(Names changed to protect privacy)
I had a great childhood. I went to one of the best colleges in India, a co-ed college in Delhi. I made friends. But all the boys then were just good friends. In my heart, I did want a boyfriend, but life was always full of friends. But yes, every guy that I met even outside college was also a friend.
As I boarded my flight to the USA to do my MBA in finance, I still remember how I thought I’d be in a relationship when I returned. MBA was all assignments and hard work and attending lectures. After that, I worked in a bank for two years. I was 25. I decided to come back to India. I had a lucrative offer with a leading bank.
And for the first time, being single started to bother me slightly.
The thing is that our society tells us to avoid guys. Or, how to say no to a guy. But no one ever taught us how to deal with being single or approach a guy you like, or how to be together with a guy in a healthy relationship. I knew how to get away from the wrong ones, but I had no idea how to get with the right ones.
My career was the only thing that didn’t fail me. I was travelling around the world. Promotions came almost every year. And by 29, I was the youngest VP of our bank in South East Asia. Nothing stopped me.
My brother married his childhood sweetheart. My parents started worrying about me. My father, who would celebrate every good thing in our lives, would be less and less enthusiastic about any professional success. He is not a sexist; he wanted me to find a partner.
Related reading: Operation Find-her-a-husband!
When I hit 30, the arranged marriage proposals started drying up and few men matched my place and position. I felt pressure to talk about an affair or a breakup at least. So, I created an ex-boyfriend in the USA, an MBA classmate. And then I said that Karan, my college friend, was my boyfriend and we grew apart when I left for the USA. He is such a good friend; he would kill me if he ever found out.
But with time, the desperation started growing. I bought my own flat, had a great car, but was forever single. Many women want to be single, on their own. I always wanted a partner.
And I started having sexual needs too. A virgin, I’d never been kissed. I even started fantasising about my colleagues and friends. Sex seemed to be on my mind most of the time, sometimes even when I was giving presentations to some of the biggest financial heads in the world.
So, I logged into all those chat sites where you could log in without an email ID. Where people hardly wrote a proper sentence in English. I created a fake Gmail ID and took a new SIM card. And I started having a lot of phone sex. I always checked for married men, because all they were looking for was fun outside their marriage, or I chose boys much younger. I never ever sent them my photos or identity. I acted as a mother of a 7-year-old, living in Mumbai, married to a businessman. I acted bored and shy. I told them that my husband was possessive, so I wouldn’t be available all the time. It took away my sexual tension. I was calmer and could focus on my work. I also stopped fantasising about my colleagues and friends. Most of those affairs never went beyond a few months. I blocked their numbers afterwards.
Then one day I met Ashok. I never felt like that ever before. We connected from the first meeting. We had that knowing each other forever feeling. In 3 months I was engaged. My parents almost cried with joy. Ashok was a management graduate but took over his father’s business. My father was relieved that I found an equal and did not have to compromise on anything.
I got married in February 2016. I married someone I fell in love with like I always wanted. After I met Ashok, I broke that SIM. I deleted my fake email ID. I never went back to that world. But I often wonder, what if I meet one of them someday? How would I react? I knew their real identity. They did not know mine.
(As told to Paromita Bardoloi)