Tarita and Aditya
Aditya Mehendale and Tarita met in 1997. He was her brother's friend and she would tag along with them wherever they went. He is five years younger than she. Her parents were hoping she would meet someone and marry again. One day Aditya told her brother,"Why do your parents look around when I am here? I'd like to marry your sister." Although everyone in the family doubted the validity of this coming to pass, (Tarita being older and married before, he coming from a royal family), they started seeing each other.
On December 31, 1997, at the stroke of midnight, he proposed to her. She wasn't sure whether he was more drunk than she. "Are you mad?" she asked him. "No. I'm serious," he responded. "Then give me time to think," she replied.
At the time, her business with the Indira Group of Insitutes was happily in take-off mode. (she is chairperson of the Indira Group of Institutes). Eventually, she accepted. While her family members were over the moon, his dug in their heels. But his grandfather stood behind them all the way.
"Our natal charts were shown to astrologers who said 'they will always be together, come what may.' So with the stars as our benefactors, we were able to have his family concede," says Tarita. They got married on March 10, 1997. It was a small wedding. Nine-and-a-half months later they had a son Sahil and later, their second son, Shaan.
The story should really end here, with them walking into the sunset, but this is where it actually begins.
"Aditya's different," says Tarita. "Since he has a royal background, he has had a pretty easy life. Of the two, I was the 'businessman'. He was more laid-back and family oriented. My business grew at a fast pace, and with it came challenges. Aditya is a great lover of animals and slowly he was building a kind of menagerie; with emu, ostrich, monkeys and some rare animals too. I was so busy with work that I wasn't paying attention to any of it, but suddenly PETA came down on us for (bona fide) possession of some exotic birds, barking deer and peacock — which were registered by Aditya with the Forest Department anyway. This was an anxious, if, irritable period in our lives." She recalls a time when their marriage was coming apart while she was blissfully unaware of the fact.
"Of course, we hired the best lawyers and got out of the mess. But it left me with a bitter aftertaste." On his part, Aditya felt Tarita should have supported him wholeheartedly while she felt he was being foolhardy. Whatever it was, here they were, with both their offices across the road from each other and a stand-off in the middle.
And something else was brewing. There were insinuations that Aditya was seeing someone else. "I didn't give it much thought. I didn't think he would. But as time went by, I began to realise that his secretary was around him more than she ought to be. On our anniversary, at midnight, of all the people she was the one who woke us up to wish us. At a cake-cutting ceremony in his office on his birthday, she was wiping his mouth with a napkin. My trusted staff showed me pictures of a party thrown by her (to which I was not invited). I confronted him."
He didn't deny this relationship either. I was shocked," recalls Tarita. "This was shaking my entire core. I told him to pack his bags and leave. I was not just deeply hurt, I was outraged." They got a divorce pretty soon. But life was not pretty after that.
It had impacted her children. Aditya was very attached to the boys, but now they had to learn to live without him. She too seemed to lose her bearings. "I too got involved in a few affairs. I would bring my boyfriends home, but although my sons were comfortable with them, none could be a father to them." As years passed, a sense of incompleteness gnawed at her.
Also, Aditya never contacted the kids in the time they were divorced. In 2011, their younger son Shaan was due for his thread ceremony and was adamant about having his dad perform the ritual. "He missed his father the most," says Tarita. "It was heartbreaking to watch him go through life like that." Emotionally, all of them were in bad shape.
Then one morning, five years after the divorce, she recalls, "Aditya and I had decided we would grow old together." Being a person who gets what she wants, Tarita had set her mind about getting her ex-husband back. She heard he was in Kolhapur with the same lady. She called a common friend who helped reconnect them. "When we met we had decided we would grow old together. Do you still want that?"
"Yes," he replied. As it happened, he hadn't remarried. "I was very clear all along that Tarita and my children were my family," says Aditya. Much as everyone faulted him for not being in touch with them, his defence is that he was 'asked to leave' and knowing he was in the wrong, he felt it was in the best interest of all, at the time. Today he realises how wrong he was.
Now came the task for Tarita to announce the news to her sons and family. "Everyone was happy for me," she says. "But I reserved the news, telling my kids only when Aditya had made a clear break from his friend." On February 12 last year, they were back together again as husband and wife.This time there was no room for a 'small wedding'. There was shehnai, and saat pheras, " and the boys were over the moon.
We were missing that fourth person in our lives and now our lives are complete."
Preeti and KS Chakravarty
There was no drama in the case of Preeti Nair and KS Chakravarty. No defining moment when they realised their marriage wasn't working. Theirs is the story of the eventual drift which happens when you take each other for granted. Here's their story:
He's called "Chaks", short for Chakravarty, and she is just Preeti. Both have media careers. Chaks was Preeti's boss when they met.
They saw each other for two years before they realised they were in love, and settled down to the serious business of matrimony. They had so much in common that splitting was not even a frivolous passing thought: both loved a good laugh; both had the same attitudes to life, home and work, and both led very busy lives. "Sometimes one of us would be working till three am," she recalls, but since both worked in the same field, that was fine by them. But the routine cast itself in stone and soon, conversations had dwindled and they had only silence between them.
"I was always the noisy one and Chaks was the guy who took a studied view of everything. He didn't express emotions easily and slowly, he moved into his shell and was very comfortable there." The recessive atmosphere began to rub off on Preeti as well and since it didn't sit well with her, it began to irritate her to the extent that she would spend longer hours at the office, take on overseas projects and do anything to avoid being home. "We have an 11-year age difference between us, and I guess I went into marriage with romantic notions of waking up together, chatting over coffee, long breakfasts, and longer conversations.
Their talks if at all were existential ones: 'What are we doing together?' 'We seem to be strangers' kind of conversations.
"And then I snapped," she recalls. One day on her way to an overseas assignment, she packed her bags and told her husband she was leaving. All he said was, 'OK'. And that was that. She moved into an office apartment and he stayed on in theirs. But they kept meeting at her parents' home, for functions and occasions. "He is really a very nice guy and my parents love him. He was always around for them, even after we had split," she recalls. When they met, they were like friends. A couple of times he raised the question of getting together again. "Why would I want to get into it again?" she asks, "I was beginning to enjoy my freedom. When I married, I was made to feel I couldn't do things on my own. And now I was, and hugely enjoying it. I even got myself three tattoos!"
One day they were at her parents place in the kitchen when he said, "We have a good thing together, why don't we give ourselves another chance?" This time she said, "Ok, let's do it." He was zapped, she recalls. "Were you drunk when you said yes, he keeps asking me even now," she says, "but I was never more serious than at the time. After all this was the guy I loved, he has been faithful, my parents love him, we had a good life together…."
When they did get together on November 16, 2013, on their earlier wedding anniversary, they read each other the riot act. "Tell me what you expect from me," says Chaks, "and I will change. Tell me where I am going wrong." Three months into their remarriage, she keeps talking and telling him what she needs from him. On his part, he is walking the talk: being more romantic; not clamming up; showing affection, and she in turn tries not to get too aggressive, has toned down unrealistic expectations
"When we remarried he gave me a rock for a ring. I uploaded our picture and when I saw it, I felt we had done the right thing."