The two of them were sitting across from each other in complete silence. The more they talked, the less they seemed to say. They were completely out of synch with each other. There was no eye contact either. The mood was so gloomy that despite having drained their coffee mugs, neither rose to break the inertia which had overcome them. The restaurant was as empty as their thoughts.
He had trained to be an engineer, but was trying to become a businessman. At that moment, he had more on his plate than he could handle. She was also caught in a bind. Her dad was keeping a close watch on her and she had to rush back home soon. Yet, neither wanted to make the first move. Who would initiate the breakup? It wasn’t easy after being together for nearly ten years. But the relationship had come to a point that demanded an immediate end to it. Being the older of the two, he decided to take this call. He wanted the termination to be as smooth as possible and that they remain friends.
“What are you thinking?” she asked, interruption his train of thought.
He was relieved that she had taken the initiative. “The best we can do from here on is not be dependent on each other, as dependence downgrades our love to attachment.
Let the residual feeling of our togetherness be that of respect and acceptance. True love is not confined to a single relationship. It gives us the liberty to change from one to the other to suit the circumstances. We should not enslave ourselves to our needs. Let’s lead a guilt-free life and not reveal our love to your dad, lest he collapse and die of heart failure.”
A long pause followed. He was thankful that she had heard him out. He waited for eye contact but she was staring at the ceiling.
Then, looking at him, she said, “We should be going now.”
The eye contact he had longed for, had been established. More glances followed. She appeared to be calm and poised, not worked up as he had expected. He had learnt over the years that women have a mind of their own, which cannot be predicted. He was glad that the parting was cordial, as he had hoped.
An unintended smile appeared and vanished as quickly, as though a part of her was not affected by the breakup. It was a connection that had nothing to do with a relationship. He was in bliss and his smile lingered not only on his lips, but also shone through the eyes that were the window to her soul. They hugged like never before and parted with the promise of always being there for the other.
“Saab, badi memsaab ka ghar aa gaya,” announced the driver as the car came to a halt outside a residential block on Napean Sea Road.
Harry got a start and thought to himself that she indeed was a big memsaab now, and he, a somebody to reckon with. He looked at his watch. It was 8.30 in the morning. He had kept his promise. Swapna slept till nine. He pulled out her house key from his bag. Likewise, Swapna had a key to his apartment.
Harry turned in the key and quietly opened the door. Entering her bedroom, he removed his track suit and slipped into bed under the comforter. He shut his eyes as his thoughts went back to the time when he was penniless and not considered worthy of Swapna’s hand. Her father had been a big-time jeweller in Bombay. Being much older than Swapna had also worked against him. She was married to the son of the owner of a logistics firm. Swapna now ran the company as the big memsaab.
Harry was happy that everything had worked out well for both of them. He returned to the present when Swapna made a moaning sound and put an arm around him. He caressed her cheeks. She purred like a pussy and went back to sleep.
To be continued…