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Then Tell Me Why? Chapter 1

it feels like, I just made a biggest mistake of my life.

I was watching a very attractive couple on the dance floor. The woman was very beautiful and the man was not only very handsome, I knew that he was also very rich. The man could well be thought of as any girl's prince charming. This couple was obviously very comfortable with each other. The woman had her head resting on his chest and she looked like she was lost in thought. They seemed perfect on dance floor. They looked like long lost lovers. She is a perfect woman in perfect red dress, which is my favorite color. And he is in Black tux. You see the picture. It looked perfect to the casual observer. You might think, "They are in love", right?

You have probably guessed that I want that woman. You might also wonder why I didn't go over and ask her for a dance. I could try my luck with her and maybe even win her from the perfect guy. But I'm not going to do it. Why? I know that the woman is married and she's not married to the man with whom she is dancing. Unfortunately that gorgeous woman is married to me! Yes, she is technically my wife. There is no need to fight for her, you fight for a woman you want; not for a woman that you already have. If you have to fight to win a woman who is already your wife, you can consider yourself single! You don't have a marriage.

You may wonder why I don't have any objection to the way that man is dancing with my wife. Well I do have objection, but what can I do? Should I go out there and punch him or drag her off the dance floor and have fight with her? Should I create scene in front of everyone? What ever I do, one thing was sure. I would see a smirk on the face of that asshole. He would know that I had either somehow lost my wife to him; or was about to lose her to him in the near future. That is one thing I was not prepared for.

I was hoping she would push him away when she realized where she actually was. She could at least save me from embarrassment in front of so many people we both know socially. Is it wrong to expect some common courtesy from your wife? Aren't you to share respect with your spouse? Isn't my disrespect hers too?

One thing that I found very confusing about whole situation was why she was acting the way she was acting. Unfortunately I thought I knew answer to that question. The other man is both rich, handsome. Most important of all was she had loved him or at least had crush on him since she was a young girl and was obvious and open about it when she grew up into a very gorgeous lady. How do I know all this about her, well that is why I am telling you this story.

You may wonder, why is she married me and not to him? Why she doesn't care about what I feel? Why am I sitting here and doing nothing to save my marriage?

Well. I am just that way. I don't fight. I also don't think that I could win if I mess with him physically. Don't get me wrong, I am not coward, or wimp. If this man was raping her, I assure you he would be dead before you could call the situation as an attempted rape.

I guess dead is wrong word. I don't like killing people. I have no plans to ever kill a person. It is not because I am very good man. It is because I am mean, a very mean man. I believe that if a person does something wrong he should suffer enough to appreciate the hurt he has caused. Death is only easy escape from your punishment. I kind of believe in karma, but I am also atheist A bit of a contradiction, huh? Karma means you always pay for what you do. But I have slightly different definition. You should always pay for what you do mean there is nothing going to happen on its own. You have to make it happen. But this man has done nothing which deserving of punishment, at least not in the eyes of the law.

I am not the type of man who is trying to get solid evidence to prove that his wife is cheating. I have no interest in trying to take her to the cleaners. You may also want to collect proof of her adultery if you've already decided to end your marriage or you know she is mean person and would feel no remorse. That might be valid case if you don't love your wife enough to give her another chance. Why should I wait and destroy any chance of reconciliation by letting her do something unforgivable. What if she really felt guilty about cheating on you only once? But this is not the case here. She is not a bad person! In fact she is a very kind hearted woman. I have only seen such a heart in one other woman in my whole life, my mother. She also was a very kind person. She always wanted well for others. I know that right now my wife doesn't seem to be being good to me. In fact she is doing the most disrespectful act a wife could to her husband. Are you still confused?

You must be thinking of me as a very confused man who is over thinking the situation and afraid to act. A man, who is desperate for a woman, who, clearly is in love with another man and may have been for our entire married life. Well, this is who I am! To understand this story you need to understand the way I think, the way I perceive things, my attitude, and my knowledge. But why am I this way?

We need to start from beginning to know exactly what makes me the type of man I am. Right now I am a software engineer. Yeah, you must be thinking of some type of nerd, with big glasses. You should know that not every computer guy is like that, at-least not in India. People in India are assumed to be good in computers. And they don't need an effort to look like a nerd to be master of the subject. Well I am computer guy. Being an engineer makes me a person who thinks logically. I strongly believe in my values. What I learn from experience I apply to my future. I am also very introverted. I wasn't always like that is how I turned out. I believe life is about choices and choices are made based upon priorities. You choose that which is higher on your list. You might agree with me when you finish this story, or you might not.

