A Dilemma…

By Published On: June 2, 2019Categories: Short Stories3 Comments on A Dilemma…

If one makes a wrong choice in life what stops one from moving away and starting life afresh? Why is someone not able to take a call? Is it be because one is fearful of society or one is too egotistic to admit one’s mistake or not sure of what to do?

Food for thought?

So my dear readers, please read on and post your solution, your suggestion to Gauri, my protagonist who is facing a dilemma in her life and needs help.

Gauri, a millennial, an independent young woman with a mind of her own. She isbeautiful, well educated, running her own business andgreatly admired.She is someone who has always followed her heart and taken her own decisions. So then today why is she caught in a situation where she is not able to take one? Why can’t she decide? Is she caught between her head and her heart or what??

Thanks to her parents who are very well sorted individuals themselves Gauri grew up to be a level headed and sensible girl,always very clear about what she wanted in life. Though they could afford all the riches of the world her parents made sure that their privileged lifestyle never got to her head. As a child ,if she wanted something she had to have a solid reason for wanting it. It couldn’t just be a whim or a fancy. Her father always told her that if she could convince him about why she wanted to buy something or do something he would agree. So she was made to value everything.

Her childhood was pretty normal though being the only child of her parents she did feel lonely at times because she didn’t have much company at home. Yes, her parents did spend a lot of time with her, they went out, did movies, vacations and lots of stuff together but she always missed having a sibling. All her cousins had siblings and she always envied them. But since she was a very friendly and outgoing person she had a lot of friends in school and later on in college as well. But of course, it wasn’t the same thing as having a brother or a sister.

What set her apart from the others was her drive, her ambition which made her into a super achiever. She, thanks to her parents had very high standards in life and what is more she was willing to put in the hard work required to attain those standards and then to maintain them.So whether it was academics, work, home or anything at all she had to be the best.As a result she grew up to be a well spoken, well turned out and a confident person. All her hard work in school meant that she  managed to get to the top schools of the world where also she performed very well.  But therewas this need, this hunger in her to not be known only as her father’s daughter but to have an identity of her own. Therefore after completing her education  she wanted to start a venture of her own with not much help from her father. Though her father was happy at the level of her ambition he advised her to work for someone before taking the plunge into a solo venture. Since his suggestion made sense she agreed and started looking for a job. She found one in a reputed organisation thanks to her excellent credentials.Gauri loved her job, the freedom that it brought with it, and more than anything else the fact that she was getting to be independent was a big high for her. However, she knew that eventually she would want to start a venture of her own and therefore working for someone else was just a means to gain work experience.

This went on for about two years during which time she kept looking for ideas, ventures which she could develop into something of her own. Such was her drive that finally her father decided to help her but he was very clear that the support would only be in terms of advice, suggestions and contacts. She would have to take the final call herself and also raise funds for the venture on her own. The independent Gauri just wanted that. She needed someone to guide her, mentor her whereafter she could take off on her own. This was the wind that she needed beneath her sails. She zeroed in on a venture which was close to her heart and decided to  put her heart and soul into it. She ran from pillar to post to  raise funds for it, worked long hours, took every hurdle, every obstacle in her strideand eventually managed to make it a success. Not only did the venture take off, but it established itself and hers became a success story. At the age of thirty, she was a successfulbusinesswoman who people especially young girls looked up to. She became like an icon, like every girl’s dream and so the media went crazy. She started getting a lot of publicity on social media, print media, was invited on talk shows, panel discussions and what not. She had worked hard to get there so she enjoyed it all. Her parents’ joy knew no bounds. She had alwaysbeen a model child and now was a role model for the world. Weren’t they proud!!!!!

And then, she went and did the unthinkable!! She fell in love which per se wasn’t unthinkable or unexpected but the recipient of her love was definitely unexpected.

She fell in love with her father’s accountant’s son Sreedhar and decided to get married to him.To say that the world was shocked would be worse than an understatement. It wasn’t shocking that a Gauri Kapoor was marrying a Sreedhar Gopalakrishnan!! Shocking was that a Gauri Kapoor, a top industrialist’s daughter, a smart and intelligent girl with a business of her own was marrying Sreedhar Gopalakrishnan, the son of her father’s accountant, a plain graduate and on top of that unemployed. There was only one question on everyone’s lips ”Why”?

