‘Siddharth, get up, I am here’. Siddharth just got up breathless. Was it a dream! So real! We were sitting beside a river on a moonlit night. I extended my hands to touch her! Aditi was there in front of me. I opened my eyes in dilemma. God! It was not she! But, Rimi was standing before me.
‘Hey, get up Sid, or you will be late for office.’ Rimi went to the other room to wake up Rishi, our five year old kid. I could hear her shrilled voice, ‘Rishi, wake up…Oh, you son and father, both are same. Can’t wake up at your own. I have to shout every day in the morning to get you out of the bed.’ Frankly speaking, during those moments of morning siesta I hate to hear Rimi’s shrilled voice. I find her voice very irritating. Oh, I wanted some intimate moments with Aditi. But, now the boring daily routine will commence with Rimi’s morning lectures. I don’t know why she hates my every movement. I have to think of Rimi’s reaction before doing anything. Rimi shouted, ‘Sid, have you entered bathroom?’ before she speaks another word, I have to take my bath. Then I will be offered the same breakfast of bread and omelet with a cup of milk tea without sugar, although I always carve for a bit of sugar in my first cup of tea for the day. Then, I have to wait for both mother and son to be ready and drop them on their school on my way to office. This is my daily routine for the morning. Every morning when I look into the mirror it laughs at me and says, ‘Mr. Shiddharth, you have no choices, you are trapped.’
Not long ago, my life was so interesting, full of fun and frolic. I enjoyed my time with my friends, specially my cricketer classmate Nihar with whom I played many tournaments, won some and lost few. He was a quality bowler in accordance to his tall and masculine physique. Those were the golden moments of our life. Oh! Today I have to call Nihar. We have not talked for a long time.
I came out of bath in a hurry. ‘You wake up late and is always in a hurry to go.’ Rimi got a chance to shout again. ‘Ok, take your time, I am waiting.’
I started reading the newspaper but could not concentrate. Now-a-days I often wonder why I have married this woman! She is not beautiful, not so talented. I was never in love with her. My mother arranged our marriage and I didn’t find any reason to oppose. Actually I was not in love with anyone else and my carnal desire was its zenith! I looked at her and found her body appealing. The fantasy started. I was thrilled that there will be a girl in my bed every night. The excitement didn’t allow me to find any reason to say no to my mother’s proposal. My sister said, ‘Sid, she is too plain looking. Do you really like her?
I could not understand her. Rimi looked quite presentable in a red saree. I was happy that my bachelor days were over. I don’t have to think of the household chores and above all I will have a companion in bed.
Within two months we got married. First few months she was shy and amicable. After that fervid hunger of body was fulfilled I started looking at my wife and I recalled my sister’s words, ‘She is too plain looking’.
As years passed I started recalling the words more. I wondered at my own choice.
Now-a-days I don’t find any physical attraction towards Rimi. My body wants something else, more than a mere body. A few days ago I wanted her to wear something fancy. She shouted, ‘I cannot wear these cheap clothes. I cannot get vulgar for you. We are now old, control your mind.’ She always does this to me. She wants to make me feel old. She thinks that I am hungry for sex only. She thinks that being romantic is only the young people’s birthright.
Rimi treats me like a garbage dump. God! What a fuck I have done in my life! Rimi’s constant dialogue, ‘We are getting old.’ ‘What the hell? I am only 40 years old. My friend Amrit who is at the States is yet to be married. I am jealous of him. He is wise. That bustard is enjoying his life to the fullest and here my life has become a hell.
While driving these thoughts constantly came to my mind. I couldn’t even look at Rimi’s face.
Just as I reached my office, Nihar called, ‘Hey buddy, Whats up?’ Suddenly I got elated. Nihar always had this effect on me. He can always bring smile on my face anytime irrespective of my mood. ‘Tell me about yourself, dude.’ ‘Listen I am going to your city and will reach by 6 PM today. Come to the airport and pick me up.’
I couldn’t control my happiness. ‘Nihar, yaar, you are coming, so nice, will be there at the airport for you’.
Whole day I was excited of meeting my old friend, my best buddy. I will take him to my house directly. Then we will go to a pub, and will have a nice thrilling night out. I don’t want Rimi to interfere in our conversation. I will pour my heart to Nihar tonight.
Everyone in my office could feel my excitement. My boss too readily agreed on me leaving office early. After all, in most of the days I am never in a hurry to reach home from office. Reaching airport, I saw Nihar waiting for me. He was wearing a sky blue T shirt and was looking much younger than me. He has maintained his physique nicely all these years. ‘Hey you! Still the same, always late.’ He rebuked me and gave a tight hug. A broad smile appeared in my face. He looked a bit naughty. I know his nature. ‘Nihar what is in your mind? Want to say something?
‘Guess, whom I met sometime back.’
I was really curious to know.
‘What?’ I was shouting. Looking around we both laughed.
‘Nihar, are your joking? You have not forgotten Aditi.’
‘No Sid, I am serious, she is here, the same stylish Aditi’.
‘Really’. My heart started thumping. It lasted for some time.
