Dawn: The Charioteer (IX)




Continued from Dawn: The Charioteer (VIII)





Chetan was livid..!!

Though I could see his point, I didn’t want him to ruin what was developing between him and the girl. I had to distract him before he ended up saying something damaging. I banged one of the panes of the open window on the other side of the room and a shower of glass pieces poured tinkling on the tiled floor. They were both startled at this inexplicable, spontaneous explosion. They stared at the damage then at each other. I knew I had succeeded in breaking a sticky moment when he shrugged his shoulders dismissively, righted his chair and sat down again.

“You owe me an explanation and an apology”, he declared peevishly.

“Yes I owe you an apology”, she said. There was a very faint hint of contriteness in her voice- more imagined than felt. “I am sorry I intruded on your privacy. Perhaps I shouldn’t have read it. Yet I am glad I did.”

I’m telling you, I really liked this girl. Imagine someone being too dumb to be scared…! She was too perfect for words!!

“And why is that?” he asked with ill-concealed grumpiness.

“Reading your diary gave me a lot of food for thought. Until I read it, I thought my bad relationship with my father was somehow my fault. I blamed myself for not having made a bigger effort to reconcile things with him. I was even annoyed with myself for being so intractable and adamant. I had convinced myself that it was wrong of me not to have given in to his demands enough. I had seriously begun to feel guilty.

“As I read your diary, I acquired a shift in perspective. When I saw exactly the same drama enacted in your life, I got a chance to observe it objectively from the ringside. It is not easy to be fair to yourself when you are embroiled neck deep in a script. It is only when you see someone else playing an identical part that you realize how absolutely skewered your perceptions were, and how dangerously one-sided your opinions.

“I saw that your love for your wife was as deep as mine was for my father. There is nothing you wouldn’t do to make her happy. You were indulgent and generous to a fault. Like me, you aren’t the kind to let someone walk all over you. To let her do it was the only way you knew of showing what she meant to you, to grant her this unique exception. You thought she would know that to allow her this exception was a measure of your love for her. You made exactly the same mistake that I made- with the same consequences.

“She got drunk with the power she held over you, and she lost her head. I saw the way she took your love for granted and began treating you, first casually and then callously. It was as if you didn’t deserve any consideration, care or concern. Her absolute disregard to your wishes, whether the issue was major or minor, showed her complete oblivion to your feelings. Yet, she expected you to cater to her wishes- expressed or implied. She forced you to give up playing squash, which you loved since you were thirteen years old. She vetted your friend circle throwing tantrums to make you cut people off for no reason at all. Her interference in your professional relationships was a source of major embarrassments to you, I know that.

“It was like she stood guard over each breath you took. This control would have been slightly less terrible if she had been doing it out of a feeling of possessiveness, even jealousy. Unfortunately, those were not her reasons. Her reason was to wield power over you. She did it, God forgive her, because it amused her. In a way, I feel so sorry for her and my father; not because they lost, but because they lost for such a shallow reason.”

Her voice had grown introspective and sad. She kept looking at him, trying to bore holes into his lowered head with her eyes. When she spoke again after a few minutes, I was surprised to note that her voice had changed. Something seemed to have stirred itself awake within her. She sat up, her shoulders coming up squarer, her spine stiffening up. The dismayed annoyance in her voice tried desperately to drown out the underlying emotion of concerned outrage- and failed.

“Yet, you put up with her. The more she treated you like a slave, the more you gave in. What were you waiting for? You’ve written in your diary that after a while could see that there was a deep hunger in her to try and control you utterly. You have even written that you were willing to give her what she wanted until someday that hunger would be appeased and she would say she has had enough. I am not sorry I read your diary because I want to ask you something. Why on earth did you tolerate that kind of behavior from her? Did you convince yourself that this was her way of showing love??! Oh you silly fool…!”

With each sentence, her outrage grew. By the time she uttered the last sentence, she was hopping mad. I wonder if she realized that she was behaving like a tigress whose cub had been attacked. I was very amused to notice that Chetan looked abashed at her anger. That neither of them questioned her right to scold him like that- a perfect stranger- pleased me no end. I looked keenly at Chetan trying to decipher how he felt at the way she casually assumed ownership of him. She was too mad to notice it, but I saw an indulgent smile struggling not to break out on his lips, his effort to keep it at bay. Solemnly, and with a straight face, he looked at her with mute surrender. His eyes danced with barely disguised merriment.

“I asked you a question, didn’t I…?” she hissed between clenched teeth.

