Vicissitude means ‘change’, and the story I’ve scribbled, is also about change, but change in relationships! An unpleasant change, such as divorce, or breakup is when encountered by couples, how do they handle the situation. Do they simply let go of everything, along with their partner, or they fight for their relationship, and make things work in the end? Vicissitude is such a story, of two couples: Shalini – Animesh and Riya – Aditya. Where Shalini is embracing herself for her divorce, Riya is overcoming the thoughts of suicide, after she encounters a bitter breakup. How do they get hold of the situations, and how do they manage things in the end, forms the crux! Read more to know…
Shalini was standing in front of her room’s wall. It was empty now. Earlier it was adorned with beautiful pictures of her, and her husband, their wedding photographs, clicks from their honeymoon, family photos, but today, it was empty. It looked so naked as if someone snatched all the clothes, and the wall was shamefully hiding its pain from Shalini, but what she never understood was that, the pain was mutual.
She never wanted this divorce, but what her husband did, forced her to take this decision. Not for herself, but for her daughter. She didn’t want to see her rot in hell. She didn’t want that she should hate her father in future, and hate her mother more, for giving a second chance to such type of person. Her daughter was 8 years old now, and son was 18. Son was mature enough to understand the complications of life, and her relationship, but what would she tell her daughter who sees her father as an idol? She had won the case, and custody of both her kids, but she was still in a dilemma, whether to go ahead with her life, forget someone with whom she spent twenty golden years, and move on, or give him a second chance?
6 months ago
‘Shalini, where’s my tiffin?’ Animesh was strolling in his room, tying the tie and finding his wallet.
Without Shalini, he was incomplete, he couldn’t do even a single task properly in the morning.
‘Here…’ Shalini handed over the wallet to Animesh and placed his tiffin box on the back seat of his car, ‘I’ve put five more chapatis today. Your friends liked it yesterday? That’s why…’ she smiled.
Her smile somewhere brought the shame in Animesh, and he smiled back to hide his guilt.
He reached office within few minutes and called Anisha, his co-worker, and a divorcee, who used to be her companion in his difficult days. But eventually, Animesh fell in love with her, and things were slipping out of his hand, as Anisha also saw a perfect life partner in Animesh.
‘What has your wife made today?’ Anisha asked shamelessly.
‘Potato-curry, curd, salad and some chapatis.’ Animesh smiled. He didn’t know what else to say.
‘Why are you behaving like this?’
‘Anisha, let me be blunt and honest. You are a divorcee since four years now, but I still have a wife, and a family. I have responsibility of two kids, my daughter, she’s just 8, and I love her…’
‘Animesh, I’m not forcing you, am I? I’m telling you to file a divorce against your wife and then we can keep your children. Who is tearing your apart from your family? My husband has the custody of my son, he is still keeping him, and so can you!’
‘But what if I lose the case?’
‘You won’t! I’ll get you the best lawyers, and we’ll have the kids living with us in no time…’ Anisha caressed his hand, ‘You love me, don’t you?’
‘Yes, I do…’
‘Then why do you worry?’ Anisha got up and moved back to her cabin, as the boss had arrived.
For four long hours, Animesh kept thinking about Anisha’s wishes and his own heart. The battle was fierce but Anisha was winning, unwillingly. He wanted to tell his wife that he was in love with another woman, that’s why he was neglecting her from two years now, that’s why they had almost negligible physical intimacy in their relationship, and that’s why they were into such turmoil. Shalini was suspicious, but not sure, but tonight, Animesh was sure he’ll remove all her doubts.
Without talking to Anisha, he went home straight.
‘Dinner is ready; you want to eat now, or later?’ Shalini was busy cooking in kitchen. Her voice made its way through the whistles of the pressure cooker, and reached Animesh’s ears.
‘I don’t want to eat anything, I’m full…’ Animesh said bluntly, and tossed his bag on the bed.
Shalini came into the room after two hours. She was now free for her husband, as she had fed both the kids and cleaned up the kitchen.
‘If you’re hungry now, I can bring you something…’
‘I want to talk to you, Shalini.’ Animesh sounded weird tonight. Shalini had never seen such a strange expression on his face before.
‘What happened, Animesh? Why are you so tensed? Is it about the promotion?’
