“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” – Paulo Coelho
She was married to her classmate who worked hard for his family overseas in Dubai. She was a mother to a son of two years when she walked in for the interview. There were three rounds of interview. From the general manager to the CEO, she passed all the grueling sessions. She was handed the offer letter; the numbers on her pay package were alluring indeed.
Shaking hands, he smiled and said, “See you on the 3rd – 9 AM sharp. And be on time – we don’t like late-comers.”
Her joy knew no bounds – this was the job, the corporate life she wanted. After returning, she made the first call to her husband.
“You know this is the job I have always dreamed of, but it will involve travelling. Will you allow me please, now that you are out of India? So that I may go, even it is for just a day.” she said.
“Well, you are taking advantage of my absence. You may go, but please take care and make sure Bonny is taken care of in your absence.” – this was his reply before disconnecting.
She was 30 and good looking. She loved to dress, loved jewellery and also craved for attention.
The boss – 37, equally attractive, married and father to a son. He had a wife who brought home a fat pay-cheque every month.
Are these details out of context? I am afraid not.
She worked hard, and her work impressed her boss. He trained and groomed her. She worked late in the evenings, made reports and presentations during their first trip to Rajkot for a visit to a vendor.
Just before they went out for the visit. she knocked on the door to his hotel room. He opened it, and with his eyes glued on her, he asked, “Can I hug you?”
Call it her vulnerability, she agreed. What followed next need not be explained.
Not just once or twice, this continued for five years. He ignored her calls when he was with his family, but he called her back when he needed her – and she happily obliged.
She drifted away from her husband, and her husband too drifted away from her. There was no attachment between them any longer. During his trips to India, they did ‘enjoy’ the conjugal life, though she thought of her boss during love-making.
However, I do not know about the boss’ side of the story. She told me her side of the story. So, I cannot judge the boss – I can only narrate on her behalf.
Gradually, the pleasure from having sex with her boss faded. Every time she returned home in her boss’ car, she felt nasty. When he touched her private parts, she couldn’t take it. “Please love me, don’t just sexually exploit me. I need to be loved,” she used to plead.
The boss breathed a sigh of relief. He never touched her after that. End of the story.
These incidents led to her divorce – she couldn’t feel connected to her husband and neither did he. Instead, she wanted to marry her boss and even tried to disrupt their family life. But the boss didn’t agree. He said “I made a mistake – it was just a moment, I meant no harm to you. Please forgive me, I cannot leave my wife.”
And that was it. Snapped, over, finished! So what if she couldn’t handle the rejection? The reality was that her boss stayed with his wife, while she was left with a broken home.
Who is this ‘she’? Whose story am I narrating? I see that you haven’t understood it, right? ‘She’ is a friend I had. In Mumbai, people mostly commute in local trains, and so did we – for six years before I lost her. I met her five years after this – all broken and distraught. The long silky hair she had was chopped into a bob – and there was none of the glamor she once had. She cried and she screamed.
Being a single woman, people often mistake me as a strong woman and confide in me. So did she. “You write, don’t you? So, write my story please,” she begged. Little did she know that I cried too. I bled too, and I couldn’t handle her pain. But yes, I am here to share her story.
Now, enough of storytelling! What is the lesson she learnt? Corporate abuse? No, I don’t think it was corporate abuse at all. To me, it was a love affair which simply went wrong. Previously, I said I wouldn’t judge the boss as I don’t know him, but she…
Why did she run after him? Why did she have to trade her body? Why did she forget that she had a son? Why did she forget that her boss was already married? Why did she give in to his demands? To the best of my knowledge, he didn’t force her – he just asked and she agreed.
I call myself a feminist but here, I believe that a major portion of her suffering is due to her own actions. I would ask her to take responsibility for the damage and learn a lesson. The boss didn’t contact her and still, she missed him. Good joke this is! This is exactly what being a ‘doormat’ is all about, in my opinion.
I couldn’t tell these words to her, and therefore, I am writing it for you all. You need love? Then please knock the right door, and don’t just keep on blaming men. The world is full of married men, didn’t we read Jackie Collins? Didn’t she explain the tremendous price you need to pay for loving a married man (and its effects) in her novels? Do read “Risk, Reputation & Corporate Affairs” if you want to know more about the effects of pursuing a relationship in a workplace.
We all fall in love each day. It’s a natural instinct, but people do need to identify the love and the lust factor here. There is a very thin line between being loved and becoming an object to be loved. I do hope you understand this.
She, my friend and protagonist, needs to honor the truth here. I believe that every person who crosses our path makes an impact – and so did this man in her case. It may be easy to say “Oh look, he was responsible – he said loved me and I got involved. Now, you know I cannot get out of this as I cannot forget him.” However, this is just foolish, in my opinion. Learn to take responsibility where it’s due.
To conclude this personal story, I would say that my protagonist wanted her story to be heard. So, I narrated it, but with the hope that we all learn a lesson. There’s nothing wrong about falling in love, but we need to identify the right and the wrong here. My friend had to pay a huge price – so be careful that you don’t follow in the same path and end up wasting your life. And do not try to be a home-breaker for your own selfish needs – you will probably carry that guilt forever.
Women have power. My friend too had it in her, but I think she hid it and then misused it. However, she grew up through the pain. She learnt her lesson, and that’s the reason she asked me to pen it down so that it can be a warning for all women.
So, please make no mistake – hold yourself with respect and with high self-esteem. Just know that you are good enough.
Names not given to protect identities
Featured image used for representative purposes only.