The family I dreamt
Six years post my divorce, recovering from a surgery and on a process of a new job hunting was my first brush with him. At my age online dating can be a bit waggish but the process was similar. The profile was highly impressive, Director of a German International though I missed the subtle indication on his facebook page Interested in Women. “You look beautiful and your good looks are enough for marketing” he said. The warning bells were clear and I understood them well. I refuted “If it’s about looks then I am not interested”.
It’s been eleven years I am single, mother to a nine year daughter, undergone three surgeries, battled a divorce, no alimony, lost my mother, handled numerous hospitalizations, office deadlines and achingly lonely.
My mother always said I will be a queen to some king, I was 20 when I came to Mumbai with a job and the transition from a small town where I grew up to a megacity wasn’t easy. Always cocooned under my mother’s protective eyes I was now under protective glare of my aunt in her small apartment. I panged for freedom I enjoyed once, my books, my dance recitals, my school mates, I felt like a dog in chains.
At 21, I met my king I dreamt, we married I was forced to change my religion, I did against my parents wishes. He was unstable though he never acknowledged. I bore the brunt of his mood swings, during his bright days I was showered with sex and those dark days he would go silent and the four walls were witness to my silent screams. The shackles were back, the dog with a chain. Society norms came to picture, I tried to keep my marriage intact but it didn’t work. At 30, I became a mother when I decided to end it thinking of my daughter. I cannot give her a ruined childhood. I was black and blue on the inside, a brand new solo parent with a toddler and ailing parents, I needed to host the show.
There were days I would sulk, see others laugh and wondered how could they be happy when I am not. Am I abnormal, why did I feel like crying? The mundane office works, regular commute, tending to my ailing parents and the little daughter I was tired, I wanted freedom, I wanted to be a queen. But to the world I looked a perfect sexy woman one can ever imagine. A strong woman out on a mission to set an example to every single mother.
My daughter turned nine when this new man entered my life online. In need of a job we exchanged our numbers when he started sending jokes which you normally sent to those who are very close. I stalked his facebook profile and was an outright rejection by me for several reasons, he looked superannuated, features were blunt nowhere a king, the pot belly reminded me of a traffic cop who always had an expanded waistline struggling to keep his pants, standing in front of a traffic signal with a weird whistle in his mouth while our school bus crossed. The most crucial thing I missed were the several whores in his list of friends.
His jokes kept coming and I might have sent one or two silly jokes on husband wife nuance, it was his birthday I called him to wish he proposed me to start a relationship with him. He was pretty blunt in admitting his several escapades with all categories of women including sex workers, desperate housewives, domestic help and he said it’s quite natural for a single man and it’s no crime. He spoke about how watching porn turns him on and also enquired if I have watched one. A typical social media wizard could have understood the bait but for me that was pretty impressive, no one can open up with a stranger so openly in one day, that’s courage I thought and my chest doubled thinking he might be the King I looked for. He also spouted he could teach me how to orgasm but that joy of finding my king and settling down was my first priority rather than sex. He said he was divorced 20 years, no kids, blamed his wife for it but also said they are in touch and friends on good terms. He asked about my statistics, I shied, he spoke about my looks, I made a quick peep at the mirror and then felt satisfied yes I do look good, even at this age I am sizzling.
I felt like a teen suddenly in love with a man double my age, who spoke openly about sex and without remorse admitted getting flashbacks of those women he bedded but he shrugged those memories away. The very next day I called him and blurted that I am ready for a marriage, it sounded like a broken gramophone somewhat similar to a cacophony which he had heard before.
My first brush with his temper and nature of unstable mind was when I made few calls and texts which went unanswered and when I demanded a reply it was loud enough to scare a Hindi movie villain. Like a dunce I called up again and this time he slammed the phone on my face. I may have looked like a barmy since my daughter yelled when she saw me crying, “What’s up mummy”, she asked, “All okay dear”, I replied though I suffered a major setback.
The online abuse continued, when he needed sex chats he texted me else he wouldn’t entertain me and me like an idiot dreamt of travelling the globe with him, he spoke of his travels and visits to sex workers during his abroad trips and I was playing a martyr ready to sacrifice my youth for his pervert urges. He might have confused me with a donkey out from an asylum else how will an engineer and a mother be so stupid. He asked for my pictures of privates and also advertised his graphics which were all big equivalent to Lucky Santangelo of Collins’s novels, initially in denial but to keep him from going to sex workers I gradually grew bolder, he was abroad when I sent my first picture to him. I received applauds, and back in India I felt like a whore.
There were several episodes of clicking pictures and sending him and he said he masturbated on my privates and I indeed had lovely ones a sexy woman a man can fantasize but not love. In exchange I asked for his picture though I saw him in facebook but he did sent his, he looked like an ancient fossil but I found him as good as Shahrukh Khan.
