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Ours was a typical college romance. Ankit was my classmate but I would rarely speak to him. It was not because I was shy but because I had a massive crush on him since I first saw him in Biology class. He was a tall guy, with broad shoulders and an infectious smile.
He was also amongst the most popular guys in college. Finally, after much prodding from my friends, I mustered the courage to leave a note on his desk to initiate a conversation. It read, “Hi, my name is Suhani, could I borrow your notes?” Notes? What was I thinking! I wanted to ask him out, but was too afraid to do so. The next day, ‘Mr McDreamy’ came to my desk. I was surprised to see him patiently waiting for me while I entered the empty classroom. He’d never been amongst the one’s who came in early to class, so that kind of left me a little bewildered. Even before I could compose myself, he said, “Hi, my name is Ankit. I would gladly give you my notes but I guess you forgot to mention the subject.” I felt a little silly. But I was too focussed on him to dwell on that beyond a second. I continued to be the idiot and heard myself say, “Sure, could we speak about this in the library?” I had no clue what I was saying but he agreed and that is how we got to know each other. We slowly became friends, then best friends, lab partners and finally, graduated into sharing a loving relationship.
Anks never really proposed to me but we just knew that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We even confessed this to our respective parents. Since we were very young, (we both were 20) our parents were a bit apprehensive about it. But after much discussion, they finally did agree to our marriage. The first few months of marriage were just heaven. I couldn’t thank my stars enough for having Ankit as my husband. Since we were both interning at a hospital at that time, we ended up spending a lot of time together. He would cook for me and even surprise me with a holiday almost every 2 months. However, things started to change when I was transferred to Amravati for my medical residency. He would skip office just to be with me. At first, this felt lovely, but slowly, it made me feel claustrophobic. Ankit stopped working altogether just to be with me, which I thought was wrong on his part. Days when he couldn’t come visit me at work, he would frantically leave a bunch of messages and call me during my working hours. Even if I was a mere 10 minutes late from work, he would start questioning me and accuse me of having an affair. I still don’t know what or who instilled this sense of insecurity in him. I even talked to him about his extreme possessiveness but while he swore to resolve it, he continued to be the same way the very next day. This pattern followed for a whole year before I finally got the courage to take him to a psychiatrist. He appeared to be calm and composed in front of the doctor, but once he was home, he created havoc. This was also the first time he raised his hand on me. He didn’t hit me but his push was bad enough. He then continued to shout baseless allegations. I was sick of his neurotic behaviour but would quietly go to work as if nothing had happened. In the one and a half years that I was with him, I never got a chance to hang out with my colleagues nor meet my family members without him being around. My colleagues even started noticing the change in my body language but I would brush it off by saying that I was sick.
It was also around this time that I met Rahul. He worked in the Pediatrics department and would meet me during lunch hours. He instinctively knew that there was something wrong but never ever asked me about it. His way of comforting me was always through jokes that would instantly lighten my mood. Since we only met at the hospital for a brief time, I never exchanged numbers with him. This was also to avoid any uncomfortable situation with Ankit as he regularly checked my phone. Things took an ugly turn when Ankit held me captive at home for weeks together. I was not allowed to talk to anyone, let alone step out of the house. I felt like a prisoner and decided to call it quits. I was eager to run out of the house and free myself from the monster for life! Finally, with great difficulty, I managed to call the police who immediately escorted me to my parents home. I was so emotionally scarred that I was admitted to the hospital for weeks. Ankit did try to meet me and even apologized to my parents, but I had made up my mind for divorce. It was also during this time that Rahul came to visit me. He had gotten to know about me through a friend. He never asked me anything, but just patiently listened to everything I had to say. Once I was well, and resumed work, he made sure that he brought me flowers with a funny note that always managed to crack me up. After months, he asked me out on a date. I was a bit apprehensive at first, but I’m glad I said yes. We spoke for hours together and it was after really long that I felt genuinely happy. He even came to drop me home and the next words he uttered are the ones that I would never forget, “I don’t care about your past. All I know is that I want to be with you.” This sentence changed my life and perception towards love. Since then, we have made many impromptu travel plans, gone on several dates and recently even celebrated our one year anniversary of being together. My parents were a bit sceptical at first, but he won them over in no time.
A lot of people think that this is childish or that I am making the same mistake again. But to me, Rahul is my best friend and a soul mate that I never had! He’s asked me to marry him several times, but the previous trauma is still so fresh in my mind, that I would rather let the relationship take its course, without having to attach a suffix to it. I am certainly not scared but I do not want to institutionalize my relationship by giving it the tag of ‘marriage.’ I want the relationship to take it course naturally, without me having to justify it to myself or the society.
*Names changed to protect privacy.
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