Sakhi's Laghukatha

Archive for the ‘Separation’ Category

“I loved him with all my heart, for years
Then one day I started loving myself too
And we separated!!”

~ Sakhi

fiction_stamp2Aakaash was going back to India after almost fifteen years. He was called as a guest speaker in one of the conferences.

He was sure to meet Aakriti in the conference. They both were from the same subject and she too, he had heard, was one of the leading surgeons of the country.

He was excited, he was nervous, he was scared too! Scare to meet her, to visit lost lane of his life once again. But he had to do it… fifteen years was a pretty long period and he wanted to get over her. Finally!!!

He remembered all those years when he wanted to settle down, wanted to love someone else the way he had loved Aakriti, somehow he just couldn’t. He had his share of affairs, he even wished for some of them to grow into something serious. But in most cases he couldn’t go beyond a few dates and in other circumstances the girls weren’t ready to fight a “ghost” girlfriend!

All his energy was channelized towards his profession and he was one of the leading surgeons of US of A with international fame. The opportunity to go to his homeland had presented itself many a times in the past but he couldn’t bring himself to face his past. Had it not been for his sister to emotionally blackmail him, he wouldn’t have come this time too!

The conference organizers had sent a driver who took him to the hotel where his stay was arranged. He left his luggage in the room and joined the organizers in the conference room. The conference was to start the next day. He tried to find out about the delegates and didn’t find Aakrit’s name. He was a bit disappointed and relieved too since he now found it difficult to face her. But as he was about to retire to his room, he saw a few other speakers joining them and was shocked to see Aakriti among them.

They smiled at each other cordially and he excused himself on the pretext of jet lag. The world was spinning in front of his eyes. Was she the same girl whom he had loved for so long? She had changed with years and the life had not been very kind to her. Or so her face told him! No, he was not only thinking about the grey strands in her jet black hair or the over all appearance. He was bothered about what he saw on her face…the deep lines of worry or probably hatred towards life or something similar! What bothered him even more was the lifelessness in her eyes. Could he be mistaken? He vowed to find that out in the couple of days that they are going to be together. Presently he wanted to sleep. He dozed off as soon as he closed his eyes.

The next day was very hectic with online surgery techniques and other deliberations. Aakaash did not find time to meet Aakriti alone. In-fact he had forgotten all about her during the day time when the scientific sessions were on. They came face to face again at the banquette in the evening. He found her distant, probably she too was fighting with the demons of their past!

As the evening proceeded, he observed that she didn’t seem to be the person he used to love. She was gruff to the point of being impolite even with the senior surgeons present there and down right abusive to the volunteers of the conference. And as he got to talking with other delegates he came to know that this was her usual behaviour. If she was not so skillful in her surgery she would probably not be called anywhere.

At night Aakaash was unable to sleep. What happened in those fifteen years? She was so sweet and full of life when they were dating! He remembered clearly the day she had come to his hostel room and told him that she was getting married to someone who was a family friend. Just like that, she had dropped the bomb and had left. He sat on the edge of his wrought-iron bed, staring in the oblivion for a very long time. That day it had rained heavily, as if heavens were crying for him. He wished she had explained something, anything! She had just vanished from his life. She was junior to him in medical school. He had already completed his MS when he heard that she had joined the same department. He went to USA after that and tried not to know anything about Aakriti.

Watching her the next day acted as a balm to his wound. And finally he was totally free of her. Probably not marrying her was a blessing in disguise!!

But the blessings came fifteen years late!!

fiction_stamp2“Come on, yaar! I think when one is older the need of a spouse is even more. Be it a man or a woman.” Pankti remembered her own words when she had vehemently defended elderly remarriage among her group.

“What if, God forbid, your father was to do the same? What will be your reaction then? Pankti, it is one thing to talk about something and other when you actually have to follow it!” Krish had argued.

“No, I will always be at my dad’s side if he chooses to remarry after my mother!” She had replied strongly. The discussion went on and ended without a consensus. That was about two decades ago.

