Sachi’s sunny smile was a thing to be enjoyed. His dark and freckled face with gaping teeth became alive when he flashed his radiant smile. He was a peon in our office. Very often, when he was free, he used to come to me. I always offered a seat to him and exchanged pleasantries with him. We talked about our families, office gossips, news and events of the day and everything that was of mutual interest to us. He was an extremely inquisitive man, though he read very little in schools and had even less to show by way of his educational qualifications. I always gave him my undivided attention when he inquired of me about anything. Such was his curiosity that his face became alive with a question as if something got inflamed inside him. I enjoyed his company and never considered his frequent comings as interruptions to my work which I completed anyway by staying a few minutes more in office after the usual office hour.

I didn’t know, at that time, why he was such extremely curious about me. I had never seen him talk with anybody else at such length as he talked with me. He was especially interested in my conjugal life. By looking at his face, I could correctly predict that his next question would be about my marital life. He was mostly curious about my absentee wife. At that time she was living almost for a year with her parents’ as, according to a custom prevailing then, a newly married woman on conceiving was brought back to her parents’ where she stayed till she gave birth to her child and was only reunited with her husband on completion of the third month of the child. Of course, this was prevalent among those who could afford, those parents who couldn’t were excused. Sachi was greatly curious about this custom which was not in vogue in his native place. India is a very vast country with vast population. Customs and beliefs changed almost every mile or so. But Sachi’s primary interest, curiously for me, remained constant, it was my conjugal life. When we talked, somehow or other, he would veer the conversation round to this pet subject from which his interest never flagged.

One day he asked, ” Sir, may I ask you one thing?” This was how he always prefaced those questions concerning my private life, but he never waited long for my consent as he knew that nothing of my life was off limit for him. So he continued, ” What do you do when you are on your own, during the long time, after the office hour is over?”

I replied that usually I read books, all sorts of books; there is a world of books to be read and that I wanted to read a lot many of them. Besides, I cooked for myself and did the shoppings for vegetables, fruits and other things that I needed for myself.

He said, “I understand now how you spend your time. You are learned. That’s why I come to you for knowing things that I don’t understand. You know, I can’t read more than the daily newspapers in my own language. I can’t read English books or papers. You are knowledgeable. But aren’t you bothered by any other kind of thoughts ?”

I said, “What do you mean?”

He replied, “I mean the thoughts about your wife who remains mostly absent. Don’t you miss her?”

I said, “yes, I miss her a lot, I wish her back soon after her delivery or as soon after that. I write letters to her to cheer her up and she also writes letters to me instructing me not to forget her and that always makes me smile because she is always in my mind. We were together only for three months and that passed like a week before this drama took place and she was taken away to her parents’. I wished the conception didn’t take place so soon. But we are to be blamed, we didn’t take any precautions..”

Sachi interrupted, ” I was not meaning that, sir, I meant something else.”

“What did you mean?’ I asked.

“I mean, doesn’t her being at some other place than where you are, ever bother you?” Sachi asked.

I replied, “Sachi, I know she is happy and safe at her parents’. Theirs’ is a large family consisting of seven brothers and five sisters. She is youngest of them all except one. All of them are married and they all have their own children. Her parents are alive. All love her. She dotes on her nephews and nieces. There is nothing to be bothered or worried about her…”

Sachi again interrupted, ” I didn’t mean that either, sir, I meant something else.”

This time I was a bit irritated. I asked impatiently, ” What else, Sachi, do you want to know?”

“Sir, what I mean is don’t you feel insecure at her prolonged absence?” Sachi asked.

Surprised at his question, I asked, ” Insecure? Why? What for?”

He replied,” Sir, please excuse me for asking this, but don’t you feel she might do some hanky panky behind your back? Or somebody, some past lover might try to tempt and seduce her in your absence? I can’t remain in peace while my wife is away from me. I can’t remain serene and calm, as I always find you, when my wife is not before my eyes.” Sachi said this vehemently which was unusual for him.