Let's start at the beginning. My parents moved to this town, when I was 11, with my sister Nishu was 10 at that time. Sally was girl, very cute, adorable, and very naughty, from the neighborhood. There was Simran who was very intelligent and overly mature for her age. Deepak and Aman were also from neighborhood. They were both the same age as Simran and me. Sally very quickly hit it off with my sister. They became best friends, it helped that they were in same grade in the same school. I was also in same school. Aman, Simran and Deepak were in another school. Only the very rich people could afford to send their children there. It was not best school academically but it had excellent facilities. It cost was higher, than mine.

My school was the best option for me. To get into that school you either have to be in that school from very start or you need to pass the entrance exam. I passed the exam and my parents were proud of me.

To understand me you need to understand my parents. They were very kind and loving, always putting my sister and me first. They were always concerned about us. My Father was in Govt. Services, in a very high and respected position. One thing I did not inherit from my parents was their people skills. They found it easy to become friends with people. In a very short time our family truly fit into the neighborhood. My mother was the loveliest woman I had ever seen. She was kind and caring. She loved the other children in the neighborhood but not as much as us. She always put her family first.

Our house always seemed to be alive! Not only were all six of us living there, there were other children also spending much time there. It was, however, mainly the six of us would get together. My parents were fun parents and everyone liked them. They enjoyed having kids hanging around in the house. But they knew the carelessness of youth. They were always perfect. My dad would play role of the strict Parent who was always concerned about our studies. He always wanted me to rise to as high a level that I could achieve. If I did that he said that I could live my life doing whatever I wanted to do. He wanted me to be practical and strong. He was always motivating me. My mom was different. She never told me what I should do. She just assumed that I was capable of doing anything I wanted, and that one day I would be very successful. She was always concerned with right and wrong. She always gave me lessons in morals. Her messages included that I should never to cheat and never to hurt anybody. Well I kind of inherited best of both from my parents. I was practical as my dad wanted me to be, and kind. Perhaps kind isn't quite right. Let's say I never wished for evil to befall anyone. My mom trained me so that I could never do any bad things to innocent people no matter how angry I happened to be.

So then life was good. To our young minds it seemed to be almost like heaven. We were a group of six kids who were more or less compatible with each other. We would play many games together. We were not paired off, but some of the kids were closer to one another than to some of the others. For example, Aman and I became closer friends than Deepak and Aman were, before I came into picture. Somehow I think Deepak always held that against me. I was not also very keen to be friend with him. That was okay with me, as long we were in same group, we got along well. One other thing about Deepak which I never liked was that he was always focused upon money. I disliked him, not because of his money, but the way he thought he was better than the rest of us because his family had a lot of money. As I said earlier, I was never jealous of him for being rich. My parents were very proud people. They both were from very good families, but both decided to make their own living by their own work and skill. My father always believed that everyone should earn their own wealth. You should only be judged upon what you can do, not what your family has done. That is what determines what you are worth. That is how we were taught. In our little family, self reliance was where things came from. We did not expect finances from our parents.

And then, there was Sally. She became friends with my sister, Nishu. Simran also wanted to be friends with Nishu. Sally always thought she was in a competition with Simran for Nishu's friendship. For that reason I would often laugh at her. Simran once told me that Nishu had always been good to her, but now she was behaving oddly. Why it was so important for her to be a close friend with Nishu, she could never understand. I knew that Nishu was very friendly and adorable. She could make friends with anyone, but best part of her was she was also very careful. Sometimes she would surprise me with her thoughts. It was as if Nishu could read the mind of others. She always knew about me and what I wanted. Nishu's advice was always important to me in all matters. Sally seemed to be crazy about Nishu. she will almost remain in our house. Often, she would sleepover at our house. As much as I liked Sally, I was also annoyed with her sometimes. But to tell the truth, I was also attracted to her.

With all my of my emotions mixed up I would sometimes make fun of her. Sometime we would laugh together and at other times we had little fights. She would take time to talk to me but it wouldn't last very long, because I knew she wanted to be with Nishu.

