Forever Love23 mins 273 23 mins 273
It felt good to read that you have settled down in your domestic life. It takes time to come to terms with change, especially a radical one such as marriage where a young girl has to change her name, her family and home for the rest of her life. The impact of marriage on a girl’s psyche is incredibly underrated.
I know that two months ago, it was heartbreaking for you to get married against your wishes. God knows how painful that was for me as well. Don’t hold this against your parents; they wanted the best for their daughter. They couldn’t imagine seeing the one born in the lap of luxury living in a tiny one-room apartment. You will understand them one day when you become a mother yourself.
Do not take your frustrations out on your husband. Rohan seems to be a good man from whatever you have told me. Not many men will give their wives the time and space to adjust to a new relationship the way he has. You are lucky to have him.
As for me, I am not going anywhere. I will always be there for you. I will continue to send you an email every day for the rest of my life and will wait for your reply. We can meet whenever you want me to. However, do give me some notice. Living in a different city in the other part of the country means that I won’t be able to come today if you want me to
I miss you. Will wait for your reply.
Keep smiling always.
Congratulations on receiving the greatest gift in the world! I was on seventh heaven to know that you are now a mother to a cherubic girl. I am sure that she has gone after you.
I was anxious in the last two days when I didn’t hear from you. Yes, I know, you were admitted. Reading your emails is a daily habit now. You know the feeling one gets when one doesn’t brush one’s teeth or take a bath? Something in my life was missing. Thank you for filling in the blanks once again.
Getting overwhelmed for a new mother is normal. And you don’t have to feel guilty to think that the baby has taken over your whole life. You are a human first and a mother next. The thought that a tiny new life will be the focal point of any decision you make from hereon can be daunting. But as the baby sleeps peacefully in your arms and calms down after your feed, your fears will give way to joys; the pleasures of your daughter’s smiles as she grows up will take away the pain of losing control of your life. Be patient, as you always have been, and enjoy your motherhood.
You need to take care of your relationship with Rohan. You mentioned that he got slightly frustrated when you thwarted his advances. You have to understand that he might get the signal that you are no longer interested in him after having his baby. Also, he may not appreciate that your body will take time to heal and transform after the nine-month streak. It is you who have to make him understand.
Men often get the blame for not understanding women. How will he know what’s going on in a woman’s mind when she doesn’t trust and confide in him? We are not mind-readers. Many women make the mistake of neglecting to be a companion to their husbands while focusing overtly on being a mother. Then when the children grow up and go away, they discover that they no longer have anything to say to their spouse.
I don’t want you to end up like one of those women.
Don’t get that serious. This news should cheer you up. I have got an offer today to join as the foreman of the Jamshedpur plant. Food and accommodation included. Will be leaving for the city by the end of this week. Finally, I will move to a decent-sized accommodation. Wish that this would have happened three years back… But then I should not regret it. I am sure that you are happy for me, and I am delighted with your happiness.
I look forward to sharing the joys of your parenthood with you.
It has been five days since I have heard from your side. The first time this has happened. Please don’t punish me like this. I know that now you are a mother of two and have many responsibilities in your kitty. I don’t expect long mails every day, but certainly, you can find time to pen two lines for me!
I am not able to concentrate on work or anything for that matter. Everything seems bleak without you. This is the first time in ten years that I feel that you are not mine now. This is breaking my heart. I don’t know how to live.
Are you angry because I said No to your suggestion of getting married to someone else? If this is the cost of my decision, then I don’t want to pay it. Please write to me. I promise you that I will start looking for the right girl to settle down with. Though no one can hold a candle to you. But if that is what you want, that is what it will be.
If I don’t get a reply from you, I will book my flight for Ahmedabad tomorrow and come to see you there. No, this time I won’t listen to you. Think of whatever excuse you can to inform your husband. I don’t care.
Well, I do, actually. You know it. Please reply to me.
Thank you for replying to my email. I slept staring at the phone, waiting for your email. I am overjoyed to find your reply in my inbox today morning.
So, I was right. You were angry. Now that I have heard from you, your fury seems cute. I want to express my love for you but will not. We had agreed on certain boundaries when you got married, and I will not be the one to break them.
