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The women I’ve known and wronged – I

Recently, I read it written somewhere that a man discovers the sort of person he is only in his early forties, and a woman, in her late thirties. It takes a man a few years longer to do so.

Interesting thought. Going by my own experience, I think it’s true. Now in my fortieth year, I’ve been developing some deep insights into my own personality.

Because of late, I’ve been thinking about the sort of person I am. I’ve been mentally stepping into the shoes of the people who have touched my life. And the realization dawned on me that I’m not entirely a nice person. I’m an unfinished sort of person, with jagged edges all around where people get hurt. A uncivilized sort of person, a sort of Hagar-the-Horrible minus the roly-poly cuteness (although my wife and teenaged daughter, both of whom I’ve hurt the most, insist that I’m cute!)

The women in my life — the ones I knew and loved in some degree before I met my wife — I look upon them with with some regret, some remorse, and only occasionally with some pride that I did right right by them.

I was a gallant young fool in my 20s, wearing my heart on a sleeve. But that’s OK. I can forgive myself for that.

I let quite a few good opportunities for getting laid slip by — occasions when I had only to reach out and take what was apparently on offer (wisdom on hindsight, actually). And I didn’t reach out because of a (false?) sense of propriety. Sometimes, I mentally kick myself for that, although at other times, I pat myself on the back for having been a thorough gentleman, for not taking advantage of a weak moment in a woman’s life. But on the whole, I find it easy to forgive myself for having been a dolt.

On a couple of occasions, I was really cruel, sadistic and/or cowardly. Nearly two decades down, I wince when I think of those occasions. Fellow iLanders, I would like to briefly narrate the stories of what happened — where I must have caused these women a great deal of pain and even put them (one in particular) in harms way. For all it is worth, I would like to write what happened without any effort at justifying myself, and apologize to these young women, who, like me, must be middle-aged people now.

So, over the next couple of posts, I intend to take a scalpel to my own heart. This is not an expiation of guilt, but an effort to mend myself, make myself whole again.

The girl from Rajasthan

Let me begin with SK, a girl from a small town of Rajasthan, whom I met in the environs of an Ashram in South Gujarat, where I spent six worthwhile months in 1986-87. She let it be known, right from the start, that she was being treated for schizophrenia. And, within 24 hours of our meeting, she had developed a crush.

Although I did everything humanly possible to discourage her without actually being rude, she went into a tailspin. When I washed my hands and face, I would find her standing there with starry eyes, offering me her dupatta as a towel. When I would emerge from my room in the morning, I would find her sitting there, with the gift of a banana or something in her hand. She would write me letter, calling herself Radha, Meera, and half a dozen fanciful names.

(No, I’m not ridiculing her infatuation, because at the same Ashram, earlier, I was infatuated with a Goan girl some years older and way more experienced than I, and hastily proposed marriage. So I’m no stranger to infatuation, and I don’t hold it in  contempt.)

But a whirlwind of circumstances took me away from the Ashram within a week. Then, one day, several years later, I received a letter from written in blood (it looks awful, believe me!) and signed, “Your Meera, urf Radha urf….. ” That letter freaked me out because I was married by then, and had a kid too. My parents and wife squirmed as we gravely read the letter together.

And then nothing for a few months. Then one morning, I returned from a trip to a grocery shop to see a young lady at my building entrance, reading the nameboard, looking for an address. “Excuse me, is this ___ building?” she asked. “Yes, it is,” I replied, and passed by without seeing her, preoccupied with my own thoughts. 

A few minutes later, the doorbell rang and I opened the door. “Krishna?” she said through the grilled security door, which I hadn’t yet opened. My blood froze as I recognized her…

“S? Why are you here? Oh, but I’m married now!” That’s all I could blurt out, before my wife and mum took over, asking me to go inside. And as I sat, shaking, behind the closed door of the bedroom, they politely turned her away.

That was the last I ever saw or heard of her. 13 years or more have passed. My mother told me that the last thing that she said was, “Oh, but he is not the Krishna I’m looking for!” I sincerely hope that is true, that she really believed that.

I wonder how this mentally ill girl came all the way from Rajasthan. I have little doubt that she had run away from home to do so. I wonder how she went back to her hometown. I wonder whether she went back home. I hope she returned to her family, safe and sound.

As a rule, I pray for few things. But I prayed then, and I pray now, that she did return home to her family safe and sound, and that she is well. I didn’t think about this incident too much until recently, but now I do, and as the father of a daughter, I see things in a very new light.

In turning her away from my door,(or by letting my family do so on my behalf), I’m conscious of having acted irresponsibly and with negligence. True, I was anxious not to give this girl the slightest cause to believe that I reciprocated her feelings; in the light of this, my family feels that I acted rightly.

But I think otherwise, because I let this mentally-ill girl walk away from my door without calling her parents in her hometown, or maybe some relatives in Bombay. Surely, I should have done something to ensure her safety, instead of being so damned anxious to cover my own ass.

So, for all it is worth, I repent this irresponsible action, and sincerely apologize, to her and to her family. For my self-protective cowardice that morning, I’m deeply ashamed.