Pankti had never, ever thought that she would have to take such a decision in her life. The only difference was that the decision was to be taken for her mother instead of father. Why call it a decision? Her mother had given her a choice… a choice for her mother’s life!

Of course, Pankti was not averse to the idea. Or was she?

Why, then, since she has heard of it is she so upset?

Were her debates and the talks of (elderly) remarriage just empty talks? No. And, anyways, who was talking about marriage here? They just have decided to stay together, a few days at her mom’s place and a few days at “his” place.

“Then what’s your problem?” She asked herself.

Though she was still not comfortable with the whole idea, she had agreed to meet with “the man” whom her mother thought was a “very nice person” and “she would love to meet him”!

As the duo approached him, pankti was increasingly feeling nervous. She looked at her mother and could make out that she too was not in her usual chirpy mood. Pankti went into a kind of a shock when she met Mr. Shah.  He was not at all what she had conjured up in her mind. He was a slight man with a pleasant personality and slowly she became comfortable in his company.

“What did you expect, idiot!!” She reprimanded herself. “He is supposed to be 65 years old, about your mother’s age.”

But his grey cells were nowhere near 65 years… he was a jovial man and well versed too. Slowly Pankti relaxed and forgot how apprehensive she was before coming here. And she looked at her mother, her smile was worth anything.

Later that night when she was thinking about Mahadeve i.e. Mr. Shah, she realized that she never had any problem with her mother being friends or more with anybody. But she was afraid of how the other person might turn out to be. It was as if she was thinking about her child’s matrimony and not her mother’s!

Today when she endorsed their friendship with a smile she truly felt she had become her mother’s mother!! 🙂

His eyes turned into saucers when he saw her for the first time. And when he saw what she was offering him, he was on cloud nine. He simply loved candy-floss! But the moment she kissed him on his cheek he wiped it clean.

Kush didn’t like girls kissing him, yet! In his entire life of nine years he had allowed only his mother to cuddle him and kiss him. He loved being held by her. Oh, how he loved it! But it was more than a year now since she did any such thing. He blamed himself for being naughty and requested God often to send his mother back. He promised him he would behave himself and never, ever upset his mother. But God never listened to him. Now it was only him and daddy. And daddy too had changed since mom went away. He rarely smiled and was keeping himself busy all the time. Though he played with him and also told him stories at night, Kush’s young brain analyzed that his father was also missing his mother the way he did!

But for the last couple of months, daddy had started smiling more often. Yesterday he even whistled while making him the breakfast. Kush felt good. He missed his mother but he wanted his daddy to be happy, very happy!

Daddy said that one of his friends was coming home for dinner tonight and so he had to complete his homework earlier. Kush loved guests. And the attention they showered on him.

And true to that this sweet aunty got him candy floss. He loved candy floss, but that I have already mentioned earlier.

She seemed to be sweet and talked and laughed a lot. And daddy, too, was laughing a lot. It’s been so long ago that daddy had laughed like this that Kush didn’t even remember.

He sat there with them eating his candy floss and sulking. Usually he would not sit with his daddy’s guests for long. But today he refused to budge. He didn’t know why he was suddenly feeling so low and why his eyes were brimming with tears.

“That Lady”‘s visits became more frequent and Kush started feeling alienated. His temper tantrums increased. Daddy was at lost. He didn’t realize what was wrong with Kush suddenly. He was getting worried. He tried to talk to Kush, he tried everything possible but it seemed as if Kush had shut doors. When Kush didn’t light up while watching “The power rangers”, daddy couldn’t take it any more.

“Kush, I want to have a talk with you, a man to man talk. Can I trust you?” daddy asked.

“Man to man?” Kush looked at his father, a bit confused, but intrigued. This was the first real response daddy got from Kush in weeks. He got strength to go on further.

“I am in a dilemma. And I need advice from you. I think you are the only person who can help me.”

Kush didn’t know what to say but he was all ears now and felt very important as his father thought him to be his confidante. He looked at daddy intently and urged him to go on.

