Divorce is a big stigma in our society. Which is why people are scared of marriages. And commitment. I don’t know, I’m not exactly scared. I’ve been there and done that, twice. Yes, I’m one of those ladies who have got married twice and divorced twice. But that doesn’t scare me from marriage or love. And I’m still in touch with my exes. And I still go out on dates and hope that there will be someone who will make me giddily happy.
(As told to Joie Bose)
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The first time, a secret
I was 21 when I got married the first time. I was living in Pune with Richard, my teacher from film school, who was 40. My parents didn’t know. They would have been shocked to know that my beau was from a different religion and so much older and that’s why I didn’t tell them. Richard had asked me in the most beautiful manner, under the stars, kneeling, and I couldn’t say no. I didn’t want to say no. Richard was a romantic, took care of me and I didn’t need much more. The problem began after seven years, when I realized that Richard had a thing for women who were under 25. Also, no one back home in Calcutta knew about the marriage. I didn’t want to tell them. They would have freaked out. But all that could have been worked out, had I too remained interested in Richard.
Next an affair
I was working in an advertising agency and I had met Ashfaq. He was closer to my age and I had grown out of Richard. I didn’t marry Ashfaq, though he helped me through the divorce and helped me move to Mumbai. We were together for a few years, but this relationship reached its expiry date soon enough. Ashfaq was also into advertising like me and needless to say, professionally on one hand he had helped me find a footing in Bombay, and on the other, he used my contacts and ideas. People who are professional rivals can never be personally committed.
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And then with pomp and splendour
However, before long I met Sagar, a banker and a Bengali like me. I had gone to their bank for a loan to help me fund my first independent film. The loan was not granted, but Sagar turned out nice. He was comfortable and we shared a lot of collective history – things like the love for Durga Puja, rossogollas, Hilsa fish. In a strange city when you’re all alone, these things do bring a lot of comfort. I married him, the second time. This was a big traditional wedding, with a lot of oomph and had big approval from all quarters, but Sagar changed after marriage.
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He didn’t like my long working hours and suddenly became averse to my lifestyle and always doubted me. He grew violent when I resisted.
One thing I had learnt in my life was to move on when there was nothing left. Sagar was the sort who had been more enamored by me from afar and when I was near, I had become too atrocious for him to digest.
This was a messy divorce, though, and I’m glad I don’t live with him. We both live in Mumbai and that is why we still go for some Bengali lunches together, but I will never want to grow old with him.
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Life happens to me
Sometimes I feel like my life is part of a movie, and I’m the protagonist and that everything good, bad and ugly is happening to me for a reason. At those times, I pause and stop and look all around me, trying to narrow down on a philosophy. You might think I’m crazy, but I don’t know, maybe this happens to you as well. It’s great if it does. And I realise that though I’m in my late 30s, my life happens to be this series of movies. Every episode is a movie. The moment one gets over, I wait for the other one to start. And that is when I realise that seriously, I’ve been having this long relationship with myself. And that is what I care about. There is nothing wrong in it.
It’s me that counts
People, they come and go. There have been men other than Richard, Ashfaq and Sagar, but they were all too insignificant. The most important lesson that I learned after my two marriages and two divorces is that the only one who has been of significance has all along been just me.
But looking back I don’t regret anyone, for everything those people meant or stood for or brought to my life was what a movie, a hundred-and-something-minute phase is made of.
I have learnt a lot about marriages and divorce and relationships in general, and I don’t fear them. I’ve been through a lot, but I have no fears. I’m fearless.
At the end of it, today, I’m one of those romcom heroines, wearing a maroon or grey sweater in the cold and walking under the stars and feeling great. And you know what? I have this great feeling that there will be many, many, many more movies in my life and when I die, I shall surely be a star.
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