“Let’s take the night into the morning!” read Deep loudly from Rumi’s cell phone.

“What’s that supposed to mean? What’s going on here?”

Deep had asked. Rumi had feigned ignorance while grabbing the phone from him citing that she was surprised herself as to how that ‘person’ had got her number. She was well aware of the multitude of lies that she had been privy to and knew that Deep had grown suspicious albeit all her efforts to cover her tracks.

At the beach, the waves were providing an effective rhythm as they swayed furiously with the evening tide.  They seemed to gain momentum with each passing moment akin to Rumi’s mind which was swaying her emotions aimlessly while she was pondering over her husband, Deep’s question.

When the heart is a fierce beast and the mind is a timid hunter, confusion plays all it cards effectively leading to an error of judgments. The mind uses all its power uselessly to tame the heart which has risen above all challenges to outwit the mind into believing an accepted fallacy as the truth.

She glanced at her cell phone which showed her five new messages. Clicking on the oldest, she sighed after reading it…

“let’s meet @ d coffee shop, wht say?”

She remembered the times spent at the coffee shop when she felt like she was on the pinnacle of success as a liberated woman while being validated as one by Vihaan who had the inane capability to be a charmer and take her away from the mundane existence as a homemaker.

The second message was, “whr r u?”

And she smiled looking at it as she had fled from Kolkata without letting anyone know that she was on an arduous journey of finding her bearings and putting her life back together.

She had met Vihaan at a party in a ‘Home for the Aged’ and the softer side of an unmarried financial analyst appealed to her. The pleasantries turned into an exchange of numbers and frequent little meetings left Rumi spellbound. Time seemed to be her biggest opponent while she was with Vihaan as she had to rush home to play the dutiful wife which she slowly began to detest. The evenings were the toughest when she had to juggle her emotions in front of Deep and the nights were spent in contemplations.

Unfazed by this and used to dabbling with a little adventure in the recent weeks, she clicked on the third message. Reading it made her stomach churn.

“Let’s repeat!”

She muttered, “Wow!”

The few weeks, while Deep was away from town, were the best time of Rumi’s life. She partied until the wee hours of morning much against her coy, inhibited self. The satisfaction of living a parallel life masked the guilt of overstepping the boundaries of her mind that she had set for herself. The world out there with its seamless opportunities felt like an open offer for her to have a chance of carving a new identity for herself and that did overshadow the unnecessary confusion that had been created by her rational yet fallible mind.

Rumi bent over and pondered on whether she should see the fourth message and turned to walk back to the resort. The setting sun provided comforting darkness as she tried to shield herself from her feelings. She knew it! She had started developing feelings for Vihaan without really realizing it. Every time they were together, she felt her heart fluttering like a teenager on the threshold of a new crush; the roses, the long walks, the never-ending talks. She felt appreciated as a woman though she perfectly understood that it might be an inappropriate way to achieve it!

She brought the cell phone closer and clicked on the fourth message. The message read, “r u out again tonight?”

And she understood that Deep was mocking her after he had realized that she was up to something after going through her messages the other day. She sighed and looked ahead of her. The beach seemed like a dark alley and the waves furiously flooding it with salt water only to recede in an instant leaving behind a watery shore to tread on. Her mind was a dark alley with her emotions flooding it with more temptations and leaving behind a trail of confusion to tread on.

She knew she was cheating on Deep and had even toyed with the idea of telling him about her night outs, but she still loved him. But her feelings for Vihaan became fiercer as she fought with her heart and arrived at a conceivable excuse every time to explain her behavior to her conscious self. In one of their regular tiffs, she had consolidated her position and said to Deep, “I’m not your arm candy or someone whom you married to look after the house. I hardly get any of your time and attention for me to be happy or make you happy! This is my life and I can do what I want with it. If you have a problem with it, so be it!”

Still, the middle-class values that she was raised with resurfaced wickedly to destroy her peace; but she brushed it by drowning it with a drink.

Her strides got longer as her guilt surged its way like the wave that just lashed across leaving her completely drenched. As she reached the wicket gate that led her to the steps of the resort, she read the last message on the cell phone, “your wish is my command!”

She paced hurriedly towards the beach bar and sat on the stool and ordered, “two martinis, dry please!”

She smiled to herself and did what she had always been doing recently when faced with a predicament – ‘forget it and chill out’. As the drinks arrived, she picked both the glasses and keeping hers, handed the other one to the guy sitting next to her. They clinked their glasses and said in unison, “to us!”

As they chuckled, Vihaan said to her, “loved your idea of us traveling here together. It has given us the much-needed space and time.”

They grabbed their drinks and walked up to the beach hand in hand.

“Wait a second,” she said to Vihaan. They stopped by the water while she bent down and grabbed her beach footwear and flung it into the sea.


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