Continued from Betrayal (III)
It had barely been a few hours since Chandni had written her last mail to Vasudha. She had a sense of waiting. Somehow, she was sure Vasudha would reply. She waited online, mucking around listlessly, unable to call it a night and go to bed. She left the machine running and picked up the book she was reading. An hour later, very drowsy, she checked her mail. Vasudha’s reply was in..!
Drawing a deep breath, she began to read.
The mail was short. When she finished reading it, she felt rage move within her in predatory silence. She was angry with this man who had played so cruelly with her friend’s emotions. Despite all he had done, Vasudha was still trying to find excuses for him.
“We don’t ask for this, you know!” Chandni’s mind screamed silently at God. “And don’t give me the tired old argument that you give us challenges to help us evolve. We DONT want to evolve, okay? Leave us ignorant, unwise and shallow. Or let someone else grow for a while. We’ve got enough growth going to last us a lifetime. Just… leave us alone…!”
He didn’t reply, as always.
Blinking back angry tears, she clicked Vasudha’s mail open as if she was throwing a vicious punch at an invisible face. Vasudha had written:
“In the past, when I heard stories of betrayal, I wondered if- perhaps inadvertently- their expectations had been too precipitous. I wondered if they had demanded more than the other was willing to give. I have wondered if they unknowingly created circumstances in which betrayal was the only possible outcome.
“When all this happened with me, I ruthlessly analysed myself. I am so confused that I can no longer trust my evaluation.
“You know almost everything that happened between Aditya and me.You must tell me- be brutally honest please- did I expect too much from him? Is my feeling of betrayal based on an unreasonable expectation I had of him or of our relationship? A friend once said, “Sometimes people get lied to because they make is so difficult for the other person to tell them the truth.”
“Did I do that with him Chandni? Why couldn’t he be transparent with me? Did I make it difficult for him? I need to know what I did to drive him into a corner so that the only thing he felt he could do was to lie.
“These questions are driving me nuts. If you are still awake, please write back. I don’t know why, but I feel sure you are awake.”
There, the mail had ended abruptly. It was as if Vasudha couldn’t bear to waste another minute before sending it off. Chandni sent her a quick one liner to say she was awake. She asked Vasudha not to log off but wait for her reply. With a set jaw, she began to type.
My dearest Vasudha,
I suppose it was inevitable, you asking these questions. I almost expected this. Your conscientiousness wouldn’t have it otherwise.
You never expected anything from him, at least in the beginning. Yes, things changed.
You think you’ve got everything mapped out, all things neatly stored away in labelled boxes. But life isn’t to be contained in neat little packages. She wanders around, messing things up. It happened with both of you too. He got used to your presence. He wanted more. He lost his head and began to demand eternity. In all honesty, I can’t blame him for wanting it. On the contrary, it redeems him in my eyes.
He began weaving impossible dreams. You tried desperately to keep your feet on the ground and not get blown away. Ruthlessly, you’d puncture his balloon. He would get annoyed and accuse you of not caring for him. But you could see things he had defiantly turned his back upon. He thought his wishing would make mountains move. But it doesn’t work like that, does it?
He demanded that you raise your expectations of your relationship with him. He argued with you and got annoyed because you tried to keep him realistic. To him, your demand for prudence was proof of your lack of commitment to him. With reckless thoughtlessness, he kept up a steady stream of promises. He told you instances where he had kept his word no matter how the circumstances had changed. He swept your objections aside. He was persuasive and relentless. You would have to be a robot not to be swayed.
Against your better judgment, you suspended your skepticism. You truly began to believe in his promise of eternity… a promise he had no right to make.
His house of cards came tumbling down. It wasn’t a storm that blew everything away, it was a breeze as quiet as a whisper.
Though I don’t condone it, I can understand errors of judgment. I can find excuses for an honest mistake. If I am generous, I can find a way to explain away the sheer, pathological blindness of someone who closes his eyes to a muddy ditch right in front of his nose. I might have to stretch my tolerance to breaking point,, but i can even excuse his idiocy in picking a fight with the one who is trying to appraise him of the presence of a ditch. Beyond that, I give up.
He did not expected the disaster that hit you both, I can understand that. He should have faced it with you, instead he ran. There is no excuse for that betrayal.
One is not alive because one isn’t dead. There is a lot more to life than just being ‘not- dead’. After telling you thrilling stories of a vibrant life he would live with you, he sentenced both of you to a twilight zone populated by the ‘not dead’. That was as painful a betrayal as the other.
You became the embodiment of his betrayed promises. You became their proof and symbol. He began avoiding you. I know how bewildered you were when he began shutting you out for many weeks at a time. You knew he was lying, that he wasn’t as busy as he said he was. You saw him spend hours playing silly online games. Often he inadvertently mentioned having watched movies online when he was supposedly ‘too busy’ at work.
You never knew where you were with him. Either you didn’t even know each other, or you belonged together for eternity. I can only guess at your frame of mind. I know I was terribly confused. Your relationship status seemed to change from one hour to the next. I don’t know how you stood it. It is a miracle that you still managed to carry on with the business of life with any degree of normalcy.
A part of you knew something was far wrong. You knew things were broken in an irretrievable way between you. Yet you held on to hope- more and more desperately. You couldn’t slap on mending patches of cloth fast enough, the cloth was ripping too fast. It was a losing battle- because he had already given up.
It wasn’t all his fault. Your contribution was passive, but it was contribution. There was just one mistake you made in all of this.
You knew what he was doing wouldn’t work. You repeatedly called his attention to the lack of foundation in his house of cards. He told you not to worry about it, that he had it covered. You knew he’d done nothing about it. Yet… against your better judgment… you let him take decisions for both your lives. You let him sell you a dream which you knew was impossible. You bought his dream… AGAINST YOUR BETTER JUDGMENT..!
You suspended your disbelief willingly. You wore blinkers voluntarily. You discarded your common sense and turned deaf to your inner wisdom.
They say everything happens for a reason. If you look closely enough, you will always find a positive side to what has happened. I don’t know what God’s plan was, what He wanted you to learn. There is one thing I hope you will promise yourself.
You will never, ever again let another person’s perception, no matter how certain they are of what they see, replace the vision of your own eyes. Nothing must take precedence over your own judgment. The garrulity of another must never be allowed to drown out the voice of your own wisdom. If your inner being is certain of something, it must not be disregarded in favor of another person’s beliefs. This I hope you will promise yourself tonight, else all this pain will have been for nothing.
An oft- repeated mantra might become a cliché, yet its truth endures. They say- what doesn’t break you makes you stronger. Your strength, already high, has received another shot in the arm.
Go to sleep now, you need to rest your wings. There are new skies you need to check out tomorrow.
I am here, always. You inspire me, did you know that?
To be continued… here
Picture from the internet