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The Diaries of Laxmi - Part 1

I'm Laxmi Prabhu. Wife of Prabhu Balakrishnan, a sensational film director and screenwriter of the Tamil film industry. That could possibly be my only identity in this world. As his wife and the mother of his children. But that will change. Today, at the age of 36 years and 3 months, I have decided to write down everything that happened in my marriage so far, and document everything that will happen in the future. This is important for both me and my children. I need them to grow up in a world where they have access to the truth. And when they find this diary, if they find it, they will know everything they need to know. Because there was a time in my life when I didn't know how long before I called it quits and decided to end this misery for myself. And everyone needs to know what led to that horrible phase of my life.

It's been 15 years. We've been together for exactly 15 years today. On Valentine's day. Ironic, isn't it? We got married on a day that celebrates love. It was an arranged marriage, as was the norm. Our families found each other and agreed on the match. I met him once before the wedding and was happy considering how handsome he was. He was gentle, kind and sweet to me. He loved me the way I was and never asked me to change a thing. I loved him with my heart and soul. And I knew I'd give him my everything. He was the very definition of happiness in my life.

In the 15 years that we've been together, we have endured the birth of two beautiful children, the struggle of having to survive on a budget of 150 rupees a day, a surgery, the buying of our first flat, our first car, open house meetings at the kids' school, and the list is endless. We have been through the days when producers rejected his scripts, directors refused to give him the opportunity to assist them, the days when we had to take up the smallest, most menial projects in order to make ends meet, and the day on which he got his first break. That was 7 years ago. Had I known what was going to happen within exactly seven more years, I wouldn't have had tears of joy running down my cheeks as I celebrated my husband's success. I'd have been more cautious with my happiness, my decisions and above all, my heart.

It's a glamorous world out there. The industry, the people, their parties, and the opportunities are endless. Once you find your footing, you can be anything you want. You can have it all. You can establish true friendships, genuine relationships, find hard-working managers, good PR teams, get women, drugs, anything. I know, because I have seen the love of my life, my husband, grow from nothing, to possessing all of those things. It was moderate in the beginning. He was testing the waters, I'm sure. We moved to a better house in the poshest locality in Chennai, we had money for more than what we needed for survival. We had money for whims. He'd give me some cash every now and then just for me to spend on anything I wanted. Branded clothes and footwear abounded my closet. Just because I could spend. Just because we could afford to spend. The children were moved to the best school in the city. Their fees per term was more than what we spent in a year on rent in the days when we were struggling. It's all a matter of luck. When the time is right and opportunity meets talent, magic happens. I have seen it with my own eyes.

It took me a while to realize that the glamour associated with his profile was restricted to just this excessive spending as far as I was concerned. That was it. I began to wonder why I never got to meet any of the high profile stars that he cast in his movies. Why I was never invited to all his parties. Why he would return home late at night because of "work". Why I wasn't involved in his work in any way. Why he insisted upon travelling alone. He's been to all these exotic destinations for work. Why haven't the children and I been tagged along even once? So many questions! So many "why"'s. But it's when I asked him one singular question that the seeds of doubt began to sprout in my mind. 3 years ago, after he returned from a trip, after an absence of almost a month, I saw panic in his eyes when I picked up his passport. It was lying on the bed and I picked it up. His panic coupled with the urgency with which he snatched it out of my hands made me question him. "Why can't I see the passport", I asked him. I'm no fool. I knew the answer. I knew the big picture. I just didn't have all the puzzle pieces to put together to learn the whole story. He never gave me an answer, and soon after the incident, showered me with presents. He spent a whole week with us, his wife and kids, without letting work interfere in any way because, "You guys mean the world to me and nothing could be more important than being with my family.". That's exactly what he said. I remember to this day. Everything was getting crystal clear to me. But every time I thought about confronting him, I remembered the faces of my angels, my babies. My son, now 14 and my daughter, merely 12. At the time, even younger. It would crush my heart to see how excited they got whenever Appa came home. Whenever Appa took them out to the movies or bought them all the food they wanted. Whenever we spent time together as a family. I didn't want to crush their family. Their concept of happiness. They didn't deserve to suffer on account of my ego. I could live with this for the sake of those innocent children. After all, a few flings here and there meant nothing to me. He was in a position to make sure that all rumors died a quick death. As long as the children weren't affected, I'd decided not to raise hell. They were my only concern.

But then, I had to raise hell. I was put in a position where I knew that I wouldn't be able to look at my own reflection in the mirror if I didn't confront him. And that's when all the tables turned.


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