Twentieth – 1.7

Recap:  An incident that disturbs Nandita makes her accept her fear in front of Kunal and his unexpected reaction leads them to part ways. They spend weeks without clarifying their thoughts and this makes them feel dismayed. Eventually, Nandita strongly feels that she wants to clear out things with Kunal now and texts him to meet her. They meet with anxiety on mind.

“Hi! How are you?” Kunal asked her with a brief smile.

“I am very well. Thank you.” She said and both of them paused as beyond this formal question, neither had the idea how to initiate the talk further.

“So….… finally you decided to meet me?” Kunal initiated after a few seconds.

“Yeah… I guess it was necessary to sort things out.” Nandita replied without looking at him.

“Hmmm…” he nodded his head and paused.

“Nandita, I know I embarrassed you the other day by asking a totally unexpected thing…. I am really sorry for asking it so suddenly.” He said but Nandita interrupted him “First thing, I was not embarrassed, but absolutely shocked and secondly, are you sorry about asking that question or about asking it so suddenly?” She angrily asked.

He waited for a second and said “The latter one” looking into her eyes. She felt uncomfortable once again and started looking in opposite direction. Her heart once again scolded her for planning a meeting with Kunal.

“Kunal…” she exhaled a deep sigh. “Why?” she asked him.

“Is it okay if we sit inside my car and then talk?” he requested her as there were security guards on duty walking from one gate to another. Nandita opened her side of rear door and sat. Kunal came from the other side and sat and switched on the inside lamp. Nandita took a glimpse at him and noticed the colour of his shirt – Yellow! Her mood went sour.

“I can’t marry you…. I don’t want to marry you.” She said in the rudest way possible.

“Okay… No problem.” Kunal replied very calmly.

“But I want to know as to why you asked me this question and particularly on that evening when I was already hell disturbed….” Nandita asked.

“And that’s why I asked you that question?” Kunal calmly told her.

“Why? Why did you ask me for marriage?” Failing to understand his logicshe asked again looking at the front seat.

“Why don’t you want to marry me? Answer my question first and then I’ll answer yours.” He said.

“I can’t marry you because you remind me of the worst memories in my life.” She answered without wasting a moment.

“This colour that you’re wearing…” she pointed at his shirt. “It reminds me of that horrible event that shattered my complete life…. You might not be remembering but I remember you wearing a yellow tee that day.” And tears rolled down her eyes which disturbed Kunal.

“I remember every single thing Nandita… Because just like you, even I lost everything in my life that day.” Kunal said in a very calm tone. Nandita sobbed and took a glance at his face. It reflected immense pain.

“Nandita, I’ll better come straight to the point…. Yes… I want to marry you…… Not because I am craving to fuck someone in my bed every night or because I am madly in love with you. There is no love story between us. Not yet! But I want to marry you for Kairav and Myra.” Nandita looked at him on this. “We have been sailing in the same boat… don’t you see that?” and being clueless about what to say, she again looked down and Kunal decided to clarify himself.

“I never thought about a remarriage even though my Dad and my brother keep asking me for the same but I know that it is not easy for a third person to enter my life and take care of my people, my things the very same way Tanvi would have done. It’s a reality! Any woman with a happy past or say, who hasn’t faced a horrible situation as mine will never be able to impart unconditional love to my child as Tanvi would have… and same is the case with you… you can’t go for a remarriage just like your first marriage. Remarriages are much more difficult!”

“Think about that person who was sitting inside his car that day without having a tiny idea about the next moment that changed his life. Now whenever he will look at his car, he will fear to start the ignition and move around the city like before because there are certain situations in life which occur without a remote control. One can’t switch it off as and when desired… such is life and such is remarriage. One undergoes a lot of thinking before taking that step and even when one starts a new life, it involves hell lot of doubts and expectations from each other.” Kunal ran out of breath and gasped some air and then again continued 

“But, honestly…. I don’t have those doubts if I talk about you… because you and I share the same pain. Our situations are not similar, but same. Only the two of us understand what we have lost, nobody else. And if we are together, we can multiply the joy for the sake of our kids who are our paramount priority.” Nandita pondered on Kunal’s last sentence and Kunal was silently waiting for her response.

“I… I have never thought about remarriage… and unlike your family, my family has never discussed about it ever… We are happy in our space.” Nandita said looking down. “Moreover, Purvi is there to fill in Tanvi’s shoes then why do you think about remarrying?” Nandita’s implicit statement was clearly understood by Kunal.

“She is wasting her life.” He asserted.

“She is 27… normally girls think about their career and marriage at this age but she has shifted her focus from her marriage to Kairav’s parenting. She denies marrying to her boyfriend at this point because she is worried that how I will take care of Kairav alone?” Kunal sounded upset this time.

“I did not impose this responsibility on her, but she willingly came forward to do it. But that doesn’t mean that I can selfishly let her do this and let her waste her entire life bearing my child’s responsibilities… She deserves to be happy and enjoy her life at this stage.” He paused.

“I feel bad when she has to deny her boyfriend to go on a week-long trip with him….. The reason behind her previous break up was I and Kairav. That guy wasn’t ready to share her load and hence they parted ways. I can’t let that happen once again… I want to set her free…… And she will not leave, if I tell her to. She will leave only when her heart and soul will be convinced that Kairav will be well taken care of now.” He said.

“Kunal… I don’t think I will be able to forget Vishal ever.” Nandita said with tears in her eyes. This was the last arrow in her quiver to deny him for remarriage.

Kunal chuckled on this “you still think that I am asking you to marry me because I need someone to fuck in my bed…don’t you?”