‘No. It’s about both of us. Tell me how many times do we have sex?’
‘What kind of question is this? What if the kids listen?’ Shalini tried to quieten him.
‘Answer the damn question!’ Animesh shouted. Their daughter was asleep, but son was all ears to them after the scream of Animesh.
‘Why are you asking such things all of a sudden?’
‘Because it’s important, damn-it!’
‘I know we haven’t spent much time in past few…’
‘Few what? Few days? Few weeks? Say it!’
‘Exactly! How do you expect me to be normal then?’
‘Animesh, calm down, the kids are just outside.’
‘Okay, let’s cut the long conversation short, I want a divorce.’ Animesh’s voice hit Shalini harder than the sharp glass shards and her heart was pierced within.
‘What?’ Shalini couldn’t hold it. She held the bed and sat down on floor. Everything came crashing down on her. She felt as if everything she felt with this man, was a lie, the twenty years of her marriage was a lie.
‘But why, Animesh?’
‘Because I love someone. She works in my office, and I’m going to marry her. Her name is Anisha.’ Animesh slammed the door hard and walked out. His son ran inside the kitchen to avoid his father’s sight.
‘Why do you want to breakup, Aditya?’ Riya, his girlfriend since past two years was crying on phone. She couldn’t bear that her first love, was asking for a breakup.
‘It’s not for you, it’s for me, my life has become a hell with a girl like you!’
‘I’m sorry baby, I’ll do whatever it takes to make things better, but please give me one more chance…’
‘I can’t give you any more chances.’
‘But what have I done?’
‘That’s the damn problem! You never do anything. You’re just cold, irresponsive and dumb. I want some spark in this boring relationship. Whenever we meet, you just keep sitting like a mannequin, stop doing that! That’s the reason I’ve cancelled so many dates!’
‘I promise Aditya, I’ll become better, but please don’t leave me…’
Aditya disconnected without listening anymore. He wanted a breakup, and he was firm. He wasn’t cheating on her, neither was she, but the fights, the incomplete conversations had suffocated him. He wanted things to be crystal clear in the relationship, something, which wasn’t happening from Riya’s side. She although tried to be as clear as she could, but she still had to learn a lot. It was Aditya’s second relationship, but Riya’s first. She knew Aditya was experienced, but Riya was still an amateur kid.
In the evening, Aditya met Riya as she was forcing him since he told her about that breakup-thing.
‘What’s your problem? I said I don’t want to be with a girl like you!’
‘But baby, I’m telling you I’ll change, please give me one more chance?’
‘I said, I don’t want this relationship at all! I want to be single, I want to live with myself for some time, got it?’ Aditya walked away, he knew discussing anything won’t lead to any fruitful results.
Riya wiped her tears off, and walked away. Her relationship was over, and she prepared herself to move on. She knew things will be tough without him, she had to hold back her tears and be strong, but she also knew, that doing all this alone, was next to being killed. She didn’t believe in suicides, although she once considered the option, she picked up a knife, placed it on her wrist, pointing at her vein, but had no courage to swipe it across. She was so weak that she couldn’t even kill herself. She knew she had to live, survive, and move on. She was determined to do that now.
‘What are you thinking, Samaira?’ she asked her 8 years old daughter who was sitting in the balcony with a blank drawing sheet, and some water-colours.
‘I don’t know what to draw, teacher told us to draw a landscape, but all I see around, are just buildings and houses!’ she sounded confused.
‘Oh! You want to see a landscape? Don’t worry, we’re soon shifting to a new place, you can see a lot of landscapes there! Okay?’ Shalini smiled.
‘Where are we going?’
‘Shimla. To your Naani’s place?’
‘But you said we’ll go there in vacations?’
‘Yeah, but I’m thinking of shifting there permanently now. This unbearable heat of Udaipur is killing me now. Shimla is so cool, calm and serene, plus you can make new friends?’
‘NO! I won’t go anywhere, I won’t leave my friends…’ Samaira ran away.
Shalini knew it was impossible to convince her daughter about why they were shifting. She had won the custody of both kids in court. Her son knew about it, but her daughter was unaware. She was told that daddy will see her only once in a year, that too on her birthday. Otherwise, they’ll stay alone, in hills. She didn’t quite like the idea, but they had no other option!