Yes, my dear. I will start searching for a suitable girl to marry me. Before taking the final plunge, I will take your opinion. You will know what is right for me. The final decision to who I get married to will be yours.
Thank you, my dear, once again.
Yours ever grateful
Finally, after opening my profile on multiple apps and dating a few girls, I found someone interesting enough to meet with for the third time. She has extreme views on the world and is sometimes stubborn in her opinions, but equally patient when listening to others. She is working as a journalist with a leading Hindi local daily here in Jamshedpur. You know that I prefer independent working women, had always told you that you will work after we get married. But why am I going back to the past?
She is tall, just like you, though a little bit on the heavier side. She has a dusky complexion, deep-set almond eyes, short step-cut hair. I find her pretty, though not as beautiful as you, of course. There, I am coming back to you again.
I am attaching a snap of her for your eyes only. The picture is slightly unclear. I took it in a hurry when she wasn’t looking. I know you will not approve, but the moment we agreed to meet for the third time, my first thought was to introduce her to you.
Tell me what you think. How does Natasha look and sound to you? Your opinion is critical here.
Will wait for your reply.
Had you not mentioned this in your last email, I would not have realised that your firstborn is a headstrong teenager now. If she is anything like her mother, she would be a generous, kind-hearted and warm person who will go out of the way to help strangers in need. Remember, that is how we had first met twenty years ago? I had fallen down exhausted from the duties at the Café Coffee Day outlet where you had come with your friends. What a royal mess I had made of the order near your table. The manager had given me an earful and would have fired me but for your intervention. Later, when I was clearing away the table, you spoke to me so kindly before leaving. I had never experienced such kindness from a stranger before. I fell in love with you at that moment itself. Oh, my Suru. Those were the days. Time flies past but leaves shadows behind.
I am glad to know that you are helping Rohan in setting up the new business. It is always good to do your own thing. However, it will be double the work and incredibly crazy during the early days. Rohan has taken a bold step in setting up his business on the side while continuing with the job. He will get an able helping hand with you. You also have time in your hands with the children grown up, so this works out well for you.
I, too, am contemplating whether to start my own Engineering Services practice on the side. Not that I am unhappy here. The plant is almost like family, and I am relishing my new roles and responsibilities as the Plant Head here. The location is also very near Natasha’s office. Not that it matters much since she is daily out on the beat.
It has been two years since Natasha and I got married, four years since we have known each other. Thank you for your insistence! Natasha is a good companion. I have no complaints, only regret being that you two haven’t met. You could have come for our marriage like I did for yours.
Honestly, I don’t understand why we can’t meet along with our families now. Our better halves need not know everything about our past. We can be friends, can’t we? Your reluctance here is slightly annoying for me. Of course, I won’t do anything unilaterally. Do reconsider, dear.
Natasha is calling me now, we are going out to a friend’s party. I will see you tomorrow.
Bye for now.
I am feeling alone in the crowd today. People at the plant appear like those stationary objects which you overlook even though they are there. The bright world outside my cabin’s window is mocking me; the gentle breeze pierces my wounded heart. Once again, the one I loved has left me.
My wife left our home today morning. I have alluded many times to you about trouble in what was once my paradise. Natasha couldn’t come to terms with the fact of not being able to have a child. This didn’t matter to me, but she was obsessed and increasingly depressed.
We tried all sorts of treatments. With much reluctance, after you also advised me to go with what Natasha wants, we went for a fertility checkup. The reports came late that night. Natasha can’t conceive, and I am okay with it. But she went into a rant about life being empty without children and how she is an incomplete woman and has failed me as a wife. I tried to console her, but believe me, Natasha was on a different plane altogether. She packed her bags and left. Said that she couldn’t bear living in a barren marriage and facing me anymore. I tried to stop her, but the woman can be really stubborn at times. The fault is not mine, the result doesn’t bother me, and yet I am the one getting punished!
This reminds me of the day twenty years back when you conveyed your decision of not going against your parent’s wishes to me and left my house, never to set foot again. Your dry eyes betrayed the pain inside your heart; your erect posture reflected your struggle in putting up the brave front. You had done your best to convince your parents, but they wanted you to marry their equal in terms of wealth. Much as you loved me, you loved them too and couldn’t go against them.
