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Stepmom - 1


Hi, I am Ravi.

I was 16 when my parents got divorced. I didn't know whose fault it was. I was no one to judge my parents. But still, like everybody else in our family, I also felt that my father was the one to blame. Because he was leaving his family for another woman. That too, somebody much younger than him.

I missed him. I hated him. I vowed to forget him. I grew up without my father's support. My father had left our city after divorcing my mother. In fact he had left the country too. He took up a job in Singapore. He went there with his new wife. So it was all the more easy for us to forcefully forget him. It is said that ‘out of sight is out of mind’.

My father was a successful corporate manager. When he left us, my father was 40 and my mother was 35 years of age. They were of two diametrically opposite personalities and character. My father was flamboyant, a go-getter and a dynamic management professional. He did everything that was required to get him to the top. Work hard ; party harder ; a lot of clubbing and Golf ; rapport with the right people…that was my father.

My mother on the other hand was a docile housewife; shy of mixing with his father's Company colleagues and friends because of her poor English. She never used to accompany him to his office parties and clubs. On top of that she was extremely devotional. She was more interested in her Puja room and her spiritual Gurus. You might question how they fell in love and got married if they were so different. They didn't fall in love. Their marriage obviously was not in their hands. As it happened in most cases those days, it was an arranged marriage decided by their parents. They were quite young too. My father was 23 years and my mother was only 18 when they got married. I was born in the very first year of their marriage. So my mother got all the more involved deep into her family and maternal duties. Distance with my father increased further, both physical and emotional.

As it happened, my father because of his professional position in the company and his charismatic personality attracted many women. Smart ladies, especially in his Company and professional circuit tried to come close to him, more for their individual career gains and professional objectives. With constant denials from my mother at home, my father obviously fell for some of these ladies. Who wouldn't, when you are emotionally and sexually deprived from your wife.

All these I came to know much later in life when I myself grew up to be an adult. The crux of the matter was that at one stage, my father got horribly involved with his secretary, so much so that this lady got pregnant. Also, to hide the matter, my father forced his secretary to go for an abortion. And this scandal somehow got leaked in the Company and eventually in our family circle.

That blew the top of the lid at home. My docile mother and even my Grandparents of both sides got furious at my father. To save face in the society an immediate divorce was arranged with mutual consent of both my father's and mother's families. My father left the Company and also the country and took up a job in Singapore. That secretary lady had to leave her family too and went with him. We heard later that they got married.

Now twenty years later, all this seems to be a bad dream. I am 36 now and have been able to take on the challenges of life on my own terms.

I had completed my school and college. I was good at studies. I lived and grew up with my mother at her parents’ house. Money was never a problem. We were not rich, but my grandfather had enough to provide for all of us. The handsome alimony which my mother got from my father also helped. I completed my Engineering degree in Computer Science and joined a good IT firm in Bangalore.

My mother is no more. She suffered from cancer and died ten years back at the age of 45 only. She could never actually come out of the shock of the scandal. My grandparents on both sides are also no longer in this world. Old age had caught up with them too.

As for me, I had lost faith with the institution of marriage. The experience of my parents' marital life had taken a toll in my mind which I could never get over with.

But one person haunted me all along - my Stepmother, my father's second wife.

I had first met this lady, Vinita, when she was not yet married to my father. She had joined my father as his secretary in his office. During my school days, I often visited my father at his office after school hours. His office was on the way back from my school to home. So I used to sometimes make a stop over at my father's office. My father used to sit in a big cabin for himself at the corner of the big office floor. His secretary had her seat just outside his cabin. When my father was busy with meetings, his secretary made me sit in front of her desk. She used to order snacks and cold drinks for me from the canteen. She used to chat with me in a very friendly and loving manner. Just normal questions about my school; my hobbies and such. I used to like her then. Vinita was a charming young woman. Not very beautiful in the truest sense of the word. But she had a very handsomely attractive face, with high cheekbones; slightly rounded, slightly oblong face. She was not very fair complexioned. But she was tall, real tall, must be 5’11” at the least; a 6 footer with her heels on; and with a figure to match. She wasn't a model type slim figure, but had a tight, well toned, curvaceous, superbly feminine body. Must have been around 75 kg in weight. She was young too. She was 23, when I first met her; she had mentioned it once during our chats. I calculated that she was only just 8 years older than me. I was in class 10 then, just 15 years of age. When she used to greet me by shaking my hand, I used to feel my muscles tighten down under. My head would barely reach her shoulders, my face in front of her big bosom. My heart would give a small leap. I used to hurriedly sit down in front of her desk, lest the tent in my pants betrayed me. I was small for my age, I still am. Just 5’3” in height and 65 kg in weight even at my present age of 36 years. I was even shorter and smaller back then, when I was in class 10. I don't know why, but tall girls always made my heart flutter and did something inside my underwear. Kuchh kuchh hota thha; and even now, abhi bhi kuchh kuchh hota hai.…

