Guest Post by Ruta Chitale
“Harish…my darling.. How could you just do this and that to.. to me.. really?” wailed Ankeeta. She was still fast asleep. No one was there to hear her moan- in that beach house that magnificently sprawled across the Indian Ocean. None of her friends perhaps would sympathize with her, if they got to know! She was there all alone by herself and no one to keep company except perhaps Biro – Yash’s cat. It seems even Biro had left her for finding his food.
She opened her bleary eyes when the cat, all seven pounds of squirming flesh, climbed onto her belly. Squinting into the sunlight streaming in from the open window, she discovered that she was now the weary possessor of a pounding headache, and at some point, had managed to lose both a tooth and a spouse.
She brushed the cat aside and scampered off to the bathroom. She was always a pretty looking lass and at 5’5 her lithe body was looked upon with lust by men/ some women and with jealousy by the rest of the women folk. She was used to the admiring eyes. ‘What a darling dear Yashvardhan was before our marriage,’ Ankeeta reminisced, while checking herself in the mirror. Somehow somewhere the things had gone wrong. Last evening should never have come in her life.
“Yash… Yash, where are you?” screamed Ankeeta into the phone…lately she realized that all she could hear was the silence of the air… nothing more. Did she really wanted Yash to leave? Did she really love her husband? Did a mere thought of liking one more person other than your husband so alarming?
It was nothing really.. Harish was just a person she met while travelling on one of her modelling assignments. People seldom thought modelling as in ramp walk, advertisement models. But her assignments were of business modelling, she was a strategist and business image consultancy was her forte. On that feted day the airports were simply not working and the heavy fog did not seem to lift. It was that day or rather night that Harish came up to her with a cup of coffee and they got talking. Both found out that they loved the same type of music, almost the same type of people and had exactly matching ideas about life in general. It was as if they both discovered a soul-mate, if at all there was such a kind of thing as having a soul in the first place!!
After they parted, Ankeeta couldn’t stop thinking about all the fun they had when they just talked and talked. The most hilarious moment was when they both were romping around the airport and Harish simply forgot to read the really big sign and entered the toilets especially marked for disabled/ senior citizens. He got a sound hearing from the security and was treated almost like a terrorist crossing the safeguarded line. It was really funny at the innocent face Harish made just to keep the guard in good humor. The real fun was in feeling as if they both were just in college and the life had no seriousness to it.
Guess it was that no strings fun that Ankeeta missed a lot. She had the right combination of being pretty and academically inclined both at the same time. But being smart and intelligent comes with a price. And time was the cost she paid. Coming from a poor family she never really had time for fun, to enjoy her young years in just feeling free; never was a moment when she was without the burden to prove something to others. But when she met Yashvardhan, it all changed. He was the style icon, the ultimate marketing guru, savvy, smart and caring. He was what she knew would make a perfect husband. Her hunch was exactly on the mark and he was just simply put – perfect!!
It was all before she met Harish… Ohh what a common name for such an uncommon being! It was extremely agonizing that day when they parted ways. What promise they could have possibly made to each other? Days passed and meeting Harish again became an obsession with Ankeeta. She was more amazed that she could not tell about ‘this friendship’ to Yashvardhan. There was absolutely nothing to tell, how could she explain the friendship she felt, the oneness she felt with Harish, the commonality of poor economics they had both faced when they were children, infact so many things that one can only feel but never describe. She couldn’t bear to even accept the fact that Yashvardhan was always serious about life and it was taxing her. How can one fight goodness in other person? She was overwhelmed with disgust about herself!
She waited to find one bad thing in Yashvardhan, her dear husband, but she couldn’t find one!! It was exasperating her and making her frustrated. A person has to have a flaw, however small but atleast one flaw, some bad bone!! That one flaw would be her ticket to freedom, freedom to like someone else a bit more than Yashvardhan. She knew in her heart that if dear Yash could ever read her feelings, he will not come in her meanderings. But was it right to behave so childishly and not confide in a thorough gentleman? Ankeeta always chided herself.
However the demon in her did not let her sleep. It was time to end the matter once and for all, this way or that way. She summoned all her courage and called Harish.
“Hey wow, where you were? I missed you so badly, I had to make do with downloading every picture of yours that I could find, and stare at it!”
Harish’s laughter took her aback since she fully expected a more formal hello as nothing really of this sorts had ever passed between them.
“If you really missed me so much, why did you never call?” Ankeeta couldn’t help replying. She was losing sense of what was happening, and could not for the love of God, remember what reply Harish gave to this. They quickly fixed up a meeting time. Ankeeta’s beach side house was deemed perfect for the occasion. She decided again, not to tell Yashvardhan about this meeting and properly say her goodbye to Harish. Tell Harish what she really feels for him, the affection, and the fun and also that if she cannot tell her husband, it must be something not so good.
Over the next week, she kept on hinting Yash about a possible get together that was being organized. How the school friends teased her about the beach house they purchased. She decided that she will not be too specific about the school friends and shall be careful not to name any specific names. It was a battle indeed to hold her tongue less she spilt out some errant remark. She carefully planned as to what she will wear, what gift to take as a parting gift. The gift should be such that it would remind Harish about her and the time spent with her. Ultimately she decided it would be two gifts, a small figure of a security guard and a custom-made tie with various tiny images- of an aeroplane, a coffee mug, a sandwich, a boarding pass, a mountain and also the loo.
Finally she relaxed when Yash told her that since she would be at beach house with her friends, he would also go out for a drink with his mates. It meant that she will have the whole weekend to herself and Harish. But would Harish stay back? Did she want him to stay back, alone with her? What did she really want? She would be firm, strong and not have any kind of amorous thoughts.
She reached the beach house. Sharadabai had cleaned the house and had the fresh flowers in the vase with the dinner already laid out. It was exactly as she liked it. The pale blue curtains with small yellow flowers were her most favorite curtains. She switched on her i-pod and played out her favourite band MLTR as she waited for Harish.
The moment she saw Harish walking through the gates, she started getting confused, “what was wrong to have some fun moments? Isn’t it her right? But what if things start to get physical? Will she be able to hold on to herself?” Knowing herself, she decided that one final kiss will be all. She couldn’t bear the thought of living her whole life being curious about what it would have felt like to kiss Harish and be kissed back? But will he agree or he will want more? Will she relent? Certain things can’t be answered in theory alone but need to be tried and tested.
Ankeeta rushed to the door to meet Harish. Biro the cat also rushed out of the door to meet his master.
Harish was pleasantly surprised to see Ankeeta in his arms and was about to ask her what’s this all about. Suddenly there was a gasp and a shocking noise, all Ankeeta could see was Yashvardhan’s retreating back and him running out of the gate. She cried in disbelief and rushed back after him. Before Biro could have made way for her having returned back, Ankeeta tripped over it and all she saw was Yash’s car vanishing away. She was aghast to find that there was no sign of Harish either. The last thought before blackness enveloped her was “Curiosity killed the cat or was I the cat myself or why did the cat got my tongue and when. It’s complicated”.
Complicated Heart by MLTR kept on playing all by itself in her I-pod all night.