” Sachi, this thought had really never crossed my mind. But why do you think so? Do you feel insecure yourself? Why this doubt and why raising this monster of an imagined lover? Why can’t you live without your wife for some time? If necessary, why can’t you live without her even for some months? Ours’ is just a temporary arrangement. She is at her parents’ for a good cause, at least all her own people think so. Why should I doubt her? Tell me, Sachi, why?” I demanded of him insistently.

He was all hemming and hawing at first. He was most hesitant to speak anything. But I was unrelenting till I got a proper answer. He had to yield. What came out was the sad story of his life or more accurately his life situation. He narrated his story in this way:

“On my parents’ demise, to look after my ancestral house and property, I left my wife and two kids at my village and I remained in my Govt. quarters. I used to visit them every weekend and bring them provisions and things they needed. Only a younger brother who was 20 and didn’t yet marry stayed with us. Everything went well for some time. Then on one of my subsequent visits I noticed changes in the behavior of my wife and the younger brother. Something in their activities and movements made me suspicious of their conduct. I felt extremely uncomfortable. When I questioned my wife, in private, she flatly denied and accused me of having a nasty and suspicious mind. But I was not convinced. I came away and thought about a plan. One day in the midst of a week, I set out for my village unannounced. I waited outside the village till midnight when I surprised both of them and caught them red handed. I scolded them, threatened them with dire consequences but ultimately brought her and the kids with me to the Govt quarters here. Now I cannot live with her nor can live without her. The memories of the past always torment me to no end. I am in untold misery now. Since then my suspicion of her behavior is such that I cannot leave her for a moment. While I come to office I leave her with utmost reluctance always imagining of the worst. Even while I am talking to you now, I fear she is doing some hanky panky, some mischief with somebody. It is a terrible time of my life. I find no peace. How do you manage to remain so calm and serene while your wife is away from you for well over a year? Sir, please tell me, how do you manage? What is the secret? I have always wanted to know this from you but somehow avoided to confess till now. How can I too get peace?”

I took a deep breath in, felt the aliveness of my being, the inner presence, prayed a very short prayer silently for Sachi and braced myself for a reply that would cover all his questions and even some more he has not asked but might ask. I said, “Sachi, tell me, did you ever love your wife? Don’t tell me you both behaved this way from the very beginning.”

Sachi protested, saying, ” No sir, we were not so earlier. We loved each other very dearly. The days and nights we spent together just after our marriage, were the happiest of my life. They were as blissful as human happiness can ever be. At least I have not known greater joys than that. It is only my villainous brother who ruined our relationship and joy.”

I said, “Sachi, if you could just focus on those days you spent blissfully together, you loving her and she loving you, how would that feel? Just focus on those moments of togetherness when you both felt so happy to be alive and so privileged to love someone and to be loved in return and the sense of wonder that life could be so beautiful when you are in love. Does it feel good ? Does it make you feel fresh and unburdened ? If yes, stay in that feeling for a couple of minutes, take a deep breath in and let go of your cares and anxieties.”

After a small pause I asked, ” How do you feel now, Sachi?”

“I am feeling a little calmer and quieter than before.” He replied.

