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Nakusha observed as how after that night he avoided her, in fact since then they never came face to face. She still remembered his pain, his discomfort and his reluctance in agreeing to what his wife desired. She respected his feelings, didn't wish to hurt him more therefore she too made an attempt to not come before his eyes. She got up late, till then he'd be out for his meetings so there was no chance of him seeing her and at night although she'd watch him from behind the pillar, drinking in the bar but she'd never let him feel her presence. The few days that she'd spent in PN made her realize a lot of things about dutta and supriya, especially after she'd slept with him. There was an undercurrent of tension in their marriage, though they never fought or argued like any other couple but they also didn't behave like a normal couple. Ripples were bound to get created in their relationship after the massive showdown they had that evening, however nakusha was of the opinion that things would eventually settle down between them but the way the events actually turned out left her surprised. There was a disconcerting silence in their relationship, which she didn't question or discuss with supriya believing that she was an outsider who had no right to interfere in their marriage, still living under the same roof with both of them, these negative and hostile vibes disturbed her and her mind would involuntarily wander towards them and him in particular.
Today was Sunday, therefore no work and no meetings, in other words it was tough for her not to bump into him after all she couldn't spend the entire day in her room thus ever so slowly she came down the stairs. The two of them were sitting on the dining table for breakfast, as usual words were hardly being exchanged. Nakusha recalled the last encounter she had with him on the table a few days back, a giggle escaped her lips thinking the way she'd flirted with him and he'd looked so furious and innocent at the same time. He noticed nakusha approaching them from the corner of his eye, he shut his eyes firmly and continued pressing his throbbing temples with his fingers. Since morning he was having a splitting headache. She observed his stiff form, she knew he disliked her being around but this time she couldn't help it, she was craving to have her morning tea. Trying not to annoy him, she pulled out a chair, slightly far away from him and sat on it with her legs crossed. He heard the creaking sound of the chair and pursed his lips while turning his head to the other side. Supriya after buttering the toast placed it on his plate making him open his eyes, she smiled at nakusha and asked," chai?". Nakusha smiled back and nodded her head before replying," haan..isshtrong." supriya was amused hearing her whereas dutta who hadn't had anything last night bit into his toast hoping that it would relive him of his pain. Supriya passed the tea cup to nakusha, she took a noisy sip to which dutta scrunched his nose, his head was already hurting and now her sipping style was only making it worse. Supriya shot a quick glare at her, which she understood immediately and took a soft sip next time. Nakusha was never used to this quiet atmosphere, this whole silence and on top of that his pressing his temples was bothering her to no extent. She couldn't understand why was he not doing anything about it? Why was supriya not giving him a pain killer to relieve him off this head ache? If it was hurting him so much then why was he enduring it?
" sahab ..ko nimbu paani ..do na." she suggested. Dutta stopped chewing and supriya looked at her in confusion.
" nimbu paani peeyoge toh raat ki sari utar jayegi." She added remembering how she used to make lime juice every morning for his drunkard father. Supriya gaped at her bluntness and her choice of words, supriya's eyes shifted to dutta who was shaking his head thinking that this girl will never let him rest in peace, her concern instead of appeasing , cringed him. Dismissing her suggestion he ordered," mere liye ek black coffee ..strong." nakusha wanted to correct him that its not 'sstrong' but 'isshtrong' however seeing supriya's big black eyes staring back at her, she decided to keep silent this time around.
" dutta ji ..maine humari factory se thodi aage ek zameen dekhi thi..shopping complex ke liye." Supriya said while pouring hot coffee for him.
" saaping ..kya?" nakusha made a face asking her. Her unnecessary intervention or should he say opening of mouth was now irritating him which didn't go unnoticed by supriya who replied in soft yet firm words," shopping complex ek bada sa bazaar hota hai ..jahan har tarah ki dukanein or cheezein hoti hain." Her stern tone clearly indicated nakusha now to shut up.
"jagah humare liye bahut acchi hai..par ..kuch log bina wajah kabza kar ke baithe hain." She completed herself and waited to know his reaction. He sipped on to the coffee silently pondering over the proposal, with every sip his muscles relaxed a bit.
" dutta ji ..waise hum apne teereke se bhi woh zameen hasil kar sakte hain." She said after seeing him not reply for so long.
" tum koi aur zameen dekh lo..warna bina wajah khoon kharaba hoga." He was getting tired of indulging into violence and that too for such petty issues. This whole conversation was boring nakusha to death, moreover her empty stomach was now grumbling louder than before. She picked up an apple from the fruit basket and had just opened her mouth wide to bite into it when supriya pushed a sharp knife in her direction suggesting her to cut it instead of biting it. Nakusha held the knife and murmured softly," bade logon ke nakhre."
" main sach keh rahi hoon dutta ji ..woh zameen humare shopping complex ke liye bahut acchi hai..aap yeh toh sochiye is se PV ke logon ko kitna faiyda hoga." Dutta nodded his head slightly hearing her point of view, supriya had an intelligent mind and an innate business sense which he was aware of, the only difference between the two of them was that she followed her mind while he preferred to listen to his heart.