“I put up with her for the same reason you put up with your dad’s unreasonable dominion. Like you, I too thought my ex would realize someday that I loved her. I hoped that she would know that my reason for giving her absolute freedom was not because I wasn’t man enough to assert myself but because I wanted her to be happy. She, on the other hand, assumed I was a meek wimp. The more I gave in, the more she lost respect for me. The more I took care to honor her wishes the more she felt she had the right to trample on mine. She began to think she had the right to tie me to a pole with my love and flog me whenever she felt like it- only and only because she could. She never thought I would protest. She was drugged by the intoxication of a feeling of her power over me. Isn’t that exactly what your father did to you…?”


“Yes”, she whispered. The miffed tigress effects were conspicuous by their absence.






To be Continued…







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7 thoughts on “Dawn: The Charioteer (IX)”

  1. one who is being loved always take the other one for granted.the more one gives in, other takes for granted. the heart bleeds untill death, i feel emotional violence is more cruel than domestic violence… just happen to read this part, although couldn’t assimilate theflow of the story, thiis one alone shook me that i could’nt continue reading..

    1. Dear Vaishnavi,

      I am so very happy to see you here. But simultaneously, I am sad and sorry that this upset you. I would like to beg you to read this from the beginning… it is a happy story….. I am sure you will like it. Please?

      It is true that when loved ones take us for granted, it hurts terribly. Nothing can wipe your self-confidence as effectively as a loved one’s callousness and disregard. But the question to ask is: Does such a person- who inflicts such terrible wounds on our soul- deserve our love..?

      Love and hugs girl,

  2. hi dagny,

    as you said yes story did have happy ending.. yes loved one’scallousness tore my self esteem into pieces.. those who made me complete and alive yesterday, now found a better prospect. but to me love is somthing which can’t be altered. what they do, and what they did not do not going to alter my love for them. transformation to the serenity of un-conditional love taking hell a lot of time and in bargain its piercing my meek, vunarable heart and soul into pieces.. What i believe strongly is NOTHING WILL CHANGE MY LOVE.

    thank you…

    1. Dear Vaishnavi,

      In a way I agree with what you say. I have always believed that if another person can compel you to change something intrinsic about yourself (as intrinsic as the core of you- the place from where love flows), then that person has proved himself to be stronger than you. You know me enough to know that I am not into power games of one-up-man-ship. Yet, to let someone force me into doing something which is damaging to me and to the loving universe, is surely to be discouraged.

      Having said that, I must also say something else.

      Let us say that in an effort to save the lives of desert travelers, I leave my village every morning and walk to the middle of a desert with a pot of water. Towards the end of one day I, as my pot is almost getting empty, I have two thirsty people standing before me.

      1. Someone who lives in my village and is on his way back from the market. He happens to have forgotten to carry any water with him- though our village has a bountiful well.
      2. Someone who has wandered in the desert waterless (and hopeless) for over a week.

      I don’t think I need to ask you who has a higher claim on the last of my water. If I give my water to the first person, I will have defeated the very purpose of my labor. In all honesty, should I not give life-saving water to the one who is on the brink of despair? Will I not feel a greater pleasure in justifying my daily trek to the middle of the desert?

      I am not attempting to dissuade you from walking a path you think is yours to walk. All I will say is: Take care of yourself baby. You are too precious to damage yourself wantonly.

      Your heart is agonized, with every reason. Why should we not feel pain when someone steps on our heart? But are we going to let them stand on it…? You see Vaish, gently pushing someone to make them move off your heart doesn’t necessarily mean we have stopped loving them. Must we suffer in order to prove our love- a love they don’t even notice and have no place for in their heart?

      There is another story I wrote called The Gift. I’d like you to read it when you have time.

      Meanwhile, here is a warm hug for you. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be able to re-connect with you after so long.


  3. We assume we are giving water to quench thrist for the hopless wanderer only to know later that he is someone who just using all the water in my pot just because he was trying to kill his boredom, ujsing my pot as “Standby”. that is his thought. where as me who not only fill the pot with water, but boil and filter it in order to provide him Tastiest water. Now that he had found pond, does’nt mean that i will stop carrying water. That’s littl complicated isn’t???
    yes am full of contradictions, all though very determined and trying to become resilent..

    1. Dear Vaishnavi,

      A friend once told me: When you are just an option for someone, don’t make them into your priority.

      It is sound advice… one I haven’t always followed myself, unfortunately. I offer it to you in that spirit. If you CAN follow it… it will have made it worthwhile for me to pass it on to you.

      You are full of contradictions…? Who isn’t..? For me, that’s the most endearing part of a human being. That’s what makes us all unpredictable and unique.. since we all come with a different set of contradictions. Revel in your contrariness and do not feel apologetic about it.


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