- by KParthasarathi 01 Dec 2008
I have a friend married for ten years who has fallen in love with a colleague of his. The one nub is both are married and have children. But he claims that his life has turned brighter and the days are more exciting. I could notice that he dressed well these days and his hair groomed at regular intervals. Earlier he paid little attention to personal appearance and had to be virtually driven by his wife to hair dressers when the hairs started curling up. There was now a spring in his walk though his desk suffered from mounting files with him talking on mobile most of the time and leaving the office promptly. “Partha, I know you would not approve of this but I am deeply in love with Sumitha. Not that I dislike my wife Ranjani but I love this girl more and cannot shake her from my mind. My guilty conscience pricks me when I see Ranjani in the nights but I am too far in this relationship to retrace.”
“Does your wife know?” I asked.
He said “No, though she keeps asking me why I work late in office almost daily and also attend on Sundays. Poor thing, she doesn’t know. I am really at my wit’s end how to tell her that I have decided to separate from her. She loves me so much that she cannot see that I have lost interest in her. This is eating me day and night. Can you advise me how I go about it?”
As he burdened me daily with his romantic troubles, I looked at my wife who was sleeping by my side. She had grown a little old and there were strands of grey hair which she did not hide by dyeing. There were black rings below her eyes and new wrinkles that I had not noticed a month back. She appeared nevertheless as beautiful and charming as she was when I went to see her first time at her parents’ place. She lacked the initial enthusiasm but she never disappointed me when I needed her. She didn’t mind my going out for a binge of beer with my friends or playing bridge at the club on Saturday nights. She kept herself busy teaching the kids and looking after the house in ever so many ways. Our love for each other was intact and not a whit reduced. We did have our bouts of fun and tiffs too. On Sundays I would get the breakfast from a nearby restaurant making her stay in the bed for longer. Once in a while I would lend a helping hand in making the lunch. She loved pizza with its varied dressings. I never relished them. Whenever we went out for eating, she would always order things that I relished most like lasagna or Chinese noodles. When I press her to have pizza she would decline telling that she had it the day before at her friends place. But there would be surprises of unannounced pizza deliveries in the afternoons for her. She never complains or goes to another room for sleeping despite my heavy snoring. She puts up with my tantrums when I fail to find my car-keys or socks or mobile.
I was no less considerate to her. Having come from a large family, she never knew to cook just the quantity our small family needed. She did not have the heart to pour the excess down the drain immediately. Instead to salve her conscience she would store the left over in the large fridge for a couple of days before discarding them. I knew my budget on food can be cut to half but I never made a fuss. She had no dress sense or made attempt to acquire fine dresses. She was satisfied with simple material. I had to take the help of my cousin to choose fine party dresses for her. It was a case of each one trying to make the other feel comfortable and we found love in abundance between us despite the passing years.
One day as I was returning from an official tour, I met my friend in the airport. I requested him to accompany in my car, have a cup of tea at my house and get dropped later at his place. When I reached my home, my little daughter of six years came running towards me greeting, “Appa, you are back. I am so happy.” I lifted her bodily and smothered her face with kisses before I let her down. My son of ten years was standing shyly and I went near him and patted him on his back asking him “How are you, youngster? Who took the maximum wickets in today’s ODI?” He snuggled by my side happily. Then it was the turn of my wife. She was standing at a distance as my friend was present. I dragged her towards me and embraced her tightly saying, “Ignore this chap. He doesn’t know how to lead a joyous life”. Even as she was struggling to get out of my cuddle, I planted a couple of kisses on her forehead to her great embarrassment and my friend’s mirth. My friend asked me “How long were you away on tour?” I said just one night. I could see he was stunned by the look on his face and the unbelief that a day’s absence could bring such intense and loving greeting.
Later when we were alone sipping tea I told him” You asked my advice about your problem. I have one to give if you care to follow. Keep away from Sumitha for a month with no contact and spend the time with Ranjani and your children as you saw us here today. Give her all the love and the children your affection. Have fun and take them out. Just for one month. If you still feel at the end of the month, your passion for Sumitha is unabated, you do what pleases you. But you owe Ranjani this much for her trusting and loving you as she does since day one.”
He agreed. As I expected the togetherness and the flush of warmth did the trick. It was a month later that he told me that he had told Sumitha that they break off the relationship as he could not leave his wife and children.
It is necessary to recognize that for love to sustain and grow there must be mutual trust and reciprocity - it is not a one way street.