The thing was that given the type of person she had always been, boys, parties had never really excited her. She had always led a goal-driven life and these distractions were never a part of her life so much so that though she knew a number of boys, they were more like her buddies, her pals.She hadn’t ever had time for a romantic involvement. In fact even when she got attracted to someone she brushed aside all such thoughts and feelings  and got her mind back on track with the track varying from studies to her work, to her venture depending on the stage of her life. Of course her parents wanted her to get married, have a family of her own but they had also never been in a tearing hurry to marry her off. Since she was their only child they wanted the best for her and were prepared to wait for the best. But now this…. certainly was not the best. Her parents were too shocked by her decision. Her mother still felt that they might be able to change her mind but her father knew his daughter. Once she had made up her mind about something there was no way that she was going to change it.

But the million daughter question to which most people had no answer was what had she seen in Sreedhar? What had attracted her to him?

Gauri still remembered the day she had seen Sreedhar for the first time. She had been rushing into her father’s cabin, excited at the prospect of sharing a new business idea with him. She had her laptop, her phone, some papers and her hands were full. With all this in her hands she was trying to push open the door to his cabin, when the door opened as if on cue and with that all her papers went flying though she managed to hold onto her laptop and phone. She looked up to see how that had happened and saw this young man in front of her who was on his way out after seeing her father. He mumbled a quick apology and vanished while she entered the cabin looking questioningly at her father. Her father told her that the young man was Mr. Gopalakrishnan’s son, who she knew to be her father’s ’Go To Person’, someone who had a solution to all his financial issues. That had been the first meeting, a pretty inconsequential one. She learnt that he had come to see her dadas his father had wanted him to consult Mr. Kapoor to get an idea of what he should do in life. He was a plain graduate and had not been able to find any job  as he wasn’t clear about what he wanted to do. His father had sent him to her father so that by talking to him he could get some clarity and a sense of direction. Her father had been most disappointed with him as he had felt that he was a ”good for nothing,’ a wastrel who did not want to do anything in life and was extremely lazy and laid back.He felt really bad for Mr. Gopalakrishnan who had worked very hard all his life to provide for his family. All his other children had done fine but this one was proving to be a big pain. Though Mr. Kapoor had tried to put some sense into his head he didn’t think that he had been very successful. The boy clearly lacked ambition and just wanted to live off his father till the time he could. But as a result of his interaction with Mr. Kapoor, he had agreed to join the sales team of his business and learn the ropes of the job. This led to his coming to office every day and bumping into Gauri off and on.  Though at that time Gauri was also working, she nevertheless found time to visit her father and discuss her future plans with him. And as a result, very often she bumped into Sree as he was called. Now he wasn’t someone who could naturally attract people’s attention but what set him apart from the others was the fact that while everyone else was busy working he could be seen either just sitting or chatting with someone or sometimes just reading something. Though this kind of a behavior was totally unacceptable, because he was his father’s son who was highly respected in the organization people let him be. Bit it was obvious that he wasn’t going to be there for long.

For Gauri seeing him was like stopping somewhere with a jolt. She would most of the times as was her nature be rushing in, with hundred things in her mind, in a state of hyper activity and there she would see this person, in a calm and collected state of mind sitting on a chair and staring into space. Seeing him she would stop in her tracks and wonder as to how such people could exist but then that was it. She would enter her father’s cabin and forget about him. But somewhere this contrast in natures was registering itself in her head without anyone realising it. One day she walked in a totally agitated state of mind wanting to get to her father as quickly as possible but she had to wait as he had some visitors. Now patience was not a virtue she had any abundance of. Whatever little she had, she was losing it by the minute but to no avail. It was then that Sree stepped in, trying to distract her, calm her. He related a joke which broke the ice and they got talking. And when they did that they kind of hit it off and though the interaction didn’t last for too long they decided  to meet again which happened very soon. They and in particular Gauri started enjoying each other’s company. He liked her spirit, her dynamism, she, his cool, no hurry kind of a personality. The fact that he was a temporary employee in her father’s office made no difference to her. He had no goals, no ambition in life which she found strange but it didn’t bother her much. He was someone on whom she could unburden herself, sound off her ideas, vent out her feelings. The thing was that though Sreedhar was not ambitious he was intelligent and could always offer a different perspective to Gauri’s issues. He was patient, would listen to her and then introduce a completely different dimension. Gauri found his views to be very refreshing and different and so with time she started sharing a lot with him. This meant that they ended up spending a lot of time with each other.

