I survived : Loss of young love – from heartache to wisdom

I have been wanting to write this story and get  it out of my system for a long while. It was one of the defining moments in life, a heartache so deep that it makes itself heard even eight years later. In retrospect it feels that I was such a stupid girl and so naive to obsess over something so silly, but back then it was so real, that nothing seemed more important than that.

I was 21 and doing internship for my CA course in a Mumbai firm. We used to be on outstation audits for long durations and I travelled often with my 40 year old lady boss. One evening when we were in Delhi, her nephew, working with the merchant navy, was helping her log into Orkut, the social networking site very popular back then. He was providing online tech support to his aunt and I chipped in and offered to help from this end. It got us chatting and every evening, every morning we would have long typed conversations.

This went on for over a month when I was in Delhi. He was stationed somewhere in the other side of the world, with limited connectivity. And I had truckloads of work during the day. But each day I found myself going back to the conversation from the previous night and it made me smile. Oh, how it made me smile. Each word, each thought, each anecdote of his. His voice felt like a pure miracle in my ears.

Then about 2-3 months later, he was scheduled to come to Mumbai. I danced with joy at the prospect of meeting him. Each day was a countdown to the day when I would finally meet him. He offered to take me out on a date, to his local chaiwala. Because that is where he hung out with his friends when in Mumbai. But I insisted on going to a coffee shop. There was this air of melancholy to him, which I found so endearing that my stomach still contracts at the thought of him.

His mom had run away from home and married his dad when she was 21, had two kids and was then back at her father’s house because they did not get along well. And this guy had not spoken to his father since the last 10 years. I found that hard to believe. Sometimes you so badly want to set things right in somebody’s life that you totally forget that it is not possible. It is out of your purview. But when in love, nothing seems impossible.

So we met. My heart skipped a beat. He was more handsome than the photos. We were in the coffee shop for 4 hours. Those were the shortest 4 hours in my life till then.

Later that day his mom went ballistic on him. She was afraid that we might make the same mistake that she did. He called me the next day explaining that we could not continue this further. It was over even before it started. I wanted to meet him just once, to try to get some kind of a closure.  A week later, we met again. My heart wont give me a closure, but it was over nonetheless. I spent the next one month crying at the drop of a hat. I did not want to do anything with life. Just sit at home and mope. My mom knew something was wrong, but I did not want to come out of the cave of isolation and tears.

I had the biggest exam of my life around the corner – the CA final exam and hence went on study leave for 4 months. Even in those 4 months, I hardly spoke to anybody except mom, dad and my brother. My best friend and a very close colleague knew about him, but nobody else in this world had any clue what had happened to the otherwise effervescent me. I felt shitty inside. I missed him so much, it did not feel real. I studied and then studied some more.

Then the day my exams were about to begin, he called me out of the blue. To wish me best of luck. I felt kicked in the gut. But somehow I managed to give the exam, and then we decided to meet the day my exam was over. He suggested that we should get back together. It was difficult to not to. I was anxious and hurt. But may be it could still happen.

Hope again started blossoming in the corner of my heart. How silly, silly of me. He disappeared again a few days later, off on some ship and I had no clue how to pick up the pieces of my life again. It was over, once and for all.

Was it time that healed the scar of a young heart just learning to fall in love or was it the second blow that set right the dent made by the first one? I am not sure what, but it made me stronger than I ever was. But nothing before or after that hurt as much as it did. Only unfulfilled love is romantic, they say. This was it.

In comparison to losing a parent or child, or losing a job, or getting disabled, the loss of love seems like a small thing. But at 21, at the time that it is happening, where you know no other deeper sorrow that this, it feels like the end of the world. And it was the end of the me that existed before him. I am cautious ever since to love someone so much that they can hurt you so badly.

Four years back, I met and married my husband, and he is everything that I wished for. And now after the birth of my son, it is not possible to love them half-heartedly. So I feel myself coming back. But the old heartache still persists. Somewhere in the corner, it still does.

This post first appeared here in Womens web : http://www.womensweb.in/2015/07/loss-young-love-heartache-wisdom/

Accept my mothers day wishes, mom.

Whenever mom calls, my tone of voice changes. I suddenly become authoritative. Commanding. I had not realised this till my husband pointed it out to me. And that happened when I pointed out to him – that he is so assertive with his mom.

Soon after we got married, everyday my husband would complain to my mother-in-law about the why so and so subzi was made that day, why was breakfast not served at 8 am, why did she install unauthorised apps in her mobile (which made it crash) etc etc. She would very gently try to reason with him and still provide multiple options to him if he disliked what was made. It boggled me. My man, of impeccable manners, was so rude to his mom. I started thinking. Perhaps, this is how he really is and soon he will start talking to me in that manner. And one day I took that up with him. We had a big fight (we don’t fight often, it drains us too much), and he said that its between him and his mom, nothing to do with us. And that’s when he started pointing out when I used to bully my mom on phone or in person.

Now every time I am talking to my mom I am aware of it. I try to be gentle with her. If I can be accommodative of colleagues, friends and other relatives, ofcourse I can be reasonable with her.

Mom and I have had our share of fights, oh we used to fight so much until about I was 22. Like every teenager and twenty year olds, I wanted to do everything she did not approve of. My dad, a Mumbai police office, had seen very bad things happen to girls and hence he used to be super paranoid for me. And my poor mom was always the shock absorber. Dad and me (and my brother of course) would all throw tantrums and she would be the one trying to keep some harmony while everyone threw fits of rage or silently sulked for days. But when did she get a respite? I wonder and don’t find an answer.

As far as I remember , my mom never went to her mom’s house for more that 2-3 days. And ever since I got married and before i had a baby, I  went back to stay for one night in three years. But now once baby Arjun was born, I feel so much more connected to her. When I spent the first 40 days post delivery under her care, I knew only she can handle my post-partum messiness and mood swings. Nevertheless I kept bossing her around.

Perhaps now since I am a mother , I am constantly scrutinising mother-child relationships and wonder how ours would be. Would my boy be like his father? And if he does, do I have the patience of my mom-in-law? Or would Arjun be like his mother, like me? In that case, I know that I don’t have the tenacity to withstand tantrums like my mom did.

The only cushion of comfort is when I hear my mom talking to her 77 year old mom with the same ‘Do-this and dont-do-this’ authority, I know that if they can do that for 50 years, we too can.

Nevertheless, today I will charm her. And life will go on from tomorrow.

Mom and me