Circa 1996 – I was daisy young, about 13 years of age. It was a school holiday and I was at home. I decided to make a knotted ponytail for my doll and took out a leftover wool yarn from my aunt’s cupboard. Me and my then unmarried aunt were only ten years apart in age, which meant we behaved more like sisters. As I unraveled the yarn, I caught hold of a letter that was stuffed deep inside the wool yarn. Intrigued, I ran to the bathroom, latched the door and opened that letter. It was a love letter my aunt wrote to a man who she fell for. It talked about her pang of separation and her despair on how her father will not allow her to marry him.

Circa 1998 – My aunt got married to a man arranged by her father. The man never got to know about her past. He died in 2009 from a bout of swine flu. The secret of aunt was burnt alive with the ashes of her husband.

2009 – I was getting married to a man arranged by my family and thought of sharing whereabouts of my past love affair with him. ‘Have you gone mad?’ rebuked my mother, furious over her immature daughter. You must never tell your husband about your past. My mother went on to recount her own experience, when she developed an attraction towards a man and disclosed it her husband and my father. Their marriage never remained the same. Threatened, I did not share it immediately with my husband but could not restrain myself for long. You know, restrained people are too dangerous because a live volcano exists in them.

2010 – One month into my marriage, the thought never left me. I had 2 affairs before marriage and an unrequited love proposal from a man I was friends with. I dined with that man, while I was engaged with my husband and broke all ties with him soon-after. I decided to tell about this to my husband. To my consternation, my husband went all ballistic, accusing me of lying, hiding etc. I was amused. I just went and dined, what if he came to know that I had sex before marriage? He would divorce me. Mom was right.

2018 – I’m with my partner and I wanted to talk about my past with him. Any secret which is alive in your heart is a baggage that you carry in your life. And I was tired of carrying that baggage in our relationship. It just happened a month back that I gained courage to talk to him that I had premarital sex. And I waited to see his reaction. He was quiet and his eyes drew a blank expression. But he regained composure and hugged me in his arms. I cannot tell, how much relieved I feel now : ) Love is giving, Ego is taking.