Meanwhile her venture took off and though she got very busy and could not spend as much time with Sreedhar as before, he never complained and was always there whenever she needed him. That suited her very well and the relationship became stronger than before. It never gave her any stress. It was always a welcome change to meet whenever possible. As she grew successful and well known, this friendship continued to flourish. People did talk and wonder about it but it didn’t bother Gauri at all. She was doing very well work wise, but now her parents wanted her to get married. She  wasn’t so keen herself, but whenever she thought about it she didn’t know who she could get married too. She didn’t have much of a social life, an arranged match was not an option so then what??? She also knew that her work was her life and her partner needed to not only know that but needed  to accept it also. She couldn’t be a conventional wife in any way because she would need support and encouragement all the way in her endeavours. Since she knew it would be difficult to find someone who could understand all this she felt that marriage was not her scene. But of course her parents wouldn’t accept that.

So one day quite fed up with this she decided to meet Sreedhar and pour her heart out. She knew he would listen and would understand as well. And sure enough he did . He understood her point of view, he sympathized with her and comforted her. And then……. An idea struck Gauri!! Why couldn’t she marry him? He was a nice person, was okay looking and they got along very well. So what if he didn’t have money, she had enough for the two of them. So what if he didn’t have a career of his own, he would support hers. Wouldn’t that be fine? By marrying him, she could continue to follow her passion, and also do what was expected of her. So before she could change her mind she proposed to Mr. Sreedhar Gopalakrishnan. The expression on his face on receiving the proposal was of shock, incredulity and then he started laughing and just wouldn’t/ couldn’t stop.

Gauri didn’t know what had hit him.  She waited for him to calm down and then proposed once again. She told him she was very serious about it. She knew they weren’t in love but then they were good friends, had a lot to share and talk about and most of all he understood her. So where was the problem?? She felt that they had the basics ingredients for a life together so why couldn’t they could go ahead. Though taken aback initially gradually Sreedhar also saw her point and quite liked the idea and therefore by the end of the evening they had decided to tie the knot. The problem was how to break the news to the parents. Gauri was sure that she would be able to pull it offthough Sreedhar wasn’t.

So that night at the dinner table, in a cool, calm and a matter of fact manner Gauri broke the news to her parents. The calm announcement but naturally had a not so calm a reaction. Her mother who had a bowl in her hands, dropped it and it shattered into pieces. Her father who was eating stopped midway with the spoon stopping at just the point where it was about to enter the mouth. It ended up crashing on the plate. The verbal reaction however was not so volatile. Knowing their daughter well enough the parents did not say anything at all but looked at her wanting her to explain herself.Gauri had been expecting this sort of a reaction and  she also knew that she had to give them a valid reason for her decision. So therefore she repeated all those reasons that she had given to Sreedhar and then it was her turn to look at them. Their biggest objection was the fact that he didn’t do anything and the family was no match to their family. Gauri was expecting this and she took on the the objections one by one and gave her point of view. Though her parents did not completely agree with her but they did find some of her reasoning logical. They did realise that with her kind of a busy work schedule settling into a normal household where girls were not expected to be so ambitious would be difficult. They agreed that she did need a man who would be willing to support and encourage her so therefore someone who was terribly ambitious himself would not be able to do that. But their biggest objection was the fact that he did nothing at all. The fact that he did not feel the need to do anything at all was very disturbing. Her father felt that this lack of need or drive to do anything productive did not augur well for the future.