“That is the trick, the secret you wanted to know. What you focus on grows. If I focus on love and peace, then love and peace grow in me. In that state of love and peace within, it is easy to trust and love others outside. The world just reflects what is within you. If your mind is full of fear, hatred or guilt it even brings out situations that mirror or confirm them. Your worst fears come true, your doubts and suspicions engendered by your fear get confirmed. What you search for you find. It is all mind’s play. It is your choice whether you feed your base emotions like fear, guilt and hatred or you feed your higher emotions like love, kindness and compassion. I strongly advise you to choose love and kindness and abstain altogether from being suspicious of your wife’s fidelity and loyalty. An insecure man almost always finds confirmations of his wife’s infidelity because he searches for confirmation outside what is already within him; his emotions of fear, guilt and hatred. Mind has a self fulfilling propensity, it sees what it wishes to see not what is there to be seen. Insecure man and unfaithful wife, they almost go together. They make a syndrome, it can be called as the Insecure Man and Unfaithful Wife Syndrone, in short, IMUWS. It is like many other syndromes, one for example is IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. An insecure man almost always brings about an attack of unfaithfulness on the wife. Even in such cases where this unfaithfulness is imaginary, the effect on the husband is equally real. It makes no difference, the man suffers in either case from a serious bout of IMUWS. That is what you are suffering from and that explains your unusual and obsessive interest in my conjugal life. There is also another syndrome that can be called as Insecure Woman and Unfaithful Husband Syndrome or, in short, IWUHS. Modus Operandi is the same. But as it is not relevant to your case, we can discuss it some other day.”

“But you can be healed from this debilitating disease, caused from feeding the base emotions, by refocusing on love. Love your wife as you love yourself. Love her without bringing in the murky past, without judgment and comparison, without putting any conditions on her, so unreservedly and totally that nothing else can come between you two. You will both be healed in the fire of love. Love also can forgive twenty mistakes, so forgive her and seek forgiveness from her. Forgiveness is a great healer. You can even forgive your younger brother. Just imagine that he and your wife enacted this drama, devised the situations to show you your hidden fears, insecurities and obsessions so that you will be healed and freed of them forever. They are, in fact, your teachers out to teach you the most valuable lesson of your life. Almost all of our important lessons of life we learn through sufferings. The things that I am telling you now have also been learned through my share of sufferings.”

“Lastly, surrender your fears, insecurities, worries and all to God by opening your heart to Him. It is said that He hears but to those who tell Him. He will make you secure and strong after taking away all your burden. A secure man is not he who is physically strong or very rich or who holds high office and power but he who is surrendered and lives for others, loves and serves others. He sees himself in others.”

“So this problem of unfaithfulness, though apparently physical, is actually a spiritual crisis in the heart of man. It can only be solved by attending to the spiritual component fully and finally. People like Ramakrishna Paramahansa will never have this problem. I do not have the data but I am sure you are not alone to suffer from this. My surmise is this that there are a lot many others too. This is more widely spread than people are ready to acknowledge. But there is nothing to be afraid of on that count. You are to heal only yourself and the world will be changed for you.”

Sachi was patiently listening to me so far and at this point he chose to ask his last question, ” Sir, can’t your wife deceive you just because you love and trust her? Can’t she be unfaithful to you?”

