(As told to Sambuddha Acharya)
(Names changed to protect identity)
My name is Anand Ganguly and I’m married to a lesbian.
I come from a very humble, middle-class family based in Kolkata. My father was an engineer who was indifferent to his job and, ironically enough, wanted me to fill his shoes.
I had an elder brother who always had boys over. I remember my father abusing him physically and the two exchanging unforgivable language. The last time I saw him was when my father disowned him. It was years before I understood that he was gay, and that my father wouldn’t have had a gay boy for a son.
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Then I got married
Seventeen years later, I was a software engineer working for a multinational company when my parents declared that they had found a woman for me. My parents wanted to see their grandchildren while they lived, and I, a full-grown man, still shuddered at the thought of disobeying them.
And before I knew it, I had met Rupa, found her very attractive, and married her. I remember mustering up the courage to ask her if she really wanted to marry me, and Rupa had nodded her head without words.
Growing up with the wrong idea
You see, I went to a boys’ school where the only traces of women one could see find were in the rampant objectification in the form of caricatures of breasts and vaginas that were scribbled on the classroom desks. We thought that marriage was the licence to have sex – whenever, wherever.
We thought that marriage was the licence to have sex – whenever, wherever.
And unsurprisingly, on the night of our marriage, I did not ask Rupa for her consent before I undressed her and took her on the bed. In no time, we were just another Indian couple with a flat of our own and a maid that my wife got to stay over every day.
Rupa didn’t look at me the whole time. I remember tears trickling down her cheek and thinking to myself that she must’ve been a virgin. Back in school, we had learnt that virgin women tend to cry during their first time. We had also learnt that screaming, crying, and all sorts of indicators of pain were a testament to how masculine we were, and that these were honourable for a healthy, potent husband.
I had become the perpetrator of the same abuse that had frightened me as a child.
At night, I’d fall asleep right after I ejaculated. And every morning, I’d wake up to invariably find myself alone on the bed. Rupa was an early bird; and when she was chatting with the maid over tea, she seemed tired, but genuinely happy.
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Then she got pregnant
Months went by, and I continued my disgusting practice. My kind of sex was the rough kind that I’d seen in porn, and I didn’t want to have it any other way.
When my wife got pregnant, she had to stay at her parents’ house for the entire span. They got a young maid to take care of Rupa. It was then that I started getting frustrated. Half the time, Rupa wouldn’t take my calls. She was always very tired. At other times, Laxmi, the maid, picked up the phone to tell me that my wife wasn’t available.
I was certain that she was talking to another man. Being the husband that I was, I knew all her usernames and passwords. I rummaged through her search history and my hands froze. My wife was getting off on lesbian porn with my baby in her womb.
The genre bothered me. I tried telling myself that the porn must’ve been an attempt to compensate for my absence, but something didn’t feel right.
When I discovered the truth
It was much later – after Rupa had given birth to a beautiful girl – that I came to know the truth. Laxmi took her leave, and before leaving, let me know how Rupa had given her money to cuddle and sleep with her.
It wasn’t long before she confessed to me herself. I remember being very angry. And I remember her stoic face. And I remembered my brother.
It has taken me ages to come to terms with the monster that I was, and how difficult I had made it for her to tell me the truth. For a long time, I felt emasculated. I was so upset with what had happened to me. And for her, I felt a surge of empathy, and – in the next moment – anger.
It’s been five years since my wife has confided in me. We never got a divorce. We are at once proud parents of our little daughter, and friends who, in secret, help each other date. I don’t know how long this will go on.
But if my wife weren’t a lesbian, I would’ve still been my abusive self. And after all that I have done to her, this is the very least that I can do.