" aur agar itne bade faiyde ke liye thoda sa..khoon beh bhi jaaye ..toh kya farak padta hai." She said shrugging her shoulders when suddenly she heard nakusha hiss in pain. She'd cut her thumb while listening to supriya, it shocked her to see how easy it was for supriya to suggest killing somebody even if it would benefit people at large. Dutta turned towards nakusha immediately on hearing her gasp, the cut was small but deep, how careless she was he thought. She took her thumb in her mouth to stop it from bleeding, she glanced at him who was watching her intently suck her thumb. A flicker of distress in his eyes for her didn't go unseen by her.
" toh main kya keh rahi thi dutta ji ..ki apko kam se kam us aadmi se ek baar baat toh karni hi chaiye." Supriya said in an attempt to bring his attention back to the important topic that they were discussing.
" is maamle mein kya karna hai..mujhe pata hai ..tum chinta mat karo." He replied through greeted teeth, at least in business matters he didn't like to be told what to do, he was capable of handling his ventures on his own. Supriya took a deep breath on seeing him fold back the napkin and leave the table with his coffee mug, good at least now he would think about the proposal and do something about it for sure. She gave nakusha a tight smile who was looking back at her with furrowed brows, what kind of a woman is she, nakusha thought, one moment she was grinning sweetly at her whereas the next moment she was glaring at her and coming up with such a gruesome idea of eliminating people who dared to cross her path. Nakusha shrugged her shoulders brushing aside their business conversation and diverted her mind into eating the apple.
Nakusha got off the bed and stretched her lazy body after taking a nap post lunch which was delicious to the core. She could still taste the spinach mixed with that ever so soft cottage cheese in her mouth. The days spent here till date were really comfortable and out of this world, she wasn't sure how long they would last hence was enjoying every moment of them. Without bothering to stifle her yawn she walked out of her room in the corridor and crossed supriya's room, it was empty, she turned her head and looked to her left, the light of the study was on, he must be engrossed in some of his file, she thought then climbed down the stairs and gazed around the huge hall. A maid was coming out of the kitchen, nakusha stopped her and asked her about supriya.
" vaheni sahib toh bazaar gayi hain..apko kuch chaiye?" the maid replied. Nakusha nodded a no, there was a time when she used to work herself as a house maid and today she had servants at her beck and call, she smiled inwardly and decided to stroll in the garden. She was about to step out of the house when her gaze fell on the huge idol of lord ganesha which was placed at the end of the hall. She'd often heard the ringing of bells and supriya chanting some slokas in the mornings but was never asked to be part of the prayers. Just like every piece of furniture placed in this house all the members living here even if they were only a handful, were also recluse, lifeless and silent, not to forget the idol of bappa which too seemed to be watching mutely what all happened in this house.
The intoxicating scents of jasmine, lavender and roses drifted through the air as she breezed along the lush green garden. She enjoyed the colors and patterns that emerged in the changing light. There was a row of guava and mango trees. A fleeting smile spread across her lips as she remembered her childhood, the hours she spent sitting on such trees and the evenings that went by playing hide and seek around them. With a mischievous glint in her eyes she picked up a small stone and aimed at the hanging guavas, she frowned when she missed hitting the guava, maybe she was out of practice. Not the one to give up so easily she picked another stone, shut her left eye and concentrated hard before throwing the stone. She clapped her hands in excitement when the guavas fell down, picking one up she rubbed it with end of her sari, sat on a wooden swing then dug her teeth hard into it watching the sun set in.
After some time she saw supriya coming back and walking in her direction with her shopping bags. Nakusha rolled her eyes seeing her carry so many bags. Supriya placed them on the swing and began showing nakusha what all she'd bought.
" tayi ..itni saari sariyaan?" nakusha asked surprised. There were almost half a dozen saris of different colors, fabrics and patterns. Supriya took a purple banarsi sari and placed it on her shoulder before replying casually," hmm..kya karoon..kisi ka rang pasand aaya toh kisi ka design." Nakusha shook her head in agreement, yeah all the saris were indeed pretty, must've been hard for her to let go any.
" aapne toh pura din laga diya ismein." Nakusha said while examining the fabric of one of the saris.
" ghar baith kar waise bhi kya karna hai..isis bahane time pass ho gaya."
Nakusha cocked an eye brow thinking, wow what a way to pass time by splurging the hard earned money of your husband, oh that reminded her of something and she asked," sahab..sahab ke liye kya laaye?" supriya gave her a twisted smile and answered," tere sahab apne char kapdon mein he khush rehte hain..aur waise bhi humari pasand milti nahin hain..toh ..woh apni cheezein khudh he lete hain." Nakusha concluded that They were indeed a very strange couple with both being poles apart. Supriya picked up a bag that she'd kept it on the grass and took out a simple pink cotton sari. She tossed it on to nakusha's lap and said," yeh tere liye..rakh le." It kind of surprised nakusha that she'd not bothered to get anything for her husband but remembered to buy something for her however the way she'd thrown it on her face definitely didn't go down well with nakusha. Agreed that she was here to carry out a deal with supriya but that didn't mean she had the right to treat her as her servant, nakusha never accepted charity and would never compromise on her self respect.