I replied, ” Yes, Sachi, she can but I wouldn’t know. I respect her fully as an individual. I don’t invade her private inner space where she is supreme to decide what is right and wrong for her. If someone fascinates her so much that he becomes irresistible for her not to fall in love with, then to hell with the social mores and sanctions, I will respect her decisions. I may even want to be friendly with the guy. I won’t, in that case, consider her as being unfaithful to me; I would rather think that she is being faithful to herself,faithful to the desire of her heart to experience a man whose vibrations matched her’s. I won’t consider them doing some mischief behind my back for that would mean I am taking things too personally whereas I am in no way concerned. It is a thing between two consenting adults who ought to know good and bad for themselves. Her loving someone else doesn’t cast aspersions on me, doesn’t compare me unfavorably, doesn’t prove her intent to malign or wrong me unless I take things too personally.The truth is, in their love or even lovemaking, I am nowhere in the picture unless I bring myself forcibly into their midst and spoil their happiness and my peace. So I practice throughout the day a meditation I have given myself, that is, not to take things too personally. Actually there is very little personal in the way the world runs.Things have a way of working out impersonally. I am just a tiny spark in the vast sky that is existence. People here are not my enemies out to wreck or break me, not even my wife’s lover, if there is one. Everyone you meet is engaged in fighting his or her own battle,finding his or her own joy and fulfillment. No one is concerned with me unless I take things personally and in that case the whole world would seem to be enemies turned against me. Actually, there are no enemies only seeming ones. So I can love a unfaithful wife too because underneath these apparent labels such as unfaithful, unchaste or adulterous etc. shines her pristine and sacred self which is untouched by any such superficial labels and judgments. She cannot be unfaithful or faithful to me, she can only be faithful or unfaithful to her sacred self. A truly loving and secure man never knows this problem of infidelity. So I would advise people who are tortured like you, Sachi, to deeply love their wives and be freed forever from the monster of jealousy and infidelity. I focus on love only as that is what I am and her too. I don’t focus on the fear of losing her, nor any guilt over any real or imaginary negligence of her nor do I seek proof or confirmation of her infidelity. People and things which have no use for you leave you on their own and whatever is yours and relevant for your growth either stays with you or comes to you miraculously from nowhere. The right people stay with you and the wrong ones leave. Nothing is to be afraid of. Everything happens beautifully, inexorably and impersonally. You are just to accept it all or let go all. I have a habit of imagining Reality as a, say, 500000 horse power train which is coming down at full throttle. Would you put your small wagon of I, me and mine in its track or would you just stand aside? This standing aside is taking things impersonally and seeing things as they are. Great love is required to see things impersonally, without attachment. So I focus on love and trust which are more aligned to the truth of my being than fear or suspicion. Love is a higher power and higher frequency emotion, it dispels fears and suspicions. Love is its own reward too. You love and feel at home everywhere, with every body and everything. I am convinced that we are all One in various manifestations. We differ only in names and forms but actually are One in essence.”

Office hour was long since past. All the lights except the light burning over our head had been switched off. We both rose to depart for home. On a sudden impulse I hugged him closely and felt his warm heart beating against mine. A thought came over and made me happy,’ Be thy brother’s keeper’.

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      Alan Jacobs Finely written short story with a moral purpose. thank you 

      August 3 at 1:19pm · Unlike ·  4 people

      Pudugram Vaidyanathan Nice story and good advice. Yes, most men are insecure when it comes to their wives. I suppose wives too must be worried about their husbands going astray. Perhaps it is this fear, this insecurity that makes both possessive of each other. We must consciously try and get over such insecurities. Thanks for a good write up and tagging me. 

      August 3 at 1:19pm · Unlike ·  3 people

      Nana Trianasari Thank you for sharing the story & the lesson… Namaste.. 

      August 3 at 3:08pm · Unlike ·  1 person

      Santosh Kunte When one buys the story, pain is inevitable. Man must see the false paradigm of heavily relying on object consciousness alone for the happiness. We have soaked too much of a culture which only ends up dividing us in the polarity of pain & pleasure. When we take refuge in stories, they have full power over us. Get loose and sing the eternal song. Man must rise above the polarity to retain the sovereignty. 

      August 3 at 3:20pm · Unlike ·  3 people

      Carmen Pentek Nice story, Paresh. Jealosy has so many roots and so does infedelity. But in any case it is good to focus on love, our own love deep inside. The right person will stay with us, the wrong person will leave us. Nothing needs to be feared. Lets just stay open minded and loving. OM 

      August 3 at 3:28pm · Unlike ·  3 people

      Susan Armaiti Zinowsky What a wonderful story.. touching, full of love and wisdom ! Thank you for sharing this dear Paresh! 

      August 3 at 4:07pm · Unlike ·  2 people

      Sudhir Jain very well written kudos paresh. 

      August 3 at 4:34pm · Unlike ·  1 person

      Steven Steensels What love is the one that makes people suffer so much ?
      Thank you, dear friend, for sharing your stories with me. Count me as a fan 🙂 

      August 3 at 5:21pm · Unlike ·  1 person

      Becky Bonam Thank you so much for the tag Paresh, I love short story’s I have to run off to work, but I will look forward to reading this all day! Thank you ♥
      Will check back later with my post read ♥ Im sure! ♥♥! 