I could see that Nishu seemed to be the most precious person to her. The more Sally and I interacted, the more I started like messing with her. This continued throughout our preteen days. In the end I would always be last one to laugh so she became careful not to mess with me anymore. Many times when we played kid's games she would want to be on my team, so that she would be safe. Sometimes I really felt bad for her, but my big mouth never stopped. It just became my habit to make comments regarding her or make jokes related to her. I made fun of the way she dressed, the way she ate, her likes and dislikes and such. It even reached the point where she tried to change her likes and choices to please me. But at that time I acted like a low life. I never stopped teasing her. Secretly I always liked her. Messing with her always made me more involved with her. Her face seemed so cute when she was angry at me. She would always say:

"One day I will teach you a lesson mister, and then you will regret making fun of me."

My response was usually, "We'll see about that. What would you do exactly? Sit on me?"

"Time will come mister, when I will be the one laughing."

"Well don't wait very long Sally, because I won't be here for you to get revenge. Why do you think I would like to be around you? You are annoying!"

"Well, if I'm that annoying, maybe being around me would be your punishment"

Then I would finish off with something like: "Oh, please don't do that! Forgive me..."

So that is how things went. Years passed, true to her word she started hanging more and more around me. Not that I did not like her being around, but it was impossible for me to have her around and keep my mouth shut. Eventually, it seemed to me, like she was punishing herself by hanging around me. I had kept in mind her rivalry with Simran. I would often tell her how Simran did this or that better than she did. I said that Simran was smarter than her. I thought that would be the final push needed to really get her.

Simran and I became closer since she was taking the same studies as me. She always complimented me about being good at my studies and I would always help her with her course work. Simran always considered me to be very mature. I know you would not agree with me, but I was very thoughtful.

I always behaved well in front of everyone except Sally. Just being with Sally would make me careless. Being near her I would want to say something about her, talk to her, get her attention, and make her only think about me. I know it makes me look cruel but I always felt she also wanted to mess with me. I thought that fighting with me was Sally's second hobby after her friendship with Nishu. If not, then why would she come to be around me when she was not with Nishu? Why would she always try to initiate all the things which led to her being the laughing stock? She really was into it, but never stood a chance. She would always make a sarcastic comment about me and Simran whenever she saw us studying together She liked to refer to us as nerds, when we not studying and just together.

That is how our childhood was. And then there was my cousin Vikram. We were best friends. He was seven months older than me. It was like we were real brothers. There was nothing we did not know about each other. He was my mother's brother's son. When we were kids, my uncle, his father would always give the same thing for the two of us. So, whatever he got I got that too. One thing which amazed others was we were best friends; even we were totally opposite to each other. He was never interested in studies, and never thought about future. I was always concerned about my studies and future. I was never gone out of my way to chase a girl, and, he would never miss the chance. I was always fighting or avoiding girls. Vikram was very handsome, and he never had any problem getting friendly with girls.

As we grew I never saw the changes happening in my relationship with Simran... Slowly it seemed as if Simran and I were always together. She was just like me, in studies and determined to archive her goals. She needed good grades to get into medical school. I was determined to be engineer. Sally grew closer to Deepak; I never understood how that happened either. But, they always seemed to be together, and he was always defending her whenever I would crack another joke about her. I started get pissed off at him. He became annoying. It seemed he was always trying to impress Sally by making jokes about me. But as big as his mouth was he never stood chance against me. But, somehow he managed to impress Sally, because she was always with him. As much as I liked her, I started get distant from her. Although they never got the edge on me I wasn't going to get into a verbal fight with them every-time just because they wanted to fight. It was fun making jokes when Sally was alone; but with him there, always butting in, it was annoying.

Sally was still stuck around me. She was still best friends with Nishu. By the year before I left for college Sally and me rarely talked to each other. I almost gave up on her. Yeah I gave up. I did not know at the time but her being with Deepak always made me jealous. I wanted her to be closer to me. I actually missed her. But I was not going to fight for a girl, who probably belonged to someone else now, and I was not sure about my feelings for her.

After getting into college, I became very busy. During that first year there were several tragedies that happened. First news I got was that Sally's parent's died in an accident. I almost lost it when I heard that news. All I could think about was how Sally would be dealing with that situation. She had no other relatives! How was she going to get through this loss? I went home for the funeral. Poor Sally was devastated. She cried and cried. If it were not for my parents being there for her, I don't know what would have happened to her. She was one year behind me and was going to enter college the next year. She cried on my shoulder the whole time I was home. She never left my side and I never left her side.