Posted in Personal.


31 Responses

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  1. Shyama Menon says

    Well u r wise now and hell every one makes a few mistakes!

  2. Rajesh Raman says

    Thanks mate for making me read the whole story.Yes you are absolutely candid in expressing yourself and I trust you in it. This is something which almost everbody faces in his or her life in some degree or may be in different modes but everybody some how comes across such situations in which he or she becomes completely numb. Good work Krishna,your writing skills are really good. Hope to read you again but be honest this time too.Cheers

  3. sahil banga says

    hmm, r u inspired from the company of women by khushwant singh, or for that matter, women in my life? i”d really like to kno more…

  4. mayankruchir@rediffmail.com says

    i would also have done the same thing as what you had done and may be several others. ur guilt is understandable

  5. A J says

    Come on Kris, don”t blame yourself for that! You were too dazed at that time to save your marriage than go and same someone who was completely infatuated. Get over that Buddy… time is a great healer. I am sure she must have found the right way back. God takes care of all!!

  6. alpana says

    very true, but as i grow older by the year i find my own peers resisting change and to a certain degree even opposing it..i find it rather confining this attitude and makes me feel rather sad for them..

  7. sathya narayanan says

    Sensitive. Good articulation. introspective.
    The writing was very good till almost the end. The slangs pulled it down a bit.
    Writing i belive is an activity where there is no hiding place. Each word describes a lot more about yourself than what you write. If you are interested my blog and maybe we could be on the friends column.

  8. alpana says

    the amazing thing is that we always seem to think that we know ourselves well but it takes a few awkward incidents in our lives to realize the dissentions that exist within us..our ability to judge ourselves and take note of how we deal with the newer altercations that keep coming into our lives is what learning is all about..good and an honest post!

  9. Shweta Iyengar says

    ur story stirred me….cos i identified with it….identified with the many times i let ppl down cos at that point of time i could only think of caring for my own interests….or rather not messing around with my safe secure life…everybody does it…so what…it doesnt make it fair bcos everybody does it….awareness is the first step to enlightenment…..all the best

  10. Anil Goel says

    wow – ive just read till your story starts “The girl from Rajasthan” so will have to come back because I am rushing but everythign you have written so far sounds very relatable. Whats the advice for a 31 year old guy? Is there a way to introspect an gain some wisdom before waiting for another decade? Will come to your post tomorrow in any case cause of course I want to read through :-)

  11. shaal patel says

    life is full of analysing and understanding each situation, some times taking time to digest fact and late ful action also seems to be equalised with the word cowardice. atleast its better late than never that you did realise this. But do pray one day that this feel of guilt will be burnt with in you and you completely get over with it, and never remember about it again by helping poor people around you.

  12. warm sunshine says

    honest and candid…If it really helps to talk about it go on, the blogosphere is here to make a complete man out of you;)..no am not being sarcastic.I am really impressed by the fact that u have the courage to stand up and talk about something which many people would not even like to acknowledge …Kudos

  13. dilnaz boga says

    Hey, go easy on yourself. We do what we think is best for us at the moment. And remember we are human. But this is a good way to grow… when realisation dawns.. ys, things could have been different, but they are the way they are. I”m sure your reaction is forgiven if at all it needs to be. And its great that you have protective women in your life :-). All power to you and them. Looking fwd to Part II. I doubt some of the men who wronged me would even think of writing a blog like this, heee. Sweet u r :-)

  14. lavania says

    i guess the thing that struck me most was the fact that after all the time that had passed the girl found you! but to be honest i do believe that most of us would have reacted in the same way…however i am of the opinion that a man is more the product of his emotions than his circumstances…and at the end of it all we have our own cross to bear…so chin up dear man:)

  15. Sandhya Suri says

    I do not see you being hard on yourself. A realisation does not necessarily mean being hard on yourself. I think this is more towards attainment of wisdom that comes with dwelling in a deeper meaning in all that we do. It simply means that you have acknowledged that part of you so as to begin to complete yourself. This is a next level Krishna :)
    Good going!

  16. Amit Agrawal says

    amazing write up….very honest one…and honestly I get the feeling that its not my business to offer an opinion on the choice u made to shoo ”S” away…

  17. Vidhya B says

    I dont thk you are to be blamed in this case…..as anita said..hurt and pain in love are learning processes..arent they?? I do hope and pray that she did find her krishna.

  18. anita g says

    to love somebody brings joy as much as being loved…she got a chance to fall in love when she met you..yes hurt and pain followed but then thats life..experiences are hues …black and white alone would be very boring…

  19. dee vine says

    i”m not a beliver as such but the karmic connotations of such incidents scare me….you know…what goes around, comes back …n all that. Each time i”ve managed to hurt/ill treat anyone for whatever reasons, its haunted me for days on end…. still does….that life”s gonna give me a taste of the shit i”ve fed others….[shudder...]

