- by KParthasarathi 22 Oct 2008
“Lalita, a call for you from some Aravind” called her colleague as she was searching for some file in the shelves. As she went slowly towards the desk, she wondered why he was calling her after nearly five years since she walked out of his house. It was an arranged marriage and her parents were happy that Aravind was well educated and in a good position. It was all hunky dory in the initial years when it was all fun and revelry. As the years passed by, she found it hard to get along with him. He was an easy going and fun loving guy with no sense of responsibility towards his family or the house. Given to drinking and endless partying with all kinds of people, he insisted on her accompanying him. When she found the crowd indecent, she refused. He came late in the nights often inebriated and dropped by some woman. He was not giving enough money to run the household or for paying the bills and whenever she complained, he abused her in anger. When her two children grew and were put in school, the position became intolerable. They hardly spoke to each other. The last straw was his philandering and staying away from the house for a few days. It was then she decided to walk out to her parents place. That was five years back. Ever since she refused to accept his calls or meet him. She did not inform him even when her parents passed away.
“Lalita, I wish to meet you soon. Can we meet at the hotel near your office during lunch time tomorrow? Please do not refuse.” he told her.”Whatever for?” she asked with acerbity. “I cannot explain over phone. Please allow me to meet you personally to tell you” he pleaded. She wondered if he had mended his bad ways and wanted to live with her again. She decided not to readily fall for any of his baits though she agreed to meet him sharp at 1pm.She was expecting that he would come up with lots of explanations and ask her to live with him again.
She was at the reserved table five minutes earlier. It was past 1.15pm.There was no trace of him. She decided to leave the place. As she stood up she saw Aravind entering the hall in an immaculate suit. He looked handsomer than he was when she left him though the hairs at the temple had turned grey. He expressed no apology for being late. He said casually “I was held up in a meeting and knew you would wait for me” he said. This arrogance did not go well with her. When the waiter came and she found him reading the menu card, she expected him to order. As he showed no signs of doing so, she ordered two thalis for both. He kept mum looking hither and thither at the different tables and their occupants. After some embarrassing silence, she asked him “How are you? What is it you wanted to speak to me about?”
He replied “I am sorry, we had to break away. We found we were not getting along well. I am not finding fault with you. This is actually good for us.”
“Yes, what is it you wanted to discuss urgently?” she asked suppressing her disappointment and anger about his not asking even one word about the children.
“You see after you left, I became friendly with my friend Swarna and she started living with me. She doesn’t complain as you did and makes do with whatever I give her. She is now expecting her baby and wants me to marry her immediately. I have come to request you to help me in getting the divorce. We would only be regularising the present situation of being apart”
How self centred and remorseless this man was she thought. He has approached her only to get out of the tricky situation and has no tinge of regret for spoiling her life. When she kept quiet, he pressed her for her reply. She said “Let me think about it. We have been separated for five years without divorce. No harm will come to wait for some more time for divorce proceedings.”
“No, I cannot afford to wait. If I don’t marry her immediately, she is threatening to take me to police that I made her pregnant promising to marry her. She means it and I will be behind bars. I beseech you to help me out of this problem”
She quietly got up even as he was begging for her consideration. When he touched her hand as she was leaving, she turned and said “Stop harassing me. Take your hands off me. You have not changed. You continue to be a worthless rake. This serves you right. If you follow me one more step, I will scream and complain.”