Maya crossed the gates of the highest court of India that is the Supreme Court of India with the final order of the judge, ending her four decade old marriage with Aditya, means divorce. She had tears in her eyes and a dirty jhola on her shoulder, loaded with old dirty files related with the case.
She said she would fight the case herself. Her lawyer had cut out his work for her for a hefty fee. Today she got the much sought after divorce but she was feeling cheated and broken. Other clients were also coming with their lawyers. And then, thought Maya, what a day-‘sad and cursed,’ as if she was standing near some freshly lit pyre.
What a dark day! What a break up! She could not stop her tears. Now officially she was alone, again a single, free woman. How aged, stiller, the air was in the late winter evening, like the panic of a wave due to foam of dirt, kiss of smog. Chilled and bitter yet grave, standing there under the polluted sky, that something appalling, just happened, looking at the red bricks and wall with the smoke engulfing them and dirty DTC buses honking, rogue motorists driving and gazing until a hand on her shoulder broke her stream of thought.
He was Aditya, my husband for forty five years. He hugged me very warmly, praised me and my sari, and looked pointedly towards the road.
I asked, “Can’t I call a taxi from here?”
He said, “My driver there will do it. There won’t be any problem. Try to forgive me, if I have ever hurt you or caused any pain to you and forget me. Take Care.”
I thanked him.
He looked at me, with tears in his eyes and vanished in the crowd of litigants.
I still remember my last unfortunate day when I had a heated argument with Aditya before I decided to file an application for divorce. I discussed with Sanjay, my husband best friend, the flirting of my husband with another lady.
She still remembers the day when she was informed by her maid Kiran about a woman visitor.
‘God, the front-door bell rang’ Maya listened.
I want to see Mr. Aditya, said the young charming woman in her mid twenties. ‘Oh yes, he will see me.’ She repeated, putting me aside very gently, and almost rushing so quickly. Yes, yes, yes’, she muttered as she ran upstairs. ‘He will see me. After six years in America, Aditya will see me.’
Maya heard a bang upon the door. Aditya rushed to receive her. She tried to hide her blushed face, like a virgin protecting her chastity.
“But who am I?” I wondered. My brain was flooded with number of questions about her relationships with Aditya. Was she only an ordinary friend or more than that? There was no body in the room, except Aditya and his friend. Their behavior added to my discomfort as my questions were to remain unanswered. I felt claustrophobic in the room and rushed out in panic to breathe a whiff of free and fresh air.
Faraha works in America. She is six inches longer than me and almost five years older to me. But she looks five years younger to me. I think, she is much more pleasant woman to talk to, I have ever met. She is extremely soft and sweet spoken, always has a charming and attractive smile on her face. In short, she is one of the very few women, whom I actually find beautiful and charming.
What the hell is going on between my husband and that bitch?’ Maya’s patience was at its lowest ebb and she was ready to burst.
Sanjay knew that she was serious. ‘Look, Maya. There is nothing going on between the two of them. Just a little bit of healthy flirting, I’d say.’
‘Flirting? Healthy flirting? Really Sanjay . . .’ she rolled her eyes in disgust. ‘That’s what you men call it? There is nothing healthy about flirting, Sanjay, not for a married man.
Healthy flirting is a term introduced by perverted men who want to lend legitimacy to their extramarital dalliances. Flirting invariably has a sexual connotation to it.’ She got up from her seat and walked around the room gesticulating and muttering something to herself. Suddenly she stopped, turned back, looked at Sanjay and asked, ‘Did my husband sleep with her? You are his friend. Did he ever tell you anything about it?’
Sanjay preferred to remain silent.
Straightway, she rushed to the office of an NGO; she knew that claimed to be working for the right and safety of distressed women.
The NGO, Director was in his mid thirties, bearded but young and energetic. He was wearing a long kurta and blue lagoon jeans. He was very soft spoken. I told him my entire story.
Listening my story, he took me in his car ‘Ford Icon,’ to the nearby police station. We lodged a police complaint.
The inspector charged Aditya under a number of sections of which I have no idea. He took my sign on that complaint written by the NGO director. Inspector left the office with his men.
We both remained seated in the police station.
The director looked around and could not see anybody. He put an arm around me and hugged me and consoled me.
I was deeply impressed by his behavior and helping attitude.
The inspector returned after half an hour. He arrested Aditya under domestic violence act and dowry act. I was feeling very happy, victorious and relieved. Aditya was sent to jail but I knew it was all frame up.
Director and I left the police station. He dropped me at my residence. I took him inside and prepare coffee for him. During coffee we discussed about the future plan to fight the case. The director was very kind and generous to me. He offered a job to me in his NGO office and very happily I accepted that offer.
I was on the cloud nine with all this success. My eyes felt very heavy but very happy. He came close to me, held my chin up and said, “ Listen carefully. I am always there for you now, never feel hesitant for any help and work. Your mind will be troubled and you so far ignored your happiness which censured you. That was something nasty. I feel for your pain”
I was mesmerized. He told me that he was a bachelor.
Outside there was lightening, thunderbolt and very heavy rain. He could not step out of the flat. I prepared the dinner for us. At around ten it was still raining.
Ultimately we decided that the director sir will stay in my flat although I felt a little uncomfortable. But there was no other way-out.
We continued talking up to almost midnight.
I was feeling very uncomfortable. Suddenly he got up from his bed and held my hand. I could not sense the fear running my body. I was very nervous, extremely nervous.
He asked me, “Are you alright?”
“Yes. Of course I’m,” I said.
