It was a relaxed Sunday morning. Manju had made pongal with gothsu that her hubby Sekar loved..She took extra care to make it tasty with fried cashew nuts thrown in with liberal dose of ghee. With piping hot filtered coffee in the pot she called him to eat. He was still in his night dress, unshaven face and morning paper in hand.
."Why so early in the morning." he grumbled
"It's 9.30 already. Come on and have it before it gets cold" she said
He ate with relish and helped himself couple of times more."You cook well really," he said? He was silent for a long time before she asked him what was bothering him so much."Presidential elections or the declining rupee" she asked with a giggle.
"No, something more serious.I really dunno how to break the news to you" he said
“What? Have you been superseded in office or did not get the raise you were expecting. I don't see any other reason for you to be gluml though I have been observing that you are distant and lost in thoughts. You hardly smile these days."
Frankly I am in a quandary. Good that you started the topic. I admit you are a nice and loving person. I have nothing against you specifically but my heart is for an exciting life. It is so dull here seeing the same things. Brace yourself, I need a change and I cannot continue in this environment"
"What crap are you talking? We are married 11 years and I am 33 and you 37 .True we don't have kids but it has never bothered us" Manju said
True, I may be failing you but I don’t derive happiness by just being here. Life is bland and honestly it is very mechanical with no thrill even when we are close to each other. Please excuse me and allow me to choose the life that I wish to"
“It is okay although shocking especially when our wedding anniversary falls in less than a week. Who is it and how long this liaison is going on?"
I promise I have not been unfaithful to you so far but cannot tell you anymore at this juncture. That is why I am telling you and leaving on tour for couple of days now. I will explain in detail after I return.”
“You don't have to move out..I will myself leave by tomorrow. My head is reeling now and I need to be left alone"
“Let me tell you one thing. This houset would be yours always. Have no doubt about it"
Thanks for the consideration. I know how to take care of myself. You will be doing me a great favour if you vacate from my presence immediately."
"Surely, I never thought things would get resolved so easily as I was expecting you to throw tantrums. I will meet you soon when things would become clearer for you" he said as he walked out whistling his favorite tune.
Manju could not believe that Sekar would do such a thing. He was always decent, considerate and a very loving and passionate husband. Something is wrong, either the new woman is a seductress or she herself has been derelict as a wife. She could not sleep the whole night. She stayed away from office for a week and invited her sister to be with her..She readily came.Manju herself is a very charming person and was elected as Miss College years back. She was a vivacious and pleasant type. Both sisters could think of no legitimate reason for this development.
It was the second day a big truck came with brand new furniture for the drawing hall, living room, bed rooms and patio. The carpets were new and rich. A home TV of giant size with wall TVs for bedrooms. The cutlery and China were brand new and glittering..It was as if the whole house is being made anew.
Manju said “There must be some mistake. We had not ordered these"
"Madam,the address is correct. We have been instructed to arrange these in proper places and remove the old furniture and beds. We have been asked to take an acknowledgement from one Ms Manju."
Manju turned to her sister and said angrily “What is all this? Is he adding insult to injury? Why should he exchange everything for new when he has deserted me?"
"May be he has plans to drive you out of this place and live with his new found love” said her sister.
“Let them do what they want but do not sign anything” she added
The whole house took on a new complexion. The next day the same men came and changed the curtains, brought a new stove, a big double door fridge,mixie,food processor cutlery and China etc.Even the front patio was not left out with new garden chairs, flower pots and plants decorated the place.The house was turned new and gleaming.
The next day a big bouquet of dark maroon roses came with a card signed with no name but just "to my love"Manju kept it aside with disdain even as her sister was wondering at it and keeping it on the flower vase. It was then Manju's sister saw tears from her eyes. She put her arm around her and said softly.”Please do not cry,Manju..I am with you. The worst thing is that you may have to leave this place. You can stay with me as long as you like. Be brave and do not buckle under fear"
Manju was not pacified."Don't you know today is my wedding day and see how miserable I am" she said as she sobbed
The bell rang then. .There was a man from French Loafs with three big packets, containing a large cake, a large size pizza and some other delicacies.
The grief turned into disbelief and an uncertain wonder. Is Sekar playing any prank, a thought came to Manju's mind? She then heard a car draw up in the portico and Sekar came running inside shouting "Manju,Happy Wedding Anniversary. I am glad I am in time" and hugged her tightly much to her embarrassment with her sister grinning. As he put a nice pearl necklace around her neck, he gave her a smooch and asked" Has the environment changed now totally. Do you like them? This is what I wanted.All new things except my dear Manju.Did I scare you my darling. I wished to spring a surprise on you?"
Manju's sister discreetly left the hall leaving the happy couple to themselves