Love is such a beautiful emotion! Love, in it's purest form. Love in any form, to be fair. Yet, I don't know why everyone is forced to hide this emotion. I'm not sure if it's a purely Indian thing, but people here love secretly, in private. Even amongst teenagers and younger adults, parents never give their children the freedom to talk about their infatuations and crushes. I was somehow hard-wired into understanding that my parents were never to find out about my boyfriend. So, when I silently crept out of my bedroom for a glass of water at 3 a.m on a working day, whispering to my boyfriend on the phone and making as little sound as possible, I got the shock of my life when I found Mama crouched on the floor of the kitchen. My heart began to knock against my ribs and I just froze on the spot. I didn't move a muscle. I didn't even attempt to cut the call and hide my phone out of fear of getting caught red-handed. What brought me back to my senses were her whispers. I must have stayed glued to that spot for at least 10 minutes, trying to figure out what was happening. I soon realized that she herself was whispering into her phone, and the words, "I love you too" followed by her wet, sloppy kisses, pretty much made me decide to head back to my room.
The following morning, after I got her out of the way, I invoked all the Gods I knew and summoned all the strength I thought I had in me, to go through her phone. The call history was empty, as expected. But one of the perks of being close to your mother is being acquainted with every single person in her social circle. I went through her contacts one by one, trying to figure out who might have been on the other side. By the time I reached the end of the list, I had almost given up hope. But there was this unsaved number at the very end that made me heave a sigh of relief. It looked like an international number and I immediately transferred it to my phone. The rest was easy. I simply ran the number on my Truecaller app, found the name and picture of the owner of the unsaved Singapore-based mobile number, stalked him like a pro on Facebook, and found out that he went to college with Mama. I had everything I needed to believe what was obvious.
My beautiful, sexy and smart Mama was having an affair with someone who presumably went to college with her. Someone who, by the looks of it, was either single or divorced and didn't seem to have any kids. Someone she seemed to be having a long distance relationship with, which had obviously not manifested itself physically, but had probably grown spiritually and emotionally. Someone she was ready to say "I love you" to, someone with whom she'd exchanged long distance telephone kisses. But all that was fine. What got me thinking was when my boyfriend said, "I'm so sorry to hear that. I hope you're okay.".
Why wouldn't I be okay? I mean, it surely was difficult to digest at first because I never expected my Mom of all people, to have time for someone other than her only daughter, but that was just my selfishness clouding my judgement. This woman has gone through a shit-storm in the 23 years of her marriage with a drunkard. She's beautiful and loving and deserves to be happy. If this is where she finds happiness, why does that have to be so hard for me to understand? She can make her own choices and do whatever she wants. I really can't understand why people expect me to be shattered and heart-broken about this.
The only reason why I don't ask all those people to fuck off and mind their own business is because they don't know about it yet. This is premature and I know that she wants to keep it a secret. Even from me. I guess she'd be too embarrassed if she knew that I'd found out about her affair. After all, we're all forced to love secretly in this country.
Little does she know that something about the image of her crouched on the kitchen floor, planting wet kisses on her phone, while Papa lay on his bedroom floor, passed out after his usual drunken evening, makes me smile like the devil.
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