When it was time to leave again, I could not let myself just walk away. Sally was in always on my mind. She dropped one year to prepare for medical entrance exam, she could not do that before, because of death of her parents, my sister has also dropped, because she thought she could make to better college than she could with the her score, that year. But I knew she did it to be with her best friends, she was sure could beat it second time.

During that year Vikram, would regularly call me But we were out of touch most of the time. But then we started calling and updating each other with our lives. He told me that he had found a girl he wanted to marry. But the problem was that her parents would never agree to their marriage. The reason was simple he was facing failures in everything he started. Her parents could only see him as a failure. They made it perfectly clear that they were not going give away their daughter to some loser. At that time he was living in the shadow of his elder brother, Rites. Her parents would always praise Rites. She never told her parents exactly who the boy was but it was clear from their reaction that they were not going to agree to their marriage. He tried very hard to live up-to their expectation but failed again and again as his many tries in business failure.

I was in my third year, and had been home for a week. Mom started to hint about my marriage.

"Oh! Then you finally found a girl?"

"Well she was always here, nothing to be found"

"Mom I'm not ready, and I have carrier to pursue."

"You don't have to marry now, we can arrange the marriage and then you can marry later..."

"Mom, why do we need to fix it now?"

"You know Rahul, I like this girl, and I think she will be the best for you" "Okay, so you have decided. Can you tell me, why do you think I should marry her?" "It's just a mother's instinct. You won't understand. Beside that a mother knows what is best for her boy."

"Ok mom who is that lucky girl you like so much?"

"Umm, you already know her."

"Okay mom, I might know her, but still you will have to tell me"

"It's Sally."

"Yeah, now what about her? What has she got to do with this anyway?"

"You don't understand Rahul; the girl you should marry is Sally."

"Sally! You mean Sally?"

"How many Sally's we know?"

"What? Mom...have you... don't you think you should have asked her about it? Even if she doesn't have parents, it doesn't mean you can make her do anything you like."

"Rahul! This no way to talk to you mother! Do you think that I know nothing? I like that girl! She has been like a second daughter to me. And besides she..."

Knowing all about Sally and Deepak, I was still confused. I knew mom didn't know about them. What I had to do then was to find out, was exactly what were the feelings between them without making fool of myself. If I had said yes to mom at that time I was sure mom would tell Sally, that I agreed. Then Sally might decide to tell them that she wanted to marry Deepak, if there really was something between them. And if I said no, again this will go to Sally and she will feel rejected if there was nothing between them. Well call me coward, but I never faced rejection in my life and I was not prepared to face it then. So I did what I thought was right at the moment, I tried to avoid it.

"Mom, Listen, I am not ready, OK..., and please don't take this further, I don't want to..."

At that moment Sally came into the living room. I kept mouth shut. But, mom being mom, and never taking a no for an answer especially not from her only son, tried to push us.

"Sally, Rahul will take you both to wedding", she looked at me, it's been long time, the look I didn't understand, was it confusion, disappointment, shock, I didn't know. The she saw confusion on my face.

"That would be great auntie, but he doesn't have to if he doesn't want to, we can go with..."

"NO! He will go, don't you Rahul dear?" mother said in somewhat forceful voice.

"Yeah mom, I can do that...by the way, whose wedding it is?"

"The sister of my friend", Sally replied quickly.

Sally, Nishu and I went to the wedding together. They both sat on back seat of the car. I was wondering how to find out about what Sally really thought about me, without letting her know, what I was thinking. But I never got a chance while driving. When we arrived at the party, another shock came when I saw Deepak, rushing towards us. The way he greeted Sally, I felt jealousy, anger and I don't what other type of emotion. Then he came to do the polite formalities with me.

"Hey Rahul, long time no see!"

Without much enthusiasm I responded, "Yeah, long time!"

"Are you still like you used to be, or has college changed you?"

"Well I'm the same to you." I don't know why but I just didn't want to talk to that guy, at that moment. So I excused myself.

I said, "Well girls, join the party, I will be here somewhere when you want to go back, okay?"

They left but Deepak stayed with me, just to be polite. We talked, a bit about odds and ends and friends we used to know. Then he excused himself.

I met many people I knew at party. But, mostly at bar. I only had soft drinks because I had to drive girls home.

During the whole night I could see Deepak was always around Sally, Having Dinner, dancing, and chatting. Well I was just the audience at the party. My sister and Sally tried once to drag me to dance floor, knowing how much I love to dance but I was not into the mood and I made it pretty clear. My sister got annoyed with me.

