Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Gowri had been disturbed the whole day. It had been a busy day at work – meetings, approvals, proposals, deadlines - it’s always like this before a weekend—makes you wonder sometimes whether people work only at the weekend!
Now back home early – surprisingly for a weekend – made excuses to some close pals that she was not keeping well and won’t be able to make it today …She wanted some time to herself… at least today .
Today is the 10th of Dec. 4 years have passed the day when her life changed forever --- nobody remembers or likes to remember the day anymore….but she can’t forget it , can she ? It s all so clear just like it happened yesterday— an eagerly awaited marriage, so many hopes and prayers, well-wishers, nasty relatives, close friends, apprehension of a new home and life, new relatives --- the only known factor was Anand. Gowri & Anand had been engaged for nearly 6 months before their marriage, so at least he was someone whom Gowri knew or rather she mistook she knew.
Everything went wrong between them from the beginning. Their lives revolved in the hectic and busy world of today where each day was a struggle by itself for survival. Initially it became just another marriage of convenience – no complains, demands, responsibilities etc. Then, Anand left his job one fine day. Things began to turn worse – single salary, double expenses, credit bills, rents, finances, loans (which are the normal adjectives to everyone in UAE) – everything went haywire and so also Gowri & Anand’s relationship. It became volatile – Anand became violent and started abusing Gowri. Gowri though always strong succumbed to this and became depressed and suicidal. It was Gowri’s decision to separate – she wanted to live peacefully. Both parents got involved and advised them to meet a Family Counselor, which Anand was totally against. They spent just 1 and half years together.
Today was her Anniversary. Gowri could never forget or forgive Anand for what he had done to her life. Gowri has been living alone for more than 2 years now. Their divorce is still at the courts since Anand denied paying her any money at all since Gowri had requested him to pay off the loans he had taken on her. The case has been dragging for more than 2 years now.
This evening, sitting by her window, looking out she could see the kids playing around and parents keeping a watchful eye lest they get hurt in their games….. This was what she was missing! A proper life – husband, wife, kids, etc… she was yearning for all this now…. she did enjoy her work, friends, etc—but then many a time she felt herself to be a misfit …she wanted a proper life too…. And what was stopping her? Anand—tat was the answer she came up with – and tried to hate him more.
Gowri’s mobile starts ringing singing the latest DoCoMo tune, it always brings a smile to her face as it reminds her of her best friend’s baby, who just loves the music and starts swaying to it..Yup, tats Anjali calling to check on her …
Gowri – Hi!
Anjali- Hey, Gowri what are u up to? Aren’t u coming? We are waiting for you.
Gowri mustered up a cough and said “I’m not keeping too well; think will sleep off early – not up to it…”
Anjali – Oh, C’mon, we will make some warm food for you in that case, and you can take rest here. Look, Ishan is saying hello to you”
Gowri could hear the sweet cooing and strange gargling sound he makes over the phone inviting her over .She could never resist him. But not today—today she wanted to be alone … to herself..
Anjali- Gowri, I don’t want you alone today. Just because we don’t say anything, doesn’t mean we don’t remember. I know what today means to you and I don’t want you to be brooding over it.
Gowri as usual came up with her tag line” You don’t understand- you don’t know how it feels like”
Anjali –“Yes, I know, only you will know and that’s why I am asking you to leave it. I’m not telling you to forget it or not hate him, but try forgiving him—or rather try loving yourself a bit more than the hatred you have. Think about it, live your life and love your life…tats all I have to say “
Gowri put the phone down but the words were ringing in her ears---was it true that she had so much hatred in her? Anand was not stopping her from anything—he was not a part of her life any more – they see each other once / twice a year at the court—then why?
Why did she fight this case—was it just for the money? No, it was just so that Anand would never ever treat another woman like her again. It would have made a difference if he had been sorry. The only thing that made a difference to Anand was money and nothing else mattered to him. Gowri also knew that Anand was planning to get married again and had found a girl for himself but since the case was not through, their marriage was being stalled.
Her family was fed up as well. They wanted to see her happy. Yes, it would be a bit of a struggle but then, she could manage to pay off the loans by herself—if she could do it for the past 3 years, she can manage for another 3 more years. Gowri thought about it again – would she be hurting anyone with her decision—No, she would be happy and make others happy as well.
Gowri picked up the phone and dialed Anand’s number.
The familiar Hello sounded from the other end… Gowri didn’t know what to say- for a moment her throat went dry and then she said “ Anand, Gowri here “. A silence at the other end too – then he was like “ I don’t have anything to talk to you – you made my life miserable, now you are dragging the case just to make things worse etc etc…”.
“Wait a sec, Anand “; Gowri interrupted “I called to tell you that I’m calling the case off.”
” You are what?” Anand couldn’t believe his ears.
“I said, I’m calling the case off – will sign off that I don’t need any money from you and will finish off the case- I don’t want to carry this case on any longer – just inform your lawyer to call my lawyer and make the necessary papers. I will tell him too. “
“Gowri, is there someone in your life, are you getting married?” only Anand has the cheek to ask such a question at such a time.
That spark was all that Gowri needed,” You just don’t get it, do you? You were the first and the only person in my life whom I gave in myself completely to , you were the first man I loved in my life , the first person I trusted myself with, the only person with whom I let my guard down and in spite of all this you HURT me!! Hurt and fear that kept me awake for more than a year even after I separated from you.
I helped you when you were struggling and last 3 years I have been struggling to pay off that help.
I could have held on to the case, coz I already have a court judgment in my favor, jus that law takes its own time – you may end up behind the bars, you may lose your job etc—all these I never wanted. I don’t want to deprive your parents of their son in their old age. I just wanted a peaceful life. I never wished to hate you, but ended up doing that.
I need to live my life and for that I need you away from my life forever. You took away everything from me – my happiness, my life and myself ….you took away my belief in love and goodness in people. I need to bring all that back and for that I need to forget and forgive you. Forget you so that I can once again start loving someone and forgive you so that I can once again believe in people and love.
Forget the money - consider this as a wedding gift from my end - to start new- to love someone more than yourself, to be there for someone. This is a chance given to you, not by me, but by destiny – to change, to mend ways. I have nothing more to say. “Gowri paused, the gush of words had just flowed out but the silence that ensued calmed her down.
“Gowri, I know I was wrong with you- the past 3 years, I did realize that in many ways- but guess our egos, these court matters etc got in the way – I was scared of how you would react if I called to tell you this….I know it’s too late between us to set things right—but do forgive me and try not to hate me.” Anand said this with a lot of conviction but Gowri had had enough of experience with Anand’s words – whether to believe his words or not – but this time, she didn’t care. She had not called him expecting this and judging Anand’s words no longer mattered to her.
“Good bye Anand! Take care of Uma. Wish you a great life together!”
Anand struggled for his meek thank you. And just before she kept the phone, Gowri said, “By the way, Happy Anniversary” and she kept the phone.
She was relieved, liberated….never once in these 4 years had she felt this way—as if a big burden had been removed from her…. She had her life now, she loved her life and she wanted to LIVE this life and not merely EXIST!!

Gowri picked up her phone and dialed Anjali’s number, “Hey, Anjali, where are you people jamming tonight?” After Anjali’s reply, Gowri says,” Not a problem, the party is on me tonight – I’m celebrating today! Catch you guys in 20 minutes” and kept the phone down.
Gowri grabbed her bag and car keys and said to herself –
“Yes- in Celebration of being alive!!”

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