Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Unrequited Love

I was waiting outside the diner in my car, nervous and anxious. From where I was seated I could see Nihal and Mahesh sitting inside the diner. I wish I could hear them speak, but I couldn’t and my stomach was in knots with anxiety.

I was worried that I might lose Nihal. What if Mahesh wanted to keep our son, what if he demanded custody? But then I reminded myself that since we never married he didn’t have any legal rights over my son.

I was seeing Mahesh after 17 years. He had not aged gracefully. There were deep dark wrinkles lining his once handsome face and his head which used to be covered in a thick dark mop of hair now showed bald patches. I remembered how girls used to swoon over his good looks and his charm.

I met him when he joined as the Managing Director of the Event Management Company that I worked for. He was the youngest MD that our company ever had and the most dynamic one too. I was his personal assistant and that meant I took care of everything in his professional life.

Like most girls in our office I was in awe of him. He was a kind, philanthropic man and at the same time he could be firm and unyielding in office meetings. He had an alluring confident aura around him. I guess I had developed a crush on my boss.

It was almost a year after he had joined our office when our company merged with another giant company. As part of the merger, Mahesh had to attend a conference in Singapore for a week and as his personal assistant I had to travel along with him.

The first day of the conference went well. We were invited for a party hosted by the company that we were merging with. It was at a popular discotheque and I had a few glasses of wine above my capacity. I was feeling happy and giddy when Mahesh sat next to me.

‘Hey Sunita, you look pretty sloshed. Should I escort you back to your hotel room?’

‘No, I’ll be Ok. I should be fine. I think’.

My legs buckled as I tried to walk and I had to hold onto Mahesh for support.

‘Let me drop you back. You can hold my arm as we walk’, suggested Mahesh.

As we drove back to our hotel room I saw the beautiful shores of Changi Beach. It looked so serene and calm at night. On an impulse I asked Mahesh if he wanted to go for a walk. The gentleman that he was, he acquiesced.

It was the most romantic moment in my life as we walked along, with the moonlight shining bright and the waves beating rhythmically. We held hands together and talked about our lives. I came to know that although Mahesh had a few affairs he had never fallen in love.

As I looked at Mahesh, he pulled back a strand of hair that had fallen over my forehead. The gesture unleashed my restraint and broke open a dam of desires that I had unsuccessfully tried to reign in. I kissed him right there with all the longing and intensity. Mahesh kissed back with equal fervor. As we headed back to our hotel room we were in frenzy. We couldn’t wait to explore each other.

Somehow Mahesh knew that this was my first time and he was gentle but I could sense that it took all his will to be patient. And for that I loved him even more. I surrendered my heart to him completely, without any questions asked.

The week that we spent there was unforgettable. We never made any promises; I knew that probably we had no future together but I didn’t care.

On the last day of our stay in Singapore, Mahesh took me in his arms.

‘Sunita, the past week was amazing but I just wanted to make myself clear that I’m not in love with you. I know we never talked about our feelings towards each other. You are a sweet attractive girl but I’m not in love with you. I don’t want to give you any false hopes.’

It was an awkward moment. I knew what we had was nothing serious but hearing him say it aloud sliced through my heart like a knife.

I waved my hand nonchalantly at him. ‘Of course Mahesh, I don’t love you. It was just that we were away from home and I was feeling lonely. These things happen. And once we are back I promise things will be same as before. ‘

But I was wrong.

When I returned back I realized that I couldn’t stand seeing Mahesh every day. I couldn’t face him day in and day out. I thought of quitting my job. Seeing him every day reminded me of those cold nights when we had snuggled close to each other under the warm cover of the duvet.

I was deliberating on my decision to quit my job when I came to know that I was pregnant. The world came crashing down on me. I couldn’t tell Mahesh about it as I was sure that he wouldn’t want to do anything with the child.

I quit my job and moved to another city and started my life afresh. I decided to keep the child as I just couldn’t kill a life for a mistake that I had committed.

And less than nine months later, Nihal was born. He was a very happy and active child, his curious mind grasping things at a much faster rate than children of his age.

He used to enquire about his dad frequently. He wanted to know why his father never accompanied him to soccer practices like other fathers did or why he was never there to cheer him on during cricket matches. I was at a loss of words during these conversations.

As Nihal grew older, his questions grew more persistent about his dad. A couple of months ago, he came back from soccer practice and threw his bag. He had a sullen expression on his face and he looked angry.

‘Nihal, what happened? ‘, I asked him as he started to throw his books around.

‘Mom, am I a bastard? Am I a child born to a slut who just wanted to enjoy few minutes of pleasure? Answer me, mom. Are you a slut?’

I was so shocked at his crude and offensive words that I slapped him.

‘I know those words hurt you mom. And it hurts me too when my friends say it, when the neighbors say it. I need to know the truth. Please mom’.

That’s when I realized that it was time for Nihal to meet his father. It took me a couple of months to track down Mahesh and get an appointment with him.

As I looked on, the two men came out of diner and they hugged each other. I felt a pang of pain in my heart. Nihal misses his father, it was wrong of me to hide the truth from him for so long, but what could I have said him? That he was born because I fell in love with a man and offered myself to him and the same man never had any intentions to marry me?

I got out of the car and hugged Nihal.

‘I’ll be waiting for you in the car, mom’, he said as he moved forward.

I was left facing Mahesh. ‘Why didn’t you tell me Sunita? Why? At least you should have informed me.’

‘I was not sure how you would take it. I mean we were not in love and I didn’t want to force you into committing on anything.’ I replied honestly.

‘You have a great kid there. Would you mind if Nihal and I meet occasionally. I mean he’s an awesome kid and he says that he’s the soccer team captain. I wouldn’t mind watching him play sometime, you know’. Mahesh was trying to gauge my expression. Maybe he had an inkling of my apprehensions.

But I was ecstatic. Suddenly I was not insecure, I was just happy for Nihal. No one could take away my son from me. That was the bond I shared with him.

‘Of course, you can Mahesh. Thank you.’, I beamed at Mahesh.

As I sat in the car I looked at Nihal. I could see that he was excited and happy.

‘Mom, I’m sorry I spoke to you harshly and my attitude towards you has been rude. But now I understand that you are an amazing woman and I respect you for it. You gave birth to me even when you knew that you would have to bring me up single handedly. Thank you mom for giving me an opportunity to live’, said Nihal .

As we hugged each other, there were tears in our eyes. There was a new hope, a new dream in our lives. We were going to be alright.


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14 comments:

  1. sweet :)
    loved the narration, I was hooked till the end !!

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  2. Amazing one..loved it..gripping indeed.

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  3. I really like reading your fictional work.. very nice :)

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  4. Kids grow fast and they understand and respect the decisions of their mothers. Lovely read.

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  5. Wonderful read!... Loved it... I know you would have heard it over and over again but still let me repeat 'Your writing is so good!' :)

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  6. Awesome read!! enjoyed thoroughly

    http://blogatcynthia.blogspot.in/2013/06/swindler-in-disguise.html

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  7. This is really beautiful. Makes me want to read it again, as it oozes feelings.

    P.S: I'm your 50th follower. Happy half century! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Soumya, for the comment and for following my blog :)

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  8. very beautiful indeed. love-in its selfless, true form. great writing.

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