My dear Anita and Anil,
I am taking this step not because I don’t love you and don’t want to be with you but because sometimes certain things happen in one’s life which makes it necessary to sacrifice what you hold most dear, for the better good. In this case, it is our happiness as a family. I hope you are able to understand even if you can’t forgive me – now or maybe ever – for what I will be putting you through.
I am not leaving you forever – I can never do that. I am your mother – but I am going away.
I am sacrificing the happiness of our lives as a family together, only because by staying I would be causing us all more unhappiness and grief.
Your father is a decent man and I know he will look after you well. Be good and continue to love him the way he loves you. He will be, as both of you also will be, angry and upset. But please don’t be. Life will go on. It must go on.
But do try to accept that my life is now with Sushil Uncle. He is, as you know, your father’s best friend and now mine.
When you grow up you will understand that some relationships are more overwhelming than others. This is one such. But never for a moment think that I don’t love you. Whoever tells you that is wrong. I will always love you. When I am away your maasi ma whom you love so much will look after you.
With all my love – always yours,
Anita, just 12, had difficulty understanding what she was reading. She had been lying in bed waiting for Aayi to get her up for school as usual when she had found this envelope with their names, propped up by the side of her pillow. Her brother Anil, who had had his 9th birthday just the previous day, was still fast asleep in the bed next to her. They shared a room while Aayi and Papa were in their own bedroom.
Related reading: I love my husband, but sometimes I love the other man a tad more
The aftermath of that letter affected not just that one family but also maasi ma’s family. It shocked and rocked their little world. The ramifications are being felt even today 10 and more years later.
Since then I have always wondered about the different kinds of love in relationships. And what actually defines this emotion called love. How a certain kind of love triumphs over another. But strong or weak, isn’t all love built on trust? Doesn’t it also come with a certain responsibility? Wasn’t it, whether between two individuals or children or parents, an intimate reliance that bonds/ties? Or is one being naïve?
What kind of love is it that makes one just up and go one fine day with nary a thought about the fallout on one’s near and dear? What kind of compulsion or passion for another would make a doting mother go away with her husband’s best friend leaving behind her dependent children with just a note?
Did she actually believe she was doing everyone favour? It was another matter that she knew her sister and brother-in-law would step in to help the little family she so selfishly forsook. But how could she assume that they would?
But again, was she really being selfish? Wasn’t it better to get out of a relationship that was going nowhere, even if it was with a husband to whom she had been married for 13 years than remain in it for the sake of her children and make everyone miserable? But if she had stayed in that marriage, what were the odds that she would have been the only one unhappy?
With that one act, it was obvious what she believed.
The husband and children moved in with her sister and family until the children were able to manage on their own. Angry and bitter, her entire extended family, including her parents, ostracised her. She moved cities and when the divorce came through, married the man for whom she had given up her hearth, home and children. They now have a young daughter, and she a brand new family. But at what cost?
Was it worth it? She doesn’t say.