Raghuvir was frantically searching for the pen drive that contained important data. He had kept it on the table, he was sure. His wife Isha was arranging things as the cleaners were expected that day. Could it be that she had placed it safely somewhere? She had gone to office early as there was an important meeting. He rummaged through the drawers of the table but could not locate it. What if it had fallen in the dustbin or thrown by mistake, he wondered.
He took the dustbin from under the table and emptied the contents on the floor. The pen drive was not there. As he was putting back the contents into the bin he found a crumpled and faded blue color paper. It looked very old. Impelled by curiosity, he opened it. It was a letter torn twice into four parts and thrown in the bin after crumpling it. It was not his, he was certain. He sat on the floor and arranged it in order after flattening the pieces. It was a letter dated eight years back addressed to Isha from one Manish. Raghuvir had not heard Isha telling him of any Manish. There was no relative of hers with such a name. Wanting to know more, he pressed the papers with an iron box to remove the creases. He could now read easily.
This is perhaps my last letter to you for I would not like to intrude anymore in your happy married life.I would be gone to an unknown place carrying with me the fond memories of you and the happy times we had together. It was my entire fault and on an impulse and in utter foolishness I had misappropriated the bank's money temporarily to buy a costly gift for you but was caught before I could replace it as I had planned. Although I had paid the bank immediately the money, I lost my job and had to spend one year in jail. It was my blind love for you and the eagerness to get you the diamond pendant you looked at longingly when we were in a mall that made me commit the unpardonable mistake. It was not the loss of job or the incarceration or my reputation in tatters that affected me but the loss of you was unbearable. I could not hold you responsible in the circumstances for your decision to move away and marry one whom your parents had chosen. I also knew the reason for your urgency.
Forgive me. I want you to live happily and erase my memories completely though it would be difficult for you when you see your daughter. I came to know you gave birth to a girl soon after marriage. Tear this letter. I have torn all yours but unable to erase you from my heart.
Raghuvir could not believe what he read. He was shaken beyond words at the unexpected revelation of his wife’s past.Yes, his daughter Monica was a premature baby and at least that was what he was told. Come to think of it, Monica has not taken after her dusky mom or him as girl was very fair .She had a sharp aquiline nose unlike his bulbous flat nose. Be that as it may, Raghuvir wished she was at least open.. Who would reveal when unsure of how the spouse would react? But her love for him was unstinted and beyond question. Why rake up buried things and make life miserable for both and for his adorable loving daughter Monica? What good it would bring, he thought as he lay in the bed for a long time.
The phone rang. It was Isha telling that she is driving back home. He was clear in his mind now.
He hurriedly took the letter and burnt it along with the secret it contained. He emptied the contents of the dustbin in the container on the road. He found a new peace in his action and luckily saw his pen drive on the bed. He went to kitchen whistling a tune to make coffee for Isha.