“Mamma you are late today as well”, said little Akangsha, as she ran into Parul’s leg. “Where is Nitin?” inquired Parul. “Papa is on a telecon”, said Akangsha in a hushed voice. “Ok, do not worry, mamma is home now”, said Parul. The lack of time she had for her daughter was Parul’s only major complain from her job and Tarun.
As she laid down on the bed, putting her four years old daughter against her chest, Akangsha immediately began recounting her day to her; one of their little daily customs. Listening to her little one’s adventure, her mind drifted to the other bed she had been on today. Tarun making a curl of a flock of her hair jokingly asked “How many times you have made love with your husband in a week”. It was unusual of him to talk about Nitin. Parul looked at him bemused for a second before replying “Mostly on Saturday evenings”. “For how long?” asked Tarun deciding to probe further. “Ten minutes, if you must know. My husband’s organ is not as aggressive as his tongue and Tarun now change the topic”, Parul said with a slant smile. There was an eerie silence between them all the way to the super bazaar where he dropped Parul, to pick an auto for her house. “And, madam gave me a star”, said Akangsha finishing her narrative. Parul smiled again, this time a genuine and warm smile.
“Parul can you give me a cup of coffee please”, shouted Nitin at top of his voice. He has been very busy lately, these late night calls had become a norm. “One of the few disadvantages of being the chief marketing officer of an IT company”, Nitin thought. “But this woman gets late almost every day; surely, being an HR in an Investment company should not consume your entire waking life” he said to himself. But he has learnt not to argue to Parul about this. “Anyways weekend starts tomorrow and I will get lot of time with my family”, he thought. As Parul entered the room with a cup of tea, Nitin turned towards her, he wanted to say something, but he let it go.
Saturday morning was fairly uneventful; in the evening the family went to have dinner at a resort on the outskirts of the city. Trip was very pleasant, so pleasant that Parul and Nitin hardly spoke other than perfunctory remarks. But Akangsha was a live wire, the back seat was her territory, and she was the queen and her soft toys her subjects. Nitin extended his hand to Parul’s thighs; Parul fought the urge to remove it. “The dickhead is in a romantic mood”, thought Parul. Looking out of the window Parul reflected on the decision to marry this man on her parents’ insistence. But it seemed most reasonable thing to do at that time. He was placed well professionally and the family was good. Gupta uncle knew the family and strongly recommended them. But she realized they were not compatible within a year after her marriage and it has been a downhill journey since. Nitin was a cocksure, self-centred, aggressive person, just the opposite of her mild unassuming self. Parul felt a little salty in her throat. He takes so much joy in being critical of her that she stopped bothering for his approval and appreciation long back in her five years of marriage.
The place was good; Nitin was particularly happy for Akangsha. She has so much space to run around and play, he thought. He was sure that Parul would be happy here – relaxing and nothing to worry, “She anyways doesn’t enjoy household chores nor is very proficient at them like my mother”, Nitin said to himself. Nitin smiled seeing Parul and Akangsha swinging, Parul surely bonded well with their daughter, something he found difficult to do. As he walked towards them Nitin wondered if Parul enjoys sex with him, though she has never rejected him.
As they reached home Nitin grabbed Parul from behind, and drew her into the bed. Parul smiled! But she did not know why. After the pretence of foreplay was over, Parul decided to end her ordeal, by giving out large cries. Seeing ecstasy on Nitin’s face she was content with her performance. Lying beside Nitin, who was snoring happily Parul thought about this routine. Is this fair to Nitin? But Parul was sure Nitin will not be able to face the truth. For him success is everything, whether in board room or bed room, he was too weak to accept loss. And this was her way of getting even.
“Mamma, I am not well”, Parul woke up startled. As she looked at Akangsha at the door she knew there is something serious. After an hour, six vomits later, Parul decided to wake up her husband as they need to rush Akangsha to the Sanjeevani hospital. Sitting at the hospital Parul couldn’t take her eyes off her daughter’s face, it was so pale. Nitin, looking haggard, was speaking to the doctor. Doctor advised them to admit the child as she had a strong bout of food poisoning. He assured “She is out of danger but need couple of days rest. “Parul, apply for couple of days of leave for yourself, I obviously can’t as I have a major event coming up”, told Nitin matter of factly. Parul sitting beside her daughter on a stool and her upper half bend on the bed. Walking in the corridor Nitin spent the night and his cigarette pack.
Next day Akanghsa was better, though still very weak. Parul has been receiving calls from her colleagues as they came to know of Akangsha’s illness. Nitin had said he will be back early and get Akangsha discharged. Creaking of the door woke up Parul, who must have felt asleep as soon as Akangsha slept. She was happy to see Nitin back early today. She said to herself, in spite of all the negatives, this man does care for his daughter. It was enough for her to keep her marriage alive. As Nitin was packing Akangsha’s things there was another creaking sound and Parul was surprised. She saw Tarun standing at the door. Tarun immediately rushed to Akangsha side touching her forehead to check. The concern on Tarun’s face was so palpable that it made Parul wonder. She was relieved that Tarun and Nitin were chatting. “I’ll just come back in few minutes”, said Parul, leaving the two men to talk. Her guilt didn’t allow her to witness the spectacle of the two men in her life talking to each other, one she loved and the one she should love. “Parul, wait”, she heard Tarun coming up slightly out of breath. “It is so nice of you to come”, Parul told her, and “It gives me support”. “I had to, first Akangsha was unwell and then I had to give you some news”, said Tarun. “Not now dear, I have to get Akangsha home and Nitin will be suspicious if he sees us talking together”, she told Tarun warmly. “That does not matter Parul, I am moving to Pune”, Tarun blurted out the news. “What?” Parul couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Yeah, and I am going tomorrow, will be back after a week for a few days to clear some formalities”, said Tarun. Parul wanted to slap him across the face for choosing this occasion and way to end a relationship of 2 years and 200 love sessions. But she only managed to say “You should have told earlier”. “Would you have enjoyed last time we were together, if you would have known and I do not want to have any drama”, said Tarun. “I just want you to know that you were and will be special to me”, continued Tarun. “And Parul a piece of advice, Nitin is a good man, try to love him, Bye”, Tarun walked off. With tear in the eyes and smile on her lips Parul walked to what was left.