“You know Jui, the friend of mine!”

Kush got tensed at the mention of “That lady”. Daddy felt the reaction and was now doubly sure about the problem. He had hit the bull’s eye.

“I am thinking whether I should continue my friendship with her. I do like her company but… you know, I am not really sure. She is a girl, you see!”

Kush’s face lit up. Daddy felt a tug at heart.

“I like her a lot and she seems to be the best friend I had in a long time. But I am not very sure. What do you say?”

Kush was in a dilemma now. He had not anticipated this.

“I think you are the only person whom I can talk to and can rely on the opinion. Do think and tell me.”

With that daddy bade good night with a peck on his forehead.

Kush’s little heart went into topsy-turvy. He sat there for a long time and thought “hard”, as hard as a nine year old could think.

But before he went for the sleep he had made the decision.

After a long time Kush slept with a big smile on his face.

Related post:

Remarriage and Indian Society

All the friends were meeting at a common joint with the family as they regularly did. As Ajay entered the room he heard Sarita’s laughter echoing in the hall. A wistful expression came over his face as he looked at Maya and silently compared their marriage to Akash and Sarita’s. Ajay noticed that this is the only place where Maya actually smiles… every time… without fail!

 

Akash saw the wistful expression and decided to talk to Ajay when the time is right.

 

And the right time came when other friends had not come for the swim. Today only Akash and Ajay had turned up for the “Bajarang Meet” (They called their swim routine a “Bajarang Meet” since they met without their spouses!!) Akash grabbed the opportunity to talk heart-to-heart with his best friend.

 

“What’s going on between you and Maya?”

 

“What?”

 

“I have noticed, since a couple of months you guys have drifted a lot! Is my observation wrong?”

 

Ajay was taken aback a bit. He didn’t realize that it was obvious to others too!!

 

“Are you having affair or something?” Akash probed further. Or he feared worst, whether Maya was having an affair!! He couldn’t bring himself to ask that.

 

“No, no… Nothing of the sort. It just that…err… these days Maya…  Dekh yaar tu kisi se discuss to nahi karega na?”

 

Akash gave a hurt look and Ajay knew it was wrong to ask such things to his best friend. But this time the matter was his and Maya’s and somehow he felt guilty to discuss their personal matter, however trivial, with anybody else… even his best friend. But he needed to talk to somebody.

 

Yaar, these days Maya has gone really cold. I mean the warmth in here voice is missing. She doesn’t smile the way she used to. I saw her real smile after a long time when we had met you guys at party.

 

She does everything that she used to but some how I feel that her heart is not there.

 

Even at night… errr….you know what I mean. She has just shut herself. And I tried to think what have I done that might have offended her but couldn’t really think of anything!

 

“Hmmmm….. Have you tried talking to her? What does she say?

 

Kahaan yaar, I tried once but she said its nothing and then you know my schedule… Where do I really get time?”

 

“If you don’t get time, how do you manage to come here everyday? Akash’s voice rose a bit. But he checked himself in time. Though he knew his friend really well and also knew Maya.

 

Maya was a sensitive woman and needed love and care and that’s all she really needed. She had married Ajay when he was a “nobody”. She had stayed with him when nobody believed in him. She had stayed and cooked for him on a kerosene stove when they couldn’t afford a LPG cylinder. She had been with him through thick and thin.

 

He also remembered that Ajay used to run and hug his newly wedded wife at every opportunity. He used to share every single detail of his life with Maya. 

 

So went wrong?

 

As their conversation continued Akash realized that Ajay was getting too busy with life and was not able to give enough attention and time to his wife. Maya on other hand, being at home and looking after the family was feeling isolated. She had withered with time. She needed nurturing and only Ajay can do it.

 

Ajay listened to Akash’s reasoning and vowed to woo back his wife. He was missing her way too much.

 

Only time will tell whether he will be able to do it!

Name has been changed to protect privacy!I was busy with work when my mobile rang. A big smile came over my face when I saw who was calling. It was my hubby! 🙂 But how come he was calling now? We had parted just an hour back! 

