Sakhi's Laghukatha

Posts Tagged ‘Relationship

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

~ Sakhi

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When Zoe first kissed Shrey, he wrinkled his nose and immediately wiped it off. Looking at his expressions Zoe giggled and went to kiss him again. But this time Shrey was ready, he crawled away as fast as he could. Zoe followed him steadfastly. Looking at Shrey’s plight both the kids’ mothers burst out laughing. The innocent chase of turtle and rabbit, as they were known as, went on for years.

They weaved a cocoon around them and nobody was allowed to penetrate it. Once, Shrey picked up a fight for Zoe when one of their classmates made a pass at Zoe. Shrey beat the light out of him. But when Zoe went up to him with a smile, he gruffly told her to behave properly. And his tone was such that Zoe’s eyes brimmed with tears instantly. Looking at her crestfallen face, Shrey sighed and hugged her. She just shrugged his hands off and walked down to their school bus. She did not talk to him for the entire time till they reached home, but by evening all was well again. Tiff forgotten, Zoe and Shrey’s were playing tennis by evening. This was not an isolated incidence, but eventually Zoe would forget her anguish and they would be together again, as always. Zoe and Shrey became inseparable, two sides of one coin, always together but never seeing eye to eye.

However, as they grew up it was evident that how much ever they loved each other or cared for each other they were not cut out to be together. Zoe was bubbly and effervescent while Shrey was a thinker and loved to read. Zoe would go on chattering away her thoughts while Shrey would just nod or give monosyllabic answers.   It was difficult to know what went on in Shrey’s mind whereas Zoe was an open book. Shrey would like to keep to himself while Zoe constantly sought his company.  So much so that she would expect him to shop with her too! Their adolescence being at peak, things started changing, or say, Zoe started realizing how much she was imposing on Shrey. She realized he needed space. His gruff behavior started hurting her more; she started reading more into his monosyllabic answers and felt left out. There was a time when she would drag him out of his bed just to go on a long drive or go window shopping. Now, she felt embarrassed or sometimes insulted when he would just refuse to be with her. Shrey’s behavior was probably the same, but Zoe was growing up and her natural vanity wanted to be pampered.

All her grievances went up like a smoke in the air the day she came to know that he was going to US of A for higher studies. It was just for a few days that they were together and the thought of being alone filled her with dread. She could not think of her life without him. She went to see Shrey and could not hold herself back when she saw him packing. All the wonderful years of their childhood came to her like a flash. She just stood in the door way looking at her best friend. Shrey sensed someone in the room and turned around to see Zoe’s crestfallen face. She saw the same turmoil in his eyes and the hell broke loose. She just threw herself in his arms and he held her tight, as tight as he could. Both were crying openly now. They never had any friend other than each other all their lives and now the thought of being without each other was killing them.  They sat on the edge of his bed, holding each other’s hands, caressing softly. Words failed them but they were not needed today.

“You be good, rabbit! Don’t go on hopping here and there.” Shrey said softly.

“And you pick up some speed, turtle. Else you won’t be able to find any girl for yourself.” Zoe tried to make their mood light.

“I am not going there to chase after some stupid girls. I am going there to study, got it!”

With that the spell was broken and they laughed together. There were no promises made, none were needed!

Time flew by and life went on at both the ends. Whoever said, “Distance made hearts grow fonder” was proving to be wrong in this case. The good natured sparring turned to tiffs and finally heated flare ups. Increasingly the feeling of not belonging to each other started creeping in. The joy of being together was turning into a dread. Zoe was getting possessive about him, while Shrey was feeling suffocated with all the love and devotion. He hated to be answerable. Zoe tried to keep tab on his online life, Shrey hated it to core. The final blow to their friendship came on the New Year eve when Zoe called up Shrey to wish, and made a passing remark about some hot young man in the party.  A heated and hurtful argument followed, and how much ever they regret it later, the damage was done.

That was a decade ago.

Fate brought them face to face again. Their eyes met and the world around them ceased to exist. They did not know how long they stood there, in that crowded room lost in their own world. After what felt like an eternity, Zoe noticed someone tug at her pallu, she looked down and Shrey’s eyes followed her gaze. A little girl looked up at her and Zoe smiled at her daughter. Little Zoe clung to her and shyly looking  at the man getting all her mother’s attention. Just then a little boy came bouncing and jumped into Shrey’s arms.  The boy looked at Little Zoe and asked his father,

“Dad, doesn’t she look like a rabbit!”

