“You know what, I have a crush on Randeep Hooda”, Lata screamed like a 25year something old. Every time she watches Randeep Hooda on TV screen she blushes. Not only she is attracted to men who boast matured look, she falls in love with every character in those books she read. Reading book is her favorite thing to do and fantasizing herself as the female protagonist of the story not only made her emotional but full of life and fun. Lata is a happy go lucky lady. Unlike her behavior she is 43 years old, dealing with her menopause days. She has been married since 20 years and a mother of a 16 year girl. 20 years back when she was getting married, she was very excited for her new beginning, that love which she read in books and romance. Even today she longs for it. Her husband Pankaj is a busy person. He loves Lata and he promised to give her all the luxuries and comfort. Today he has achieved himself to a position where he pampers Lata with loads of gifts and even deposits lacs of money in her account for her shopping and spa services. Still she feels lonely. Her teenage daughter, Shreya understands her to an extent but being a mother, Shreya thinks even my mom has superpowers. Lata is a school teacher. Inspite of her husband forcing her to quit job because he is a VP of a multinational company and Lata’s salary is one-tenth of his salary. Lata tries to convince him every night telling him it’s the only thing which gives her pleasure. Pankaj asks what else will give you happiness. Lata immediately says, “Your time. I want to spend time with you.” She always imagines her father and mother sitting in their garden in the evening and sipping tea. She wanted the same life. Now that she understood that, everything can be bought with money but not time. They say time is the greatest healer, but in her case time keeps on giving her wounds. She notices the behavior of her daughter which reminds of her teenage days. She doesn’t want her daughter to become like her. Shreya sometimes ask Lata, why her dad is so busy? Why can’t he come for shopping with them? All Lata answer is, he is planning to gift you Mini Cooper on your 18th birthday so busy in those preparations. Lata knew, her daughter is not justified. Shreya knew, her mother is lying and Pankaj knew Lata must be lying just to take his side.
It was the 20th anniversary of Lata and Pankaj. Pankaj planned a day out followed by a dinner for Lata and Shreya. The day well spent. Reaching back home Shreya said, “Dad! Stay like this forever. Good night”. Pankaj understood what his daughter wanted to convey but he was too speechless to react. Lata was all prepared for sleep. Pankaj want to give justification. He wanted to scream for what he is hidden. He wanted to share his feelings. Finally he burst it out, “Lata! The day I married you, I want to give you everything. I worked hard to earn money. With time I realized I am trapped in my job. I was performing and my company was giving me more money and responsibilities. I was happy for the promotions I was getting but money was taking away all the time which I should have spent with you. We get paid for taking stress in our life. More stress higher the salary. I dint understood. I lost my family. I want to live it now. Support me”. Lata gently touched his head and both slept peacefully that night.
Sun is up again. Shreya left for her school. Lata made Pankaj’s favorite breakfast and took her day off from school. Pankaj came dressed in formals in the living area and said delegates are coming will have breakfast with them only. Avoiding that eye contact, he left Lata to her own.
Shruti is a chirpy girl. She finds happiness everywhere. Laughing is her religion and shopping is her therapy. She works with a big brand, stay alone in Gurgaon and drive down to Delhi everyday for her job. She has everything in her life except her soulmate. She has a bitter past. It saddens her but she manages to smile and say, it was a setback life moves on… She was the domestic violence victim. It was a big fat Indian wedding. She looked her best that day. She married the guy whom she met only once. Dreamt of making paradise with him, all she got was hell in reality. She is strong, educated and dignified girl. She opposed it and filed the divorce within a year of marriage. Claiming that it was an experience to make her more strong, she sips her favorite ginger tea and smile for all the stunt she did to come out of it. Now after 3 years, she has fallen in love. Its a guy working in her previous office. She wants to live with him till she grow old. Somehow she felt even the guy is attracted towards her. His presence used to make her uncomfortable. She wanted to touch him and tell him how deep is her feeling. Love is a special feeling, it gets strong when you realise the difficulties involve with it.
