Have you ever been in love? I mean the kind of experience you mistake for love? I happened to witness one such roller coaster love story through my friends Ria and Arian. Ria met Arian in college.
Nowadays, nuclear families leave the youngsters lonely, and the quest for a companion is inevitable. These fellows were not late to fall for each other too. Interaction, communication, immediate attraction, and instant attachment- all these commence and continue in the pompous name of “relationship”.
This communication often turns to a brief spell of recreation from the overburdening pressure of life. This culminates in an addiction that they mistake for love. They stick on like Fevikwik only to claw at each other like dogs and cats even when things do not work out.
In their case too, things took the same turn. Their interaction became the example of a toxic and abusive relationship.
Making things work out became an obsessive compulsion for Riya. This is because attachment transformed into a schedule and tearing away implied facing the insecurity of handling everything alone.
The thought of being lonely made Riya shudder in fright. To escape the anticipated coldness associated with the notion of walking alone, Riya continued carrying the relationship like a burden of luggage instead of being in the relation.
Another thought that chased Riya was social curiosity. The frowning eyes of relatives and their gaping eagerness to know the story prevented her from cutting off all ties. She had broken up with another boy five years back. The very idea of a second break up would earn her disrespect and a bad name. Here was Arian taking advantage of all these insecurities and weaknesses in Riya to manipulate her and continue the daily drama.
We have often heard the famous saying, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Riya fancied thinking she was indulging in a worthy charity by patiently trying to adjust and fit into the relation.
She only struggled desperately to look at herself in an invisible mirror that she could be the ideal girlfriend. Riya got rebuked by Arian’s family for lack of adjustment even after compromising so severely.
Domestic harmony got disrupted, and the effect was most noted In their performance in the professional sphere where both rumbled down the ladder.
And ask why! All because both the youngsters were an inch from accepting the truth that they were not each others’ cups of tea. Riya played the compromising Angel in the House of Victorian Age, while Arian was the typical chauvinistic male. Riya was too afraid to face herself and society.
Whenever the situation went beyond control due to Arian’s misbehavior, Arian cunningly played the insecure, indecisive, immature Chocolate Boy. He kept on threatening Riya emotionally almost to compel her to feel guilty.
Yes, it is traumatic indeed to see your partner suffering, crying, begging you to stay. Riya also fell prey to this trauma. But this time, Riya decided to be a little less selfish. How So? When a partner is seen to inaugurate the break up in a relation demanding peace, he or she is considered Selfish and self-centered.
But I will tell you it is just the polar opposite of what is supposed. A toxic relationship is a bane not only to the involved partners but their friends, families, and broadly speaking colleagues, employers.
Everyone suffers for these two, forming nothing less than an ulcer oozing puss every second, a puss that smears the surrounding environment with an acerbic essence and pungent odor.
The symbiosis which was supposed to generate energy, strength, and source of inspiration turns into a fatal disease gnawing its sharp claws and teeth, like an invisible carcinoma or silent killer, through the pores of the membrane of the organism, thus pushing it to the edge of death, the brink of annihilation.
No wonder, the organism is, in this case, the partners together with the chambers of association-relatives, parents, friends, colleagues, employers.
So putting a full stop to such relations never shows one is selfish. It instead proves one is less selfish; one cares for the holistic welfare rather than brood over personal feelings.
Riya understood this and hit the last nail in the coffin. She decided to part with mutual consent. But as luck would have it, the stroke of decency-“mutual consent” was absent. Arian chose to play the oppressed victim by blaming Riya for being Selfish, flirtatious, dubious, and what not! Riya got perplexed! But this time, Riya understood that Arian was well aware of the fact that Riya was not what he wanted to project her as. But it was his catharsis, release of emotions he couldn’t handle. So he accused her of feeling released himself, to feel better himself. No wonder a drowning man tends to drown the rescuer to save himself.
Finally, Riya emerged as Manikarnika resolute to uproot the poison. Riya left him silently without caring to offer an explanation or protest.
I feel Riya was right. If she had stood and tried to make him understand, the issue would have been elongated like an elastic. No reliable solution would be reached.
Well, now Riya finally cut the partner off, overcoming all guilty feelings, strokes of disappointments, hard feelings, etc. The next episode is to cope up with the trauma of separation.
This is where I felt Riya handled the situation really well. Following a breakup, many of us tend to consider ourselves as the most wretched or unfortunate persons on this earth. “Why me?” is the question that haunts us. Riya did not allow this. Rather she reiterated the truth that every ninety-five out of hundred is asking this question to himself! I mean, you need to accept it’s nothing exceptional to suffer! Rather It’s exceptional to have a Cinderella love story!
We enjoy brooding over memories, not because we Are sad but because this expression of nostalgia is the new Love story on the go. We love to put ourselves in the role of Devdas as it allows us to relive the old love story with novelty. It is like old wine kept in a new bottle.
In any case, the separated partners make the worst choice at this time. To cope up with the mental vacuum, they grapple for a company, and in this desperate quest, they end up being with the most inappropriate companion.
I have even seen persons afraid to accept the changed relationship status from ‘In a Relationship’ to being ‘Single’.
To fight this void, they hanker for just someone.
Riya had been through this previously. So this time she turned to the people deprived of the basic necessities of life. She did not do much. She only gave them clothes to wear and food to eat to feel good. She stopped pitying herself and started considering herself as more privileged than many.
She started engaging in multiple fields of art like drawing, playing keyboard, writing as art can best manifest intricate un-reciprocated human emotions.
She joined an NGO. Working with the underprivileged and downtrodden helped her realize that Sorrow is Universal and the struggle to get liberation From the sorrow is democratic.
She started pursuing a new hobby-maintaining, an aquarium. It bestowed responsibility upon her and did not allow her to remain soaked in her own “tragedy.” She started to meditate daily to feel confident.
Next came the stern glance of society. She recoiled from social media for a short spell to avoid unnecessary curiosities of people surrounding her. Riya was right! Trust me, once the wave passes, nobody will remember who you are, let alone where your relation stands.
Riya truly lived her story well.
This is the story of my friend Riya. But it is not her story alone. There are so many Riyas lingering around striving to cope up with chauvinist Arians to fit into the conventional structure.
The compulsion to sound normal, act normal, look normal, behave normally is the phenomenal plague that spreads like an epidemic among us. It is absolutely okay not to be okay. It is absolutely normal not to act, sound, or look normal all the time. We just have to accept it and move on. It does not matter whether you fall in love or rise in love. Whether you can love yourself passionately matters most. What cures this is an attitude
Keep loving! Keep breaking up! Keep accepting yourself! Keep living!
Megha is a teacher and a social worker. She seeks to touch hearts with creativity. She is a conoisseur of music and art, and prays to use writing as a means of social reformation by kindling awareness.