You never looked back Suru to find me slumped on the floor. You never knew that I had to be admitted to the hospital due to panic and anxiety attacks. You have always thought that I didn’t talk to you until a few days before your marriage because I was in a rage. No, the truth was that I was too ill in the hospital to speak. I wished I was dead like I am hoping now.
Why didn’t you go against your parents? Why didn’t you run away with me? Your parents would have come around with time. I haven’t done too bad for myself with time, have I? I would have done even better with you beside my side.
Then you forced me to marry when I was perfectly fine to live with your memories. Look at what you have done to me! Natasha isn’t you, but with time, in a way that was different from my feelings for you, I had started to love her. Now she is also gone.
What have I done to deserve this heartache twice in one lifetime? I want to rest my head in your arms and bawl loudly. But you are not here. This is killing me.
Why did you do this to me, Suru?
Thank you, thank you, and thank you.
Your one-line revert to my long lament of woe-“TELL HER THAT YOU LOVE HER”- has saved my marriage. While I selfishly berated you, you continued to be yourself. I am grateful that you replied so promptly yesterday.
I realised that I had never told Natasha that I loved her. Not while we were dating, not before or after marriage. You know that it was she who proposed to me; if she hadn’t, I would have probably gone on dating her forever!
I don’t know where she was, but upon reading your email, I immediately WhatsApped, ‘I love you, please come back,’ to her. Then I went home. She was waiting for me outside the front door when I reached there. I discovered today that she had always thought that I had married her out of compulsion (which was partly true then), that I don’t love her, and I will be all the more miserable now without children. Hence she had left.
Poor thing. I was too preoccupied with my own commiserations to notice that Natasha was lonely in the marriage. Instead of being the sinned one, I am the sinner.
How well you understand my near ones and me, Suru. You have neither met nor spoken to Natasha, but through my words, you have discerned her much better than me. I am not sure what pleases me more- the fact that you saved my marriage or the fact that you care for me to such an extent.
Allow me to say something that I haven’t spoken about in the last twenty years. I love you, Suru. Yes, I love Natasha, and I will make it a point to reinforce it to her. But you have a special place in my heart. I remember my promise to not utter these words to you after your marriage, but one sin in a lifetime is permitted.
It is only in these words that I can express my gratitude to you. I will never repeat these words to you again till I live. But the sentiment will stay with me even when I depart for another world.
Happy marriage anniversary to Rohan and you. 25 years is a lifetime. That you have completed this milestone speaks volumes of the bond that you both share. I wish you many more years of happiness and togetherness. Can’t wait for the Golden Jubilee!
I understand that you are feeling strange with the nest empty, as you call it. I can hear the silence in your home with your daughter starting to work in Delhi and your son away in the engineering college. Children grow up so fast. Life is all about cycles, and you have completed this vital cycle. You can be proud of raising good kids. Now sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
You and Rohan have more time for yourselves now. Now that Rohan’s business is also well established, it won’t be bad for you to travel and see the world. You know that Natasha and I make it a point to travel twice a year. I can vouch for its benefits. The experiences have made us intellectually richer. We have become more broad-minded and open in our outlook, more tolerant of different cultures and people. Your world has been confined to Ahmedabad; it is time now to expand your horizons.
In fact, why not our two families travel together to someplace in the upcoming winter? It is high time for us to interact beyond the realm of digital communication now 😊
I sincerely hope for an affirmative reply.
Natasha has left me forever today. She has passed away. For three years, she fought with her cancer like a tigress. Eventually, the disease got the better of her. She died in my arms, smiling, an hour ago.
Her face was glowing. She looked so serene and calm with the pain of the endless needles piercing her body behind her.
She was worried about me. ‘What will you do without me?’ was one of the last things she asked. I didn’t have an answer. I still don’t. Do you have an answer to this? Please enlighten me if so.
I am still in the hospital. Some formalities are going on. Doctors are saying that I will get the body in half an hour. Natasha, the person, has become a body now. So this is what being without a soul is all about.
I am alone amidst the crowd of my colleagues and friends. I wish that you were here with me.
