The Spectators


Human lives can be complicated and so can be the bond that one has with another. To add, if the bonds entangled with each other have strings attached elsewhere love becomes a painful journey. Tara, Bani and Rehan face the same ordeal.

Bani and Rehan have been married for a long time however like every other married couple they have their issues and are at a point where one of them has given up. Over the years Bani met someone and like the twin flame the duo fell for each other and together started marching ahead, initially without any expectations, but destiny has everything planned.

Let’s see how things unfold or get even more entangled.

“Bani, I am tired, frustrated and sick of listening to the same thing over and over again!”

“Tara, I hear you… but please understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day. I also want things to work out, but I need some time. I have a lot of things on my plate I can’t just undo or ignore that which lies before me. You can’t keep on pushing me this way. Please honey, try and understand.”

“Fine Bani! If that’s what you think and want, go head, sort things out. Take your time and when you think you are ready you will find me here waiting for you!”

Tara, you’ll always have a piece of my heart. You have no idea what you mean to me. I set you free but remember I’ll always come back looking for you. I love you!”

With enormous pain and a burden on their heart the duo decided to part ways, while hoping to see and hear each other, every day.

Bani, those who knew her more than herself, knew she was a spirited person, calm, patient and submissive in ways yet a very headstrong, methodical person who believed in her principles and journeyed and experienced a mystic world inside her head, every moment. Such women aren’t cut out for a normal living. Risking all the judgements, she prided in identifying herself with Maya Memsab; protagonist of a movie by the same name. Years of conditioning of a marital life, had brought her to a point where she struggled to find herself and her peace. She found that hope, peace, and a chance at her own life in Tara.

Tara; a stark contrast to Bani. Impatient, dreamer and a lazy bum, she had her own charm. Adept at the art of winning friends with a beautiful smile, she was quite a sensitive person. While her writing skills brought out her thoughtfulness, her photography skill brought out the artistic side and ability to find beauty in most unexpected places. No wonder she saw much beauty and peace in Bani, despite Bani’s widely acclaimed coarseness.

Tara had a strong inkling where they could be headed in future, however, even before she could have reacted, she was head over heels in love with Bani. Despite Bani’s complicated marital status, she was ready to take the plunge in the river of love. She was willing to risk losing all, for that small hope and enormous love she saw in Bani’s eyes.

Years changed on the calendar, but nothing altered between Rehan and Bani.  They continued to live a stalled life, that felt like an evening of stillness. In their relationship, Bani played the role of the man of the house, not by way of having total control but by shouldering all responsibilities. Rehan in all his ego and pride, assumed a license to continually err, add to Bani’s burdens, yet find faults in her. Bani was a paradox; a financially independent, strong willed woman who not only paid all the bills, but also took care of everything including Rehan’s financial burdens, kid’s school, medical expenses, vacations and all in between, yet she continued to live in the abysmal abyss her marital life felt. She had enough reasons to walk out of this life that she managed to hang on to, not without her mother’s support, yet she could never initiate a separation considering the 6 year old, who was a part of the equation. Bani hadn’t forgiven Rehan for anything, but she froze at the thought of moving out, thinking about the impact it would have on her child. That was her paradox, despite her contemporary thought process and emotional strength, she chose to sacrifice the chance at her own life. A wasteful demonstration of emotional strength!

Tara tried moving on, but the scar etched in heart made it hard. She was by Bani’s side and supported her by lending her a shoulder, wiping her tears, loving her, but unfortunately that was as far she could go without feeling like a trespasser, until Bani decided to stand up for herself.

Tired of being a mere spectator, Tara finally decided to step down. Lately her personal space had been tumultuous as well, and she decided to bring it back on track.  Eventually, Tara moved to a different country and started a new life. It took time but she finally emerged on the other side. She started a café that provided not just food and coffee but also warmth to people in love. A home where people in love could voice out their issues, support each other and walk-in for comfort while trying to cope up with their complexities, a community that supported love and worked much for the mental well-being of one and all. In a short span of time the café had gained popularity especially amongst the LGBTQ community. Sundays were for community service; Thursdays were for group meetings and Fridays 8pm -11pm were happy hours at Tara’s Café Rainbow. People of different age, color, race would flood in and pick up mic and perform. It was a lively ambience. Life seemed colorful but deep down there was emptiness that Tara felt without Bani. Tara continually met like-minded girls whom she dated for some time but never managed to settle.

Despite what everyone says, love can strike more than once. However, there’s always that one person and emotion that reaches the deepest corners of the heart. Lucky are those who manage to sail through the tempests of love and find peace. It takes two to tango, it also takes equal efforts and unified goals for the two to make things to happen. For Bani and Tara, despite the repeated efforts, time and emotions invested, the two failed to make it happen.

Tara, let out a deep breath as she retrospected their life and opened the Café each day, with the same infectious smile, kohl-lined eyes and her hair pulled back, just the way Bani loved. People come and go but their memories remain. Tara struggled to live each day without Bani but deep down she hoped if only someday Bani would turn up at her café. To keep herself from hurting more, Tara left no traces of her so that she could pacify her heart. Tara was forced to accept that they were never meant to be!

Societal bonds, acceptance and pressure many a times makes a person so weak that despite being so vulnerable and in love, people don’t have the courage to step up and thus many love stories remain unfulfilled. Had Bani stood up for herself the end would have been different. In our country too though #377 has been read down, but same-sex marriage is no way close to being stamped, the acceptance is low and the taboo one comes across is unbearable. But hey! These are not something we should talk about openly, brush it under the carpet coz no one is suffering, nothing is not normal. People will not try and understand what triggered but will judge you for how you reacted. Hypocrisy ignorance and faking it has taken the toll and each day people like us struggle for identity, acceptance, love, acknowledgement.

But someday we will… Don’t give up…Keep dreaming. Keep trying…keep hoping…Stand up and speak up for self no matter what!

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