I have been the class representative and college secretary when I was growing up. Naturally, when I came into a new job, I felt lost among all the experienced people who knew so much more than I did. Am not saying that I was a proud lion who could not stand to take orders from people but truth be told, I felt weird taking orders from people. I was fresh out of law school and I stood like a meek sheep in a pack of lions.
My job included going through appraisals, sometimes a number of them at the same time. Though it was not much, I was new and it was too big a weight on my shoulder. It took me hours to get through one, sometimes even a day.
I was impressed with my boss
The group of people I was put to work with, helped me get into the flow of things. My first time at a serious legal matter was to observe how things were getting done. The deposition was between two companies. And that was perhaps the first time I saw my boss in a new light.
My boss, 45 years old, sat calmly at the table and maintained his straight face through the name-calling part of the deposition. While the junior lawyers were almost at each other’s throat, he kept his cool and settled the dispute between his lawyers and the opposition lawyers and fixed a later date for the meeting.
The boss was a good man. And had an excellent eye for settling corporate disputes. All I knew was that the most senior managers were good pals with him. Naturally, I respected him. He made the fresher work hard but knew when to send us home. We worked almost twice as hard as the permanent people in the firm. So yeah, we respected him.
What started out as respect soon turned into more!
There were days when he seemed to be in a sour mood. To gain his approval and to seek his mentorship, I took on a crushing weight load. He never praised though, just nodded. “Have you sent the documents over to them? You have? Alright.” followed by a nod.
I was not sure whether I was enjoying working in the company, or working to please him, but I worked really hard. Very soon, and that means two years later, I was being given more and more share of serious work than the other freshers. I started attending more meetings, followed up on my boss after the meetings and discussed approaches to take. My crush on my boss was too clichéd for me to pay attention to it. Soon the group of vultures I was working with, got whiff of this liking and very soon the sniggers and smirks followed whenever I had to clear a doubt with my boss.
It was almost two years later
My unbearable crush on my boss was not a crush – it was a deep seated liking. And possibly love, I thought. So when my boss acted a little too friendly during a dinner party, I was flattered out of my wits. He complimented my work ethics and how my dressing sense was impeccable. He had a wife, and a son who was finishing his school. I knew everything. I even met the wife at one of the office dinner parties. It was the gradual, staggering praises that made me take attention of his changing behaviour towards me. I was praised regularly for my work. Late night office hours meant light-hearted conversations. He opened up about his son getting into a good college. I talked about how my brother just had a son. Soon, it was apparent that the late night shifts was what he was looking for. We got coffee and drinks together and the praises took no time to turn into a full blown affair.
First started the late phone calls at night, after his wife had gone to sleep. I never asked him about his relation with his wife. He never took her name and I never uttered it either. I felt like if I did mention her name, it would breathe life to his infidelity and me being an accomplice – the third wheel to a marriage. I heard a divorce was on the way because apparently his wife had cheated on him. Deep down, I felt glad and the feeling of guilt faded.
The company policy started nagging me. What if he did get through the divorce, could we make our love public? He reassured me no one in the company could do anything to him as he was important. And he was! He had friends in powerful places, which made him powerful too, right?
Power is like a catnip for me
And if he is willing to leave his wife for me, he must really love me. We took “work trips” together and it was only later that I found that he had little love nests in all major cities. I was once pregnant, but he took “care” of it for me. And that was okay, I did not want a baby out of a wedlock.
By then everyone started speculating about the affair. He never made anything public and forbid me to say anything to people. Fast forward three years later, we carried on our affair in secret. After a particular steamy night in one of his out-houses, when I got to office, I was met by my group people, looking at me. His wife had come in with another woman and they had a loud conversation.
Turns out he never even filed for divorce from his wife
So he was cheating on his wife with me. The other woman was a friend of his wife’s – another woman he had slept with after giving assurance that he was going to divorce his wife. When the woman pestered, he left her and never contacted her again. The wife found out about me and confronted me right at my work place and questioned my morality and called me names. Of course, she was escorted out after the authorities intervened.
I remember the looks my colleagues gave me that day. But my boss had it worse. The wife made a full-on investigation regarding the cheating husband. And this wife’s father was a politician so you can imagine the in-depth investigation that was carried on against this boss man I once loved. He resigned after a few months, or was asked to leave after the fiasco.
I ended up being at the receiving end of a lot of criticism. I shifted cities after a year or so. Joined a different firm. I now understand the hierarchy better. And men too.