by Rashna Patel
Her wristwatch showed that it was 6 in the evening! Vishesha quickly opened her locked door, eagerly waiting for a hot bath to flush away the amalgamated sweat on her body that was lavishly rubbed by her co-passengers in the packed bus. She ushered into her home that reverberated nothing but dead stillness. And, her heart let out a silent scream of agony, as she stepped into this world of morbid isolation.
But it was never this way before. That is, before her darling husband had walked out on her unceremoniously. For Vishesha and Prabhav, the golden couple as they were called in their college days, it was simply love at first sight. Though, ironically, their natures were poles apart. Prabhav- tall, handsome and gregarious- was the dream of all his female classmates. His financial strength, charisma and flirtatious protocol managed to influence the tender hearts of girls quite easily. On other hand, Vishesha was a simple, middle-class girl. Nevertheless, her coy stance, sharp intelligence and delicate features held their own charms. Opposites attract, they say, so their hearts began beating for each other and their love become very famous in their college days. As soon as they completed their final year of MBA and landed with good jobs, they decided to take the plunge into the eternal bond of marriage.
First 6 months of marriage were a dream. Their lives brimmed with the joy of emotional and physical gratifications. Mornings were always a madness with both rushing to work; evenings invited warm, melting moments when they shared their day’s happenings with each other, with Prabhav relishing the aromatic coffee loving brewed by Vishesha; and nights roared in passionate frenzy. But after the seventh month of marriage itself, Prabhav’s philandering nature paved away for a torrid affair with his secretary, which evolved to the extent that, exactly after ten months, the so-called love marriage slipped into oblivion. Vishesha pleaded, cried and even threatened suicide, but Prabhav was gone.
Since then, it was she and her solitude. Luckily, her reasonably good pay allowed her to continue in the same rented home. Somewhere, she felt Prabhav would come back to her. Her faith and loyalty would empower this situation, she kept thinking.
Today, as she entered her home she remembered it was almost one year since Prabhav had walked out on her. A year without him had been like hell. Shaking from her thoughts, she headed straight for a hot shower. After that, she decided to brew two cups of aromatic office, the one that Prabhav always savored. It was a ritual she had followed every single day since he had deserted her nearly one year from now. She would always make two cups of coffee. While one cup would soothe her tired nerves, the other cup, would stand still and, then, grow cold in anticipation for Prabhav to come, which of course never happened.
Immediately, when she finished her bath she headed towards her meticulous kitchen. She put on the pot, poured in
water enough to make two coffee cups and, out of the blue, the doorbell tune asked for her attention. She switched on the gas and, little irritated, rushed towards the door to open it, wondering who would be there at this hour. It was him!!!!
Her ear-to-ear smile mingled with the easy flow of tears, shock slowly gave way to surprise and, no sooner, she found Prabhav sitting comfortably in ‘their’ home. One simple sentence from him- “I want to be back with you”- filled her heart with exuberance, it thumped with joy like never before. She asked for no explanations. Vishesha suddenly remembered the water on gas and rushed in the kitchen to make the usual two cups of coffee- this time she knew the other cup wouldn’t get cold with Prabhav waiting anxiously for his share.
As she got her other ingredients ready- coffee, milk, sugar- her eyes went across the window where Tweety stood alone near the plate of meat that Vishesha had kept for her when she had left for work in morning. Tweety and Tom were a cuddlesome couple who had become Vishesha’s pet dogs and companions after Prabhav had left her. She had perpetually observed that both always ate from the same plate and if Tom went wooing other female dogs, Tweety wouldn’t even touch a morsel from the plate until Tom came back- even if it was after two full days. And, this kept happening often and on. Usually, it always amused Vishesha, but today a different surprise awaited her. Tom had not returned since yesterday, but Tweety had gone ahead and began chomping and enjoying the meat in the plate all by herself! Tweety wagged her tail in triumph and smiled at Vishesha.
Vishesha quickly moved with the tray to the living room. The familiar fresh fragrance of aromatic coffee relaxed Prabhav’s muscles. As Vishesha handed over the coffee mug to him, he held her hand firmly. First, a swift, sensuous current passed through her, but suddenly something changed in her. In him she saw the traits of Tom, if Prabhav would leave her for another woman once, he could do it again and again. Infidelity is like any other disease, one might get free of it for a while, but one can never be sure when it hits again. It was indeed an unforgivable offence and, besides, she didn’t want to burden herself with lifetime torture. She would rather learn from Tweety to release herself from deceitful emotions and learn to be happy on her own. True, she needed to be loyal to her marriage, but first it was important that she be loyal to her own self. She gradually withdrew her hand from his grip. He understood her answer and quietly walked away. Once again, a cup of coffee would get cold, but, this time, Vishesha would not mind. As she sipped from her cup, she did not have a tail to wag, but she definitely let out a smile of triumph.End