a larger scale to cater to the requirements of the global market. I was paid peanuts for this job and my parents urged me to look out for other jobs. But I convinced them saying that I had to stay back to complete this book because it would be good for my portfolio. I wanted to create a name for myself as a writer.
So, I declined all the good offers that came my way and focussed my attention on completing the book. Of course, I also wanted to be with him.
I worked hard for two years and did a lot of research but the content was finally ready. He continued to be the irregular guy that he was. But one day he completely wrecked my world. Both of us were at our client’s place. We were working for an elderly lady who was in her mid-50s. His sister too was staying with this lady because their entire family shared a good rapport with her.
After having our dinner, he went in and slept with this lady in her room. I was too shocked to even cry that night.
This continued for months. This woman behaved like his wife when he was with her and he avoided any kind of conversation with me.
Probably the most painful thing in the world is to see the man you love sleeping with another woman. He was in a live-in relationship with a woman who was as old as his mother. It was a public secret in the town. And the most shocking thing was that he had his parents’ consent for doing this.
I cried throughout this phase because I did not know what I really meant to this man. Every time I insisted that I wanted to leave him, he would coax me with his comforting words and keep me back.
I suffered through 3 years of this agony before I decided to quit my job and move to a different city.
I could no longer see him with other women. I somehow amassed the strength to gather the broken pieces of my heart together and moved to Bangalore. I took up a job here but he still pursued me. He had moved to Delhi by then. But we still kept in touch with each other.
Every now and then he would contact me to do some last minute editing of the book.
We did meet twice after I changed my job. And every time we met he would promise to turn over a new leaf but it was all in vain. I refrained from contacting him now and stopped taking his calls for over 6 months.
Then again he came back and pleaded with me to give him one last chance. He told me that he really wanted to make our relationship work. He said he wanted to marry me. I thought about this for a long time and then decided to give him one last chance. We spoke for a long time and he promised that we would be married within 6 months. But he asked me to lose 20 kg of my weight. He said he would marry me only after I did this.
For a second I wondered if this man loved me as a person or just loved my physical body.
Losing 20 kg of my weight was a tough task because I was a PCOD patient. But I agreed to lose weight for him. He was all that mattered to me. But he jokingly made a casual remark while leaving. He said, “If I marry you, won’t all my girlfriends ask me if I was screening all these trailers only to finally show them a pathetic movie like this?” I was hurt but he assured me that he was joking. So I trusted him and believed that everything would fall into place after this. Things were fine for a week but then he started distancing himself from me again.
I was unable to take this anymore. So I called up the guy that he said he was staying with. To my horror, I learnt that they were not even staying in the same locality.
He was actually living in with some other woman in Delhi.
I was shattered to know that he had cheated on me again. I sent him a goodbye message in which I stated that I got to know everything about him. He just replied with a ‘Good luck’ to my message. A couple of months later, I came to know that the book had been published. But this man claimed that he was the author. I wasn’t given any credits in it.
I had trusted him and loved him. But he just exploited me, both personally and professionally. I lost my life, love and career because of this man.
I had no proof to claim my rights because I had never demanded a contract from him. We haven't contacted each other after that. To this day, I still don't know if I hate him. But he has done a lot to make me lose trust in men and love forever.