Ananya couldnt believe it was 2 years since her divorce from Kushal;
2 years of re-building her life;
2 years of starting her small home catering business
2 years of self- sufficiency
2 years of peace of mind.
Yes the road had been bumpy. It hasn’t been easy to convince her parents; seeing as it was her second marriage. They had begged her to reconsider with the conventional platitudes of “what will the relatives/society say to her second divorce?”
“It’s not like Kushal hits her, can’t she just get along? Maybe they could just sleep in separate bedrooms?”
” How can a woman live alone without a husband? A woman without a husband is as good as someone with dubious character.”
Each question had shattered her self-esteem a little more as she had expected support from her parents. Couldnt they see how miserable and hurt she was with Kushal?
She had questioned her decision over and over again, till she was sick in her mind. She had briefly toyed with the idea of suicide – it would solve the problem of “society”!!! Thats how depressed and broken she had been.
Thank God for Akash – he had stepped up, at the cost of breaking his friendship with Kushal. She had nowhere to go as her parents refused to put up with her, thinking this way she wouldn’t leave her husband’s home. It was Akash who offered to share his apartment with her for as long as she liked.
So grateful was she, that she took it upon herself to cook and clean and keep the house spic and span. The arrangement gradually settled into a well oiled routine and before they knew it 6 months had passed. She was there for Akash when he had disaster dates or when a seemingly promising relationship would peter out within a month.
He loved her cooking and the way the house looked and smelled when he walked in every evening after work. She in turn had a like minded person to talk to; discuss things with; read a book with or just go out for a coffee after dinner.
Then they took a travel trip together to Mumbai as Akash went to visit his parents for Ganpati. They had welcomed her with a lot of love and he had taken her around Mumbai like her own personal tourist guide. Walks on Marine drive, buggy rides at Gateway of India, exploring art galleries, digging into typical Irani fare at Britannia cafe – his to-do list had been endless. And they had just talked endlessly. Him, about his plans to ditch the 9to5 and do something “different”. She, of getting a job, building a bank balance and getting through the divorce.
It was at dinner when Akash was telling his mom how much he adores Ananya’s cooking, that she suggested that maybe Ananya could start a home tiffin service – something very popularly done in Mumbai. It was the eureka moment.
Soon they had banged out a business plan – she will plan the menu and cook while he would cost the dishes, evaluate the pricing and manage deliveries and marketing. They agreed to do this for 6 months and see how it pans out.
Year and half later, their catering business had won the popular foodie award in the viewers and critics section; several newspapers had published their food story and now she also had a regular food column in a much-read women’s magazine. And they had new plans on the anvil to take this business to the next level as they had been offered funding by a very successful food portal.
Could life get any better?
Plucking some fresh basil on the balcony, Ananya mused over how her life had transformed in the last two years. How she had found support from the most unexpected quarters while the expected had ditched her.
She had married twice, following the parental adage of ” a girl has to go to her husbands house to be happy.” Only to suffer misery and unhappiness of the nth degree.
As much as her parents had opposed her living in sin with Akash, his parents had been equally supportive and loving over it.
She had a business partner who balanced out her creativity with his financial ingenuity; not to mention a clear and calm head.
They travelled together, watched movies, attended dinners, went on walks and supported each other in every way possible. Not to mention shared a home too.
Then the awards had happened. The nominations were not unexpected as they had been much written about already in the FaceBook food groups but the win and in both the categories had been the icing on the cake.
Thats when he had ‘proposed’ to her!!!
Yes she was proposed to by a gay man; a homosexual male! She, a heterosexual female had accepted his proposal. Theirs is an ideal relationship where each brings to the table what the other doesn’t have but craves and balances it out with a friendship-love. So it’s not a conventional relationship as per society rules but its something that makes their world go around – which is the most important thing!
It’s not society that defines what a relationship between two people could be or should be. It’s the people in it who have the right to decide and choose what is good for them, what works and what makes them happy!