She had tried calling the number given to her by the boy at the school. It was a land line number that kept ringing every time she called. It was truly frustrating…! She tried watching the school from her balcony to see who was coming and going. But that was a wild idea anyway!
He continued to remain elusive…!! Her eyes filled up with tears. It had been her fault ..! She had had her chance but had lost it.
“A confused coward of a girl who was out to please everyone!” she thought bitterly. It had taken her, fifteen years to realize that pleasing everyone was not something that was humanly possible. It also meant displeasing a very important person – her own self! It was this realization that had given her the courage to do what she had, in the last six months.
People had thought she was crazy to leave a lucrative research career in the US and relocate to India. Vineet, her husband was vehemently opposed to her plan, which in the beginning, had included him.
“What? Are you crazy?” he had thundered in his usual loud voice.
For a man who was least interested in her career, he seemed to know a lot about how India would not offer her any options in post doctoral research. She could not imagine how she had spent nearly ten years married to someone like him.
To him everything was either money and what money could buy. A man who cared neither for art nor science. She had to listen to music in her car while she was driving to the university least he be “disturbed” by the sound. She could not read books while he was at home- unless they were connected with her work.
Every minute of her attention had to be devoted to him.
She realized soon enough, that she was to him, an acquisition. A brilliant scientific mind that also cooked his meals and did his laundry. And that is what she became after a while – a trained robot!
She had kept the reality away from her parents for as long as she could. But soon, her late parents had understood what was happening with their daughter’s life. She did not know if it was guilt, but her father had died willing to her the flat that she was now living in! It wasn’t very much by way of an asset, considering that it was small and located in a very modest part of town. But yes, it was a roof over her head. An asset she could count on, when she decided to tell her husband that she was going anyway.
She had by then, obtained a teaching assignment at the University in the town. They were very honored to have her. She did not know if teaching was what she wanted to do ultimately, but it certainly gave her a platform to land on when she came back home.
Vineet had raved and ranted about her decision to go anyway. And finally he had thrown at her what he considered his final ultimatum- “Stay here or be prepared to be divorced”.
Strangely, she had been so relieved when he had said it! It had saved her the trouble of having to articulate it at some point later.
He had been very nasty about the entire process of separation . But she had stood up to it ,had finally packed her bags and moved out.
“Is this what I want? This lonely existence?” she wondered turning her head to look out of the window.
But the path to self realization wasn’t an easy one. She knew she had wandered away from everything that she had wanted at one point in her life . Today, it might not be possible to get all of that back but she sincerely hoped she could get that one vital part of her past back- Madhav!!
However, the question was whether he wanted her back? Yes it was a coincidence that he worked in a school near her house but that may not mean much..!! And anyway why hadn’t he contacted her? The school would have shared her name and contact details with him.
It probably meant he may not want to renew his contact with her…!
Why did she ever imagine he would be still waiting for her at the gate to her house as she had left him on that fateful night…? He was not like a constant note in a raga or a stabilizing notation in a formula. He was human and therefore subject to change
She was definitely a fool..! Such things did not happen in real life. One had to face to the consequences of one’s actions.
In life there were no second chances.
Pancham : The Power of the constant