Thank you for your insistence two months ago that I come to Auroville. This thinly populated place, home to people of 140 nationalities, has given me much-needed peace.
I am staying in an Ashram and do Seva in their kitchen every afternoon and evening. In the early morning, I do yoga, followed by walks in the organic vegetable garden. I often help the ashram owner to pluck the vegetables. Late afternoon, after completing my Seva, I go to Matrimandir daily and soak in the surroundings all by myself.
The past two months have given me the emotional resilience to be with myself. Although Natasha’s void will never be filled, my mind has adapted to this universal truth. I have found answers to many missing pieces of the puzzle. I am also comfortable with the fact that there would always be unanswered questions, which is an integral part of the spiritual evolution process.
You have stood with me like a rock during this journey. Ever since Natasha died, you have been writing to me twice-sometimes even thrice- a day to check about my well-being. The note that you wrote to me immediately after I apprised you of her demise was so full of empathy. It seemed that you had also experienced the passing away of a loved one and felt my pain. That helped me to let out my emotions freely. I don’t know what I would have done but for that email!
Then, I don’t know how you knew that Auroville would be the right place for me. You, who haven’t stepped a foot out of Ahmedabad, knew the effect that this out-of-the-world place will have on me. You know me so much, Surekha.
We have seen so much in this life and have faced everything together despite being apart. You have always been my mentor and guide. Now I want one more piece of advice from you.
I have to resume work in a week. I don’t want to; the thought of leaving Auroville fills me with dread.
Here, among the strangers, I feel at home. What do I have in Jamshedpur now except a two-storey building that houses all my material possessions?
I may have my belongings there, but I don’t think I belong there. It is no longer home for me now. In fact, I am not sure if it ever was a home for me in the first place.
Home is perhaps just this body I inhabit, and this too is alien to me at times, with its folds and creases, pains, and needs. Home is everywhere and nowhere. Home, I realise now, is anywhere the heart sleeps in peace. Home is where one unpacks one’s cares and settles them into the wardrobe with one’s clothes. It was where one is complete.
After a long time, I feel complete here at Auroville. Should I stay back here? Why do I have to go back to Jamshedpur?
Let me know, please.
Our dreams have turned into reality. I am now the Chief Executive Officer of my unicorn startup firm. Yes, I clinched the funding with Tiger Global today afternoon at the valuation that I had quoted. I am feeling on top of the world. All the credit goes to you.
You were very perspicacious when I wrote to you five years back asking if I could stay back at Auroville. You rightly mentioned that I was in an escapist frame of mind, and taking flight won’t help me. You pointed out that had I gone to that place in the ordinary course of affairs, the thought would have merit. But in the grieving stage of my life, the idea may not be a sustainable one.
You insisted that I go back to everyday life, face my fears, leverage the grief and the spiritual lessons for my success, and if even after that I still feel that Auroville is home, I could go back there for good.
I was so angry with you then, Suru. For the first time in my life. But I also trusted you. So despite my reluctance, I heeded your advice. I am glad I did.
With your encouragement, I started my wellness and grief healing services on the side. Who would have thought in the small city of Jamshedpur, there would be so many takers for these services?
Within one year, my services transformed into a business, and I quit the plant to become a full-time business owner. I went online to overcome the limitation of geography. My revenues are in six figures now. From an employee, I have now become an employer. You pretty much know the story; indeed, you are an integral part of it.
Apart from the support and encouragement, your business advice made all this possible for me. I know that you and Rohan worked together in his business, but I was pleasantly surprised by your roadmap on reading the market, segmenting the target audience, promoting the services, pricing, and packaging the offerings. Your emails on the subject were like an MBA crash course. You should consider publishing them sometime.
Words are inadequate to express my gratitude. But I will try, in person.
Yes, Surekha, I will be coming to Ahmedabad next week. For business purposes. I have meetings lined up with two corporations based out of the city for their corporate employee wellness services. Since I will be there, I will not leave the town without meeting you.
I don’t want to listen to any excuses. For thirty-five long years, we have been together without meeting or speaking to each other. From a young bride, you have blossomed into a grandmother. Both your children are married, well settled, and do not stay in the city. Rohan is an understanding and loving husband. In any case, I am not going to introduce myself as your ex-boyfriend!