But though Gauri agreed with them on this point, she felt that with time she would be able to influence Sreedhar to work, to do something of his own or maybe join her. Knowing her, they knew that she wouldn’t listen so though not completely in agreement with her they thought it best not to argue with her. In fact somewhere they also felt that she may just lose interest with time or see him for what he was. But much to their dismay she stuck to her decision. However, one person who was dead against her decision was her prospective father-in-law who just wouldn’t accept it. He was very clear that there was no way that he would let her do that. He knew that his son was a wastrel, a good-for-nothing who did not deserve a girl like her or any girl for that matter. There was no way that he would allow that. But his opposition notwithstandingthe two went ahead and got married. Of course, as expected the marriage got a huge amount of publicity though people did not expect it to last for long.

The first few months were happy, idyllic and just the way Gauri had expected them to be. There wasn’t much change in her life other than the fact that instead of going back to her parents house every evening she was going to her own house. The house had been bought by her with her own money and so she was terribly proud of it. Once home she would spend time with her husband who was always home when she got back. They would sit, chat, watch movies and be with each other. Sreedhar was a good listener and someone with whom Gauri could discuss anything under the sun. So, many times she would discuss work related issues with him.Whenever possible they would take small vacations. Gauri loved her life and Sreedhar also was happy. He could be the way he wanted to be with no questions asked. His father was not there to object to anything and he didn’t even have to go back to his work as he had stopped doing it after getting married. He and Gauri were comfortable with each other and though they were not madly in love with each other or anything like that, it was alright.

Sreedhar spent his days, reading, watching TV, going for walks and evening time was spent with Gauri. Their household was pretty unconventional with the husband sitting at home and the wife going out to work but that was fine by him.They did occasionally visit both sets of parents. Gauri’s parents treated him very well but his father would just not want to talk to him. Whenever they met, he would spend a lot of time with Gauri, he would talk to her, share jokes with her but he didn’t pay much attention to his son. He could be like a fly on the wall. Though their life seemed to be going well the father was still not sure about thefuture. And before long, it was time for their first anniversary. The couple decided to throw a party for their friends and family to celebrate the occasion. All went well other than the fact that people could not helppassing snide remarks about Sreedhar and the fact that he did absolutely nothing and lived off his wife’s money. Though Sreedhar couldn’t care less about what people said, the comments did pinch his wife. It was all said in jest but she did not like them as somewhere she knew that people were not wrong. It was a fact that her husband lived off her and had no qualms about it. Somewhere all this left its mark behind and though she tried to get it out of her mind she just couldn’t. Now she was someone who was proud of her lineage, her achievements, her looks and now here was something which was on the contrary belittling her, making her feel ashamed. But not someone to let something hold her back, very soon she was able to put all this behind her and move on.

But though she had decided not to let Sreedhar and his ways bother her somewhere his lifestyle had started to bother her. Many times when she got back home she would be amazed to see that her husband had spent the entire day in front of the television!!! He had not moved!!  Though it wasn’t something new and had never really bothered her but now slowly she had stated noticing all this and also getting a little irritated. One day in fact they had an argument over this which led to a fight between them. They did not speak to each other for two days after which Gauri gave in but Sreedhar was very clear that he would not change his ways for anyone. She had to learn to live with them. Thought she did not like what he said, Gauri accepted his decision to avoid any kind of a conflict. But her mind was not at peace. There was this constant turmoil inside her. The fact that her husband did nothing was beginning to bother her and no matter how hard she tried to shake that feeling off, it just wouldn’t go. She tried telling herself that his not wanting to work was not something that had been hidden from her. She had always known this fact. So why was it now beginning to bother her so much?

She kept thinking about it and then one day she decided that she would try and involve him in her work and in that way make him do something.She told him that she needed someone to be there  in office when she was traveling which had been on the rise in the recent past. So she asked him if he could be in the office sometime during the day for a little while.He agreed to do that but after about two months of doing that he just stopped going. When she asked him the reason for that he simply said that he had had enough of sticking to a routine and didn’t want to do it any longer. That was it!  She found the explanation very lame but just kept quiet. Sreedhar was back to being his old self, spending his day doing what he wanted to. Once again it started bothering Gauri, who now even while at work herself kept wondering as to what he would be doing at home.

