As I edit the pending ppt which has to be presented before the panel flying from Japan tomorrow, I call Shraddha.
“I’ll be late tonight.. some last minute work to do.. don’t wait for me to have dinner, okay? Might go till 2 or 3 am.”, I say as I undo a mistake in typo that I just committed in the ppt.
“Sure! Take care Sam..”, she said in her trademark soothing voice.
“Fine then..”, I hung up the call without much ado.
Shraddha and I’ve been married quite happily since a year now. We had met each other in this very organization for which I’m currently making this dumb ppt. We got to know each other a lot during her fresher’s training phase. I am one of the developers in this firm and was asked to look in to the training sessions this time.
Thanks to this chance, I got to know about her, her family, hobbies, likes, dislikes and what not! She too liked my simple and easy going attitude. My dash of humour always made her smile even at the most messiest of situations. Soon, we realised that we like each other a lot. I still remember how badly I proposed to her over a cup of cutting tea and biscuits at the local dhabha a year ago! That was so stupid and naïve of me, but she loved quirky stuff and the small amount of craziness that I possess. The small amount of craziness that rarely comes out nowadays.
It’s 10pm already and I should’ve been at home by now.
But thanks to a hospitalised Mahesh that this work too came on my shoulders. Chances are high that I’ll spend my entire night here. As I complete the 17th slide, I hear someone call out my name.
I turn around to see my branch supervisor standing a few feet away from my cubicle, near the CEO’s cabin.
“Yes Sir.”, I force myself to smile.
“We’ve just received info that the panel from Japan has postponed their visit to our organization by a day. Flight delay.”
“Oh..”, my mind quickly goes all active and happy. The very thought of going home relieved me. But my expression remains stoic.
“So, you can continue working on the presentation tomorrow too.. I guess it’s almost done right?”
“Yes Sir, just a few more slides and some pie charts here and there. It’ll be completed by tomorrow evening.”, I reply promptly.
Tell me “You can retire for the day”, my mind screamed internally!
And he said the same.
As I alight the train, I decide against my decision to call up Shraddha and inform her about my arrival. I go ahead to the nearest Monginis and order her favourite vanilla cupcakes. I could imagine the smile on her face when she’ll see it. I smile unknowingly thinking about her.
The serpentine line for auto rickshaws was an unpleasant sight, so I opt for the bus instead. I check her last seen on WhatsApp only to find her active about an hour ago, which was an unusual sight.
Might have slept..
Might be working on the project that her team was assigned with…
As the bus slowly started its journey towards the destination, I open the ppt which I was working on. As I start the process of proof reading the content till now, something inside me goes wrong. I feel the very idea of looking at the ppt worthless. None of the content made sense at that point.
Break free and let go, Samar! You won’t enjoy the corporate life that you’re gonna live ahead! Even you know that..
No ifs and buts Samar. Why can’t you just see the vast amount of scope and satisfaction that lies ahead of you if you take up your hobby as your job Sam?
I’m not that pro at photography dude..
Says who? You’re the head of the camera creatives crew of our college bro!
But Jai.. I just can’t let go of this opportunity.. this is what my Dad has been dreaming since years.. well placed.. well settled..
But would you really enjoy the process of fulfilling your Dad’s dream Samar?
That question from Jai still haunts me every night. But I had no other option but to just play this out. The last thing I wanted was an angry heartbroken Dad.
Jai on the other hand now works as a photographer for a leading travel magazine. His Instagram page alone has more than 20k followers. His photos from Sydney, Alaska and Hawaii make me squirm in jealousy.
The bus conductor’s awry voice breaks me out of my reverie.
As I collect my ticket, I glance upon my watch and couldn’t resist but yawn.
The bus slowly reached my destination stop where I get off.
As I near my house, I spot a boy and a girl at the corner of the road. They were holding each other’s hands, totally at ease in each others company.
Teenagers.. who lose themselves in love, thinking that it’s the only solution to all the mess in this world.
But they didn’t speak anything. The language of silence prevailed. As I reach near them, I force against my urge to look at them straight. But then I do. The guy was blind. The girl charming and cute.
What held them together?
Is it the power of love or.. something else?
Tell me one thing okay?
I know this question is quite dumb and pointless, but still it matters a lot to me because you know.. because I just want to know..but.. it’s quite discomforting thinking..
Calm down Samar, and then speak. No issues..
The thing is that.. I don’t get the point..like..why are you with me Shraddha? I’m not that special.. I don’t treat you like a queen, I do nothing special. I’m not rich. I’m not that great looking either.. what’s that one reason that holds us together?
Samar, first thing: you think a lot! Who said that you didn’t do anything special for me? You were the only one who stood by my side during my tough times, listening patiently and keeping me motivated to move on. And you must have easily noticed how easily I smile whenever you’re around me. That’s the thing Samar. Understandability. Thinking on the same page. And yes, we’re on the same page and there’s not a speck of doubt about it. And your humour dude..
I had expected she would say something more than understanding and my sense of humour, more on the grounds of love. But she stuck to the basic stuff that she always said.
I reach the door and ring the bell, only to be reminded that it has not been working since weeks.
I try the door and lo! It’s open?