" taayi ..mere pass is rang ke bahut kapde hain..tum kisi aur ko de do." Nakusha said keeping the sari aside making it clear that she didn't want it. Supriya narrowed her eyes and thought, even though everyday someone was wearing her discarded saris still that someone was today showing her attitude..huh.
Dutta was opening the door of his car when nakusha spotted him and whispered ,'sahab'. Supriya turned around following nakusha's gaze, dutta stopped for a minute to inform her," mujhe zara kaam hai..raat ko der ho jayegi." Supriya nodded her head and began keeping the saris back in the packets.
Supriya after having her last morsel went up to her to sleep, nakusha watched her retreating back and fidgeted with her glass bangles make some sound in otherwise quiet hall. She paced up and down just to kill her time, she wasn't used to of going off to bed so early for obvious reasons. Her gaze moved around the empty dining table and empty hall, there was so much of emptiness in this place which was quite depressing, although her own life was no better but then she had nobody to call her own whereas over here even though both of them projected an image of a happily married couple still they were so distant from each other. They hardly got to see each other during the week days and today despite being Sunday both having no work still had no time for each other, when he was here alone, she left and when she came back he left her..weird..they were together but miles away leading their separate lives and the most astonishing part was that neither of them cared, as if they had zero level of expectations from each other..what kind of a marriage was this? No matter how much she tried to mind her own business but with having nothing to do and just these two along with some servants roaming around here day in day out, she couldn't control herself from thinking about them.
The entrance door banged shut bringing her out of her thoughts, she saw his swaying form coming in, she hid behind a pillar when he crossed the hallway to approach the bar. Already drunk, dutta opened the whiskey bottle to pour in more, the weird sweet/foul tasting liquid burned and soothed his throat at the same time. This was how he spent his nights, drinking to the point till his head dropped then falling asleep on the nearby recliner. With each glass of drink that he gulped down he hoped that the images of that incident would become hazy, the pain in his heart would lessen but nothing of that sort ever happened. He continued to live under the shadows and miseries of that night.
"sahab ..mat do khudh ko itni sazaa." He heard someone say, he opened his drowsy eyes wide and adjusted them to focus on the figure that was slowly coming towards him. Nakusha halted her feet at a safe distance from him. She didn't know why but it disturbed her to see him punishing himself for something that he'd done unwillingly. He stared right back at the person because of whom he was suffering.
" aye ladki ..chal dafaa ho yahan se." he growled, flaring his nostrils.
" jo kuch bhi hua ..usmein apki koi galti nahin thi." She said without getting perturbed by his outburst. He tilted his head slightly and glared at her, wondering how dare she say that he wasn't at fault when he knew clearly he'd disgraced his marriage. How dare she say that he shouldn't punish himself when he deserved to be punished for taking advantage of her. Tightening his grip around the glass he was holding he considered himself no less than any filthy animal who had slept with her before.
"sahab..aap bure pati nahin ho..aur tayi bahut khushkismet hai ki aap unke saath ho." She truly believed what she said, he was indeed a wonderful husband when compared to her step father, her ex husband and all the men who she'd ever come across. He smirked at her face, yeah he was a very nice husband, a husband who had broken all the marital vows by sharing a bed with a stranger and his wife was lucky to have a life partner like him.
" ek raat mein itna kuch jaan liya tune mere baare mein?" he asked after emptying the glass that he'd filled. Here he was blaming and torturing himself for wronging her and she without blinking an eye gave him a clean character certificate when she very well knew what he'd done with her. Instead of loathing him she was sympathizing with him?
" kisi ko jaane ne ke liye..waqt nahin kuch pal saath bitaane zaroori hote hain." As per her that night they had shared a few close moments where she realized how guilty he was for his act? How desperately he wanted to hold on to his marriage even if deep down he knew that he was losing it. That night was totally different from the nights that she'd spent with other men, those moments were devoid of lust and hunger instead were filled with sorrow and regret.
"tayi ki baat maan kar aapne apne rishte ka apmaan nahin..balki usey aur izzat di hai." She added further, in her eyes he had done nothing wrong, whatever happened didn't happen out of will but out of compulsion. He did something which his mind body and soul were not allowing still he went ahead and hurt himself just to protect his wife from getting hurt. She turned around to leave but before that said something that hit him right across his heart.
"sahab..aap bahut acche ho."
Why was she hell bent on proving him innocent? When he wanted to hate himself, curse himself then why were her words forcing him to feel different? When he couldn't dare to see himself in the mirror then how could she see something that was not there in him?
He saw her walking up the stairs, she turned her head and smiled at him. A smile that reached her eyes, a smile that he didn't reciprocate but a smile that was trying slowly to lift a heavy burden off his heart.
Thanks for reading
If you have time and haven't seen this vm then plz do spare 2 more minutes for it ..its amazing
next part http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=3234274&TPN=20
Joined: 17 March 2011
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