Nandita rolled her eyes up and down in embarrassment and “No… I didn’t mean that?” her words shivered.

“Of course you meant that…” Kunal asserted and she kept quiet.

“Men, in this case, have easier options you see.” He said with sarcasm “I can easily go out and pay for it without being answerable to anyone…. Or can have fun with women in my proximity…. Some psychotics even rape… So tell me, which category will you fit me into?”

“Kunal, I didn’t mean to….” Nandita fell short of words “Okay I apologize to you!” she quickly said to end this topic but Kunal did not respond. There was a quiet moment in the car as both hesitated to speak further.

 “Tanvi had entered 4th month of her pregnancy when she died.” Kunal said with brooding eyes and Nandita was taken aback. She kept looking at him but now it was his turn to speak his heart out.

“Yeah… we were expecting our 2nd child.” He said and again paused. There was a small tear in his eye which glowed under the yellow light of his car.

“I lost not one, but two lives. One that I was crazily in love with and second, who could not even make its presence feel as it was as small as a slice of apple…. And you assume that it is easy for me to have sex with anyone just like that?????” Kunal looked at her and she was speechless. Nandita felt guilty on raising that question now. She did not know how to console him. She wanted to hold his hand but resisted. She wanted to look into his eyes and apologize for what she had just said but resisted.

Both were silent again. Nandita, out of guilt, didn’t utter anything and Kunal, being sorrowful, remained quiet. After a few minutes, Kunal broke his silence and said “I shall take leave now. Hope your doubts have been sorted.” He opened his door and then Nandita’s. She came out and picked up her luggage. He sat on the driver’s seat and started the ignition. “I’ll see you soon” he said and left.

B Mom opened the door for Nandita and both went to their rooms after a brief talking about their entire day.

Nandita entered her room and looked at Myra with utmost affection. Her little doll looked cutest while asleep. Nandita kissed her on cheek and forehead and sat beside her with a bewildered state of mind. She had a head ache because of the prolonged thinking. She went inside the washroom and cleansed her face; released her hair free from the tight grip of elastic band but certainly it didn’t make her feel better as her cluttered mind couldn’t divert attention from Kunal and his words; she tried walking in her room from one corner to another, thinking about everything but her mind was failing to get peace. Ultimately, she removed her Kurti and opened her bra hooks and took deep breaths. Her shoulders were released from the stiffness of bra straps and this gave her a little relief. She went to the room corner and sat there with her eyes closed in deep silence and this triggered the storm of emotions inside her. She rushed to open the bedside drawer and took out Vishal’s photo with her and locked it tight in her embrace. This made tears roll down her eyes once again. Her heavy heart had started shedding weight in form of tears. She imagined Vishal with herself and then Kunal with Tanvi feeling elated about the second baby and the very next moment she remembered nature’s wreckage. She kept crying and missing the good old days. Her eyes hallucinated about Vishal and her planning for a new vacation with her parents and then she saw Kunal forwarding his hand to her in a peaceful place wearing the same yellow shirt that he was wearing today.


 

“Nandita! Nandita!” B Mom was knocking at her door. Nandita woke up in a daze upon hearing her voice. She saw herself lying on the floor and the photo frame still clutched in her hand. She looked at her upper naked body and recalled last night’s whole thing except the time when sleep embraced her. The knocking on the door was still on.

“I m coming Maa… just got up!” she shouted from her place.

“Okay.  I’ll make tea for you.” B Mom said and left.

Nandita looked at the clock. It was 8.40 am. She had never slept till so late.  Quickly she put herself together and stood up to freshen up. Little Myra was pillow hugging and still fast asleep.

“Thank God it’s weekend otherwise you’d have scolded me for not waking you up early.” B Mom said.

Nandita did not reply to B Mom and sneezed. Sleeping on the floor showed symptoms of cold on her.

“Here is your tea” B Mom handed over the cup to Nandita and looked at her swollen reddish eyes.

Both of them sat on the dining table sipping tea and reading newspaper.

“Your papa hasn’t returned from the morning walk yet so I want to ask you something before he comes back.” B Mom said and Nandita looked at her being completely clueless about it.

B Mom looked straight into her eyes and asked “Are you dating him…. I mean Kairav’s father?”

Nandita was completely taken aback on her question and went speechless. Feeling nervous, she looked down at the floor and then looked once at B Mom.

“Last night, you phoned me that you’ll take time to reach home but then I saw you and him from the balcony.” B Mom further said. Nandita realized that the visitors’ parking was visible from their guest room’s balcony where the family members would rarely go.

“I know it’s awkward for you to face me after this question but….”

“No Maa… there is no awkwardness between you and me” Nandita interrupted B Mom and held her hand in hers.

She told the entire situation to B Mom sitting there and asked for her opinion and B Mom contemplated.

“It is not that we never thought about you getting remarried…. But it’s just that we could not gather enough courage to ask you this question. We felt that you might think that….. you’re a burden to us or we don’t love you anymore.” B Mom said in a heavy voice and became teary eyed.

Nandita wiped her tears. “I know we are strong Maa.” Nandita held B Mom’s hand and kissed it. They both hugged each other very tightly and had an emotional moment.

“Whatever you decide… will be our answer Nandita.” B Mom assured her.

Myra came rubbing her eyes and hugged them both. Nandita took a break from this topic and played with Myra.

“I will not discuss this with your papa until you take a decision.” B Mom whispered to her while serving breakfast in plates and Nandita nodded with an uncertainty on her mind.


to be continued….

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