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A Monsoon to Remember-Part II

by Kakuli Nag
(Bangalore,India)

Back to - A Monsoon to Remember-Part I


That evening, after dinner, I told Snigdha “This Raj fellow seems to be a nice chap. Is he worth being tagged to? Then you should stop loafing and get hooked” My seasoned advise to her.

She sighed– “He is married”

“Huh, then why the hell are you tagging to him?” was my immediate question almost like a reflex action. “How come then, you have this huge dependency on him as if you were dating him - for chauffeuring a friend to show the city, fixing your laptop, finding you a house, carrying your grocery, helping at office, driving you home, what the hell!”

Snigdha did not respond and as I watched her face turn pale, just to lighten the atmosphere and change the topic, I suggested “Can I give something to his wife before I leave as a return gesture for all the driving the poor fellow did today?”

“No” she said sharply. The way Snigdha raised her tone caught me off guard. “She does not exist for us. We never speak of her. If you want to gift something, it should be for him, not her” She maintained the decibel. What was obvious by her reaction was his wife probably does not even know about Snigdha’s existence and I, with my innocent suggestion was stepping into their convenient clandestine arrangement unknowingly.

“Why should you gift her? You don’t even know her. Would you ever know about her if I had not told you? Why don’t you gift him?” She continued breathlessly.

“I decide that, not you” I snapped back. No one tells me what to do. I picked the remote and switched on the television, ignoring her.

My body language probably threatened her that I might do and have things my way. So she repeated, “No Moni, I will not let you keep anything in my house that belongs to her. Give it to her yourself before you leave or give it to him – I don’t care but her things will not be in my house, that’s it” I was surprised at her reaction, rigidity and irrational attitude.

That night, I could not sleep.

The next morning, I had a very early bath, scribbled a note, and tucked it to the corner of the TV where it would be easily visible and left Snigdha’s house in a hurry. I did not let her drop me to the station or even fetch me an auto. She was still in the bath room when I left screaming a bye and I knew that minute - a friendship is just about to be terminated and buried. I knew what I was doing – consciously weeding.

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


I boarded the train in Thane destined for CST and just as I settled in my seat, I saw a cup of steaming coffee extended towards me through the window. It was Raj.

“Hey, what a surprise - I did not think I would get a chance to meet your after last night. Thanks for coming. Is Snigdha here too?” I asked looking out of the window searching for her and all the while, hoping she had not come.

“She was drying her hair in the bed room. I surveyed the hall and saw you had left. So I drove as fast as I could. Could not even manage to tell her that I was coming to the station to meet you”

“You could just call to say bye. Why drive such a long distance? Crazy guy” I admonished mockingly.

“Can I have your number then?” He asked, a little reluctant. He was staring into space, fidgeting with his cell, biting the corner of his mouth – restlessness signed all over his face.

“No” I replied in a calm manner, without explaining. “I will not need your chauffeur services anymore” I winked to cheer him up. Something was clearly disturbing him.
He looked at me, hurt or humiliated, I could not make out by his expression.

“Why did you not want Snigdha to see you off?” Is that why he is here - to defend Snigdha, I pondered silently.

“Remember, what you said at the Dargah when Snigdha said no one can know that you were drunk.” He nodded.

“You knew, and that is reason good enough not to step inside a place considered sacred by millions. Faith, trust has not faded yet right?” He looked puzzled at my sudden delivery of sermons.

I watched him for some time, those eyes again twinkled and had some innocence left in it “It is really convenient – this way Raj – as colleagues, friends. Office notes, official training, late meetings, travelling together , meeting frequently in the name of discussing office – No one will know what is developing. ” I stripped him at last. I could have just shut up and left Mumbai.

I sipped and said, “Thanks for the coffee” and leaned back in my seat, giving huge non verbal clues for him to leave.

He stared at me for a fairly long time absorbing all that I just said. He held one the bars in the window for support, leaned forward and spoke softly, “Can I have my wife’s gift?” It was just little more than a whisper.

“What? Did Snigdha tell you?” I was genuinely surprised and pleased at Snigdha’s changed behavior.

“No” He muttered and he slowly slipped the note to me – the one I had tucked under the TV.

If I had a lingering taste of bitterness in my mouth after that chat regarding gift to Rajdeep's wife, that is my problem Snigdha - not yours!

You are very right in saying that you would certainly not want to keep anything that belongs to his wife, in your house. Right! Sadly, you meant just the gift. Nothing should remain in your house that rightfully belongs to her – I mean him.


Every time I will think of Mumbai Monsoons, Marine Drive, there will be this sweet memory of a beautiful face with a shy smile, red bindi, a hint of vermilion under the veil of her saree covering her head, wearing silver ear rings shining in the sunlight and his arm protectively around her. He had Marine drive as backdrop in that snap he had sent to me of his wife - wearing the Orange cotton saree I gave her.

The End


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