  20. Magnum Opus says

    I don”t think you need be that hard on yourself. In the situation (as painted by you), perhaps the ”best” course was taken; certainly for you and almost equally certainly for SK. Cutting the cord might have been painful but was the needed surgery. Sometimes, gentleness is not available as an option.
    Had you egged her on and continued to send ambiguous signals in the past, you would surely have a case to answer.
    But, as Sandhya says below, she saw something in you that only she could have. I don”t think slots like obsession or infatuation can even begin to define the phenomenon….

  21. Why Name says

    These are our experiences, we need not regret, we need not judge anything from it. We acted the way we did. Coz at that time we felt this is right. We took a decision, wrong or right. Whatever it may, it”s past. Now it”s a learning. One experience and we grow more.. wisdomly, mentally, personally.

    You are in your fourties and I am more afraid of men in forty coz they go MAd. Now be a nice guy. Dont go looking.

  22. Sonu Katha says

    Dear Krishna Raj,
    Now you are regretting about your past, in your inner mind still some guilty conscious is there, that you are expressing now. In your words –On a couple of occasions, I was really cruel, sadistic and/or cowardly. Nearly two decades down, I wince when I think of those occasions—
    My personal advice doesn’t think about your past, you can’t rectify now, try to live in the present and be faithful to your women. For your present thoughts don’t quote –man discovers the sort of person he is only in his early forties, and a woman, in her late thirties–
    Regards
    Sonukatha

  23. Sandhya Suri says

    My mother told me that the last thing that she said was, “Oh, but he is not the Krishna I”m looking for!” – I keep coming back to this and wonder yet again…Did she really see the spritual Krishna in you in the Ashram. You have stated “where I spent six worthwhile months in 1986-87″ – seems to me, you were contented there at the Ashram for some reason. I am musing here. If she did see the spritual Krishna then, she probably did not see that vision when she came up to your door – quite like Meera she had forgotten her world and only looked for Mohan, her Mohan, the one she loved without any expectations – musing again…this piece has so many reflective angles and I cannot help wonder about this line of thought. People who are different from the rest are different because they see something we cannot. Who knows what she saw? Maybe a manifestation of her Krishna?…maybe…

  24. Sandeep Ozarde says

    Well written – wonderful writing and comments too. Cheers! Sandeep

  25. Trishna Mumbai says

    Kits, we write our own destinies – our lives take shape based on the decisions we take, whether or not we are sane and capable of decision making. Wherever she is, she be God”s responsibility. I”m still not sure, what about you were trying to protect? Cheers, T

  26. Trishna Mumbai says

    When two people love each other, there is always one person who loves more… Here, it was one sided. Its quite close to impossible to not be affected by those who love you, irrespective of whether or not you feel the same or as passionately. Perhaps sub consciously you feel a loss of not having loved them back. After all its not theeasiest thing to be loved by someone so passionately. Her illness, however brings a different colour to the whole episode – including accentuating you irresponsibility, in ensuring that her parents knew she was in Mumbai. One thing I”m not able to comprehend is your fear of her. Your parents and wife read the letter, they knew where she was coming from. There was nothing to hide and certianly nothing for you to fear on her account. “why are you here, but i”m married now?” – well, did you lead her to believe that things would be different if you were no longer married???

  27. Sudipta Sarkar says

    Why don”t you write something on schizophrenia, this is one topic that has always awed me. A seemingly normal person suffering from something terrible which would perhaps never be cured. Why does it happen and is it genetic? Do you know a lot about it. Do take some time and write about it, if it is not asking too much from you.

  28. Sudipta Sarkar says

    This is sad. So many questions are popping in my mind. First, was her schizophrenia cured. Or was she still imagining things and had come to look out for you. What little I know, these patients create a make believe world of their own, where everything is like they want it to be. In that case she must have returned back, because she still believed that you are not the Krishna she was looking for. And I do hope it is true.
    But if I consider your behaviour, I somewhat feel that you did the right thing. You had made no promises and simply taking responsibility for humanity would have harmed her more. You would have added fire to her imagination.

    I liked the story, it is unusual and completely a different experience. Keep writing.

  29. amit khanna says

    u lost the plot somewhere,

  30. amit khanna says

    Hey i had that feeling a coupla years ago when i was in collage. I could have bedded several but i was to scared of taking my clothes off. Therefore i chicked out every time. It wasnt the question of morality with me, i was just scared. I have even put down my experiences with a particular girl in my blog.

  31. Paresh Bheda says

    Wow……… Krishna….

    Mine story is the same. Its like you were narrating my story. I have well realized the truth and confessed orally to my women. Only thing, I wasnt able to put it in writing due to lack of writing skills.

    Please…. Please…… keep on writing. Please post more, it would be helpful for the males of our age to come out of the guillt which we have realised very late, after breaking number of hearts.

    And it would be an eye opener for the youngsters who are later on going to realise and feel guilty.

    Man, I would like to say something here. Always, man has played with the emotions of a woman. He has be emotionally cruel with her. He has taken granted, her devotion, her loyalty and her dedication towards him. I too am one of them. Off course, I too have always considered my self a gentleman, but now I realize that it was just a ”chalava”.

    Thanks Krishna for giving me my life-story in your words.

    Best regards,

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