Aditi, I whispered. For a second I lost in my own thoughts. How could I forget her? So many times I dream of meeting her. Many nights I spent moments thinking about her. Aditi was my first and last crush.
I got myself back to my normal self.
Nihar and I spent the whole night in a pub recollecting our golden days. We talked about his old girlfriend, our dare devil adventures, thrilling cricket matches and many others. I felt like a college going boy again. Every moment of my college days came alive with Nihar’s company.
‘Sid, do you want to meet Aditi? I have her address with me’.
‘Really, can I meet her? But, will she recognize me, she hardly knew me’.
‘It doesn’t matter. We were college mates. She was our junior’. Nihar assured. He handed me the phone number.
Aditi’s beauty captured my mind. Her glamour attracted me like a bee to a flower. But, I couldn’t gather the courage to express my feelings to her. Fear of being rejected made me hesitant. I admired her flamboyant attitude from distance. My low confidence didn’t allow me to go near her.
‘Do you know Sid? Aditi have divorced her husband a few years back.’
I couldn’t believe my ears. I was feeling excited from inside. I decided, I have to meet Aditi.
I took Sid and dropped him at his hotel.
‘I have a surprise for you Sid.’ The element of surprising me was still there in Nihar. I wondered as he went inside.
Suddenly I became fearless. Why should I always care for Rimi? As I entered she shouted ‘Is this the time to come home?’
‘Just shut up and give me some peace.’ I was thrilled to see the shocked expression in Rimi’s face. Without uttering a word, she went inside and I was happy of being alone.
I planned to call Aditi and fix up an appointment. Nihar’s words still rank in my ears, ‘She has divorced from her husband.’ After all these years still I have a chance. If she permits I can meet her on Sunday, just after two days. I could not control my temptation. My heart started to beat faster. I dialed her number.
‘Aditi here’. My voice began to tremble. I composed and said ‘Shiddharth here. Do you remember? We studied in the same college.’
‘Wow! Why not? Siddharth da, I still remember your cricketing shots. Where are you now?
She seemed to be excited. I was thrilled as she remembered me. She continued, ‘Siddharth da, Do you still play cricket?’ Now, I was more surprised. Different thoughts came to my mind. I was literally puzzled. I replied, ‘I stay here, in this city. It will be nice to meet you.’ I hesitated to ask for a date.
‘Of course, Why not? I am so happy that you called. Come to my place on Sunday evening. I will text the address to you’.
My mind started flying. Next day, I went to the market and brought a blue shirt, the favorite colour of Aditi. The picture of Aditi wearing blue denim with pink top flashed before me. I would never want to lose this opportunity. I have to impress her.
Rimi was puzzled as I could not have my lunch and dinner properly. Her motto in life is live to eat. This habit has made her loose the only asset she had. These years she has gained weight so much that I have to stopped looking at her body.
Time ticked very slowly. Finally in the evening, I dressed for the occasion and started my journey. The journey to meet Aditi after so long. Aditi, my first crush, the girl with heavenly beauty. This time I will not let the opportunity go and express my feelings to her.
With a trembling hand I pressed the doorbell. In no time the door opened and there she was in front of me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She clasped my hands and took me inside. So many years I have been dreaming for this. Her gesture made it more special for me. I will do anything to stay with her.
‘Come inside, I always remember you and Nihar da. You have been staying in this city for so long and yet we haven’t crossed one another, so strange.’ My mind started flying. Question started to flow in my head. So many years have gone wasted. I have to express my feelings quickly. She is now in front of me all alone. I have to make her mind and live my dream. She was still holding my hands. I controlled myself and said, ‘Aditi, I want to say something.’
She laughed, made me sit in the sofa and said, ‘Before you say something, I have a surprise for you. Look who is here! Nihar da, your best friend and my fiancée. Nihar came forward and hugged me.
‘Congrats.’ I could hardly speak. I wanted to run away.
‘Nihar, how could you hide all these from me?’ I could hardly speak. My voice trembled. Nihar was laughing loud.
‘Ha, ha, ha, shocked? I wanted to see this expression of yours in your face.’ Nihar always enjoys this shocked expression of mine. I pretended hard to show that I am pleasantly surprised. Nihar and Aditi were too busy with their emotions to catch my chocked feelings. Nihar never suspected anything.
After sometime, I excused myself as to coming up of an urgent requirement from home. I fled away from there as fast as I could.
Driving home with a broken heart and injured mind, I didn’t want to face Rimi at the door. Luckily for me, she was not at home. I changed my clothes and went to bed. All my hopes of a better life, fulfillment of emotion, dreams got shattered. I closed my eyes and tried to close my mind too. A feeling of lost captured my thoughts and slowly I collapsed …
‘Sid, Sid. You lazy fellow wake up. Again you will be late today’ I could feel Rimi shaking me and shouting in her shrilled voice. For the first time, I felt that Rimi’s voice could no longer irritate me as no one was there to hold my emotions back in my dreams. I smiled at her, and felt the warmth reflected in her eyes.