The thing was that the two were complete contrasts of each other. While Gauri could not imagine a life without work, he could not imagine a life with work. And now when the euphoria, the novelty of a life with a partner who had all the time in the world for her was beginning to wear off, the differences were becoming glaringly apparent. In fact now Gauri could only see the differences and nothing else. She would see him and her temper would start rising but she knew that she couldn’t keep picking on him, so to avoid passing a comment she would avoid spending time with him and try not to be in the same room as him. And if she had to be in the same room she would just ignore him. But in spite of everything the situation was getting to her. She didn’t want to come home. So she started traveling a lot so that she could stay away. The problem was that she couldn’t share this with anyone else. She had no friends and family she didn’t want to. So now what??  But at the same time she couldn’t ignore the issue. Things reached the limit when an article in a magazine that had interviewed her, labelled Sree as a house husband who was extremely supportive of his wife’s career and encouraged her to work hard. He had made it seem as though he had sacrificed his own ambitions for the sake of his wife. To say that the article shook her would be putting it mildly. In fact it enraged Gauri. It wasn’t that she was unhappy about what had been written about her husband but what got to her was the fact that though Sree was lazy and useless, he had made it seem that he was like this out of his love for his wife. He had pointed out all those instances where he had volunteered to help her out either physically or by givingadvice to her whenever she had been stuck  It was as though he lived only for her whereas the fact was that he lived only for himself and did not work as he didn’t want to. Not only her but even her father-in-law was livid with his son. He felt that Sree had behaved in a very selfish and slimy way. He even gave a piece of his mind to Gauri for having been foolish enough to have got married to him. In fact he told her that she should leave him if she wanted peace and happiness in her life. He asked her if she was with him for her own sake or for the sake of society. This question struck a chord somewhere and made Gauri think about her life.

 She knew that she had always lived her life on her terms, the way she had wanted to. But was it that by marrying Sree she had done something that she hadn’t really wanted to but had done it due to pressure from her parents to get married. What should she do now? She knows her parents will accept any decision of hers provided she can give a valid reason for it. So should she swallow her pride, admit that she had made a mistake by marrying Sree and leave him or should she wait and see.  All said and done they had been married for close to two years now and somewhere she did care for him and she knew that he cared for her too. Wasn’t marriage supposed to be a sacred bond?? Wasn’t it about being able to accept each other’s follies and move on?? So what should she do? She has no answer…

So readers help Gauri, tell her what to do?? Offer your suggestions, your advice…

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3 Comments

  1. Swaminathan Iyer June 2, 2019 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Certainly she made a wrong decision to marry a loafer. That is sometimes girls fall into this kind of emotional trap. That is the state of mind one cannot the unknowable. Sometimes over ambitious persons make wrong decisions when it comes to their personal life.
    What best she could do now is just to leave him and marry someone matching her worth or live her life independently after leaving him. There is no point of living with him who is fit for nothing and only live on her money.
    Most of the love marriages fail because either she or he or both were driven by emotional trap. That is moment of madness

  2. Ceemul June 4, 2019 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    Hoping someone would eventually change with time is wrong. They may change but it is not something one should bet upon.
    Whenever something bothered her, she spoke to him about it. So she should communicate these thoughts as well and look for a solution together. If one person is not happy, no relation can work. So letting it go is the ultimate solution and she should do it without any guilt or worry of what people will think or say. And leaving does not mean the person never cared. One can still care and be there from a distance.

  3. Payal June 7, 2019 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    The biggest human failure is believing we can change people. And funnily the things we find enduring in the beginning of love, tend to become irritants with time. Having said that, this relationship was’nt based on love. Its time Gauri let this relationship go. And learn not to get into another relationship to suit her business but follow her heart. Marriage is a sacred bond only if there is love and emotions. Else its just a duty

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Hello! I’m Sangeeta Relan. Aside from being an educationist teaching at the university level for the last 28 years, I have been a corporate wife and a mother to two boys who have now flown the nest. I love cooking, singing, travelling and exploring new places.

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