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Beyond The Sunset-Chapter 10

by Tanuja Chatterjee
(Kolkata, India)

Back to Chapter 9

“You look beautiful today!” Said Roy.
“Do I?” Anubha blushed.
“Anything wrong?” He asked.
“No! But why do you ask?” She answered.
“Your eyes are swollen…could be due to lack of sleep. We were awake for quite long, last night, weren’t we?” He added.
“Oh! Hmm, could be so!” She accepted looking out of the window of the speeding car.
“Tell me truly Abha, are you really happy with Aniruddh?” He poked in again.
“What sort of question is this Roy? What is happiness? Unh! Tell me. What is happiness?” She pounced back and continued “ Here I’m sharing moments with you after three decades…I am Happy. Aniruddh provides me with every comfort …I am happy. Anu schemes and plans to fill my alone-ness…I am happy. Anubhav keeps least contact to avoid giving me shocks with his extremely modern life style and to assure me that he can handle himself better …I am happy. So the bottom line is I am happy.”

Roy quickly comes closer with his ever comforting embrace but Anubha breaks away. She then turns towards Roy and looks intently in his eyes.
“I’m sorry Abha. I shouldn’t have asked." He says.
“Its o.k. Roy! Happiness is my state of mind Roy! For me its no longer a transitory phenomena which is related to specific situations, circumstances and things.“ Says Anubha with a slight smile.

“Tell me about yourself Roy. How did life treat you after you left India?” She asked now.
“I needed a job there at Zurich, which wouldn’t come by if I didn’t have a green card. So I married. It was this piece of news which I gave you only in parts, keeping the other half secretly within. Call it my ego or whatever! But I realized very soon that it was a mistake – my first ever mistake towards you. I shouldn’t have.” He replied.
“Then …when you had a realization, why didn’t you tell?” She asked.
“I felt ashamed. I thought you would never forgive nor forget. One wrong decision made a mess of my life.” He answered.
“I waited for your letters for two years. I think it is time long enough for anyone to come out of the labyrinths of hopelessness.” She remarked.
“Within two years life changed. We had our daughter.” He quietly added.

Anubha wiped her lonely tears with her handkerchief and said, "And I thought….!”
Words betrayed as well, as if they too were facing the final curtain. She wished if he had stated his case then ….probably there would have been some scope…but not now.
“Don’t cry any more Abha, I’m here to stay forever. Even if it is from a distance…you’ll always find me near.” Said Roy, with some sort of, empathy.

“You lived your life full, when clouds burst on me here. You travelled on highways, when my world shrunk to a corner. Above all, you did all that you wanted to do …in your way…while I impatiently waited for my replies to stand back tall with dignity. You did everything at my cost and still
you claim that you love me? Isn’t that weird?” she replied.

“Yes, I still do. I made an arrangement to have a stronger grip of the ground but it held my soul at ransom. I hadn’t fathomed that, even in my weirdest dreams. I regret it still today. God alone knows how hard I tried to break out of this arrangement…but the children…they came in the way. They found their heaven in me.” He opened his heart.

“Oh stop it! All I wished to know was my standing in your life. When you bite off more than you can chew…you know what you do then...Just spit it out! It helps you to stand tall with gaiety again.” She replied.
“I won’t shy away from my doings. Not to you at least!” he said.
“It doesn’t matter anymore now Roy! It doesn’t. You’ve loved, you’ve laughed and you’ve cried as well. But all you did, as you wished to and wanted to. You had your way. There is no question of shying away. When your tears will dry, you’ll again find all your past, pretty amusing. I just wished that you would say things you truly felt. You would be honest. At least I had known you that way.”

The question answer session got disrupted when Anubha’s cell buzzed. She looked at Roy and said ”May I?”
“Of course!” came a quick reply.
“Hello! How are you? What... Now! O.k.! I’ll be right there in a short while.” Replied Anubha.
Turning towards Roy she said “Roy, They need me now. A crisis has cropped in their life. I must be with them at this crucial hour. Just stop the car. I’ll take a cab from here.”
“Here... Are you crazy? I’ll take you there. “He replied immediately.
“No! Not you with me there! “She cut short his answer.
“Then, what of us?“ he asked.
“I’ll try and finish fast. I will give you a call. In case I forget, Please put in a word from me to Anu…and…and also tell her that I love her very much!” She spoke everything fast.

“Albert, stop the car on the side. Madam needs to get off here. But, Abha, shall we meet again soon please.” He remarked.
“Sure. Take care Roy! Be happy. O. k!” she said while getting down with her bright infectious smile.

The traffic was heavy and fast moving and sooner the car sped away, to avoid unpleasant heavy penalty.Anubha too found an empty taxi.
“To the S.O.S village, Salt Lake!” she asked.
“Yes, Please aboard.” Replied the driver politely.

“Back to the hotel. “Said Roy to his driver Albert.
“Sure sir!”Was his quick reply.
A little later, Roy noticed a beautifully decorated white envelop lying at Anubha seat.
“Oh ..o! She must have dropped it in her usual hurry.” He thought.
He picked it up and admired the colorful art work.
“Must be Anubha’s.” He thought.
He liked it. In his curiosity, he turned it, there appeared three little words beautifully etched out

To be continued....
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