A happy, contended smile spread over their faces and the lost years fell by!

Mridula opened her eyes and saw his smiling face. She took a dyspnoeic breath and smiled contentedly. At last he had come.

She closed her eyes again and went back to the day he had entered her life. She remembered his first touch all too well. She was ecstatic every time he smiled at her. How she loved it when he came running to her and hugged her as if there was no tomorrow. Her world revolved around him. His choices became her choices; starting from his favourite food to the colours to the TV shows… everything! Even her clothes were decided by his choice.

But slowly and inevitably things started changing. Other people started getting more attention than her. She felt sidelined but smiled and tried to understand. She assured herself that it is just a phase and he will come back to her as he used to do earlier. Of course, he hugged her and kissed her before leaving home every morning but she missed his undivided attention. They no longer sat together and talked about his day or watched movies together with a bag full of popcorns. He did not have time to tell her each and every detail of his life any more. Most of his time at home was spent either on phone or on the computer. She tried learning computer for him too, but he laughed at her. The laugh was not a mockery, she told herself.

As if this was not enough, she sensed other girls in his life too. She tried to enquire about them nonchalantly but he would say they were just friends and she should not be paranoid about it. But she kept a check for any tell-tale signs. She found none. She increasingly felt insecure. More she tried to hold him, farther he went.

She remembered the last fight they had before he left home for good. She had found some gift in his drawer. She kept looking at it and as the time passed she became increasingly agitated. By the end of the day, when he came home she was livid with rage. She started shouting and calling him names. He was stumped, could not understand her reaction or the things she was saying. He tried to make her understand, tried to calm her, but she would not listen. She did not know when she started abusing him. She could see the shocked expression on his face and later the tears too. But she was unable to control herself. She just went on and on. He tried to hold her tight, a hug she was longing for so long. But this time it did nothing to calm her. In her heart she knew, what she was doing, what she was feeling was entirely wrong. And yet, she was unable to control herself. She did not know for how long she went on but somewhere she heard him say that he was sick of her insecurities and sick of her hold over him. He said he needed space. And then she heard a thud, he had closed the door after him.

He was gone, forever.

That was the last time she saw or heard of him. He never called her or reached out to her. She did not know how and where to look for him.

Today, after about ten years, at her death bed he had come back. At last, her son had come to take care of her. At last he will be all hers! With these thoughts, she opened her eyes again, smiled at him once more with all the love she had for him and her soul gently left her body.

What she did not know and would never know was that he was always around her. He stood by her with all his love and care. He diligently visited her in this asylum every single day. It was just that she could not recognize him.

It was a miracle that she could feel his presence and see him for last one time!

fiction_stamp2“There she is!” A big smile spread over Aagam’s face when he spotted Vaidehi.

Vaidehi was a new student in his class who had joined recently. She was a very quiet girl and had a sweet smile for every one. Initially he found her weird as she was very different from the rest of them. She never wore jeans or skirts or tees unlike his other friends. She never came with them for an outing or never hung out with them after the college was over. But she was with them through out the day and was an easy person to get along with. She never cribbed or never gossiped. He tried to ask her out a couple of times but she politely refused. His charm was lost on her!

Presently he saw her and was feeling happy as it was his birthday and he wanted to invite her to the party he was throwing in the evening. All his friends were going to come.

“Hey, Vaidehi, ruk yaar!”

Arey, aaj to Aagam saheb subah subah college aa gaye!! Kya baat hai janaab?” She teased him good naturedly.

Theek hai, theek hai, jyaada has ne ki zaroorat nahi hai! Haan to mein kya kehne aya tha? Dekh tere chakkar me, mein bhool hi gaya! Arey haan, sun aaj shaam ko party hai aur tujhe aana hai… koi bahaana nahi chahiye, samajhi!”

“Party?”

“It’s my birthday today, so wish me, sweetie!”

“Cut the crap, Aaagam. Tujhe kitni baar bataya hai ki mujhse aise baat na kiya kar! Anyway, many happy returns of the day. But I won’t be able to come to the party. Sorry yaar!” She saw his face darkening with disappointment.

“But hey, we will have a blast here in the canteen.” She didn’t want him to feel so bad, especially today, as it was his birthday.