I could be an old friend of yours (which indeed I am) to Rohan. What fear do you have?
Besides, I really want to see you. It is about time. I am getting old. I don’t know if I will get a chance again. Oh no, you are still the shy young girl of all those years ago.
See you next week, Surekha.
I am Rohan. You know me as Surekha’s husband.
We have never met, but I know you well. Not only as Surekha’s former boyfriend but also as a person. For I have been writing to you daily over the past 25 years, from Surekha’s email id. Of course, you didn’t know. I would have continued our email exchanges for as long as I lived, but you have left me with no other choice.
Our Surekha passed away 25 years ago. Do you remember the first and only instance when she didn’t write to you for five successive days? That was the period when her soul left the world. She had suffered from complications after the birth of our second offspring. Her health continued to deteriorate after she came home. One fine day she collapsed. I took her to a hospital, and doctors did their best to save her. But she passed away three days later.
While in the hospital, amongst other things, she spoke to me about you. About your relationship before marriage and the clandestine daily emails after that. She had begged for my forgiveness. I was not sure if there was anything to forgive. Was her relationship with you an Emotional Infidelity? She was a good wife to me and a mother par excellence to our kids. I loved her. Had she recovered, I would have spoken to her and understood what she wanted and what steps we could have taken in this matter. Alas, I never got that chance.
During her dying moments, she told me to inform you about her demise. “Gently, please. I know it will be difficult for you. However, Mohit won’t be able to survive the blow. So you have to break the news to him with tact and empathy.”
Well, I didn’t care for the tact and empathy then. My wife had died, and I had no strength and desire to placate her former boyfriend about the same.
With the password that she had provided me, I had first logged into her email account all those years ago to drop you a one-line email and then close her account. She wasn’t on any social media platform, so her email was the one to be archived.
Out of curiosity, and I admit more than a bit of jealousy, I found myself reading through all your emails. The devotion that you two shared touched my heart. I became a party to your forbidden love, and my jealousy melted away.
I was missing Surekha. Relatives and friends avoided speaking about her in my presence when all I wanted was to talk about her. I wanted to keep her close to me. Forever.
Our common loss forged an affinity between us, though you never knew it. In those emails, I saw my chance to discuss Surekha every day with you to celebrate her life. Before I could think twice, I composed a reply to your mail and hit the send button.
The first month, every day that I logged onto her mail, I told myself that I will stop the charade and let you know the truth. Then I saw that you are pushing yourself on the path to marriage at my(Surekha’s) insistence. I thought it would be better to break the news to you once you have a life partner. Time passed, and one fine day I stopped finding excuses to not break the news to you.
These emails have become a habit, a way of life for me. I don’t know how I would have survived the initial days without Surekha had it not been for your emails. Bringing up two infants as a single father was a lot of hard work. I had to look after my business also. Your mails were great de-stressors for me. I looked forward to reading them after a long day.
Mohit, after twenty-five long years, I have also started to like you for the man you are, not only as someone who keeps Surekha’s memory alive for me. I have rejoiced in your successes and motivated you during the failures. I could feel your pain when Natasha passed away. I myself had gone to Auroville three years after Surekha’s death to get some peace. I am glad that it worked for you.
I was happy with our covert relationship all these years. I was both glad and sad to realise that nothing would have stopped you from meeting Surekha in Ahmedabad now. So it was time for me to come clean.
I would be happy if you drop by our home. We can go through Surekha’s old photographs and relive her memories over a bottle of wine. I would equally understand if you decide not to come. After all, Surekha isn’t here, and nothing would bring her back.
If you still feel that Auroville is home and would like to settle there, let me know. With my children occupied and business well looked after, I will go there in the next six months. Surekha’s memories are enough to give me company in the peace and quiet there. We will have a ball if you too decide to come there at some stage.
Stay strong, my friend. You are doing well.
Wherever Surekha is, she must be happy to watch both of us move forward in life.
I will close Surekha’s Gmail account today after sending this email. My phone number and email id are mentioned in the signature below if you would like to keep in touch with me. It is your choice if you decide not to.
Your friend (I hope)