‘I’m not in favour of all this bullshit going on!’ her son shouted.
‘Aditya…what’s wrong, son?’ Shalini patted his back. She could sense that her whole family was in turmoil, even her kids, and their personal lives were being spoiled because of their decision.
‘Mom! I broke up with Riya today…’ Aditya broke down.
Shalini knew that Riya was someone who loved Aditya more than anyone, and losing such a girl was obviously hard.
‘Relax, son…but why did you break up?’
‘The relationship has nothing left in it, she’s so irresponsive, I don’t feel like I can continue it. Moreover we’ll be shifting to Shimla, I can’t live in a long distance relationship with such a girl. I told her that her silence, and conservative behaviour is choking me, and that I don’t want it anymore…’ Aditya punched hard in the wall. He had no other option. A young, 18 years old guy, just 12th pass, couldn’t marry her off either. On one side, he wanted to patch up and give her a second chance, but on the other side, he was afraid of such a relationship.
‘What should I do, Mom? Please tell me…’ Aditya’s emotional barrier had broken apart, his mind was not in his control anymore.
Animesh arrived, tired from work, Aditya saw him with eyes full of disgust.
‘You bastard…son of a bitch! You’re making us all split apart; your sexual desires are being fulfilled by that whore, so you’re hurting us all?’ Aditya shouted at Animesh. A sound of hard slap calmed him down.
‘Animesh…’ Shalini ran to stop Animesh, but the hand had already hit his cheek hard.
Aditya hugged Shalini and cried for another hour. He could do nothing, but just cry for his own destiny, which was so full of misfortunes that his first girlfriend ditched him for another guy, and now his present girlfriend, who was faithful and loyal, was getting apart because of his unfaithful father. He couldn’t do anything, but cry.
‘Mom, what happened?’ Samaira came running down.
‘Nothing, sweetie…bhaiyya failed in his class test, that’s why he’s upset.’
‘Papa slapped him because he failed?’
‘Yes, sweetie, you know he doesn’t like failures?’ Shalini’s words were hitting herself harder. She had failed as a wife, and failed as a lover too, and her husband was leaving her for another woman, which proved everything otherwise.
‘Anyways, it’s getting late, let’s eat dinner and then you have school tomorrow!’ Shalini picked up Samaira in her arms and went inside.
‘It’s my fault…all my fault’ Shalini said to herself, at night, ‘If I would have shown my love, he would never do this. If I would have cared for him, today, my family wouldn’t have broken so brutally…’ she cried and slept. Inside, she still thought that if he could anyhow make his mind to come back, she’ll always welcome him with open arms, after-all, she loved him more than anything else in this world!
THREE WEEKS LATER
‘What do you mean, Anisha left?’ Animesh was puzzled. He couldn’t believe that the woman, for whom he left his own family, and kids, left him, and eloped with someone else.
‘She left the job, as she got married in Mumbai; she says she doesn’t need to join as her husband earns enough.’ The peon narrated him the story of weekend, and Animesh was broken.
Now he realized the value of his family, wife and children, who never left him for money. Who always stood by his side, no matter what! But now he didn’t have the courage to confront Shalini. Living without her seemed like an imprisonment, but the divorce had been done. The custody of his children was undertaken by Shalini, he couldn’t imagine his life without the three of them. Even more than Shalini, he was afraid to confront Aditya, his son; whose anger took the shape of hatred a few weeks ago when he allegedly abused his own father.
Encouraging himself, he somehow went home. Nothing was normal; nobody stood on the gate to welcome him, neither anyone asked him food. He went inside; the milieu was cold and strange. His wife was sitting in the lobby, teaching Samaira her course, and his son was watching TV at low volume, so he does not disturbs the mother-daughter.
Animesh placed his bag on the chair, and sat besides Samaira, ‘So, what are you studying, sweetheart?’
‘I’m studying algebra. I just don’t understand anything, mom was teaching me…’
‘Whoa! Even I don’t know algebra, Shalini you know?’ Animesh smiled at Samaira and looked at Shalini, who avoided his sight.
‘Mom, come inside, I want to show you something…’ Aditya screamed. He didn’t want his father to talk to his mother. He wanted things to go on, as they were, as within four more days, they were shifting to Shimla.
