Siva Kumar was busy preparing an urgent report for the board meeting. His mobile rang to his annoyance.
“Siva, Chandru here. I need your urgent help. Can you give me an hour during lunch time to discuss a pressing matter?” asked his friend Chandrasekhar.
“What is it about? Is it something urgent?
“Yes, this is something very delicate and personal I have not mentioned to you but needs urgent solution,” he replied
“Sorry Chandru, I am busy with a report to be submitted tomorrow. We can meet if it suits you only tomorrow evening at 6pm at Woodlands over coffee,” Siva replied.
“Not Woodlands, it is crowded and I need some privacy to discuss this confidential issue,” and mentioned name of another restaurant nearby. “I will remind you again tomorrow morning. Please do not fail to come,” he said.
Chandru was Siva’s classmate in college for four years and after a long gap of more than a decade, they met at an alumnus meet a couple of years back. During college days, Chandru used to have many girls giggling before him for no reason and seeking his friendship. He still retained after all these years, the handsome look with his aquiline nose and curly hair with sharp features. Both of them since then have been meeting once in a while but not often. Though close friends while at college, the long gap and lack of contact had somewhat inhibited the old intimacy. They did not mingle closely as before, busy as they were with their own work and families. They had not visited each other’s house or known the family. Siva knew he was married like him and had two sons.
The next day when Siva entered the restaurant, Chandru was already waiting. He ordered spinach vada and butter masala roast dosa.
“Thank you for coming. I have been wanting to seek your help but was hesitant to broach the subject knowing that you are a man of principles and even during our college days you disapproved of my dalliance with several girls. What I am going to confide may be disgusting to you but I cannot help it. I have no one enjoying my trust as you to discuss my personal matters.,” Chandru went on till Siva interrupted him.
“Why all this prelude? Come to the point and keep it short and simple. I cannot spend more than an hour as I have promised my wife and children to watch a movie with them,” said Siva
“Hold your breath and do not get shocked. I am in love with a married woman since two years. We met at a birthday party of my wife’s friend. The host introduced her to us. She had come alone. A gregarious and pleasant personality with several interests, she impressed my wife very much. Needless to say I took an instant liking for her. Right through the party, I could sense her interest in me from her frequent discreet sideward glances. Subsequently she came often to my house apparently to spend time with my wife. On one occasion, she came when my wife and children were away. I do not know whether she was aware of my wife’s absence as she did not go away but came in to chat with me,” said Chandru pausing for a moment.
“What made you think, she was in love with you? Mere glances and exchange of pleasantries to a friend’s husband are no signs of love,” Siva said
“I cannot pinpoint any single incident. Her coy demeanour, her lingering long without withdrawing her hand when my fingers brushed hers when I handed over the glass with coke and her abrupt shifting from the single seater to my side in three seater and her giggling when I raised my eyebrows at her audacity. I could go on. These are experienced Siva and cannot be proved” Chandru said.
“Is she a working woman? Any children? What is her husband doing?” Siva asked
“Yes, she is working and has two kids. Her husband she said is a nice guy, loving and unsuspecting. When I told her bluntly that I am passionately attracted to her, she replied she too was but wondered how we could take it forward with both of us married with loving spouses and children. I concurred with her and said let us be friends with friendship remaining unknown and that we could meet somewhere once a while. She kept quiet and when I hugged her, she reciprocated with equal warmth. Since then we have been meeting regularly somewhere outside,” confessed Chandru
“I condemn this. Have you ever thought about the enormity of your behavior? You must snap your relationship with her forthwith and have no contact whatsoever. I have no other advice for you,” Siva said firmly
“Please listen. We are blindly in love and committed to each other that we would not break our relationship.”
“Did you say relationship? You said earlier friendship,” asked Siva
“Did you say relationship? You said earlier friendship,” asked Siva
“Yes, it graduated into relationship. Her husband even at the age of 40 has lost the zest for life though very loving and affectionate.”
“It is sad and despicable on the part of you both cheating on respective spouses. This is nothing but brazen adultery. Tell her to move away before it becomes a scandal. Think of the children. Come to my house one day. Why not this Sunday ?I will be back from tour in the morning.Can you please pick me from the airport and take me to my home?. See for yourself how lovingly my children and wife welcome me when I return from tour of just one day. Love your wife and your children. Spend time with them. A happy family is a heaven. Put an end to this abominable thing you call love,” Siva spoke with a finality.
On Sunday morning, as Chandru brought Siva from airport to latter’s home, both the children came rushing shouting ‘Appa” and snuggled around his legs. He lifted the little girl and showered smooches with the boy waiting for his turn,” Where is Amma?”, he asked.
“She has gone to Hanuman temple and would be here any moment,” the boy replied.
‘Give me a minute or two, Chandru. I will keep the box inside and come,” Siva said and went inside followed by children
Chandru left alone in the hall admired the neat way the hall was kept without any clutter. He got up to see the show case tastefully decorated with a Dasavathar pieces sculpted beautifully in ivory. There was Sri Ram Durbar in ebony and various other antiques. When his eyes descended on a recent photo of Siva with his wife, he looked at it with his eyes transfixed for a few moments and then peeped inside. Not finding Siva, he quickly made a hurried exit.
When Siva came to the drawing room, he found Chandru missing. He went out to see the car too missing and walked till the end of the small road and could see no trace of him or his car. When he was returning perplexed at his strange behaviour, Siva saw his wife returning home from temple with a bowl of flowers and hailing him with a large smile on her face,” When did you come? Where had you gone out? You said some friend is coming for breakfast. I have made idly, vada and sambhar.”
“He actually brought me from airport, sat for a while and abruptly vanished when I went inside for a minute. I was searching for him only and his phone is also switched off. Weird chap, I would say,” said Siva.
The last Siva heard about Chandru was that he had sought an immediate transfer and left the city within a week with his family. Siva was happy that Chandru took his advice seriously.