Nandita was happy that the seminar ended one day earlier than scheduled. She could rush back to Bangalore by the late evening flight to be present for her wedding anniversary the next day. She kept the news of the change in programme a secret to spring a surprise on her hubby Sanjeev.She hurriedly bought a couple of richly embroidered Lucknowi kurta for him and a box of assorted sweets from Bengali Market on her way to airport. It would be 11pm by the time she reached her home. She was all excited. She had the key to her apartment.
She literally ran from the taxi to the door and inserted the key to open it unsuccessfully without noise. What she beheld was something she was least prepared for. Sanjeev’s distant cousin Neelam clad in a nighty and a towel draped casually around her shoulders came into the hall direct from a shower. She could not believe what she saw. What the hell is she doing here at this time when she was not at home thought Nandita.Her mind raced back to the tidbit that Sanjeev had told about how they very much wished to marry but their plan was foiled by objections from both sides. She suspected that both of them were still nursing their fondness for each other. She was now seething in anger
“How come you returned early, Nandita? Sanju told me that you were expected only late tomorrow night” said Neelam
“Shocked, is it? You did not expect me at this late hour, I think. Did I upset your plan?”Nandita spewed venom in her words.
Bewildered and not understanding her, Neelam asked “What? What are you telling? Why should I be shocked, Nandita?”
“I am telling nothing that you did not know. Don’t act innocent” said Nandita and without uttering one more word she ran to Sanjeev’s bedroom and opened the door that was just closed. She found him seated before computer amidst some office files and typing feverishly. The bed had not been slept. He was evidently busy with office work.
Mollified to some extent but still uneasy, she sat down on the bed
Sanjeev got up and came near her to wrap her in his arms. He said “Honey, I am extremely happy you have come in time for the anniversary. I knew you would make it. I have some surprises for you for tomorrow. By the way, did you see Neelam and her hubby? They came late in the evening from Tirupati just to say a hello thinking you would also be there. They are bound for Delhi tomorrow morning. I requested them to stay here overnight instead of in a hotel. I got Pizza from Dominoes.”
Struck with remorse at her rude behavior on false assumptions, Nandita said “Wait a minute” and rushed to the hall followed by Sanjeev.”Neelam, please come out” she called knocking the door. There was no response. After a few minutes, the door opened and her hubby said that she was in bathroom and asked them to wait.
She must have been crying and gone to wash her face. As soon as she emerged Nandita hugged her and said “Neelam, please forgive me. I was a fool and gone crazy. I made hasty assumptions without hearing you and hurt you with my rude words. Will you please pardon me?”
Confused Sanjeev asked “What happened, Nandita? I asked you whether you had met Neelu and without answering you came rushing here”
Then Neelam said with a smile”Sanju, it is a matter between two women and nothing that concerned you. Just a minor misunderstanding happily resolved, isn’t it Nandita?”