“Mr. Aakash Shrivastav, can I please have the pleasure of my son’s company over a cup of coffee?” Pulling my eyes from the laptop, I saw dad standing at the threshold of my study, holding a tray of two java mugs. “Dad!” Smiling, I stood up and went and took the tray from his hands. We proceeded to the couch and sat down to sip the steaming caffeine brew. “Thank you so much dad, I actually needed one.” “Son, I wish to talk to you.” Dad, kept the mug on the teapoy and turned to face me. His grave tone alerted me and I knew the topic of confab even before he began. “Dad please, not again.”But this time he had come with the mindset of having a determined confrontation. “Aakash, it’s been three years. One bad experience doesn’t mean that you give up hope completely.” A good divorce! That’s what it was, at least for me. The most painful episode of my life, three years ago, was both a delight and a despair. Despair was being stuck in that agonizing wedlock and delight was walking out of it. The arranged marriage to Geeta was a huge mistake. Compatibility was far-fetched, she was an extremely nagging and demanding person. It was difficult to please her and all my efforts were always undervalued. We were together only for a year, but those twelve months was the most frustrating time of my life. I have come over it now, nonetheless there isn’t any desire left in me to go down that same road again.Dad’s hand on my shoulder brought me out of my misery. “Beta, don’t let the history of your hurt dominate your future. Everyone deserves to be happy. Give yourself the gift of a new beginning.”I protested, “Dad, I’ve burnt my fingers once.”He commented wisely, “Did you stop drinking warm coffee after you burnt your tongue for the first time? Beta, give yourself a second chance.”Stretching my legs, I took a deep sigh and rubbed my face. “I do wish to marry again, but I’m scared dad. God forbid if the new girl proves to be like Geeta, it will shatter me completely.””Son, all girls are not the same. Moreover, the world is not bereft of good women. A man can live alone. But a life partner is what will make it worth it’s while. Aakash, a home, a family and a life is incomplete if you don’t have someone to share it with.”He took my hand in his and encouraged, “Step out of your past and welcome the future. You never know, maybe, happiness is waiting for you just round the corner.”I peered at my concerned father and inquired, “What do you have in mind?”Hope sparkled in his eyes and he smiled before saying, “Arundhati. She’s a chartered accountant in our office. I’ve been observing her for the past six months. She’s a wonderful girl. I want you to meet her. There’s no rush. But get acquainted and see where your relationship with her can progress.”It’s been three years since I had that conversation with my father in the study. Shutting the door of my bedroom, I move forward and surprise her from behind. Keeping my hands on her five months pregnant belly, I wrap her in my warm embrace. She turns and plants her arms around my neck. Her smile is as beautiful as she is. Deep satisfaction envelopes me every time I look at her. Pulling her closer, I say lovingly, “Thank you for coming in my life Mrs. Arundhati Shrivastav.””My pleasure Mr. Aakash Shrivastav.” She banters and I chuckle. “Aruna, you have made all my dreams come true. I’m so glad that I gave myself the gift of a new beginning.”Shamim Merchant,
Mumbai.________________________Author’s noteMy dear readers,Divorce is a catastrophic episode of a person’s life. A legal dissolution of a marriage with mutual want and understanding. How can it be a stigma or a shame? Consider it as freedom to explore new avenues and an opportunity to experience happier times in future.