It was my first time at the airport. I was going to Hyderabad. With my new husband. Since last 5 years, I had seen so much melodrama in my house; there was generally a heightened palpable tension in my house when my parents talked about me getting married. Every time, a suitable rishta arrived which was really rare in my case for some unknown godly reason, my parents would pray fervently hoping this time I’d strike lucky. Now, at 30, I finally got married.
I thought I’d be happy because getting married and getting out of my parents way was my primary pray too. I was tired of seeing disillusionment in their eyes and blame. They didn’t have to speak cruel words many times but during heated arguments they made amply clear that I should have been married by now and since I was not – it was all my fault! After sometime I didn’t care what anyone felt or said about me.
Flying within the country had become cheaper yet this was the first time I was traveling by plane. Ten years ago, I would have been thrilled to bits to travel by plane. Now, I just felt obsolete. I entered the airport lounge clutching my ticket .I was supposed to wait for the husband to arrive from work. The flight was supposed to leave after one and half hours. I walked to the row of empty seats, anxious.
Anxiety had become a part of my personality. Of course, no one who looked at me would call me anxious.I never looked anxious !However, from last 7 years anxiety over new things and over my abilities had somehow crept into me.
I sat on the chair, and kept my shoulder bag on the adjoining empty one. I opened the bag and rummaged through it for the book I was reading. After a good ten minutes of thoroughly searching the bag, it occurred to me that I had forgotten the book at home. Annoyed, I sat looking around. There were not many people in the lounge, waiting. Not having anything to occupy me, I sat glum, trying to make sense of what was happening around me.Suddenly,I saw a newspaper and magazine stall and immediately I straightened my bag, zipped it and was about to go there when I saw a familiar sight.
I’m a pretty tall girl and that time I wished I wasn’t. With a jerk, I turned my face away and slumped in the chair. My eyes looked at the familiar sight, far away, yet in my line of vision. For a second or two, I nearly made up my mind to run out of the airport. When my quickened pulse and thudding heart assumed a steadiness, I realized he probably had not even recognized me. He adjusted his hair and went back to reading the magazine.
He just looked older, that’s all! .I never thought I would see him again. In my heart, I wanted to. However, I would never have tried seeing him again. My hands turned ice cold while I sat there .The memories came rushing back which I thought I had firmly pushed away. The pain of being dumped and informed of being dumped through the sms seared at my heart. No reason was given- I had asked, demanded and sweared to be given the reason for being dumped. I fought for it.Ah ! How terrible those years were! I covered my face trying to blot out the pain.
He was the only person I had loved selflessy. My first and last love! I still remember the cold November morning when I got up –stark awake while sleeping .I had sat on my diwan thinking – I will never be able to love anyone the way I had loved him. I had loved him with a certain innocence, naivete, passion and selflessness. And he had taken that away when he dumped me!
The day he dumped me I couldn’t sleep the whole night. I was angry. I had been angry for last 5 years now. I was angry at myself- for loving and trusting him.For not being ‘smart’ about it the way he had been. He had worked and gained promotions and the last he informed me –he was doing his Executive MBA from IIM.
I was not jealous about the way he went on with his life after dumping me.
I just felt stupid that I had wasted my time on him.
I still remember how hard I was on myself for 2 years called myself stupid, my emotions were a waste. I couldn’t trust my ability to make good decisions- infact any kind of decision. I had lot of faith in my choice of friends and was proud of the fact that I had never wasted my time in ‘puppy love’ relationships.
He had committed to me and had expressed his desire to marry me. I had believed him. I wanted to marry him because I loved him. Just imagine! It is so difficult to find someone who wants to marry you just because he/she loves you. Not because your figure, face, money, status, business, caste, religion fits into their scheme of things. I loved him enough to lay down my life for him if required.
I was not perfect and thank god, I got tired of changing myself to fit into his ambiguous excuses. Of course, I realized all that later, when he was avoiding me. He took advantage of the fact I loved him because it took me a year of negligence from him to realize he was avoiding me. All that was drama he created so that he could escape the responsibility of hurting me.
Suddenly, the airport felt cold and I shivered as I looked at his bent head. Good! He hasn’t recognized me! I don’t particularly want to act friendly; I smirked. I felt cold because of the anger welling up inside me. I was hurt but that I could and had dealt with long ago. It was the anger that I was fighting since last 5 years.
I was angry that I had chosen a cruel, merciless person to love. I was angry because he had lied, made excuses and messed up my head so that he could escape manipulatively. I was angry that he had said he loved me when all he actually did was use me. Since last 5 years, all I looked around is for ways to deal with anger! My proud heart was made to look like a fool. No one understood my pain. I lost my spirit, motivation just because I had loved a wrong person. I taught myself new rules and saw to it that I never felt pain again. I dropped the expectation to be happy in my life.
While this drama was on, I had lost the track of my career. I didn’t have fulltime work for two years ,I had receded from acquaintances and friends and didn’t make any new friends.
And on top of all this, I couldn’t get married through a traditional arrange marriage system. I couldn’t find a suitable boy while I was still ‘young’.
All because of him!
And yet, I hadn’t learned to hate him.
The announcement of the impending flight broke through my mad confused reverie. I sat there clutching my bag, a shadow of my happy go lucky, innocent simple and easy to please self. I looked at him while he stuffed the magazine in his satchel.
From the corner of my eye, I saw an elderly man, pushing a wheelchair, waving at him.
I saw the old man, helping him into the chair.
Dumbstruck,I bolted upright ,still clutching my bag ! I stood there, worried as the old man adjusted the wheelchair while he gathered the bags and put them in the trolley as ably as he could.
I wanted to run and help him but I stood there biting my nails. After he had finished loading the trolley, he swiveled the chair while the elderly man pushed the trolley.
For the next thirty seconds, he looked at me. The same look he used to give me when he was helpless for words. He pursed his lips and I knew at that moment he had recognized me all along as I sat there. Before he wheeled away,I thought I saw his eyes glistening and I stood there fighting hopelessly to hold back my tears.