Today, the lovely Maya will be taking over and doing a guest blog post! Enjoy, and remember if you ever want to do a guest blog post Contact Me!
Rarely does a character get to jump off the pages of a novel and speak to the readers in first person. Sophia made this possible through her guest post inviting me to be the guest here.
I am Maya Banerjee and you know me as the protagonist in your favorite tale of love and loss: Paying Guest. It is the most popular story in the collection – Pandora’s Box and also the author’s favorite.
It is embarrassing to narrate one’s love story to strangers, but then non of you are strangers to me any more, you are as part of my life as much as I am. You were a witness to the metamorphosis I went through, the agony and ecstasy of it.
My life before I met Dev Sanyal was quintessentially settled, infact my peers were jealous of the perfection of it. After all who gets to complete her studies in 1940’s and then marry an Oxford scholar who agrees to take care of her father too. But a woman’s life is never complete without the shades of imbalance, disharmony and uncertainty; it gives her a comforting feeling of winning, of contributing and of a purpose to make things right. Perfect trajectory leaves very little for her to contribute, therefore she likes imperfections in small quantities to life her spirits. I was no different, my perfect life lacked purpose and contribution. I had so much in me to give, so much to share and so much to contribute.
Dev was the only man I could give all I had and expect nothing in return but his companionship. His presence in my life was enough for me to be blissful. I could listen to his banter endlessly, he made sense like no one ever could. Although I never told him how much I enjoyed listening to him, but I guess he knew it already.
My engagement to Anirudh was a conscious decision, he scored full marks on the checklist of the woman in me. And the girl in me decided to comply with the woman that dominated her. Not much was said about Anirudh in the tale written by the author, though he deserves to be mentioned in the one told by me. He wasn’t a bad person, he reacted the way any man who never tasted defeat would. Although “defeat” demeans me in the whole scheme of things making me look like a trophy but that’s the way he looked at it. I never questioned him or myself if he really loved me, also because I was pretty sure I didn’t. He was the groom my father chose for me and in those days it was expected of a daughter to comply with her father’s decisions. I tried too.
It wasn’t easy for me to let go of my ceremonial fiancée and announce my love for a stranger. It took me time, I allowed Dev’s love to grow on me and throw me off balance. Isn’t this what most women do? They let the tides wash them off the shore and carry their helpless being to unknown territories, this is the only time a woman wants to lose control and be at the mercy of fate.
It wasn’t Anirudh’s fault, he still was the quintessential husband when I called off the engagement. It wasn’t my fault either, I was in love and when you are in love you hardly think about right or wrong. Right or wrong features only when you are placing things in their proper places, putting the pegs in the right holes. And we do this all the time to keep things on an even keel. I tried too.
Dev was the kind of man every woman dreams of, someone who doesn’t chase her yet makes her feels special. Someone who wouldn’t yield to her whims and yet make her feel empowered. Someone she looks upto and doesn’t mind submitting to. He isn’t her proud possession and yet she feels proud to be with her. Someone who makes her forget the world and makes her believe everything is going to be alright even when the whole planet is falling apart. Someone who makes her drop her defenses and let her be her. In his presence I felt safe though he hardly possessed any biceps to flex.
Most people after the unfortunate incident thought I made a blunder calling off my perfect engagement with Anirudh. What happened to Maya then? Did she go back to Anirudh? Or she broke down completely and lost herself?
Maya wasn’t the weak one to start with, what everyone should remember from the tale is that she was the one who went against every norm to call off her engagement. What happened to her afterwards needs to justify her personality and it very well did mine. God returned my mother to me in a different form. I had learnt so much from Dev that it was enough to last for a lifetime to practice.
Love that dies off or falls out isn’t quite the love we seek or dream of and yet we fall out of it so often. Dev wasn’t just a person I loved, he was an idea I was so full of. Did I get what I want finally? What does a woman want? She wants to share her life and belong to an idea unbounded. So did I get what I want? You tell me …