"You aren't fun anymore, brother. What did they do to my big brother in college? You have totally changed."

"Sorry, sis... I'm really not in the mood."

After watching them all on the dance floor dancing, I went for a drink. When I came back, Sally and Deepak were going outside. I just found myself a seat and tried to pass the time. After around 15 minutes Nishu came to me and told me that she wanted to leave.

"Where is Sally?"

"She went outside, you go and tell your friend we are leaving, I will get Sally."

I went in direction that Sally and Deepak had taken. I was on way when I saw them. Sally had her head on his chest. I took step back so that they wouldn't see me and tried to warn them before approaching them by making some foot noise. When I saw them again, Deepak was adjusting his shirt and Sally had her handkerchief, on her face, trying to wipe her eyes. When I saw her eyes, I knew she had been crying. Her eyes were red. I was more confused than ever. Not knowing what to say.

"Let's go Sally, Nishu said she wants to leave, do you want..."

"I'll give her ride to home, Rahul don't worry" Totally ignoring him. I asked Sally again.

"Do you want to stay....?"

"No! I will come...with you"

"Sally you don't have to go if you don't want to, I'd be happy to drop you....."

"No Deepak. It's alright. I should go with Rahul and Nishu. See you tomorrow."

Then we left the hall. The drive back was quite silent. No-one said anything to anybody. Nishu seemed tired from all the dancing. Sally was in her own thoughts. Me? I was just thinking what had just happened and what was I about to do. How should I tell mom? What should I tell her? How would I know exactly''.....? In my mind I already knew the truth, but did not want to believe it. But I had never realized how much I was in love with Sally. And I didn't have courage to tell her! Was it just because I was afraid of rejection?

Next day I managed to meet Deepak. My Idea was to find out how serious they were. Deep down in my heart I was still ready to fight for her, if I had any chance.

Deepak asked "So, why did you want to talk with me?"

"Well, I wanted to...talk about Sally..."

"What about her?"

"You see mom has been after me about marriage. She thinks I should marry Sally..."

"I know about that..."

"How do you know?"

"Sally told me."

"Really? You both seem pretty close... Believe me, it was totally mom's Idea. I never said anything about it and never hinted...and you know about Sally and me....We never went along...."

"Yeah I know that...But, your mom really wants her to be her daughter in law." he said in very disappointed voice.

"Look Deepak...I know my mom...she might be very persuasive but if Sally had told her, about you...she would not have brought the topic up... its only that she likes her too much and wants her to be around." "Wha... What are you saying Rahul?"

"Oh come on Deepak. Don't think I am stupid. I know she is not happy about marrying me. I saw her crying yesterday. Don't you think she should tell my mom? Why not just go and say....."

"You know Rahul, She won't do that. Your parents have been so very kind to her. Refusing your mother like that..."

"So you guys are serious, then?"

"Well I think so, but she still confused. I mean she also wants to be close to your mother and doesn't want to say no to her, when your parents have given her so much."

"Hey, if she refuses, my mom is not a kind of person who will hold it against her"

"Look Rahul, I don't know what's the deal with your parents, but Sally respects them, and I think they're taking advantage of that. She'll never say no to them. But I know that she loves me. We are pretty close to talking about marriage. And your parent s is just..."

"Look man, if she doesn't want to marry me, I'll tell my parents!"

"No Rahul, it won't help, don't tell your parents that she loves me and that's why you don't want to marry her...and please don't tell Sally, She would be angry with me, if she knew I told you about it.."

"It's okay Deepak...you don't have to worry about that...I will find something to tell them."

"Thanks buddy!"

"Don't mention it."

I walked out from there; it was all I could do to hold my emotions in check. Well I had no confusion right then. My first love was a failure. It was a closed chapter now. I could move on now, with a pretty clear mind. I told my mom that I didn't want to marry then. I also hinted that I had no feelings for Sally. Well mom was intelligent enough , not to push it further, once I made her think I had somewhat of a dislike about Sally.

She didn't love me, she loved him, I was giving her, what she really wanted, whatever can make her happy, isn't that what you are supposed to do for people you love, make sacrifice for their happiness, right? So I should have been happy for her, right? Then tell me, Why I was not having that proud feeling, that happiness, why was I feeling that I had just made a biggest mistake of my life.

Chapter 1