“Shiela. Help me find my laptop” Shouts Anand. The domination in his voice evidently shows he is her husband.
“It is your laptop Anand! You must have kept it somewhere. Search…” Replies Shiela.
Anand feels someone kick him. He walks around the house in redundant path-ways throwing everything that comes his way in a random direction. He opens the shoe rack. He shuts it off. He bangs the cupboard door hard. Scatters Shiela’s clothes all over the bed. The search gets violent with time.
Shiela notices everything. She does not give up on enjoying her book. She slides a little down into the couch and increases the volume of music on the deck. One of her hand is on her little dog. The dog is sleeping lazily. Sheila is wearing Anand’s T-shirt which is very long for her. Just that. Her hair is let loose. She lies cross legged. She looks beautiful. The rays of morning sun falling on her legs through the glass roof make her look radiant.
Anand walks to her briskly. “Help me out, god-damn-it! I am struggling to find my laptop. I needed to finish my presentation yesterday. The boss is on my head for it. You dint let me do it last night. And those friends of yours. What a nuisance it was! Are you even listening?”
It was a party in Shiela’s house last night. Her college friends and their girl friends had come home. It was a wild party till late night. Anand did not have a good time. He was worried about his presentation. However, he put up with the mood of the night and postponed his work for the morning. He did this for Shiela. Because he loved her. But here she was not even helping him find his laptop this morning.
He feels guilty for what he said. He shouldn’t have said it…
“Anand. It is a Sunday, and I want to relax. Please do your work yourself. And about my friends – I invited them, and we had a nice time. I did not expect you to enjoy anyways.” She said before going back to the book.
Anand seemed to have recovered back into his senses. He pulled himself into a jeans and wore a black T-Shirt over it. Poorly dressed Anand finally found his car-keys in the mess and left the house. He did not tell Shiela where he was going. He dint even tell her he was going. He just left.
Sheila was alone again. In a big house…
Sometimes, everything changes but still life seems to remain the same. How much life changed after college! She got a job. She started earning. She could now afford expensive clothes. She no more had to ask her dad’s credit cards. She could buy any book she wanted. She fell in love with Anand. She got married to him.
But she is still alone.
Anand had been a nice guy to her. But she was still not able to fit into the marriage. She felt nostalgic about all the freedom college life gave her. She was always striving to drag that element into her current life. She dint try to understand that every phase of life is different and there is no point looking for one in another.
Anand had seen four more years and a few more girls in his life. Shiela was not his first love. He settled into marriage with her because he was twenty seven and she liked him. He liked her too. But now, he was more ambitious about his career. Life has taken him on. He now dreams of power. Shiela is only that part of his life without which everything else is incomplete. He calls it love. He loves her.
This morning was just one morning among the hundreds since they were married. They were both confused about what each meant in the other’s life. They dint even know if life was happy together. Both tried to bring in everything they could from their past life. Except the girls Anand dated. Anand also dated Shiela before marriage. Occasional coffee shop visits and candle light dinners. He longed for them. Women in life were very interesting for him. Like the spice in everything else that was blande. But now he seemed to have got used to it. Life-was-better-before feeling takes on him.
Shiela wanted a life partner. Partner for life – that is exactly what she meant. Someone to live with, because living alone was not a possible case for her. She found someone who was old enough for marriage, dated him for a while and finally married him. And now, she happily reads books and works. Fights for her freedom and enjoys it. Longs for Sundays. Drinks coffee.
The phone rings.
She attends. It is her mother.
“Ayioo papam Anand. You dint make break-fast for him? And he is gone to office on Sunday? What kind of a wife you are. I pity him. How bad will your mother-in-law feel for him?”
Anand’s mother used to boast that her son would marry a girl of her choice till one morning she discovered his love. Shiela. Then she stopped telling people. Later, she married them off.
“Chinni. Today is krishnasthami. Pray for chinni Krishna that you should have a son like him by next year. A cute little boy. Make payasam. And cook a nice dinner for Anand tonight. Pavam Anand, he dint even eat his breakfast. He is a good boy. ”
“Kids?-Now!!- Sari amma- I will do it- Okie okie- Aba amma! Okay I will wear pavadai- Okay now stop it!”
Shiela disconnects the phone.
She is in no mood to go back to the book. It is another one on love which looks so screwed up in reality. How beautifully they portray it in books and movies. It only builds expectations. It is a delusion. She calls off on the peace of morning and heads to clear all the mess Anand made in the morning.
She says to herself – “My life was better. It was much better without him. Unmarried Shiela was happier! She could do whatever she wanted to.”
She takes a bath and changes into a pavadai. She remembers her childhood days when she used to make footprints of lord Krishna all over the house. She does that in her newly married house too. She makes payasam. She cooks a good lunch. She waits for Anand. He doesn’t turn up. She eats and sleeps.
It is four in the evening. The door bell rings.
She opens. It is Anand.
“Hi darling. Have you been sleeping?” He asks her.
She smiles. “Yes honey” She says as she adjusts the pavadai which had got distorted in sleep.
“You look beautiful. So does the house.” – he says. She smiles tiredly. “Did you have lunch?” He asks.
“Yes. Yours is on the table” She says. He walks to the table. He eats and eats. He is happy about the good food.
Shiela switches the television on. It does not interest her, but she is watching. He is eating and she is watching. Nothing else is happening.
He finally finishes eating and walks to her. “Want to go out for a drive?” He asks.
“Yeah. In the evening. May be you could first have a bath” She suggests.
“I am sorry for what happened in the morning darling.” He says to her. “You know, Ive been busy this week and the party tired me out. You know I dint mean it right?…” He says.
She smiles. He goes off.
People fight. But when one tries to put a genuine effort to make up, it looks beautiful. Life suddenly looks more optimistic. Shiela is again happy about it.
They both go out for a dinner that night. The morning to evening experience does not affect the night. They enjoy the dinner, count the stars and walk on the sands of the beach. They drive and drive and drive all night. Talk everything from boss to ambition to life to philosophy. They talk till her make-up dries. And finally come home in the early hours of morning.
Another Monday morning waiting for both of them.