After a decade of experiencing the innately patriarchal Indian Society and witnessing certain chauvinists and misogynists dominate over specific females of modern India, a group of four heterosexual male friends had taken a latent yet resolute oath that when-so-ever any of them would be granted the grace and opportunity of a female partner in life, he would let her superintend the general decisions and hence bring balance to the natural ways. Roger and his three best friends. This is a narrative of certain events, recent and past, entailing the experiences of two of the other three. Their names are Andre and Simon.

It was the dawn of the month of February 2015. Roger and Andre sat in a corner of Roger’s house. The usual hookah and the melancholic melodies drew teardrops out of Andre’s eyes, just like every other yesterday. Roger had to play the role of the best friend and act bothered and hence he was compelled to put forward the query “Why are you crying, bro? She’d come back to you; you know?”

“I am not crying… I just feel something getting on my nerves…” Andre said, fidgeting through his statement.

“Come on… Chill bro. She has just left you to concentrate on boards. She’d come rushing back to you right after the exams…”  said Roger, trying to ward off the gloom out of the room.

“But why did she leave me in the first-place man? All those years of dreaming to be together… and towards the end of my high school, our relationship was on a new high… then suddenly she left me. Why? She called me obsessive… called me desperate…” Andre said.

Roger replied in the routine fashion “Dude… you have been neither obsessive or desperate… Although I don’t call either of them insults… I mean Gandhi and Lincoln were both obsessed with the idea of freedom and desperately tried to achieve it through their patient means. Don’t worry… everything would be fine… Okay, let me check on Simon… It has been almost an hour since he hasn’t tasted the hookah. I wonder what he is doing…”

“He must be having those gushy pushy conversations with her… why do you think he wants isolation?” Andre followed.

Roger left the room to go and check on Simon. Co-incidentally, he entered the room right at the moment when Simon had hung up his silent conversation. Before even inquiring him about it, he came up with the reply “I just got fudged, man”.

Simon and Andre had seemingly permanent and exemplary relationships back in school. Both of them were intensely committed with their respective girlfriends. Andre had once left his girl for a day over his ex, but that was pertaining to an emotional blackmail of his ex to undertake that action immediately. Other than that, he had always been true to his commitment, never even trying to glance at other girls, live or digital. His girlfriend, Susan, was the most possessive and controlling person that can be ever witnessed on the face of the earth. Not that any of them ever judged her back then. As long as she kept their buddy happy, she was nothing less than a protagonist in their eyes. They had a decent relationship. Simon, on the other hand, was famous to have the coolest of relationships ever. Checking out other guys and girls was like the common past time for him and his girlfriend, Marla. Out of Susan and Marla, these friends could always hang out with the latter because she could present herself easily as a friend. They all loved her and somewhat knew that Simon and Marla are definitely going to be married. But the past few years have been nothing less than Buddha’s cycle of enlightenment for them.

“She left me man…” came Andre’s sobbing voice over the phone. It was Summertime and Roger was enjoying the regular deck-chair sunbathing in Goa. Andre had called over another one of his breakups. Roger couldn’t really grasp the significance of the situation back then. Maybe he was too relaxed… or maybe Susan had broken up with Andre for so lame reasons and so many times in the past and then patched up again, that the Déjà vu had become quite monotonous. Andre and Susan had recently celebrated their third-year anniversary and that too pretty extravagantly. Susan always came out as a cheesy and controlling immature girl, not that they ever said anything to Andre. This is a redundant statement. Why would they risk losing a best friend? He was being controlled. He had taken up the medical field as per her ‘instructions’ and fought with various guys and girls as commanded by her will. In their eyes, she was the puppeteer and he was the puppet. But whenever there was an emergent conversation about her, there always came the convoy of her praises and compliments from Andre’s mouth, seemingly hypnotized. Roger used to love those conversations where Andre used to mention his plea of her anger. One time when he was committed, he had mentioned that she was furious over the physical boundaries of the relationship. Andre could only talk of her as being the omniscient party, although she came out as a wannabe control freak.

“If she hugged you herself… why is she angry with you for being desperate? If she kissed you… then why are you the bad guy?” came Roger’s nonchalant worry.

