The Thrill is GONE!
Updated: Oct 6
‘Hey! Can you talk?’ Onella asks, sounding distraught.
‘Of course, tell me. What’s going on?’ Naomi says, holding the phone between her ear and shoulder, heading towards the elevator. ‘I just got done with my meeting, and it went better than I expected.’
‘Oh, alright. So... umm...I called to tell you that...it’s over. Really over,’ Onella says softly.
‘Are you sure?’ Naomi rolls her eyes. ‘Because you said that same thing last time, which was a few months ago. And then you got back together. I don’t understand, Onella. Why can’t you just be done with it? Just leave Neerav. And MOVE ON!’
‘You don’t get it, Naomi. I've invested ten years of my life in this relationship. It was not some fling or something. I’ve invested a decade of my life in Neerav. It’s not so easy for me to just end it and get on with my life,’ Onella whispers. ‘Please try putting yourself in my shoes for once.’
‘Look, I know this can be hard for you. But you already knew from the beginning. After all, Neerav is a married man when you met him. He has a child. He has a family. This is an extramarital relationship. But look at what you have done to yourself. What have you gotten in the end?’
‘I know all of this already. How many times are you going to tell me? My relationship with him has nothing to do with the rest of his family,’ Onella explains.
‘Yea, because you’ve been sidelined for the past ten freaking years!’ Naomi exclaims.
‘Till when are you going to suffer? And live in fear, thinking that what if one day his wife finds out? Have you ever wondered how she would feel if she knew?’ Naomi asks.
‘Yes, Naomi. I have. What do you think? I haven’t thought about any of this. And you can’t say I’ve not been happy. Fine, we’ve had our ups and downs, but...’ Onella vents.
‘But what? Forget all of that, Onella. You need to burst your fantasy bubble and face the truth,’ Naomi exclaims. ‘Neerav is never going to give up on his family. You are never going to be his number one. You are always going to be alone on Diwali, Christmas and all the other celebrations and festivals. I remember the last time you guys broke up, and the amount of stress you experienced was so painful to watch. You were all by yourself. And then I don’t even know why you guys got back together.’
‘Ok, you know what, forget it. There’s no point in beating a dead horse. What happened this time?’
Onella takes a deep breath, ‘he said something that shattered me. I just never expected him to say such a mean thing to me. Or to be so cold,’ Onella sniffled.
‘But I thought you guys were doing absolutely fine. Did he mention anything about his wife? Family? Anything? Has he been behaving differently?’ Naomi inquires.
‘Well, he hasn’t been able to give me much time. Since he has taken up a new project, our time spent together over the phone has become minimal, which is ok. I guess. But I try to understand. It hasn’t been easy. He hasn’t been able to come down and see me here in Mumbai, and I haven’t had the chance to go and see him in Delhi. Hell, I haven't even had the chance even to see my parents. It’s been almost a year now,’ Onella sighs.
There is a long pause over the phone.
‘Are you going to say something?’ Onella asks.
‘Maybe he said those awful things to try to end the relationship with you. Maybe he’s having problems with his wife and needs to get things sorted. Maybe he wants to have another baby. But he can’t since you play a major role in his life. Or maybe he’s just tired of the whole mess?’ Naomi suggests. ‘Maybe he’s just looking for ways to end the relationship with you.’
Onella listens sadly.
‘Look, we can’t say anything for sure. But if it has really ended, then that’s a good thing. I really think you should move on, and it’s about time. I don’t think you should waste any more of your life on this futile relationship,’ Naomi continues.
Onella listens as she gets up from her chair and paces her office.
‘Please. Block him,’ Naomi insists. ‘Permanently. This is the only way you can make it through. Don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over again. You need to take care of yourself more than ever. I can’t make you feel any better. Or change the situation. Only you can. So please. Just do it!’
‘I’ve already blocked him,’ Onella says softly.
‘Well, good! That is so good, you have managed to take the first step. Step two is to keep it that way. Please don’t unblock him. And step three is to MOVE ON.’
‘CAN YOU PLEASE STOP PRESSURING ME!’ Onella begs. ‘GOD!!!’
‘OK! OK! I’m sorry. Calm down! BREATHE! Sometimes I can be a little over the top, but you know it’s just because I love and care about you. It’s been so hard to watch you suffer over the past ten years. I know that you are stronger than you realise. You can be happy,’ Naomi says.
‘Hmmm,’ Onella moans. ‘I think I’ll try to get back to work. Thanks, Naomi.’
‘Yeah! Ok! You know I just want you to find a way to be happy in your life. And I’m here for you,’ Naomi confides.
After disconnecting the call, Onella sits at her desk, pulls down the bottom drawer and looks at the photo of Neerav and herself standing on a beach in Goa, holding hands. Slowly, she takes the picture out of the frame, deliberately ripping it into tiny pieces and throwing it in the dustbin beside her desk. She sighs and thinks to herself, ‘Was it all worth it?’