‘What is it Aditya?’ Shalini walked in.
‘Nothing, I just don’t want you guys to talk. I don’t want him to insult you anymore, and neither do I want Samaira to know anything…’
‘It’s okay, Aditya, we’re trying to be normal around Samaira. If we won’t talk, she’ll think something is wrong, let me go back there, and help her in her mathematics.’ Shalini stood up and sat near Samaira.
Both Animesh and Shalini taught her maths together, and put her to sleep. Shalini got up to prepare some milk for Aditya.
‘Shalini…please don’t go…’ Animesh folded his hands in front of her.
Shalini couldn’t believe if she was seeing Animesh, or it was her hallucination.
‘Don’t believe this man, mom!’ Aditya came running down, as he spotted his father with folded hands.
‘No, Aditya, I’m seriously sorry for everything. Sorry for the divorce, and sorry for hurting you. I have realized my mistake. Please give me one more chance…’
Aditya could feel Riya’s last words echoing at the back of his mind. She also cried with similar feeling, to get one more chance. He knew how much he wanted to give her that single chance, which could have changed their fate, so he stopped himself from saying anymore, and left the decision entirely upon his mother, Shalini.
‘All of a sudden? But why?’ Shalini couldn’t believe him now.
‘I won’t lie to you anymore, Anisha left me for another man. Now I’m realizing the value of my own family, my love, my children, who were always with me, who always supported me, but I didn’t value them. Rather I tried finding love and respect outside, but in the end, I found it all inside my home only. I was a fool for treating you so bad, for almost disowning my own children, for that woman who left me. Thank god I didn’t marry her! I would have lost everything in my life. Thank God I’m saved. But Shalini, please give me one more chance, I don’t want to live alone, I don’t want to live without you…please…’ Animesh was crying, kneeling on ground. He was literally begging Shalini now.
‘Animesh, get up…’ Shalini helped him get up, ‘You don’t need to apologize, Animesh. I’m glad everything is okay now. You see, every relationship is made or broken by two people. If you keep yourself at blame, I was also at fault somewhere. I also let you go. If I have married you, doesn’t means I should stop caring for you, and stop loving you…I understand that things were rough between us from past few years, but now that we’re back, I promise to make things better.’
Animesh hugged her tightly. He had no words to thank Shalini for her wise thoughts and peaceful mind-set. She welcomed him with open arms, and he vowed to fulfil his duty as a husband, and a father till death!
Inside, Aditya called up Riya after almost a month.
‘Hey, Riya?’ Riya couldn’t believe it was Aditya. She kept calling him for two weeks after they broke up, but Aditya never picked her call. She was so dejected and lost that she stopped calling him after that. But tonight, it seemed as if a miracle happened.
‘You wanted another chance, can you forgive me baby? I’m ready to come back to you, and I promise to never leave you in any case…’ Riya was crying incessantly since she saw his name flashing on her phone’s screen.
‘Why did you, breakup, you idiot?’
‘Because, I didn’t know your value darling! Now that we stayed apart for some time, I’ve realized what you mean to me, I’m dead sure I’ll value you till the last breath of my life…’
Both of them patched up. Animesh and Shalini, whose marriage was driven by external forces, and Aditya and Riya whose relationship, depended upon Aditya’s family. Now that everything was okay, they both realized that a change was necessary in their relationships. Things had become too monotonous. Animesh felt the need to seek love outside marriage, because the spark that he shared with his wife, had fainted. Aditya broke up because Riya was no more interesting, and his personal life was in trouble.
All the factors of your personal life, and of those around you, ultimately crash down on your relationship, in one way or the other. It’s up to you, either to save it anyhow, or let it break down. Saving the relationship even by putting down your own ego; is better than regretting for an entire life time. I believe; that there should be no ego in front of your partner. If you can be naked in front of them physically, try to be naked mentally also, have a transparent, open relationship; express your feelings because you won’t get entire life for that. There’s always a time for love, and it’s NOW! If you don’t say them ‘I love you’ now, you may lose the chance. So, don’t think much, just say them, tell them what you feel about them, you never know it may improve your relationship and bring a change that was long desired?