It is okay to be disloyal…Sometimes

Note: This story is very special to me because it is dedicated to my late friend SNEH. She met with an accident in Nepal. She was a best friend, a guide, a sister to me. I loved her and her family from the bottom of my heart and will always continue to do.

Few of the most complicated and confusing questions I have come across in past few days are:

IS IT OKAY TO BE DISLOYAL?

IS IT OKAY TO CHEAT ON YOUR PARTNER?

IS IT OKAY TO LOSE YOUR PRINCIPLES, MORALES, AND ETHICS TOYOUR NEEDS?

All my life I have been between people who have valued and respected honesty, love, loyalty, friendship and women. I have never encountered anybody from my family who has cheated on their partners. But I couldn’t recognize that person who was closest to my heart and couldn’t believe could do this to me. I loved that person all my life and I couldn’t believe this could happen. That was indeed the black day of my life. That day my parents divorced, but I was happy…Strange, right?

Let me tell you from the start…

15 DAYS AGO…

I am Sneh Rastogi, 23 years old. I live in Ahmedabad, Gujarat with my family, my parents, my brother and my granny. I loved them more than my life. They were all I had — my small little world, full of fun, happiness and lots of trips. Yes, we were a bit strange and different kind of family. Our lives were full of trips and holidays and vacations. We liked to have indoor and outdoor trips.

My dad — Kamal Rastogi is a big business tycoon and my best friend, basically my partner-in-crime against mom and brother.

My mom –Jaishree Rastogi is sweet simple lovely and beautiful housewife who always supported my father in all the possible ways.

My granny –Rajshree Rastogi is world’s coolest grandmother who loves to eat pizza and burgers and my biggest supporter and best friend.

My brother — Chintan Rastogi is the only person who irritates hell out of me but loves me more than anybody else in the world.

We all love outings and that time also we were going to London. I always wanted to go there and my father knew it. He said, “Sweetheart we all are going to London this time because after returning from there, we want to find a suitable boy for you”

“But why…dad? I don’t want to get married so soon…Please”

“We will not get you married but just find a boy. We’ll get you married whenever you say…Okay?”

“That would be fine arrangement, I am ready for that”

“Okay everybody, one important announcement we are going to London 5 days from now, will stay there for a week and come back, so start packing your bags and be prepared”

I was more than happy because I had my savings for shopping and books. I am not a brand person but I like good stuff that I can buy by my own. I love clothes, shoes, but more than anything I love books. London has always been my favorite because my favorite classic writers William Shakespeare and Jane Austen were born there.

Finally, the D-Day arrived. We were at the airport, checking in. I was kind of jumpy and couldn’t sleep yesterday night but still, I was full of energy. Everyone could see my excitement on my face.

As we were seated on the plane, I and Chintan started to watch the movie. Mom and Dad were talking to each other and granny slept. After few hours of watching, I was also asleep.

I was just dreaming that our plan crashed, I was waked up by Chintan. I was sweaty and my hands were clammy, so I decided to use washroom. While going towards washroom I noticed everybody was sleeping and dad was nowhere to be seen. As I reached I saw, washroom is locked and I could hear some muffled noise.

I was listening from outside the door, I could make out that a person is saying, “We won’t be able to meet every day because I am traveling with my family — my mom, kids, and wife are there with me. How can I bring them to your house? What will I say — Who are you? How will I explain?”

I felt that person is going to come out so I went back to my seat. I just turned around and I saw dad coming out of the washroom. I was confused. What was all this? Then I used washroom and returned to my seat and started watching movies again.

After 13 hours of flight, we reached London. The weather was beautiful. As we finished the procedure, we came out of airport. Dad started going in a lady’s direction, so we followed him with our bags. He hugged him and said, “Guys she is my London’s branch head — Anjana.”

We all introduced ourselves one by one and I looked at mom, she was uncomfortable. She said, “I have heard a lot about you, come with me, you are staying at my home with me and I will take you to sightseeing”

I agreed excitedly. When we reached, it was sunny, but it started to pour so suddenly. Anjana said, “Sorry guys today sightseeing won’t be possible because of rain. Here weather changes any minute, very unpredictable”

Mom said, “No problem, we are jet-lagged so we will take rest today, but if kids need to go out you can take them, right kids?” Anjana was baffled, Dad was shocked, Granny and Chintan were laughing and I was happy that mom first time defended herself and taunted somebody. I have always been an independent woman and I want every woman around me, to be like that, to be able to defend own self. As we reached her flat, we settled down. We were shown our rooms. I, Chintan and granny took one room; mom and dad took another.

We slept for 12 hours straight and realized it was 7 in the morning. As we all did not have dinner, we were very hungry. We all started to get ready, I was up first, so after freshen up, I came out of room and I saw dad and Anjana in kitchen, preparing breakfast. Dad never cooks, this was first time I saw him cooking and I was beyond shock. I took a glass and purposefully left it to break. They turned around and I said, “Sorry Anjana, I broke your glass, I didn’t mean to…”

Anjana said, “No problem dear…It happens”

I said, “Wow dad I have never seen you cooking and I can already smell something fishy”

He and Anjana missed a beat for a second.

“I mean I smell somebody is cooking fish and I am pure vegetarian so I cannot bear the smell, do you mind if I close the window Anjana?”

“No dear not at all…”

“I have prepared sandwich, orange juice and pancakes with blueberry syrup,” Dad said

“Sounds yummy…can I dig in?” I asked with puppy dog eyes.

“Yes, little piggy” Anjana said

Dad and I saw at her, she faltered on her steps but managed to close window. I gave dad a questioning look.

“She knows quite much about us…I guess you two are very close, Am I right Kamal?”

