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When it comes to love, boundaries unite more than they divide

Lovers do not have to ‘belong’ to the ‘same country’, says Rohit Trilokekar

Rohit Trilokekar | Published 05.05.24, 01:14 PM
Boundaries in relationships must be set on the basis of mutual understanding

Boundaries in relationships must be set on the basis of mutual understanding


Tanisha Sengupta was a happy girl. She had married the love of her life, Aveek Das, a couple of months earlier. It had been an intimate affair in Kolkata at her mother’s sprawling Tollygunge bungalow, attended by close family and friends. She remembered the way Aveek had gazed at her lovingly, long after the wedding was over and they were busy greeting guests. With eyes that said: “You belong to me.”

A few months down the line, they had gotten comfortable in their three-bedroom apartment in Salt Lake. It had been a few months into their engagement that Mumbai-bred Aveek had announced to both families that he was taking up a job at a prestigious Kolkata firm. The first few days of their marriage had brought them even closer than they had been in their days of courtship.


Tanisha had thought, “It’s like we’re two bordering countries. Only without borders.” She had no idea then how eerily true those words would turn out to be.

Aveek got up and took her in his arms, and they cried

The trouble started when Suchi (Tanisha’s bestie Suchismita) called Tanisha while she was at work to tell her: “I just love your outfit, babe!”

“What outfit?” Confusion tinged with pleasant surprise, not least because Tanisha had garnered a rare compliment from her best friend.

“The one you’re wearing in the profile pic you just updated on Facebook!”

“I… didn’t.” At once Tanisha knew what had happened. Aveek was on leave and at home. Undoubtedly, he must have logged into her personal laptop.

“100 likes and counting!” Aveek gushed as an incensed Tanisha returned home.

“How dare you post a picture of me on the sly, Aveek? But no, that’s not the only issue here. Did you even ask, if you could use my laptop?”

Aveek stared shell shocked. A few moments later, he regained his composure.

“So, I need your permission to drink from your coffee mug, too?” pointing to the ‘artefact’ Tanisha had collected on her solo trip to Japan, which was half-filled with Aveek’s favourite black coffee.

All of a sudden, Tanisha felt faint. “This isn’t happening,” she said. “We don’t fight, Aveek.”

Aveek got up and took her in his arms, and they cried. They had makeup sex shortly thereafter, for a fight that had barely even started.

After some intense post-sex cuddling, Tanisha got up. A hot bath seemed the best thing. “You can share the shower,” she said with a wink. Aveek followed her dutifully, like the beloved German Shepherd she had as a child. His eyes every bit the eyes that had stared at her on the day of their wedding.

A few weeks later, they were en route to the Sharmas. Aveek’s best friend, Rohan Sharma, had gotten engaged to a lovely girl from Baku.

“Baku? Where on earth is that?” Tanisha found herself asking on the drive to the Sharma residence.

“I think it’s in Azerbaijan,” Aveek said. Then he added, “Does it matter? Now she’s going to be a Kolkata girl.”

“Like you became a Kolkata boy.” Both of them laughed.

A few hours later, and after several drinks, Rohan and his soon-to-be wife, Parvana, along with all the guests, were seated in the verandah, where coffee was being served.

“So, how did you guys meet?” It was Parvana’s turn to ask questions after being inundated with several queries for two hours, ranging from the predictable “Where is Baku?” to “Are we going to have a Baku wedding?”

Tanisha happily obliged: “Aveek was here on work. He was servicing the company I worked at.”

“And now I’m servicing only this cutie,” Aveek added from behind, putting his arms around Tanisha and planting a firm peck on her cheek.

Bridging the intangible distance

Be it geographical boundaries or cultural ones, love can overcome differences by accommodating them

Be it geographical boundaries or cultural ones, love can overcome differences by accommodating them


The next hour passed by in a blur. At least for Tanisha it did. On the drive home, she was silent for the most part.

“What’s the matter now?” Aveek, clearly disturbed, stepped on the pedal, as though emphasising his frustration.

“Now? What do you mean now? It was a big deal back then and it’s a big deal now. You can’t just kiss me like that in public. And don’t even get me started on the inappropriateness of that servicing comment.”

With that, Tanisha burst into tears. Aveek said nothing. He just shook his head and drove right ahead. That night, there was no makeup sex. When she glanced into her husband’s eyes, he seemed distant. It was, as though, neither of them belonged to the other.

A year later, Tanisha found herself in Mumbai, shopping for clothes from a popular street market. Not that the shopping came close to that at her all-time favourite New Market. But then, it was always fun perusing local shops in new cities she visited. They were there to meet Aveek’s parents, who had lived in Mumbai for the past several decades.

The cell phone rang. It was Aveek: “Hey, just dropping dad at the dentist’s. Catch you at the theatre in half-an-hour!” Tanisha seemed wistful as she cut the call. After all, their first date had been at Kolkata’s New Empire Cinema.

She arrived early and bought the popcorn. A few minutes later, Aveek arrived. They stole glances at each other. And smiled. They were in a good space. As if the physical distance between Mumbai and Kolkata was somehow representative of the intangible distance that emerged between them. Distance they had since bridged.

Shortly after that “public kiss” incident, they had sought couples therapy. What they had learned from it had been significant. They could each be their “own countries”. They did not need to belong to a common one. Aveek knew that even though his wife and he shared the same bed, she would always be a Kolkata girl. And he a Mumbaikar.

Respecting each other’s boundaries is a way of telling our loved ones how special they are. Be it Azerbaijan or India, Kolkata or Mumbai, when it comes to love, boundaries unite us more than they divide us.

Rohit Trilokekar is a novelist from Mumbai w ho flirts with the idea of what it means to love. His heart’s compass swerves ever so often towards Kolkata, the city he believes has the most discerning literary audience.

Last updated on 05.05.24, 01:15 PM

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