Another Mans Wife....

chakky's picture

June 22nd 2002
She is getting married. In a couple of weeks, she will be another's wife.
What a strange thought. For six years, I thought she was mine. I could not
imagine another being closer to her than I was.

We were 'an item,' a couple. Friends addressed greetings to us jointly. When
somebody invited me to an engagement or a wedding, they felt obliged to add,
'Why don't you get her along as well?'

People I didn't know too well would ask, 'When are you getting married?' and
the 'you' was plural -- it referred to both of us. Now if I meet them, I
would have to say, 'She is married,' and there would be an embarrassed
silence. It's like a divorce even though no marriage had ever taken place.

I rehearse explanations: 'It didn't work out.' 'Her parents were opposed to
it.' 'Our horoscopes didn't match.' 'We decided to break up.' 'We are no
longer together.' I practise attitudes: Flippant and unaffected. Dry and
detached. Bemused but resigned. But, frankly, if I met myself, I wouldn't be

The thing for me to do is 'move on.' I've heard that phrase often in these
last few months. Mostly from her. She means it sympathetically, but it
infuriates me. You ask beggars at a traffic signal to 'move on.' Or
passengers in a bus. Makes me feel I'm part of a long shuffling queue going
nowhere. If I dawdle too long to look at a face I like, the line behind me
bristles and says 'move on...' Move on -- life is a ticket for a day in the
amusement park. Move on -- we have to see all the rides. Aren't you going to
check out Matrimony? I hear it's okay -- that's where all the crowds are...
And then there's Parenthood... that's pretty scary and not much fun. Don't
bother with Romance, it's too long. You'll feel sick at the end of it and
then you can't finish all the others. Move on... it's not a great park, but
it's the best around here.

But she's right: I must move on. Even I can see that.

I must move on, but where are my options ? I am 29. Six years with her have
given me the aura of an 'unavailable' man. I smile civilly at women and have
short polite conversations. I don't want to 'romance' any more... there's
something distasteful about entering that particular rat race again. What if
I try to flirt and get rebuffed ? I don't want that... it would hurt. Again.

Options, options... I had done French at college. I could take it up again. I
could paint, I used to be good at it. Photography? Music? Bridge? I spend
hours imagining what it could be like. I don't want to do any of these. I
just want her back. That's not an option though.

I registered at a matrimonial website. Don't ask me why... I don't have any
desire to marry right now. Maybe it was just curiosity, wanting to know what
an 'arranged marriage' would feel like. She is having an arranged marriage.
She met her fiancé through a matrimonial ad in a newspaper. I keep asking her
for details about him. I want to know why he is getting so easily what I have
desired for so long. I want to know whom I'm losing her to. 'He's okay,' she
says. 'I think he's nice.' She can't tell me more, she doesn't know him
enough. She's marrying a pleasant stranger.

I wanted to see if I could do that too. I chatted with some of the 'aspiring
brides' I met at the website. It's difficult to exchange even a few lines.
The medium is too impersonal. Or maybe I am too distracted. What does knowing
a person's hobbies tell you about her? I can't form a judgement based on
lines on the screen. I pretend to get disconnected and terminate the

I had a 'date' with a 'candidate' from the website last evening. Instead, I
went to watch a friend go paragliding. Halfway up the hill, I felt out of
breath and out of place. Miserable. Lay down on the bare slope of the hill,
beaten by a murderous sun, and watched the gliders take off from above. One
by one, the friendly, quiet people who had climbed up the hill with me were
stepping into the sky.

I have decided to take up paragliding.

Nachiket J is checking out of Heartbreak Hotel.

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