“No man… that’s not the point. I have no problems with her anger. Her anger is completely justified since she is angry because I forced her to cross her boundaries, directly or indirectly. I am just sad that I am not able to live up to her expectations… She is right man. I being the elder one should have taken the call on whether we should kiss or not. So, what if she wanted to… she had earlier declared that she wanted ME not to and I failed in doing so…” Andre said.

Roger thought to himself “The Hell… Whatever he ever does is whatever she always asks. I mean she is still angry… God save the earth man…”

Such conversations had become a default regularity of their telephonic talks. After Simon’s breakup, they became the subject of their sittings. Yes… even he faced a ruthless breakup. His was more ruthless… you know why? Because, unlike Susan, his girlfriend started acting a jerk only towards the end of his relationship. So… both of them lived in their respective bubbles which kept their partners in high esteem. Andre’s bubble was one of his own creation whereas Simon’s bubble formulated over the years giving to the Oscar Winning performance of Marla.

Simon and Marla had a very healthy relationship… both physically and mentally. On the other hand, Andre and Susan had a relationship which anyone in their right mind would call nothing but ‘toxic’. Simon and Marla had more of a symbiotic relationship than Andre and Susan’s relationship where whatever Susan said was the law and whatever Andre said was wrong. But both of these two relationships seemed lasting to Roger, Simon’s for obvious reasons and Andre’s because of his submissive nature and gullibility. Nevertheless, they were wrong.

Why did they break up?

Susan failed in her 10+1 finals and was given promotion on trial. The blame inadvertently came on Andre and he had to face the guilt of her failure.

Marla broke up with Simon because she couldn’t bear with their long-distance relationship, and all of a sudden fell incestuously in love with the batch-mate she had introduced to Simon as her brother.

Simon’s relationship was quite healthy and approaching, even in its dying days. This was more because of the fact that he never even had a fight with his partner, leave it be a breakup. So, when Marla revealed her sudden intention of leaving him and rather instantly cut off from him, he immediately travelled to her city to mend the gaps. But to his horror, after a three-and-half-year relationship, she completely neglected his presence in the city and was more like dicey about even meeting him. She even cursed him for destroying her life by being in the same city as hers. Till then, Simon was not aware of her illicit relation. Well… till the moment he went over to her college and saw the two of them embracing each other in front of him. The sight, as described by him, was even disgusting for his three friends. The girl they remembered, either she had been possessed or had always faked her attributes. Roger used to get regular notifications from his sister, whose place Simon resided at during his time in Marla’s city. Their irritation amplified to furious trepidation when Marla direly abused Simon and asked him to ‘F Off’. Thankfully, Simon took a trip to a place of worship and meditation and calmed down his suicidal tendencies and returned safely to his city, where he stayed with Roger for the next week. Why? They had planned only a day of that… but as soon as he left after a day, he tried to kill himself by ingesting poison. Realizing the magnitude of his pain, Roger recommended that he stayed with him under strict supervision and counselling of friends and family. There was a moment where he somewhat unintentionally lured Roger into tears as well, who rather rarely cried. But he was always the one who was considered the ever-happy ‘Soul’ of their group. He shall always remain the ‘Soul’ but the ever-happy fragment of his had been lost to just a façade he takes over to divert attention off his pain. Their hardest of attempts to make him take it all in good sport and remain genuinely happy, all went in vain to no resolve.

 Andre and Susan were more on a track to set the world record of breakups. Susan used to always make Andre take the blame for her wrongs. Not being able to score in ANY exam, being scolded by parents, hugging and kissing Andre with her consent, not wanting to talk to him (trying to ignore him) and thus blaming him for being obsessive for trying to speak to her, Etcetera. Once, she broke up with him when she called her best friend more beautiful than herself and Andre, just like for any other thing, gave his innocent consent. Making him change career streams, instilling fake chivalry in his mind to show off her ‘idealistic’ boyfriend to the few people she called friends (that is those who could stand her existence), trying to change his dressing sense and also making him follow some untoward extreme celibacy, all in all, she never accepted him and just wanted to change him miraculously into her showpiece partner. All giving in to her inner ego, her complex. Susan lived in complete denial. She wanted to be someone, to present her as the best, and when she couldn’t at all do it, she needed someone or something to blame or else she would have imploded. The only thing that was more expendable than her friends and family was this relationship at her leisure disposal. So, she left Andre. He cried for a year and controlled his tantrums because of the assertion by Susan’s elder sister that she would definitely come back to him after her boards. He waited… and waited. He never disturbed her for she had asked him not to if he wished for her good. And all he ever wanted was her good. Then the judgement day arrived… the board exams had passed. It seemed like a year of Easter Eggs from Susan who seemed to have been indicating towards a possible reunification. But… when contacted… she seemed to have been even blunter than the last time. She refuted any feelings for Andre and called her relationship a mistake. People cease to cry at the fall of hope. He did that as well. The pain he had kept close to his heart… still rebuking anyone and everyone that whatever that girl did was not all wrong… he gulped that pain down and tried to move along. He now only cries in solitude.