It was an after office party. Shruti dressed her best so that Nikunj notice her. Nikunj entered the place with his girlfriend. Nikunj is dating Samantha since 8 years. Besides religious differences they both are planning to get married. Shruti faced the reality again. Nikunj had a guilt in his eyes. Somewhere he knew he did the wrong thing by bringing Samantha. Nikunj is a committed guy. Unlike Shruti he is a shy person, doesn’t share his feelings openly and thinks commitment is beyond feelings. Nikunj was avoiding eye contact with Shruti. Shruti took the initiative and met his girlfriend like other office colleagues. She made him feel comfortable by teasing him with same old office jokes. She was shattered. She was blaming herself for loving a wrong person. She knew Nikunj belongs to someone else.
Life became more tough after that. Not able to deal him everyday in office she decided to quit the job and join some other company. Nikunj knew she was going. Office friends told Nikunj that Shruti likes him. He maintained his silence…
2 months passed by, Shruti was not able to take Nikunj out of her mind. She open her chat everytime, see his pic and close it. One day her old office friend threw a party, she met Nikunj again with his girlfriend. She noticed Samantha was bossy on him and respect was lagging in their relationship. She dramatized the situation after a no reason tiff with Nikunj in front of Shruti and other friends. Shruti felt more strongly for Nikunj. Post that incident, another month passed and Shruti decided to share her feelings with him.
It was Arpita, Shruti’s flatmate and Nikunj’s colleague who told him that Shruti loves him and even changed the job for his sake. Nikunj called Shruti to say he felt bad to know that she left her job for him. Shruti told her feelings to him and even mentioned her past. Shruti is a practical girl. She knew there would be no hope even if Nikunj feel for her. She told him that she doesn’t want him to leave Samantha. Nikunj admires Shruti. He is flattered that someone has a feeling for him so deep. Nikunj know it is not easy to accept his feelings and her love. Shruti has a past. How will his parents react to it? In our country, bachelors cant marry a divorce person. Society will deny it. Nikunj know the consequences. What will he answer to Samantha whom he is going to marry? Ocean of questions and probabilities are floating in their minds.
Till today Shruti know Nikunj is ignoring her despite of a feeling he has for her. They don’t talk to each other. They remember each other daily, check the pictures and ask about each other’s well being from Arpita. In the world having so much of technologies to connect with… living in the same city Shruti and Nikunj are pretending strangers but their souls getting connected everytime they think of each other. With the hope of someday miracle will happen in their lives, they call their day off and dream of being together forever.
Although I was born and brought up in a small city of Uttar Pradesh, no one taught me to distinguish between a male and a female; No one told me what sexual harassment is, infact no one said you are a weak gender and compromise on the way you dress up and stuff. I was given a scooty to fly around my small city; never ever my parents restricted me to anything. Not only me but all my school friends commute with their vehicle and we enjoyed our freedom so much and never scared of anyone. I grew up to be a bold person.
…And then I faced a new world. Where Men hate women, girls were not safe, eve teasing was a daily chore, thinking if I am dressed properly so that I feel safe standing in front of mirror for about half an hour before leaving my hostel. This was no more a small city but a metropolitan place which once I used to watch on TV where girls roam around freely, stays alone and feels independent. I never experienced any of these. I lost my innocence and I grew up.
With time I joined job. I saw professional people. In reality there were not professional. I even got harassed at my work place by my boss. I was too novel to know if that was wrong. I was in need of job. I felt awkward and finally decided to share it with my office friends. My colleagues (esp. males) told me to maintain distance with such bosses. I grew up.
Then many other instances happen in my life, which I saw experienced, some faced bravely but some I ignored. It was my fault to ignore it. I knew I am a contractive person. Every time I heard stories about men-women complications, I grew up.
Something happened with me on Sunday which made me to write this. I was going somewhere with my husband on a bike. I was dressed properly (Jeans and t-shirt) with all the reality checks I do before leaving home, wrapped my stole on my head to cover my hairs and wore my shades to protect my eyes. But soon we enter a crowded signal we realized many people; both men and women were staring at me. I felt conscious and asked him to stop the bike, just to see if my clothes got torn from somewhere. No! it was not. We started again and again person of mid 40’s try to bring his bike near me, staring and smirking. My husband said maybe it’s some problem with the bike or my way of riding it. But somehow I knew, it’s not the problem with the bike or the way he was riding. It was the fault of our genders. I replied him back- “No! I think it’s the problem of me being a girl”. With that I GREW UP AGAIN.