(As told to Stotropama Mukherjee)
I live with my boyfriend’s parents
If you don’t already know, I’m Titir. I’m a polyamoric person in an open live-in relationship with my partner Indra for last 12 years. The funny part is I live with Indra’s parents too. Indra is now in the USA perusing higher studies and we are now in a long distance relationship. Indra came home for the winter break for a month and we had a great time. But no sooner did he leave than my mom and his mom fell sick.
I tease Indra saying that he left me with a pair of parents to take care of. It’s just for teasing. I am proud to shoulder the responsibility, because up till now Indra shouldered most of it. As I always say, he rescued me in every way a woman can be rescued, but that’s a story for another day.
My boyfriend’s parents consider me part of the family
Though my parents consider me a kid, Indra’s parents consider me the lady of the house. Indra’s mother always includes me in every decision and takes into account my suggestion. Indra receives the same courtesy from my parents: almost as if he is the son they never had. So I resort to Indra if I want my parents to do something and vice versa when it comes to his parents.
Indra left after the winter break in the middle of January and both his mother and my mother fell ill shortly after that. I can take care of ill people: I did it as a child when it came to my grandparents. Only recently I helped Indra recover from chicken pox.
Doctors love me, I administer medicine; I make sick people food taste good, I have good bedside manners. Indra calls it my Florence Nightingale mode. So this crisis wouldn’t have been this big a problem, if only I had Indra to come home to after everything. His not being there made me feel helpless. I did everything, but I was completely going mad. It was a blessing that both my parents and Indra’s stay within 2 km of each other, but it felt like that I was spending most of my time in the commute.
The fathers are of little help
Indra’s mother was diagnosed with Herpes zoster ophthalmicus and my mother with congestive heart failure. I won’t go into medical details, but they both needed immediate care. Let me tell you, fathers are very inconsequential when it comes to their women. They get tense and all worked up; what they can’t understand or work with, they try to solve by throwing money at it. They act like sweet old nincompoops who make more trouble than solving it. So along with taking care of the moms, I had to constantly reassure them at all times. But the only one who could assure me or tell me that I’m doing a good job was 12,953 km away in Baltimore.
It was two weeks of hell: I would administer medicine to one, cook food for another, travel from one house to another like a ping pong ball, talk to the doctors, run to buy medicines, arrange for the tests to be done from home. One of the days I fell down on the road while running for an errand or the other. I just got up and got on with it. It took me two days and really tight leggings to find out that I’d cut my knee severely in that fall.
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He offered to come back, but I refused
All through this, Indra has been my rock. First he offered to come back to handle the crisis, which I put a stop to. Last time my mother needed to be admitted to the hospital, Indra took charge so that I could finish my exam peacefully. Only after I finished my exam, he told me that my mother was already admitted to the hospital. He would always protect me from everything and this time around I could feel his absence. But that was no excuse for me to make him come back. So I had to take charge.
I would keep him informed of every little change, every bit of progress and he would listen to me. I would rant about how difficult it is for me to deal with my mom, even when she’s ill. I would talk at length about how dads are making more trouble than solving things. And he would just listen. Sometimes I would hang up the phone after emptying my heart out to find that it’s been 3 o’clock at night in his city while I was talking to him. He would never complain about it.
He supported me from a distance
As always he came through for me, providing every little comfort he could. He would talk to my parents when they need convincing. He would talk to his parents when they need comforting. He supported my every decision and always presented a united front with me.
I asked him, “I’m going out of the mind, Indra. How do you keep your cool during every crisis?”
He said, “I lose my mind too, darling, but I always have you by my side to comfort me. That’s the secret, that’s how I handled everything smoothly this far and now you know it.”