Sunday, April 29, 2012

"A man's errors are his portals of discovery." James Joyce

I had expected my life to be relatively smooth like the blue line in this graph. However, the red line with the spikes and drops is more like how my life was in the past year.

In my previous blog post I invited all my readers to watch this discovery through a series of blog posts and I'm going to do this in three parts. Let's start with the event that set off an avalanche of changes.

When I left college I promised myself that the next relationship I would be in would be my final, my forever after so I would have to choose very carefully and be absolutely sure before I got into it. Yeah, so it didn't happen that way. On May 16th, by the pool at Novotel after work he asked me, "Sunayana, will you go out with me? Please say yes or I will jump into this ditch!" And I said yes. What made me say yes? He's bengalee, he's good looking (Apparently, only his girlfriends think so), he doesn't smoke, he's hard working and he likes me; everything I wanted in my life partner. Besides, how can I say that some guy will be my forever after if I don't give it a try? I'm not going to fall in love in just one day; I'm going to have to spend some time building a relationship. So I said yes. What did I learn at this point? Don't be too rigid. Give it a shot, take that risk.

Days went by and we said our I love you's. His first gift to me was a beautiful pair of silver earrings which I NEVER took off. It made me feel complete. His next gift- a traditional gold ring from his hometown. Needless to say, I NEVER took it off. I introduced him to my parents and Baba's first words were, "I'm very happy you chose a bengalee boy." I got him home, Ma cooked for him, parents chatted with him, his parents asked about me everyday, kept asking him sharp questions to see whether he really loved me, he introduced me to his didi, he asked me if I would marry him; basically all was good. What did I learn at this point? I learned that I have a lot of love to give and I can be somebody's rock through thick and thin. And you know what, I loved that feeling.

Then five months later he told me he kissed another girl.

When I was learning how to swim my coach would take off my tube and fling me into the water and I would frantically kick my arms and legs just to stay at the surface. Know that feeling? Yeah that was what I felt when I heard this. It took me seven days of a roller coaster ride of emotions to finally be happy for him that he found someone who could make him smile. It was the start of Durga Puja then and I vividly remember standing in front of the new idol and praying for the first time in many years (I was an atheist for a few years). I started believing in God that day. I said, "If she is who makes him smile, I'm happy for him. His smile brings me peace and I always want to see him smile." And that's a prayer I've said everyday since. The next day he came back to me. I weighed everything and made a conscious decision to give it another shot. This point onward began my self-discovery.

So he came back from his vacation, we got back together, mutual friends gave him loads of shit about what he did and I remained his rock. Did I forbid him from talking to this girl? No. People told me that was my biggest mistake. At that point it didn't seem like it. At this point also it doesn't seem like it. I did the right thing. Why?
"Try not to be a man of success, but a man of value."
Albert Einstein 
So I have to tell you about this girl for you to understand why. This girl is known to be a dumb s**t. She slept with/made out with a couple other colleagues and others and is known to be "too dumb to even make fun of". She had two friends in this city both of whom are my colleagues and they abandoned her. Not only abandoned, but proactively cold-shouldered her too. My entire work circle (her only social circle at this point) was being a bitch to her. She had no friends. She wasn't getting a job either. Everywhere she tried, she got rejected. She's jobless. (Yet she had the time & heart to go partying everyday) He was the only friend she had. Oh and she lives four buildings away from mine. Now what did I think of her? Until this point I hadn't heard anything about her from him other than "she's pretty". The only thing I thought about her was that she has very low respect for herself and others. I strongly believe that someone who would agree to be the other woman, kiss another woman's man knowing that he's taken and entertains a man's infidelity has zero self respect. And this goes for men too. But other than this, I didn't judge her to be a "dumb s**t". I also believe that there are some people who you connect with who you show your genuine self to and there are others who see only a part of you and judge you. I thought maybe he was the friend she connected with. Now one thing this experience taught me is that genuine friendship can be your oxygen. I didn't want to take away her only friend from her. Not even the devil deserves to be friendless. He was also helping her find a job by refining her CV and going over some concepts and I didn't want to take away that either. She needed help (which I offered also; I offered to be her friend too) and he was helping her (Eventually she got a job to which a friend said to him, "Your girlfriend is finally socially acceptable").

So yes, I let him be her friend. Also because I didn't know what insecurity felt like and I don't like dictating people's actions. And if he really understood his actions, I wouldn't need to tell him what to do. But then we couldn't sustain our relationship and we finally moved away from each other and I left the country. And that was the best decision I made that year. The Singapore trip was a trip that changed everything. That deserves a different post altogether.

What did I learn at this point? I learnt what fear feels like. I learnt that I have immense tolerance. And what I have more than anything is Faith. Even through all the episode with that girl, I kept praying to God that he should finally come around, that he should find that strength in him to stop making the same mistakes and put his foot down when he starts feeling weak. I kept asking myself if I made an error in judging his character and my instincts say no. And I trust my instincts more that anything in this world.

I came back a month later and found out he was dating her. Yes it was a struggle everyday to walk into office and see him and not talk to him. He was my talk-to-person for career related things and on many occasions I almost walked up to him to talk about his views on what I did. Since I came back I had two breakdowns but slowly I got a grip on myself. And this is when I learnt that I'm a strong girl, much stronger than I give myself credit for. Believing in Karma also helps. A few guys happened during this time and this was my testing period. I didn't follow the path of rebound and have flings with any guy who came to me. I'm proud that I kept my values intact and stayed true to myself. My biggest win in this.Believing in Karma helps here too! Our mutual friend recently told me when she was moving to Delhi that he should apologize to me. No he shouldn't. One should apologize only when they believe they have gone against their values and when their conscience says they have been wrong. Otherwise, it doesn't mean a thing. And what did he do? Just what every regular guy does. I'm the one who should apologize to me. After all, I was the one who let this happen to me.

Anyway, till date, barring a couple of occasions, I have never spoken ill of her. Even today when I go to the temple every morning and after my dance classes, I pray that he's happy with whoever he is and most importantly, he be the best he can be at all times. If being with her makes him so, then so be it. If not, it's time you gave him that strength. So closing this post with something I read and say to myself every time I hear or think about him and her and one of my most important lessons-
माँ हिम्स्यत सर्व भूटानी: never commit violence to anyone | The Bhagavad Gita

Sunayana Sen

2 comments:

John said...

Your lessons are so true. He is a silly boy, seeking the company of an even sillier girl, but you have learned your lessons and are now far wiser. A wiser man will find and appreciate you Su. //(Very)Old John

Sunayana Sen said...

Hey John,

I just saw your comments! This template keeps changing regularly so I tend to miss some stuff. Anyway, thanks for your comment :)