‘Absolutely, it was worth it,’ says her heart. ‘It was fun. It was thrilling. It was mysterious. It was romantic. It was all worth it.’
‘Oh! God! What now?’ she ponders. ‘How can I go on from here?’
‘Now I am free. But I am alone. How can I take back control of my life? Well... I no longer have to wait for phone calls and text messages. I don’t have to wait for our next holiday or his next surprise visit. I don’t have to wait for the best part of my life to happen. I can make that happen for myself,’ says her mind.
‘But why did I waste ten years of my life on something that could never be mine. I always knew Neerav would never be mine and only mine,’ Onella thought.
‘Well, I loved him,’ her heart said. ‘I loved him so very much.’
‘Well, let’s be honest. Neerav never made things easy. He has such high expectations. Many times, he used to fight over stupid petty things making our situation more difficult to live with,’ said her mind.
‘What are you even thinking about, Onella? I have depended on Neerav emotionally for over a decade now. What was I thinking...can I survive without him? Who could replace him? Do I even need a replacement?’ Her heartaches.
Onella gets up and paces her room, ‘I don’t need anyone to help me survive. I can be happy by myself and find my happy place. I don’t need Neerav or anyone. He can go to hell!’
‘Maybe Naomi is right, I can be a much happier person without him in my life,’ Onella thinks.
‘I really don’t need Neerav. I’ve never depended on him for anything. I never have. I am a financially, emotionally independent woman. But I’ve never needed him for money or anything. I just needed him to be there. For me. For us. But really, he never was,’ Onella thinks to herself. ‘I always thought there was so much more to our relationship.’
Suddenly her office phone rang, breaking into her thoughts.
‘Alright, I’m on my way,’ Onella says and puts the phone down. Immediately her mind is back with her previous thoughts.
‘But I love you so much, Onella,’ he would say.
‘But I’m also devoted to my wife and my daughter,’ he would say.
‘I would do anything for them,’ he would say. ‘
Onella recalls Neerav’s words as she made her way downstairs in the elevator.
‘I can’t go on without you,’ he had said last time they broke up a few months ago. ‘It is as though you have become a part of me. I’m sorry, Onella, about everything. But we can make it work this time. We always have. But please don’t end it.’
Onella’s mind races back to last week at the hotel conference where delegates from all over India had come together. Onella excitedly bounced up to Neerav, smiling happily, ‘So…,’ she raises her eyebrow and leans in. ‘Your room or mine?’
‘Yea...about that. For me, the thrill is gone. See you around, sugar. Oh! And Pooja is with me. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t contact me,’ Neerav says and walks off for a smoke.
Onella felt frozen to the spot. Her eyes welled with tears as she dashed to the washroom. Inside she found an empty cubicle. Rushing inside, slamming the door, she began to sob. It had taken an hour or so to calm herself down to leave the conference.
‘Why do you keep torturing yourself with this horrible moment?’ her mind says. ‘I need to take better care of myself. I need to change my life’s story. I do have the strength to fly. In fact, I will be better off alone. Right now, I realise that I am better off alone.’
Late that evening, Onella finds herself arriving home to her empty house. She kicks off her heels, and as she changes, she thinks, ‘I am changing my mindset. I’m not going to let myself think about him anymore.’
Her heart says, ‘this is where we made love the last time we were together.’
‘SHIT! I need to get out of this place. Otherwise, I’m going to lose it,’ says her mind.
‘I need to get some exercise,’ Onella thinks and runs out of the house.
At the beach, she has a long hard run. As Onella slows her pace. She finds a place to sit. She looks up at the sky and takes a deep breath. The stars shine as sugar spilt over black marble. ‘It’s mesmerising,’ says her heart.
Onella looks over her shoulder and sees a couple eating masala peanuts, snuggling close, enjoying their time together.
‘I’m not going to be a victim of unhappiness anymore.’ she tells herself.
‘This isn’t going to be easy,’ she tells herself. ‘But I am going to get through this. I’m gonna be alright by myself. I can do this. I don’t need to depend on anyone to make me happy. Nobody but me has control over my feelings. I’ve taken enough shit, and I’m not going down that road anymore. I’m done! I, alone, am solely responsible for my happiness.’
Just then, Onella spots a brown and white Indie puppy. The little thing seems lost, sniffing around, in search of food. ‘Hey! Get out of here,’ screams a stall seller shooing away the puppy.
Without a second thought, Onella pats the dogs and heads towards her car. The little puppy follows behind as Onella looks over her shoulder and halts. She gets down on her knees and says, ‘I would love to take you home with me, my darling, but I need to mend myself and find my thrill.’