Vaishali Chandorkar

Tough Decisions

Born to a father working in the corporate world in the early 1960s, married to an Army officer at 22 and lost him at 38 and remarried in 2004 to an entrepreneur in a business world, she has lived three different lives in the same lifetime!

Life can knock you a punch, it is up to you how you take it on, whether you go down or face it head on!

Born to a father working in the corporate world in the early 1960s, married to an Army officer at 22 and remarrying in 2004 to a self proprietor and entrepreneur in a business world, my life reads like a book. I have always believed that God took some extra interest and time in crafting my destiny; why else would I live three different lives in the same lifetime!!

Married to an Army officer at a young age was a revelation and a learning experience. Coming from a civilian world as I was, it taught me early lessons in discipline, commitment, responsibility and taking pride in doing the task at hand with complete sincerity, which stood in good stead for the life that was awaiting me on the next turn.

Cruising through life till the age of 38, happily married and basking in my husband’s love and looking after our two young children, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I was going to be so ruthlessly and abruptly rooted out and moved away from my comfort zone. My husband suffered a brain hemorrhage while on a field posting in the far East and left me and our children completely shattered to make some sense out of the shambles that we found ourselves in.
I had no intention of remarrying, but had not reckoned with my mother’s tireless and unstinting effort to see me ‘’settled again’’.I too gave it a thought as I dreaded living life alone after the children had grown and gone (which is inevitable). I am a sort of a person who lives every moment of life and doesn’t just exist, so after ruminating, I laid down three conditions for seeing anyone. First, he should have also lost his spouse, for I knew from experience that people avoid talking about your lost spouse in front of you, but you are dying to talk about him/her and we both could share our wonderful memories together ; secondly, he should have a daughter too as I had one , and felt that somehow I and my daughter would feel more secure and she will be like a daughter to him ; and lastly, he should understand I was not marrying for financial reasons(I had a job, a house and a car) but for companionship and life. I wanted to enter this new space with my self- respect intact and didn’t want anyone to feel that I wanted to lessen my burden and see him as a meal ticket for life !

My life meandered again into a different world when I met my second husband, and relocated to Mumbai. He had lost his wife to cancer and was left to bring up his 3 children; two daughters and a son. His parents lived nearby and helped out, but it was difficult. Endeared by his charm and a gentle soul, I could see myself living with him and the two of us took the collective responsibility of raising five children and making them whole and capable of leading good, independent and financially stable lives.
Looking back, I sometimes wonder how I just took on 3 more children without a tinge of worry of whether I would be able to do justice and look after their emotional and physical well being. I guess, my being a teacher helped as I was always surrounded by children and was used to being with them. I laid down some simple rules for myself; I will not differentiate between the kids, will love and discipline all , will not be prejudiced against anyone and will not be partial at all. For me , from then on , it was never “his” or “mine “ but “ours”. To illustrate; being a teacher, studies, homework et all played a very important role in our lives and my children were well aware of this. His children learned by and by that this is one thing that will not be taken lightly and they will have to go for their classes, do their projects, attend college ,be on time, work hard; and doing otherwise was absolutely non negotiable.
We were indeed blessed that there were no problems between the children and they took to each other. Their life fell seamlessly in place with my daughter gaining two elder sisters and his son finding an elder brother .The maturity which all five of them displayed at such a tender age still takes me by awe. We never had to face any issues concerning the children from day one.I tried to be a mother and a friend to his children, while making it very clear that no one can take their mother’s place, she will always be there for them, I am here whenever they need me and they will have a home to come back to forever in their life.
Today after 13 years of being together, we have the satisfaction of seeing two architects (his daughters) ,one MBA (my son) , one CA(my daughter ) and one MS Engg (his son ).I firmly believe that we came together to give our children a fulfilled life and bright future. Our daughters are married with wonderful careers in their own right, our elder son is working and married too and our youngest is on a threshold of a new life, in the US.

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