Another update.. Just as promised. If I can get my mood right, I will be able to complete this by this weekend.. Comments and Suggestions please..
"Sir. I am really sorry. I did not see.." the waiter was stammering his apologies to Aham. Aham looked down at his brown suit now covered with red sauce. He was angry. He looked up to shout at the waiter's clumsiness when he stopped himself. "It's ok. It really is." Aham pressed a couple of dollars to the waiter's hand and walked away. "Aham Bhai. Is that you? Really?" Aham turned sideways to look at Deepika. Her face reflected her surprise. "It was my fault anyway. I did not see he him coming our way." Aham replied and smiled at her. "No wait. It cannot be true. You just smiled.And you actually did not scold the waiter. Aham Bhai.. Its a miracle.." Deepika was hopping up and down. "Come on Deepika. Zip it. People are looking at us." Aham dragged Deepika to a corner but he was very amused. It seemed he had surprised Jigar's college buddy.
Aham had been pleasantly surpurised to meet Jigar's friend Deepika at Anitha's dinner party. He had actually felt relief as he had found the party too tedious. When Deepika came in, he had found an excuse to stay away from Anitha and her obnoxious boy friend. They had caught up on old times and Aham had found he liked Deepika a lot. She reminded him of the care free Jigar he knew.
"Aham Bhai.. Tell me the secret. Really.." Deepika was again questioning him. "What is so surprising? And I never liked this suit anyway. So good riddance" Aham said. Both stood next to each other in companianable silence looking into the night.
"I don't like that suit Ahamji. It is just too dorky on you." Gopi had told him and then had stopped like she just realized that she had commented on his dressing. "Really? Well I like this suit." Aham had told her stubbornly. "And I am wearing it." He had continued. Something in him had wanted her to continue her banter and fight with him to make him go against the idea. But she had not and he had felt flat. "Well. She would have cursed the suit. That is why the poor thing is now ruined." Aham thought laughing. He did not see Deepika give him another look of disbelief. "Thinking about Bhabhi Bhai?" She asked innocently.
"Actually Yes." Aham found himself acknowledging the truth. "Gopi hated this suit." "Oh. Now I understand. That is why you were so happy it was ruined. It made me wonder when you forgave that guy so easily. Bhabhi is really a good thing for you. I have never seen you forgive someone so quickly" She had continued. "It was not his mistake.." Aham tried to justify himself but he knew that the real reason he forgave the waiter was different.
Aham felt Gopi's goodness was rubbing on him. He now found it easier to forgive others. He compared his action to that of Gopi's . "If she can be that magnanimous to forgive me after all I did, why cannot I forgive others for these small things " He thought. He thought back to the day when he had humiliated her again over the phone when he had shouted that he would never be able to love Gopi. He had not known she was listening but it did not make his fault seem any lesser.
He had been really cross that day. His employees had made mistakes all day and there had been problems over some legal issues in the project. On top of that there had been Anitha...
He had followed Gopi up to their room. "I do not love you Gopi." He had just told her in front of all the others. She had been crying and he had felt like a jerk. But he had wanted her to know the truth. "Gopi you are a friend" He did not know how may times he had repeated that to her trying to find words to explain himseld. After she had heard him out she had looked at him for the longest time. Then without a word walked into the bathroom. He had stopped his urge to shake her and ask her if she understood what he said. He himself did not know how he wanted her to react. But this reaction of hers had made him panic. When she came out of the washroom, her face had been composed. She had seen him look at her and had walked to the dressing table. He had felt defeated and had turned to go out when.."Do you still love Anithaji?" Gopi had questioned him. He had been surprised and confused. Anitha had been the fartherest from his thoughts. It had taken him a minute to understand the question. When he did he had replied "I do not Gopi. Actually I think I was never in love with her." He had surprised himself by the answer and he had surprised her too. But as soon as the words left his mouth he knew he had said the truth. "I know it is hard to believe after everything I have done. But it is the truth. I do not know what love is Gopi. I thought I loved her. She told me she loved me and I assumed I did too when I did not tell her no. But now I know that I was never in love. Not with her. Believe me." He had added. Gopi had listened quietly. "Gopi I am afraid I do not know what love is. I am sorry." He wanted to apologize for the hurt she would have gone through but she had just smiled at him sadly.
"Ahamji. You do not have to apologize for telling me the truth. I know I am not what you wanted.." "No Gopi. Please listen. Me not loving you has nothing to do with you. It is just to do with my inability. So please.. Do not ever say that again.." He had wanted her to understand that it was not her fault. Desperately. "Gopi. I do not love you but what I told you downstairs is the truth. You are very special. I may not be able fall in love with you but I would like us to remain friends. I respect our marriage Gopi. And more than that I respect you. You are the kindest person I know and I am proud of being your husband. I will be grateful if you let me continue to be your friend. I would like you to be at my side as a friend. I will respect our relation unless you want.." He had not wanted to continue.. He had found it difficult to even tell Gopi that he would free her from their marriage if she wished.
"Why? Why did I not complete my words that day?" Aham thought again. As usual the answers he managed to come up with were very vague and unconvincing to himself.
Gopi had looked up with horror and somewhere in the deepest part of his brain Aham had rejoiced. Aham again quelled that thought. "I will like that Ahamji. I will be your friend. Ok?" Gopi had replied in a low voice and looked at him with her brown eyes. She had placed her hand above his. He had seen her steel herself and a look of determination cross her face.
Then the project had happened and he had felt it was a blessing in disguise. It would help the others get over what he had done. Aham hated running away. But after that day being under constant scrutiny had been too much for him. The second day after he had come to NY, he had run into Anitha. When he had seen her first, he had felt awkward. But he had found that there was no pang of hurt. He had just been uncomfortable. But he had still felt that he had wronged her. So awkwardly he had asked her if he could meet her to talk to her.
That meeting was the longest 1/2 hour in Aham's life. He had found that Anitha was hell bent on showing him that she had moved on. He had been happy for her. But she had gone over board by acting silly. She had also rubbed her boyfriend in his face numerous times. Then she had made him promise to go out with her and her friends that weekend.
The weekend party had started out all right. But Anitha had crossed the line that day by mocking him. She had made him aware that she knew about the state of his marriage. Aham felt that she was rubbing it in that she had found love again he had not. Then she had the audacity to make fun of his marriage to Gopi. Aham had been really mad after that. He did not know why, but he had felt cheap that even Anitha thought his marriage was a joke. Anitha who had not yet understood the real meaning of marriage. Aham thoughts had mocked him that day. He had questioned himself and had come up really frustrated. He had wanted to talk to someone and the person who came to his mind was Gopi.
He wanted to know if she thought of their marriage in a similar way. He had wanted to be reassured. He had been selfish he knew.. But when he called his mother and all the rest had started teasing him about his marriage and love. That had done it. And he had hurt Gopi.
Aham came back to the present. He remembered how his wife had forgiven him even after that. She was indeed special. Aham made a mental note that he had to send her a thank you note for the idea she gave recently. Maybe a present too.. And smiled again when he imagined her looking at the gift..
"So how is Jigar and how is his wife?" Aham turned again to look at Deepika.
Ok.. I am ready... Comments, feedback please...