He said, “Why are feeling nervous then?’
He put his arm around my waist as a sigh of affection and concern. I did not resist.
“O god, there is nothing like that, I am fine,” I said.
“Please continue,” your stress will be lessened, he asked me.
I took a deep breath but could not speak.
He hugged me and kissed me. He switched off the light. We both slept together. In the dark his gentle hands searched my entire body. I enjoyed this new beginning. Now this was almost a daily routine. We never slept alone.
From next day onward, I started going to his NGO’s office. There I saw an altogether different society.
“Women, I never knew about them, but saw first time,…many women working there, women wear micro minis and with heavy makeup and always live in the company of a man and made as if they love each other , but only for money and sex and …offer them…every-thing…money …..bodies…And use each other…and stuff with them….to satisfy their own urges.…sex…money…activism…and ultimately awards and positions…Some used to come every day only to be used for paid and fixed dharnas, gheraos and demonstrations….all for money”
Now I was a part of this dark world. But now I was lost and trapped completely but there is no escape.
Sex and money have engulfed every part of their world. Once finished with DU or JNU, through artificial relationships, care free parents and relatives, than nothing is left drugs, sex, fake activism, NGOs but dark alleys.
Now my case was also going on in courts. Dates, adjournments, lawyers on strike, vacations, judge on leave or sick, etc., etc., all this became a part of my life. Now I started to see this new and ugly world for a ‘dumped’ woman. World and guys is freak. Director, lawyer and I talk a lot about my case, my future. But all loud talk, no escape. They all wanted money or sex. I had gotten used to the snobbery and drubbing and vice versa. It became realism that in that world, nobody cares about anybody.
Now I was shattered. It was my fault to destroy my happy home for a non-issue. Wasn’t it? I was blinded by light and thunder of fake and false modern, new world. Now I couldn’t cry even. Nobody loves me nor I. Here I was realized that I had lost everything and was crushed by my protectors. We did smile and laugh. But to my euphoria the smile didn’t encourage my crushed movements that would have converted my disabilities into joy.
Always I tried to be a little closer to my lawyer, understand his tricks and moves and catch glimpses of his hidden jibes beneath his face as I kept craning my neck from one side to another with every beat of files and law books. When the saying and shaking of head and eyes became tired I had to pay his fat fee. At times I had no fee then we flopped down on the couches. He wants money or me.
And ultimately I became victorious but lost everything and of course Aditya forever.
Now I will never get back Aditya. He will never be mine again. But the beautiful moments, the delightful time that we spent together, will always be mine. And it will always give me pleasure. And joy. I may not have in him in my life in reality, but he will always have in my dreams. Not even God can take him away from me. Only he was capable to make me lose my memory by his love and care. But he will always be in my mind, in my heart, just like Jack always stayed in the mind of Rose in Titanic.
“Many budding and aspiring actors leave their native places to pursue the American Dream in Hollywood, only to return and little did they know that Los Angles is not all about Hollywood but also about millions of slum-dogs who never became milliners.”
Broken and shattered I packed all my belongings. I decided to leave this city. It does not have anything more to offer me. Not in life, nor in love. I am moving to Vrindavan which has been given shelter to those who have no one in the world. Today once again, I am standing on another gateway, which will take me to a new world and new people. A new beginning will be there again. And I am all set to start everything, all over again. Vrindavan is the town where Lord Krishna spent his childhood days.
Like thousands of widows, orphaned women, etc., who have been making to this town their home till their end, where once Lord Krishna played with his gopis and gwalas. Left by their families, all alone in the world, some travel hundreds and thousands of kilometers to get some space and some peace in this holy and divine land but no-body knows why?
‘Tomorrow I will be one among the lost thousands.’
‘Problems of West, find solutions in east.’
From Kashmiri Gate, I boarded a bus going to Mathura.
The engine of the bus roared. I saw outside the bus- The heartless city of Delhi, which robbed me of everything. Now I hate this city.
The bus began to move; leaving small clouds behind. And slowly and slowly and slowly Delhi vanished out of my sight.
The bus reached Mathura at around seven p.m.. City was abuzz with temple bells and evening prayers. All the roads and streets were echoing with the hymns and shlokas of the Srimad Bhagwadgita and Lord Krishna.
I was very much confused and afraid of my loneliness. I was tired of travelling. I could not decide where to go. At times I was feeling to commit suicide. But ultimately I decided to go ISCON temple. It is a very beautiful temple and very lovely structure. I was mesmerized by the spiritual environment of the temple. There I felt a unique peace of mind.
I moved towards the manager’s office. There I enquired about the system and rules to get a room allotted on the permanent basis. When I was busy talking with the manager, a gentle but firm hand touched my shoulder. Taken aback I turned back. It was Aditya.
He asked the manager to allot a room. In the entry register, he filled the first name as Aditya Sharma and second as Maya Sharma (Wife). I did not question. The manager gave the keys of the room. Aditya took my luggage too. I followed Aditya like an obedient child. He opened the door. He unloaded himself and sat on a chair. I sat on the bed. We were silent but our teary eyes were talking about the lost four decades.
He muttered, “Don’t live in an American Dream My Dear! Life is not as rosy as you suppose to be. ..”
Aditya muttered the lines of famous poet T.S.Eliot
“Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
Om Shantih shantih shantih.”
“He who works, having giving up attachment, resigning his actions to God, is not touched by sin, even as a lotus leaf (is untouched) by water.”
The Bhagavadgita, ‘True Renunciation’, Ch.V, Sl.10.