And then that picnic day car ride incident. Forget it yaar ….kyun yaad dila rahe ho ? I don't want to remember all that again .…and brood and sulk.

I think I might have developed a crush for her at that young age of 15-16.

That is why it was more of a shock to me when I learnt that my dad was having an affair with his secretary Vinita. I just couldn't bear the news. I felt cheated. She was the girl who came in my dreams; my day-dreams I mean. I just couldn't understand what she saw in my father, a 40 year old man ?! And she was just 24, when this scandal finally got exposed. My father had an important position in the Company; had authority and influence; had money. But he was no match beside her in looks. My father did not have a great figure. He was of very ordinary height of 5’6” and not at all handsome looking. How could this strapping 6 footer beauty fall for the middle aged man ? I just could not digest this fact.

Greed, I reasoned to myself. It was her lust for money and security, I told myself. Once when she was chatting with me one day, she had told me that she came from a very poor family. Her parents had died early and she was raised by her maternal uncle and aunty; Mama / Mami as we say in our language. They were also poor with many children of their own. So that is why I deduced that this was the reason why this girl decided to have an affair with my father. She went for money and security in her life, which she lacked and longed for since her childhood.

I hated my father all the more for taking away the girl of my dreams. I hated Vinita for depriving me to even dream about her. Because she was now my Stepmother.

All this happened twenty years back. I had gotten over this phase. That crazy adolescent infatuation of a 15-16 year old boy. But I could never find another girl to fall in love with. There were some friends, girls, I mean, during my college days. And later, within my female office colleagues; but I could not find a ‘girlfriend’ in any of them.

I lived all alone, a successful software professional, but still a 36 year old bachelor living with my solitude in my New Delhi flat. I had worked in a few cities in all these years of my professional career. But never really settled down in one place. Started with Bangalore; then Hyderabad; then 3 years on an onsite project in Frankfurt ; then back to India after Covid lockdown; and lastly in Delhi. Although I had earned enough, I never felt like buying a flat for myself. What's the use? I am a rolling stone…

Then that phone call on that fateful Sunday night. I had settled down on my favourite recliner with my mobile in one hand and my favourite Old Monk in the other, when my phone rang. An unknown number.

A lady on the other side said, “Hello ! Is that Ravi ?”

I didn't recognise the voice, “Yes, Ravi speaking. Who is this please ?”

The voice replied, “Did you know that your father is no more ?.…” Then a definite pause...

I couldn't answer immediately. Such unexpected information in such an unusual manner. I repeated, “Who is this?”...almost guessing the reply.

“Your Stepmom, Vinita”, the voice replied.

Silence again…on both sides. Then I said, “When did this happen? And how ??”

She replied in a husky voice, “He was badly down with Covid. He had it twice. Didn't recover the second time. He had other medical complications too. Doctors tried everything. But in vain.”

“And where are you now ? Still in Singapore ?” I asked.

“No, I returned just two weeks back. I am in Chandigarh now. We didn't have your contact number or address. You have blocked us from everywhere, Facebook, WhatsApp. So I couldn't contact you earlier. Your father wanted me to give you some things which he has left with me. I want to hand those over to you. I would be grateful if you could come and visit me once. I am texting you my address. Please let me know when you can come.”

She disconnected without waiting for my reply. How did she get my number ? Couldn't ask her.

I thought about it and decided that I should go. At least he was my biological father. And he is now no more. So there was no point in holding on to my ego.

I texted Vinita, my Stepmother and informed her that I would come the next weekend.

( To be continued in next chapter....)