Now comes the part which is most painful. Justification. They wouldn’t leave you just like that, would they? They would use all the force in the world and try their level best to justify their actions making you feel the antagonist. It happened here as well. Marla blamed Simon for not understanding her various gestures signalling the detachment from him. When he put the argument forward as to why was she being physical with him when she didn’t see a future, a faint reply came back saying “I was just trying my best for everything to be normal so that you are not hurt…” In a moment, her actions had become completely righteous in her eyes. Now she didn’t care he lived or died. Rather literally… because she had acted extremely ignorant of his quite realistic suicide attempt. Now Susan blamed Andre for a variety of things ranging from not loving her and leaving her for a day for his ex like 3 years ago, to loving her a little too much and in turn irritating her. She could easily justify all her actions. Of course… only in her eyes, that is. The Alibis, the only things remaining that don’t defile their reputation in their very own eyes. If at all these alibis formulated by them over various periods of time were negated, then their minds would have gone haywire. Hence, they completely transfused into a new life, shedding the past relating to their partners and hence founding a new self so that their past doesn’t haunt them.

Overall, two famous and envied relationships came to unfortunate ends. Years have gone by now, but both of Roger’s three best friends cry still. They find their solitude to surrender to their sentiments so that they can rejoice in the other hours of the day. Andre is working hard in the very field he had undertaken for Susan, that is the medical field; whilst Simon is all set to enter the business field as a stepping stone to his future tycoon status. They are both quite focused in their lives and are completely ready to take on the adversities the world would put against them. One thing that came out well from the breakups. The other thing is that they have both shed kilos of weight and have adhered to a healthy lifestyle, now that they have time for themselves.

A relationship is neither about the exploitation of freedom nor its encroachment. An intimidated Susan once commented that she would leave her father if he ever slapped her. Why…? They don’t understand the concept of love… which is more about forgiveness than grudges… more about accepting the wrongs than expecting the rights. Love is something which cannot be merely orchestrated as per someone’s whims and fancies. It is a symbiotic and mutual relationship. Understanding is the most important part of a relationship… ‘Favour’ is not a word in the dictionary of love. If you ever stood in the afternoon sunstroke and waited for your partner and saved your share of water for him… then it is not a favour you shall present before him while breaking up with him… Do you know why he never did anything like that? Because he did way more and never made you realize it by telling it again and again… and forgot about it himself. Love is not a give and take business. It is not to keep it as complicated as they both did. It is very simple. There are no prerequisites to love. It just happens.

Susan wanted a fairy tale life and love story where she was the princess of limelight everywhere. For Marla, she was never in love with Simon. She was just his fan and that confounded her in making that decision. But at the end of the day, we cannot blame them for the tears of Simon and Andre. It is love which is to be blamed. For loving someone nowadays is a bigger rarity and moreover a crime than hating someone. What is their fault? They couldn’t have faked all their lives with someone whom they didn’t love, right?

The phrase ‘I love you’ comes and goes so often nowadays. It is the phrase of the century, thrown around every now and then to friends, acquaintances AND strangers. People say it without even thinking twice. Of course, it is not compulsory to know someone to love him/her. Sadly, ‘I Love you’ is no more the one-way journey it used to be. It is retracted as easily as it is released. We need to keep a check on the urge to convey this beautiful message. It is not compulsory to know people to love them… but it is imperative to know yourself to love them forever. I would just request my readers… before you tell someone that you love them… think it over. Think if you can commit yourself to be with them. And most importantly, ask yourself why do you love them? If you can answer this ‘why’, then never say it to them. The love pillared on reasons falls when the pillars break. By doing this you would be preventing an innocent soul from breaking apart.

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