Not a day passed without Preeti and Prateek quarreling. If she wished to go to grocery stores, he would say a mall. If she suggested pizza for dinner, he would ask her to make zafrani pulav.While she would want both of them to see together Dance India dance programme, he would opt for cricket. With both adamant they would go to different rooms to watch the shows they liked or both shutting down the TV in disgust to browse the net separately. Such incidents invariably led to exchange of words with both sleeping turned away from each other. The irony was Preeti’s parents had matched the horoscopes for compatibility. He was an extrovert, loud and gregarious while she was quiet, introvert and receding by nature.
Being the only son, Prateek never knew to adjust or share. She was a pampered daughter being the only girl amidst five sons. The saving grace was that both were good and faithful to each other. But life after the initial charm turned dull and boring even within a year of marriage. Both worked and met only in the late evenings. Weekends invariably ended in a tiff when he went to play tennis or a game of bridge or beer party with friends. She invariably went to mall to while away the time. Sometimes she wished she had remained single enjoying the freedom at her parent’s house.
What brought matter to a head was that on the first wedding anniversary, he went to another town to attend a distant cousin’s wedding. He had not told her of his plan. She had hoped it would be a grand outing for them to a distant resort for a couple of days. She found in his room some packets of dresses for her on his table but he had not remembered to tell her beforehand.
When he came late in the night, she opened the door and quietly proceeded towards bedroom without asking him anything.
“Preeti, are you upset? Why the long face? Whatever for this scowl in your face? I was not here the whole day for us to quarrel ” he said.
She was furious at the manner he was talking even when he had forgotten or pretended so, about their first anniversary. Could any man forget this important day and absent himself without telling her? She simply said “ Have I not opened the door promptly after the first bell? I have nothing else to talk to you. Good night” she said
“I know you are angry because I went to my cousin’s marriage. I also know you do not like my people or tolerate my mingling with them. I hate you for your narrow mindedness” he spoke in anger
“What else can I expect from a person who does not even know his first anniversary? You should not have married and spoilt a woman’s life” she replied equally strongly.
“What are you blabbering about? Are you referring to completion of one year of quarrel and curses from you? Anyway you could have taken the dresses I had kept on my table. Have you ever spoken lovingly to me? Have you ever taken interest in things I like? You hate my friends, my hobbies, my people and even my presence. Yes, I should not have married you and should have spared myself of seeing your ugly face” he fulminated
“Enough of your rubbish. I go out of your house early morning and spare you of seeing my face. I would also be happier without you” she exploded
“I would welcome it gladly. Get lost wherever you wish to with whomever you like. It is a good riddance”
“How dare you talk to me like that? Mind your words. I hate you from the bottom of my heart” she said and ran away to another room.
Six months had passed since she came to her parents house. She did not reveal much but said she would like to stay with them for some time. They could surmise that something was amiss but did not press her to tell. Her mom on one or two occasions obliquely said quarrels between couples were common and should not be carried too far unless there was a serious reason.
Preeti had in the first few months disconnected the calls from Prateek on her cell. After a few times, he stopped calling. When she saw her brothers’ wives happily living, she also longed to be back. She knew Prateek despite his coarse behavior was not a bad guy. Only he didn’t realize the folly of continuing his old habits even after wedding. She felt she had been hasty in walking out.
Meanwhile Prateek was forlorn and miserable. He hated to come home and did not relish watching his favourite programmes alone. He was filled with remorse that he failed to celebrate his first anniversary and attended a wedding where his absence would not have been noticed. He decided to go to her place in the adjacent town and seek her forgiveness. He left office early and reached her parents place. Her mom received him with warmth.
“Where is Preeti?” he asked
“I don’t know where she has gone. But she said not to worry if she did not return by night. But she was telling that she was rude to someone and going for apologizing. She didn’t tell me who and where” her mom said.
Just then his cell rang.”Where are you? I am in our house”Preeti asked