      August 3 at 5:41pm · Unlike ·  1 person

      Vasudev Pandit aha! it touches my heart. i know insecurity. i am suffering from IBS since my childhood. 

      August 3 at 6:00pm · Unlike ·  1 person

      Soniya Aurora thnxx for tag pareshji . a thoughtful article about the indian man or woman psyche -the common indian person or maybe it applies to people all over the world- insecurity about your partner happens due to lack of communication . when a relationship is nurtured with mutual acceptance ,trust, respect , unconditional love n caring for each other then there is no question of any insecurites !! 

      August 3 at 7:50pm · Unlike ·  2 people

      Picky Curmudgeon Thank you for writing this Paresh. I am an unjustifiably jealous man. It is something I struggle with. I have lost valued friendships because of it. Your story has helped me see myself more clearly and has helped me. 

      August 3 at 8:00pm · Unlike ·  3 people

      Adriana Hill 

      Another special installation from a very special author. Left me with several morsels that I’d love to quote you from. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. What you describe I call Fierce Love. A love that can overpower all im…See More
      August 3 at 8:07pm · Unlike ·  3 people

      Carmen Vera 

      You know, Paresh, honestly, love is simply boundless. It cannot be caged or tied to only one person.
      I have fallen in love after meeting my husband and it did not diminuish my love to him at all. I did not get physical with other men, but I …See More
      August 3 at 9:05pm · Unlike ·  4 people

      Julia Day 

      The world is not coming at us, but from us. Choosing Love in all situations, even when there is infidelity or betrayal, heals my mind and the mind of the seeming other. We are One Mind in Spirit. This is how karma is dissolved, through h…See More
      August 3 at 9:26pm · Unlike ·  4 people

      Suresh C Sharma ‎”..Just imagine that he and your wife enacted this drama, devised the situations to show you your hidden fears, insecurities and obsessions so that you will be healed and freed of them forever..” very nice. 

      August 3 at 10:00pm · Unlike ·  2 people

      Picky Curmudgeon 

      I am amazed at the resistance I experience within myself to accept the lesson that you make so obvious. That part deep inside of me that screams in rage, “NO! I WANT THINGS TO BE OTHER THAN THEY ARE! I AM A VICTIM! I AM!”, and insists on cl…See More
      August 3 at 10:17pm · Unlike ·  3 people

      Irene Bradle Your wisdom and insight never fails to fill me with wonder. Thank you for sharing. Namaste, my dear friend. 

      August 3 at 10:27pm · Unlike ·  4 people

      Miriam Strauss A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another, the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden. But if these minds get out of harmony with one another it is like a storm that plays havoc with the garden. 

      August 3 at 11:15pm · Unlike ·  2 people

      Deborah Judith 

      This is a great joy to read and completely validates my own experience with loss. It may be tempting to hold onto lower feelings but they block one from direct experience of the Divine and one’s own soul bliss. The more one practices love &…See More
      August 4 at 12:48am · Unlike ·  5 people

      Elizabeth Patrick I agree that positive thoughts draw positive energy to us, and what we see in an experience reveals our character. 

      August 4 at 8:16am via Facebook Mobile · Unlike ·  1 person

      Tim Hartman 

      ‎”Almost all of our important lessons of life we learn through sufferings. The things that I am telling you now have also been learned through my share of sufferings.” 

      Paresh, that sentence jumped off the page at me. I can now say that it’s…See More

      August 4 at 4:18pm · Unlike ·  2 people

      Picky Curmudgeon Well said Tim. 

      August 4 at 4:33pm · Like

      Tim Hartman Thank you Picky. 

      August 4 at 9:17pm · Like ·  1 person

      Irene Harvey you give excellent advice, paresh. love is not one human being possessing another. that is ugly.
      since you focus on the love you give, the rest takes care of itself. 

      August 7 at 5:03am · Unlike ·  1 person

      Nana Trianasari Dear Pareshji, thank you so much………….. 