Yaar teri problem kya hai? Sab hi to aa rahe hai. It’s not as if I am calling you alone and taking you to some god-forsaken place, dammit!” He was really upset and felt the kind of disappointment he couldn’t explain even to himself.

He strode off, livid with anger. Vaidehi stood there looking at his back. She wanted to call him, to tell him the reasons but she knew she belonged to a different world and he can never be a part of it. She was grateful for even been allowed to get back to acaedemics. She sighed and went to the class. The whole day Aagam’s disappointed face floated in front of her eyes. Her heart went out for him. She went home early; she wasn’t able to concentrate, anyway!

Aagam didn’t talk to her for a couple of days. Didn’t even tell her how the party went when she asked. She knew that Aagam was not his usual self since their last conversation. She couldn’t afford to care about it. But care, she did!

Days  passed and everything between Vaidehi and Aagam settled back to normal. As normal as it can be between two adults who are attracted towards each other and are not allowed to acknowledge it. Aagam tried twice after his birthday to say something more to Vaidehi but her face told him not to venture in the territory which might be laden with explosives. After that he never tried.

He  didn’t understand Vaidehi’s attitude though. She didn’t want more and yet he saw her anxious face when he was being playful with other girls of their group. She would get upset if he didn’t meet her at least once a day or was absent from college without telling her beforehand. She was a puzzle to him. But he had resigned to the fate and had accepted to be her friend or whatever they were.

It was third day today that Vaidehi hadn’t turned up for the classes. It was unlike her. Aagam was getting agitated but he didn’t have a choice but to wait for her to come. None of their friends had her mobile number or landline number. She never gave it to them. When she did not come for another two days, Aagam asked Kusum to ask about Vaidehi’s address at the administrative office.

When Kusum and Aagam reached at the given address they were in for a shock. Not only it was one of the posh areas but the bungalow was sprawled over at least 20,000 sq. feet area. They looked at each other and wondered whether they should go inside. They decided to check about the whole issue since now their curiosity was heightened. When the guards were satisfied about them, they were taken into the house.

They were taken to Vaidehi’s quarter and a bomb fell upon Aagam when he saw her. She was wearing complete white as if she was a widow. One of the females there called Vaidehi and she looked at them with a blank face as if she did not recognize them. But as her eyes fell on Aagam, she started crying, softly at first. Aagam and Kusum were dumb struck at the flurry of activity going on around them. One of the ladies told them that Vaidehi lost her husband a few days back. He committed suicide!

Husband?

Suicide?

Nausea rose up in Aagam’s throat; he turned around and almost ran out of the house.

A few days later, somebody showed him an old newspaper clipping: “Impotence being the reason behind the suicide of the leading entrepreneur’s only son…”

fiction_stamp2Aakriti felt so agitated that Aakaash was going to be at the conference. It had been 15 years since she had seen him. 15 years since they had spoken. Since she had told him that her life was to be tied to another. It was her parents’ decision, steeped in tradition. She had hoped that Aakaash would protest – that he would fight for her. But her had just sat there with his mouth hanging open. She had waited for him to call. Hoped. And then the hope faded away. Perhaps her mother had been right – perhaps Aakaash had jut seen her as some minor amusement to pass the time – but not to marry.

But she had accepted her fate as graciously as she could. Until she discovered that her husband did not want her at all. His parents had arranged the marriage and even waived any dowry requirements, to keep a cover on their respectabilility and the fact that their son preferred men. He was gay and saw this arranged marriage as yet another rejection by his parents. He resented Aakriti, not because he had a problem with her specifically, but because of what she represented in his life. Her parents had been so thrilled that they did not have to worry about the dowry. It was something that had weighed on them for so many years, since the birth of their daughter.

So Aakriti threw herself into her work. It was her only solace. Her only outlet and escape from the realities of her personal life. And at first it worked. Her colleagues treated her with the respect due a woman, ostensibly successful in her professional and personal life. But as the years passed, and she continued to live the lie to protect her parents from the truth, to keep the facade of respectibility, it became hareder to cope with the questions of when she was going to have a baby – something she wanted so much – of her in-laws’ taunts about her barren womb, even though they knew the truth about their son. Aakriti hardened herself. If she was gruff with people at the outset, then they would not ask questions that she didn’t want to face, let alone answer.

