Man, Woman, Woman, Woman

The music faded and the RJ’s voice came out enthusiastic but with a hint of bravado as if he wanted to prove to his listeners that he really was an alpha male. Nitin put away the cake he was eating and wondered when Nidhi would wake up, it was 9 already, true it was a Saturday, but it would’ve been a good day for a walk in the park followed by a hearty breakfast at Koshy’s. His phone buzzed, a message, Nitin walked across to where the phone was lying by the tv, read the message, smiled and put the phone back. He walked to the kitchen with the remains of the cake and dumped the whole lot in the sink, as he was washing his hands there, he remembered that he had not deleted the message from Arpita, if Nidhi finds it, and she had been peeking at his phone more often now, she’d throw a fit. Nitin went back to the hall, wiping his hands on his tshirt, picked up the phone and deleted the message. There was nothing unusual or secretive about the messages, but better safe than sorry, thought Nitin. Ten years of marriage had made him wiser. Peace is all that matters at this stage when one has taken up spirituality in all respects, personal pleasure is sublime but only secondary.

Nitin tired recollecting what Arpita mentioned when they last met. A poem that struck his heart and went all the way down to his soul. Something about Ithaka something like “When you set out for Ithaka……The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops, angry Poseidon – do not fear them.” Nitin jumped up from where he was sitting and grabbed his smart phone. Typed ‘Ithaka’ in Google. And found the results. “Yes. Poem by Constantine”. ” I love my phone”, said he. It took him a while to transform from the conventional phone user to a smart phone user. Not bad. Its really worth the shift. You have everything you need at a finger touch distance. Think about a recipe, and there you go. Your friends argue about the protagonist in a play, and there you go you have all the proof on Wikipedia. Arguing has never been so much fun. Nitin loved the following lines “And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you. So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.” So deep and so profound were these words that he wanted to memorise them. Or were they actually profound, or was it because Arpita shared and spoke about those verses he felt so? Not knowing what he was sure about Nitin closed his eyes and just smiled. For identical twins, Nidhi and Arpita were the rarest kind – they couldn’t stand each other. It seemed like they had not forgiven each other for something that had happened in their mother’s womb. In numerous photos that adorned the wall at their parent’s house, the twins sported identical clothes and identical scowls, smiles were found only if the other twin was at a sufficient distance. Their father always said that the pinnacle of sibling rivalry was the one between identical twins, Nitin agreed.

His state of trance was interrupted when Nidhi called out to him asking if he had not switched on the Geyser. “It’s freaking cold… the water. Have you not had a bath yet? Dont you know we are getting late for the event, I have to be there before the guests come in, and you dint even wake me up………” on and on went Nidhi. Nitin had learnt to become calm and the spiritual lessons he had been taking and the books he had been reading are actually doing magic!! Wow, I never knew I could be so composed, Nitin smiled.
The ringing  of the doorbell shattered the smile, Nitin opened the door and his sister walked in and threw her kitbag on the sofa. “I thought you were in your room” he said, “I went to the gym, am not a bag of lazy bones like you and your missus” she mocked.

“I heard that” came Nidhi’s voice from her bedroom

“Hey Akshu, don’t call her lazy, you know she hates it” Nitin whispered.

“Just don’t tell her I called her a lazy bitch, you lazy bastard” Akshita said smiling, in not quite a whisper.

Nitin threw a cushion at her, Akshita ducked the throw and went into her room, slamming the door behind her. Nitin sat on the sofa and glanced at the newspaper, skimming the headlines. Flipping the pages of the newspaper, his eyes encountered something on his favourite page–the spiritual column. “Hmmm, its about relationships, interesting” thought Nitin

The heading read “Only with unfulfilled love breathes romance”. “Thats actually very true, I do love Nidhi, and cannot see her in pain. But does my heart beat for her as it used to when we were not married? Not sure though. Why does it have to be like that. Why cant we be married and still be in love. Is it because we are designated to live the rest of our lives with an individual, that we take everything for granted. There’s an entire life ahead of us, and we sure can find some time for love and romance at leisure. But now, we really do not have the time for all that silly stuff, is that true”? Or is marriage the culmination of all those beautiful feelings?

“Sir”, “Sir”, “Sir”……Nitin was so deep  in thoughts that his ears did not pay heed to Nagarjuna who had come to water the plants. He was peeking through the window behind Nitin and calling out to him. At the fourth call, Nitin got startled and turned back. “Oh Nagarjuna, when did you come? why are you late today? All ok at home?”.

“Yes sir, everthing’s alright, just that I could not sleep much because of the little one, who was crying all night due to the pain around her abdomen, which was operated last week. I told Sarada to sleep as she has to take care of the kid the whole day”. Nitin wondered “Is this true love, or is this sacrifice. Nagarjuna, a daily labourer toils whole day doing magic with cement and lets his wife have a peaceful sleep in the night, while he takes care of the ailing baby, and again goes to work the next day”. “When have I last done such a noble act”, thought he.

“Sir, but there is a sad news, one of the fish we bought last week is dead”. “Oh Jeez, how did that happen? He was a happy and active fish. Did it overeat or did something external kill him”, exclaimed Nitin. While Nitin and Nagarjuna were examining and investigating into the death, Nitin’s phone rang.

The Past

Nitin  He’s 28 years old, works as a HR consultant for a MNC. Nidhi is his first love, married at 26.

Akshita

Nidhi

Arpita

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