 

“Helllllllllooooooo…., how come I have a privilege to talk to you?” I asked smiling.

 “Where are you?” He asked. I was surprised. He only dropped me to my office in the morning!

 

“Office! Where else?”

 

“And where is the car?”

 

“Car?”

 

“Yes, car!”

 

“It is with you, I suppose!” What was he talking about? He dropped me to the office and took the car and now he was asking me where the car was? He has surely flipped!!

 

Suddenly he started laughing!

 

****************

 

In the morning when he dropped me to the office, I came to the office thinking that he is taking the car. He got down, took his bag and left the keys in the car thinking that I was taking the car.

 

Apparently, none of us looked back and we both went on our own ways, in opposite directions.

 

And the car? It sat there, with ignition “on”, in the middle of the road, in between two auto rickshaws.

 

But after walking a few yards, hubby looked back casually and found the car still in the same spot. He got worried and came back to check why I hadn’t taken the car yet!!!

 

To his horror, there was nobody in the car and the autowalas were eyeing him suspiciously.

(P.S. Thank God, police didn’t come and caught hold of us as in recent Ahmedabad and Surat bomb blasts, Black Wagon R with a doctor symbol were used to put bombs!)

Name has been changed to protect privacy!

Names not mentioned to protect privacy

 

Suddenly Prithvi came jumping and her frown was transformed in a smile of a mother! In her daughter’s constant chattering she forgot all about them.

 

But can she really forget them? They were always there… in front of her, day in and day out! And she hated them from the core of her heart. She felt bad for these feelings; she had grown up with all the values perfectly in place and yet, she loathed them!

 

And recently these feelings were taking toll on her. She seemed to be cranky all the time whenever she was at home. She lost her temper unnecessarily on her daughter and felt like crying without reason or on a small provocation.

 

*****

She came from hospital and found her wardrobe to be open and her things were at display for the neighbours and relatives.

 

‘What the hell! ‘, she thought. But didn’t want to create a scene on the 3rd day of her marriage!

 

*****

When she repeatedly got hurt by their constant lies, she asked one day why did they lie so much, it hurts her.

 

“What can we do if you are hurt”, pat, came the reply!

 

*****

She and her husband were in midst of a crisis. They wanted emotional support from the family… They got it. From her family! She could not contemplate how parents could not feel anything for their own child now that he was married!

 

*****

Her child was just a couple of months old. And even though both of them were doctors, they were not paediatricians. They got scared when their daughter kept on crying the whole night without any reason. Nobody came from the adjacent room to even ask why their daughter was crying!!!

 

“What could we have done!” was the answer when asked why they didn’t come and help.

*****

 

One morning she opened the door and saw his mamaji and mamiji. She was pleasantly surprised to see them. Later that day she came to know that her parents-in-law had called them as they wanted to get separated from them and without her noticing they had packed all their belongings and divided the food and vessels into two so that they can take their share along with them.

 

“Where was I when all these were going on?” She thought bewildered.

 

They had even packed her husband’s childhood games and story books since they had bought it; never thinking about the child in this house!

 

Ultimately, as an anti-climax, they never shifted out. Apparently, they just were checking her integrity!!!

 

*************

 

These and so many other incidences over a period of eight years have changed her from an ever smiling, bubbly, sweet girl to a frowning, irritable and some what distant individual when she is around them.

 

When she thinks deeply, she agrees that now the fault is not entirely theirs. She also lashes out when she can not control herself. Now, after so many years, they have started looking after her daughter better than before. Outwardly things seem to be falling into place. She knows she should forget the past and accept them the way they are. But, somehow, she is unable do so! The very sight of them irritates her to the core. And, yet, she stays with them. Though she never feels that this is her home… never!

 

P.S. Her husband is always with her, but asks her to be more patient! It is his love and support that has anchored her to this house.


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Sakhi's Laghukatha by Sakhi (aka Dr. Dhara Shah) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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