So now, all these years later, she dressed carefully as she prepared to meet Aakaash, her one true love again. And yet as she applied her lipstick so carefully, she saw the harsh lines on her face. In place of laugh lines, there were frown lines. In place of smooth skin across high cheek bones, there was blotchy, loose skin that gathered in folds across her jowls and neck. Her face showed the ravages of so many years of trying not to care. It could not be turned back now.

And then she saw Aakaash at the conference. She felt herself light up as she observed him. She hoped to make at least the connection of friendship, after all these years. And she felt her internal light dim as his eyes moved towards her and then passed over her in complete lack of recognition. When his eyes returned to her, she saw him trying to place her and then the shock as he recognised that it was her, Aakriti. She was about to go up to him when he hurriedly excused himself and fled from the room. And she realised that he didn’t really want to see her at all.

The realisation was like a rock on her heart. And yet, she composed herself once again and found strength in her work as she had so often before. When she had her work, she didn’t need anybody and they could not hurt her in any way. She ignored Aakaash for the rest of the conference because to talk to him would be too painful. Not just for the love she had lost 15 years ago, but also for his rejection now. And she knew that her mother had been right all those years ago – Aakaash had never thought of Aakriti seriously – she had just been his play thing for a little while. And now she was finally free of all the romantic illusion that she had created for herself – and she could throw herself completely into her work.

———————————-

This work is by a dear reader. She wrote this as a comment but I thought it deserved to be a full post. Thanks sioneve! 🙂

Mom

Posted on: April 20, 2009

fiction_stamp2“Thud…” He was thrown on the bed so hard, he wailed, more from the shock than pain, which irritated his mother even more. And he got a tight slap again. Suddenly the bell rang and he was spared from getting strangulated. He was all of three months then.

 

Though he never had the memories of those incidents of younger years, he distinctly remembered when he wanted to sleep with his parents once. He was of four years. His father would have loved to have him with them but the look on his mother’s face told him otherwise. But a child that he was he tried to pursue her to allow him.

 

“You better sleep down there; else you know what I can do when your father isn’t there!”

 

Oh, he knew it very well. He urinated that night again in his bed. Of course one more punishment was waiting for him for spoiling the bed. He was stripped of his clothes and was made to stand in the balcony facing the road!

 

He never understood why his mother behaved the way she did. His father was always nice to him. And he had noticed that mother was a different woman around him. But he was scared to tell any of these atrocities to his father since he was threatened with more dire consequences if he ever dared to do so.

 

But for him the scenario became a bit more pleasant when his sister came to his world. He was overjoyed to have a little bundle of love. But he was horrified when the little baby was also thrashed the way he was! It was a pure miracle that the brother-sister duo survived.

 

Their love for each other was like a silver lining of the black cloud.

 

“Chinky, I have lost my sweater today at school. I went and tried to find it but I don’t know where I lost it!” He was almost in tears and was scared to go home to face his mother.

 

“Kuchh nahi hoga bhaiya, don’t worry!” Chinky tried to pacify her brother, who was shaking like a dry leaf.

 

Miraculously their mother didn’t say a word about the sweater and they both breathed sigh of relief. But it was indeed a short lived one. The next day when he was tying a knot to his pajama, his mother came and tied it so tight that it was difficult for him to even breathe. He was left that way the whole day and when he couldn’t hold back he peed in his pajama! Thrice, since he was not allowed to change his pajama!

 

He was 11 years then.

 

He always wished that some relative should come and stay with them since that was the only time his mother didn’t met out the “punishments” to the duo. He never understood what irked his mother. Everybody in his family and extended family praised him for his behaviour and he was in good in studies too. He always tried to please his mother. Somehow he never succeeded.

But recently his anger was brewing, especially when he saw his sister also getting the brunt without any fault of her. Yet, he was courteous in his behaviour lest something irked his mother!

 

But today when he came from school he saw his sister standing in balcony, facing the road… without clothes!!! Something snapped inside him.

 

He rushed up and covered his sister! His mother came menacingly. She had forgotten that her son was now no longer a young boy whom she can intimidate physically. But she did not stop and tried to remove the blanket from her daughter. He couldn’t hold himself any longer.

 

“Thud…..” with all the anger brewing for all these years he hit his mother.

 

“Try touching her once more and you can be sure that you will not live to see a new day in your life.” The thunder in his voice conveyed the message loud and clear.

 

He hugged his sister and took her away with tears running down his face. Tears of what, he couldn’t understand!


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