“Bye Meeta ”
Shivraj called out while moving towards the door. It was already nearing 9 o’clock in the morning and he was contemplating the morning traffic already built up on the road. He opened the door and turned to check whether she heard or not.
“Aa rahi hoon”
Meeta was hurrying up from the kitchen towards the main hall. She was swaying away her disaligned hair with the back of her hand, and removing the pallu end from her waist, which she had pinned up so that it did not disturbed her while washing the dishes.
Shivraj stepped out calling out to her, “ Darwaza bandh karo ok? Mein chaltha hoon.. bye”
By the time, Meeta reached the door, Shivraj was walking away towards the garage to get his vehicle. Meeta closed the door and latched it slowly. It was the starting of another day.
It was 12 in the afternoon, when the calling bell rang. Meeta had completed washing the dishes after her breakfast with Shivraj, which they never miss to have together. After taking bath, she was reading the newspaper. There was news of blasts here n there, and few robberies. The same old news which appears daily, but with different places and names. She had got bored and had turned on the TV. The re-telecasting of famous serials had started as the afternoon streak emerged. Bored from seeing the same old serials, she was browsing through various channels, and had settled for two minutes on the Discovery Channel’s programme, “Forensic Investigators”.
She looked at the clock. “Who could be at this time at the door? Shiva never comes home for lunch.”
The bell rang again. She went to the door and checked in the peephole. A tall man was standing with a bag on his shoulder. He was well dressed and looked like a salesman to her. She hesitated whether to open it or not. She waited. The salesman-look-alike turned away seeing no response. Meeta left a sigh of relief. She came back and sat on the sofa.
On Discovery channel, the investigators revealed that the murder was done by the stranger hitting on the woman on the back of her head with a iron rod. She changed the channel immediately.
The calling bell rang again. Meeta was having her lunch. She had prepared rice, aloo subzi and dal. She got up and washed her hands and went to the door. She checked in the peep hole again. There was no one. Was she fascinating the sound of the bell? She turned back. Her eyes met at the envelope at the floor near the door.
“It must have been the postman then”
She bent and took the envelope. It was sealed. She wondered whether to read after lunch or immediately. There was no sender’s name. She then tore it carefully from one side. It contained some writing in English in blue ink on a plain paper. The signature shocked her.
“ Hi Dear,
I thought a lot before penning down this letter to you. I was not sure whether I am doing the right thing or not. But following your advice, whenever I landed in trouble, I am doing now what my conscience is saying me to do. I have a secret to reveal to you. I tried many times to tell you directly, but every time, I gathered the courage, you’d disarm me with your loving face and smile. Now I can’t anymore hide this.
I am in love with a colleague in office. This had started before our marriage. I had never wanted to marry you or ruin your life. But I couldn’t deny the parental pressure. Last month, she told me the news that she was carrying my baby. I don’t know how to react to you, but I feel, my responsibility towards her is more than the vows of marriage I took with you. Hence we are leaving the town by tonight’s flight.
I am extremely sorry. ”
Meeta was stunned as she closed the note. She ran and picked up her mobile phone and dialed Shiva’s number. It was unreachable. Meeta thought frantically. This has happened before when Shiva went to the site work. She dismissed her anxiety and fears, rather tried to. She tried to recollect any other number Shiva had given to contact him. How foolish of her not to ask his friend’s office numbers! But, if ever he is really planning to go away, will any of the friends knew about it? Who could be that collegue?
“I had never wanted to marry you”
It flashed onto her, that Shiva was reluctant and hesitant before and after their marriage. She had thought him as introvert and shy nature who opens up slowly. There were not much phone calls and coochie cooing like her other friend’s fiancees. She began fumbling her fingers. She remembered all the events that led to her marriage which happened just one month ago. A silent tear rolled onto her red cheek. She was losing her confidence slowly. She lied down exhaustedly onto the sofa. The paper fluttered away from her hand, and hit the floor. The lunch plate remained open….
At ten past nine in the night, the bell rang again. The living room was not lit. It remained completely dark. There was no one in the front room. Meeta slept in her bedroom, with swollen red eyes, and tired. The bell rang again n again. Meeta woke up dizzily. Did she hear the bell ringing? She got up strainfully and walked to the door. She turned on the first switch on the dashboard lighting up a small fancy bulb in the corner. She couldn’t dare herself to check in the peephole. What could be the worst? She opened the door.
Shiva was standing at the steps asking softly,
“ Kitni der laga di… kya kar rahi thi…so gayi thi kya?”
He walked into the room and laid his bag on the table.
Meeta, shocked and stunned, stood beside the door. Shiva, on seeing no response, turned back to see Meeta, with a shabby face, and swollen red eyes which clearly revealed the trauma she went through the past few hours.
“Kya hua Meeta?” Shiva ran towards her, and hugged her to console her.
She clasped onto him and burst into tears.