      August 7 at 4:58pm · Unlike ·  1 person

      Greeshma Myneni Dear Paresh Ji, was this your personal experience? Either way it was very well narrated with a moral at the end.. Thanks ! 

      August 8 at 8:16am · Unlike ·  1 person

      Jacqueline Green What good advice! Thank you Paresh. 

      August 8 at 9:08am · Unlike ·  1 person

      Bob Grumbine 

      I gather, Paresh, that you have no such thing in your country as the divorce racketeering industry, discussed in detail at which encourages not mere “unfaithfulness” against monogamists but c…See More
      August 8 at 11:05am · Like

      Paresh Chandra Mangaraj 

      Greeshma,the plot of the story,the basic skeleton including some dialogues,is based on real life experience of Sachi, a very dear,charming friend who is no more in this world.I did not have the heart to change anything in the story,includ…See More
      August 8 at 5:14pm · Like ·  2 people

      Adriana Hill You must never cease writing. 

      August 8 at 8:20pm · Unlike ·  3 people

      Paresh Chandra Mangaraj Yes,Adriana,I may never cease writing if such a platform like this continues to be available to me and friends like you and others are there to read them. 

      August 8 at 8:35pm · Like ·  3 people

      Greeshma Myneni That’s so wonderful ! 

      August 8 at 8:53pm · Like ·  1 person

      Richard Kogerup Pareshji , I am so honored to be you Brother ! This piece and your mind are pure , your warm heart and wisdom are SACRED ! I thank God for this Blessing and ask him to continue to Bless you with your healing abilities ! so be it , Ricky 

      August 8 at 9:45pm · Like

      Paresh Chandra Mangaraj 

      Thank you Ricky for liking the story.But I don’t deserve your effusive and generous praise,especially,regarding my “healing abilities”.I have no illusions about that.In spite of all my advices,I couldn’t revive the earlier cheerfulness,the…See More
      August 8 at 10:36pm · Like ·  2 people

      Richard Kogerup Pareshji thank you for this update and your friendship , Have a awesome day and please continue to write ! No thank you required ! Ricky 

      August 8 at 11:00pm · Like

      Bob Grumbine 

      Thanks Paresh for clarifying some of “the rest of the story” about Sachi. With your orientation towards presenting things in a positive light, I’m not sure you’d even be able to *see* the rest of the poisoning and brutality which Sachi’s “…See More
      August 8 at 11:12pm · Like

      Denise Burley How beautiful Paresh!! You see with beauty, with an open-heart. As in ACIM: “The world you see and witness to is an outside picture of an inward condition.” 

      August 8 at 11:43pm · Unlike ·  1 person

      Paresh Chandra Mangaraj Thank you Denise for seeing so clearly into the heart of the story.With your wonderful quotation you exactly laid out the theme which I tried to illustrate in so many words in my story. 

      August 8 at 11:51pm · Like

      ShreeDhar Shree 

      Incredible OBSERVATION :
      “Reality as a, say, 500000 horse power train which is coming down at full throttle,would you put your small wagon of I,me and mine in its track or would you just stand aside?This standing aside is taking things i…See More
      August 9 at 12:32am · Unlike ·  1 person

      Susan Welsh It took me a while to comment on this cause it struck close to home. The only thing was, the tables were turned. I know the next time I am feeling that I am unappreciated, I will look within self for the answers. Thank you Paresh for your gift f spinning words into gold!!! 

      August 12 at 9:09am · Unlike ·  1 person

      Babina Shrestha Thank you Paresh ji! ♥ 

      August 13 at 8:39pm · Like

      Neelam Sethi Thank u Pareshji, for enlightening us with this beautiful story and U have this fantastic art of imparting deep HEART-RENDING TRUTHS WITH UTMOST SIMPLICITY AND CASUALNESS!!THANX ONCE AGAIN! 

      August 20 at 6:41pm · Unlike ·  1 person