Author Viji Hari’s book Behind Closed Cubicles deals with work place sexual harassment with short stories inspired by real life people. This is a summary of one of the short stories featured in the book, titled “Fleeting Passions”.
The protagonist of the story is Vidya, a smart and accomplished lady in her 40’s. Vidya is the Vice President of Finance in a top consulting firm. She was a mother of two, a 10 year old daughter and a 6 year old son. Despite being successful in her career and a doting mother, Vidya’s divorce always seemed like a huge failure to her. Her husband Ashwin, was her best friend and her lover for years. In spite of having made a comfortable life for her and her children, the fact that she had lost him forever seemed to create a sense of emptiness in her. Vidya met Ashwin in the year 1996, in college, where Ashwin was her senior. Sparks flew immediately and the two were unconditionally in love. Even after Ashwin’s graduation and his move to Mumbai for his job, the couple continued their relationship.
Their long distance relationship ended when Vidya too, moved to Mumbai after graduation. In the year 2001, the couple got married, after having long struggles with their respective families. After a long honeymoon that lasted for 5 years, Vidya and Ashwin were blessed with a baby girl, Swathi. Ashwin’s sole purpose in life seemed to be revolving around their daughter. He had started neglecting Vidya and became too busy with his career. Although he was an amazing father, Ashwin seemed to be sharing very little when it came to parental responsibilities. He didn’t seem to notice Vidya’s loneliness whereas she started sensing the physical and emotional drift between them. Eventually, Vidya had to give up her thriving career to focus on Swathi at home.
After two years, Vidya resolved to get back to her profession with the help of a baby sitter, taking care of Swathi. For a year, Vidya juggled between taking care of Swathi and performing well in her career. Her company decided to send her to a week-long offsite leadership event in Miami,Florida for which she was to go with her boss Niren. Niren was a go-getter and an excellent mentor, who’s company Vidya enjoyed.