“No, we just sometimes talk to each other about things other than business, nothing more…”

Anjana interrupted, “Today we will go to see London’s eye, British library, and Buckingham palace, so you all get ready in an hour”

We all nodded and started to have breakfast, meanwhile Chintan and granny also came. Anjana explained to them the schedule of today. We all left for today. As usual, I was more than happy. When we reached London’s eye, Anjana and dad went to buy tickets. Chintan went to buy something to eat so I, granny and mom were alone.

“Mom I and granny want to talk to you about something”

“I know what you guys are thinking, your dad and Anjana are having an affair”

“Did he tell you that?” Granny asked

“No mother but since we have arrived, he has been acting so weird and he is always near her”

“Are you guys having some kind of problem? It is not my place to ask, it’s between a husband and a wife but as you people consider me old enough to get married, I can ask, right?”

Mom did not say anything. Anjana and dad returned. Chintan also returned. We were set to go up with camera. Firstly, we took some selfies and after going up I forgot everything and was busy talking pictures. Dad visited London often so he wasn’t that excited. He and Anjana were talking. As we all were observing and taking pictures, I saw dad holding hand of Anjana. He thought nobody was looking but I saw. After London’s eye, we went to British Library and that was my playground. I rushed inside but was stopped by security. He said that first, we had to buy tickets so I stopped and was embarrassed. He said, “It’s okay…I can understand…Even I am a die-hard fan of books”

Dad then bought tickets and we entered, I went straight to fiction and took so many books. I bought at least 30 books and so I got 5% discount. Everybody had to literally drag me out of library as I was not coming out and they thought if they left me unsupervised I will buy 10 more books. After reaching the optimum level of irritation, Chintan lifted me up and took me out.

Later on, we tried for Buckingham but we were hungry so I told Anjana to take us to some good restaurant. In-there mom took place beside dad, me beside granny and Chintan sat beside Anjana. We had burgers and French fries, noodles, and pasta with white and pink sauce. We also ordered some garlic bread with cheese. We spent almost an hour in the restaurant — eating and talking and stuff. I realized Anjana is not such a bad person, she is sweet. We may be judged her too quickly. After that, we planned for the next day. Next day, we went to Buckingham first, and then to St. Paul’s cathedral. That was one of the great days. Days passed and we reached eve of the returning day. We were all sitting on the bank of Thames river, I told everybody to play the game Truth or Dare. Everyone was nervous, especially dad and Anjana but still participated.

We started asking questions one by one and it was mom’s chance to ask. She asked dad, “Are you having an affair with Anjana?”

Granny said, “Jaishree…What are you…”

Mom said, “Nobody will interrupt, I just want my goddamn answer”

Dad said, “Can we talk about this when we are back? Please don’t create scene in front of everybody…please”

“I just want my answer…”

“Yes, I am in love with Anjana and I want a divorce from you”

Mom was stunned, she wasn’t moving and we all were beyond shock. I, Chintan and granny decided to interrupt and handle the situation. We all went back to Anjana’s home and mom started packing bags as she wanted to move out from here. I explained to her it’s not the wise decision as we all are going back tomorrow.

Next day, I, mom, Chintan, and granny went straight to airport and sat on the plane to India.

After coming back, I confronted dad…

I asked angrily, “Why did you do this dad? Why did you cheat on mom? WHY?”

Dad said, “I cannot share that with you guys, it is between me and your mother”

I replied, “Really dad, one side you want to find a suitable boy for me and another side you are saying I don’t have right to know anything…Why not dad? She is asking for a divorce from you…a DIVORCE”

“Fine, I will tell you…You really want to listen, I will tell you…

Your mother has supported me emotionally, financially but she has never supported me physically. After the birth of Chintan, we have had almost No physical relation. I don’t know whether her shyness was the problem or her lack of education. I have always loved and respected your mother but I have some needs, my body has some needs, which were not fulfilled…”

“You could have taken her to doctor, dad. You are an educated male…”

“Why do you think I did not have tried? I tried everything to save our marriage, took her to doctor, went on vacations, took her to holy places, nothing worked. I still love that woman but I am not in love with her anymore”

“Shall I talk to her?”

“No now I don’t want any more complications and this is between a husband and wife”

“Okay dad as you wish but just so you know, I am on your side and I am so proud of you that you tried to work out, I would have done the same”

15 DAYS LATER…

“Is this your final decision, mom?” I asked her

“Yes, and it will not change”

“Okay then, I am staying with my father, I am supporting him”

“I know and Chintan you?”

“I am supporting you, mom”

We all went to lawyer’s office and from there we went to court. The judge granted divorce to my parents. I was very happy. We went home and packed our bags. I, dad and granny left for the airport. We decided to settle in London because Anjana aunt was there. I wanted dad and Anjana aunty to get married. As we reached there, we all settled down at her home and started our regular life.

6 months have passed and I have finally convinced dad and Anjana aunty to get married. Dad and mom are on good terms. I have forgiven mom and call her once a week. I and Chintan have same bonding. I believe sometimes, separation of husband and wife is good for both of them to explore themselves and understand another one.

Dad still hasn’t found me a suitable betrothal for me or let’s says I have rejected all of them because I am yet not ready to leave them. From this incident, I learned that it is very necessary to get married at a certain age, when one has enough maturity to support his/her partner emotionally, socially, financially and physically.

I am a woman too, but I don’t support few things and here, I know my mother is wrong. Why a person needs to have affair when he has a perfectly capable partner. Our country is full of rich and beautiful historic cultures but if that culture compels us to be shy and force our partner to cheat on us, then we are surely not progressing in the right direction…