This morning on the metro ride, a young teenager stood in front of me. She was scribbling notes to herself in her mobile and I could not help overlook her phone. There were a few words she mentioned in that long note to herself Ego, Loss, Responsibility. A word cloud of relationships, I thought! Her choice of sentences was stark and revealed her turbulent state of mind.

“I’m in love with my best friend. He has a girlfriend in his hometown but things are not good in between them. I feel it is my inborn responsibility to bring him out of sadness.”

“I’ve started feeling more affectionate for him and am attracted and our whole group knows of this. But I cannot share this to him. I fear to lose him.”

“I cannot tell him, how much I love him but my Ego does not let me love a guy who has a huge female following.”

I could see her standing in the same place, where I was many years ago. Her statements smelt of a stereotypical patriarchal upbringing as she assumed at such a tender age, an ‘inborn responsibility’ for a man, who does not even love her. A classic recipe for heartache. Years back, I assumed this motherly responsibility for my first boyfriend at college and a second one later at work.

The boyfriend loved home cooked food and I cooked luscious meals for him on a single stove in a matchbox size room. Often drawing irk of my roommates for the smoke, smell, and steam emanating from food. I packed extra food as his roommates savored the food I made, all in the vain hope that I’ll win over his heart. In a second instance, I went to my boyfriend’s flat and found it all untidy and messed up. I took it upon myself to broom, wipe, and clean the room and it took me three labor hours and a sweat-soaked body to do it. Again in the vain hope.

Today, I cook sometimes for my partner, my son, and I also cook delectable dishes, all for myself, when I’m alone in the house. I have stopped mothering my partner. If it is someone I mother it is my child and me.

Siddhi Jain – A third year student of IP college concurs –

‘I totally understand the part about parenting your partner. It’s laboring emotionally, and going extremely out of your way to make them feel special. My ex-partner lives in Delhi in a flat, and every time he got homesick (which was often), I had to go baby him. It’s tiring.’