He broke up with me several times in between with online abusive languages but returned and I welcomed him whole heartedly, my vocabulary was full of squalid adjectives which he taught me and when I didn’t understand those terms he asked me to google.
Nothing was right at home front, daughter was ignored, my father suffered but I was like a wild cat. He was in no rush to meet me but after my pestering he did give me time an evening in a hotel room as he was convinced I have passed all his tests. I was unsure myself if this relationship is actually going to work but by that time I have been a receptor of Stockholm syndrome where the victim supports the abuser. Once abused by my husband this abuse was good enough.
I was ready to be humped on the first day, no tea, no coffee but the bed. On that special day there was a text from him “Get ready in the mood girl, the D day has arrived”. We met in the lobby. There was nothing remarkable with his looks, he looked like my grandfather. In the room he was in a rush to strip and I struggled, there was a repulsive stench in his mouth but it smelt like Frangipani to me. I had stripped myself in my pictures but my resistance now angered him to such extent he gave me two choices — either strip or leave, 30 seconds to take the decision. Within 15 seconds he stripped me and so did he and I found he had actually faked the advertisements on his graphics, he was erectile defunct too but it didn’t matter for me, I didn’t go for sex. I looked for love which he wasn’t capable of giving. He clarified his nonperformance saying he didn’t have it since last two years, but he had earlier said five years, I chose to ignore the confusion. The non performing session lasted for 5 hours, I suggested a marriage and he slept off and as a parting gift he handed me some chocolates for my daughter. I was unaware he was breaking up with me.
I returned home quite unsure myself if he would answer my calls the next day. As usual he didn’t. I wrote and wrote and then he snapped and labeled me a “Foolish Idle Joker”, called me, thundered and said he didn’t wish to see me again, this is the final break up, we had nothing in common. I cried, I begged, my balance in phone got over, I had to borrow from a stranger to call him but he broke off; it didn’t go well with me. It was just a one night stand, one evening rather. By that time the depression had taken over, I lost sleep, I lost appetite, at work I looked like a roadside beggar.
While for him I was just another woman whom he had destroyed in the past except the sex workers, he was now handful with all my pictures, my erotic essays, poems on which he said he wanked, my stories of broken marriage and how he was indeed successful on overpowering yet another prey like me. He had earlier told me all those other women wanted to marry him, just that he felt it weird why would one agree, was something wrong with him. Yes indeed something was wrong though he didn’t understand. He never felt connected to self how will he feel connected to others? He was incapable of loving since he knew only lust, he knew to rob a woman’s dignity, he knew to push a woman on a verge of mental breakdown. All he was a selfish person with a pervert and unstable mind, who didn’t love himself forget loving a woman. God had even denied him the privilege of being a father, he revealed in the hotel room saying we would not need a condom as he had low sperm count.
With everything robbed I tried to kill myself, woke up in the hospital bed gulping 30 sleeping pills, landed up at my therapist’s door forgetting the count of days, shedding bitter tears, showing her my clicked pictures, in the turmoil had a brush with another man who started stalking me and represented the same thoughts the above man did. My therapist listened to all my narrations, I screamed, I howled, I banged my head; she replied “Were you happy in the relationship? Did he push you to meet him? Aren’t you an adult? You played with fire and now that you have burnt your fingers, you shed tears; lady weren’t the indications in bold red to you? You searched for love in someone who was incapable, who looked for one night stand, for a relationship with no strings attached as he had done earlier, he kept you discreet and you agreed, so why blame him? Take responsibility of the damage on yourself, do not blame him and no revenge either, you aren’t God and the answer to your question why that other man whom you came across was narrating this man is — Only a criminal mind can understand another; and also know he was unstable, unpredictable, physically damaged while you are fully capable, so the problem was with him not you, you need not forget him just learn the lesson he taught you, stop knocking the wrong doors, each person leaves a mark on your life, so just know this man left this life time lesson for you”.
I thought about it, I wasn’t happy with the relationship, he was double my age, he was sex addict which I understood but was oblivious, it was only my imagination that I made him my king and dreamt of being a queen of his ruined kingdom. I used to get bouts of anxiety attacks thinking of his reactions, I felt miserable stripping myself and clicking my pictures, I went to depression, so these were my gifts for knocking a wrong door.
I turned reckless when I caught hold of a narration resonating mine. I stalked her, in deep desperation wrote to her, exchanged emails. But finding myself overnight was not easy, in that recovery phase committed several mistakes, burned bridges, faced insults and and to recover, it would take another decade and years of mistakes. I am not done with mistakes yet, but I am starkly aware of who I was, what I have become, and what I stand for. Now, I’ve become is a storyteller, one that had to become fearless and unapologetic in telling her own. One whose vocabulary is full of squalid adjectives she never knew.