The Other Woman - contd
by Babita A Srinivas
Back to page 1 of the story
The morning light seeped through the folds of window curtains. Manya woke up, stretched and let her body go loose burying her face in the cool, soft pillow. Manav had already left. Where was her life heading to? Did she need to do something or was it easier to flow with the tide? With the new morning perspective she couldn’t think of losing Manav. Surely she will need to do something. Her thoughts got a break when the call bell rang.
‘Did he tell you anything?’ Avinash probed entering the living room behind her.
‘No, He is in no mood to open up. It’s unbearable, Avinash.’ Manya’s tone was heavy.
What will he when there is nothing to tell? Avinash thought slumping on the sofa.
‘It would be, for any woman whose fidelity one can vouch for. Look at you, Manya. What have you made of yourself? You deserve to be happy. Come out of your shell. The whole wide world waits for you.’ He said extending his arms both sides.
‘Yes, I need to do something, at least to show him that I can also be happy without him.’ Manya straightened her body up.
‘That’s new Manya. Now smile.’ Sanjay stretched her lips on both sides. ‘Listen. I have a plan. ’ Avinash snapped his fingers.
‘Yes. We will pose as if we two are having an affair. Manav will ask you. You tell him if he can why can you not. An independent woman, you can take your own decisions and live your own life.’ Avinash turned, moved, raised his hands and changed the tone of his voice as if performing on stage.
‘Yes you are right. I’ll do as you say.’ A new hope reflected in Manya’s determination. But she seemed somewhere else. Avinash took a deep sigh and smirked at his success. He waited for the moment when Manya will be his and what about Manav’s face at that moment?
Washed by torrential rains Manya Villa shone reflecting the street light. Manya heard the tyres grate as the car turned into the pebbled driveway and came to a halt in the porch.
‘Go Sanjay… go…’ She pushed him hard. He stumbled. ‘You can’t do this.’
‘Why? You waited for this moment. Don’t you want to teach him a lesson?’ Least did he expect this from her. Forcefully he hugged her and she couldn’t keep herself steady.
‘Not this way, Avinash. Never,’
she gritted her teeth. ‘You just leave. Manav will be here any moment. Go…’ She pushed him hard. Her eyes were ready to come out of their sockets. ‘Avinash you…’ her words were lost in the violent kiss Sanjay forced on her. She stumbled against the sofa, slumping in it.
‘Yes me, our plan Manya, did you not want me?’ He slouched down, raised her chin with his, holding her back with one hand as the other tightened on her breast. ‘No, I didn’t want any of this.’ Manya wanted to say but the chill running down her body numbed her into a rag doll. ‘Did you wait for that bastard? Is he not yet out of your system?’ He muttered.
‘He is my hus…’
Words smothered as holding her tight he put his lips on hers and started unbuttoning her top.
‘You bastard…’ She heard Manav and the weight on her body lifted. ‘How dare you touch her?’ A tight blow in Avinash’s stomach left him scrambled.
‘Ha… look at your wife. She doesn’t love you anymore. She loves...’ Another blow hit Avinash hard on the face and his words couldn’t find their way out.
Curled up on the sofa her hands around her knees she wished to bury herself there. Unable to hold the pain inside, Manya found herself screaming out.
‘Get up.’ Manav’s words sounded in the distance before she could feel his strong hands on her shoulders. ‘Come with me.’ She heard the voice again and opened her eyes. The faint street light through the glass window lit the room. He supported her to stand on her feet and pulled her closer. ‘What Manya, since last one year I am not on talking terms with him.’ Manav hugged her.
‘But he…he never told me.’ Manya’s voice choked.
‘Why would he, after swindling me for lakhs of rupees and breaking the friendship when I refused to feed him further?
‘In fact he said that you were a changed person after Urvashi in your life.’
‘You should have told me he was feeding you with all this rubbish. Oh my God! I should have warned you earlier.’ Manav hugged her tighter as his lips brushed her forehead.
No other woman could take him away from her. She felt his shirt wet under the incessant flow from her long wearied eyes. The shadow on the wall showed two beings as one against the shaft of light penetrating through the glass window. ***