So careless? Wait a sec.. Something is wrong..
As I step inside, I imagine a wrecked room, which has been robbed off its valuables.
But it all turned out to be normal.
Silence. The dim yellow lights made the place look more beautiful.
But where is she?
The air was tense and my heart was pounding continuously.
Throwing my bag and the pack of cupcakes carelessly on the couch, I go ahead and check the drawing room. No.
The bedroom! Of course!
I head for the bedroom, hoping she’s all good, deep in sleep.
But my hopes die down drastically when I see someone’s shoe laying haphazardly on the floor, in front of the door. The other shoe of the pair was nowhere to be seen.
Little drops of perspiration trickled down my forehead as my mind ran fast.
These shoes aren’t mine..
Who is he?
Is Shraddha all right?
Mentally unstable and unsure of what’s actually going on, I decide to peek inside the room.
As I slowly peek through the door, I’m gifted the worst surprise of my life. My eyes go wide. My breathing goes rugged. I lose it as I see Ronnie and Shraddha together. No clothes. Same bed.
I run away from the door. I have to forcefully stop myself from screaming in rage and disbelief. As I walk in circles around the table, confused and heartbroken, I spot Shraddha’s phone lying below one of the project papers that she had left there. The next instant, I unlock her device and check her Whatsapp conversation with Ronnie, her ex.
Ronnie was the only person I was jealous of when it came to grabbing Shraddha’s attention. While I did it the good way, he did it the other way around. He was never committed to one girl at a time- the main reason why Shraddha decided to call it quits with him.
But, emotional games was his strength, and she always fell for them with ease.
The breakup phase coincided with Shraddha meeting me. And I was the lone saviour that tried making her sane again, only in vain.
His menace was such a headache that at one phase I almost gave up on these unwanted chaos. But then, I asked myself: “If you are eventually gonna quit on this, why did you even start in the first place? Why the hell did you even try putting up things back to perfect, hurting yourself in the process?”
And here I am.
In such a mess, that even I can’t describe.
As I scrutinize and scan each message shared between them, it dawns upon me.
I was never a part of their story.
I was just a pawn in their game. An innocent, dumbass fool.
Ronnie: Why don’t u just leave that idiot and come along with me? Wud be fun! 😉
Shraddha: I have considered that once, but didn’t feel it right to do so. He can’t bear that much.
R: So what? Let him know about how v meet every once in a while and dat wud b enuf for him. Coma xD
S: Haha Ron, u know what? Sometimes I feel I took the wrong decision to go ahead with Samar, Ya, he’ s perfectly loyal and innocent af..I’m always happy when I’m with him, but still..something’s amiss..
R: Amiss? as in?
S: Love. Crazy wild love. Qualities like possesiveness and how to treat your love..he’s too new to the game. You are better in such aspects Ron. I have imagined a life with you..and it was fascinating and equally terrifying at the same time. But still! It’s so better than the plain boring life that I’m leading with Samar. I love you Ron, and I just can’t accept the fact that I can’t live without you. I’ve tried forgetting you and moving on innumerable times, but couldn’t.
I love you Ron.
On the other hand, I just like to be with Samar. There’s a difference.
That was it.
I couldn’t take it any longer. Without any further thought, I throw the phone to the wall opposite me.
The digital clock suffers my ire. I tear apart her project papers. Her favourite flower vase near the window goes for a direct clash with the mirror above the wash basin.
My eyes fall on the aquarium that I had gifted her last birthday. In a fit of rage, I look for an object to smash it with. When I couldn’t find anything, I just scream in anger.
The sound of destruction was enough to stop their ‘activity’ and dress up.
Shraddha and Ronnie were totally silent and stunned at the very fact that I was here and I had gone mad. Mad like a dog, without any control.
She came ahead and tried saying something, but today wasn’t the day this innocent poor chap will go all cool and become calm. I push her aside and run towards Ronnie and pin him to the wall. But he had a well built physique which I didn’t consider while doing so. One push, and there I went, crashing with the table.
“Stop it guys..please..”, Shraddha was in tears. But her tears didn’t matter anymore to me. She had crossed the limit. And I won’t be their pawn anymore.
As Ronnie came ahead and was about to punch me in my face, I block him midway and push him down to the floor and run back to the drawing room. Both of them follow me- one to punch me down, and the other, I guess to watch her husband being brutally punched by the love of her life.
But they were in for a rude shock when they spot a revolver in my hand. I had finally opened my drawer full of secrets. The drawer that I never opened after our marriage.
They froze. Their expressions changed. I stood still, looking at the revolver, thinking about all that happened now. How things eventually screw up no matter how much you try not to let it happen.
Awkward, tense silence creeped up with each passing second.
As I look at them with my tear filled eyes, Ronnie realises it’s better if he gave up and started running towards the door. Escape is always a better option than death right?
But he was too late.
I had my aim intact.
I pull the trigger without any second thought. My hands recoil as the bullet makes its way forward to the target.
The revolver falls from my hand as I go down on my knees thinking about the gravity of my action.
Ronnie was no where to be seen. He had escaped, thinking the bullet missed the target. But it did hit her. Very well on the head.