Thank You all for your support and encouragement !! I shall strive to measure up to your expectations.
Here is Part 2.
A week after she decided
on her course of action, she was waiting for Aham's return. When Aham returned,
she was looking for an opportunity to talk to him privately. He was busy as
usual for the first couple of days and Gopi, not wanting to procrastinate any
further, decided to leave him a note with his tea the next morning. She wanted
to talk to him, in private, later tonight, it said.
The next morning Aham
would have almost missed the carefully written note, had it not been for Mani
asking for a reply. It took him a moment to realize it was from Gopi. What, was
she up to now, he wondered. It took him few more to realize, she wrote it and
before he delved in it further he turned towards Mani to say something but
decided against it and scribbled on the note instead and gave it to her.
On his way to work Aham
realized he had barely seen Gopi from the time when they returned from
Switzerland. The only time he saw her was during the aarti each day. Then his
thoughts circumvented any other which could hold him guilty to what was it she wanted? Why did she have to
send him a note? What was she trying to prove sending him a note? Ok, she could write now and obviously read
and comprehend, this is an interesting development. Did she want me to know that she could read and write now? Did it
matter to you? Well I married her and she is my wife, but aren't you married to the
job? While still contemplating he
reached his office and Gopi, as usual, was put on the back burner.
Gopi had, as usual carried
out her chores and was now trying to maintain her composure. She did not want
to falter today, not that it mattered. She wanted to go thru this with
dignified poise and with as little mess as possible. She had decided not to let
her feelings lead her and wanted to use her head more often and realized there
was no better time or moment than this. She did not want Aham to see her as a
weakling, as someone who was intimidated by his mere mention or an emotional wreck;
she wanted to be in control, at least of herself.
After dinner, when
everyone retired, Gopi was getting extremely nervous and fidgety. She was
reconsidering her idea of meeting him in his room. She, quite frankly, was
dreading it. At about 10 pm when she thought everyone was asleep and would not
disturb them, she began to make her way towards their, his, room. She was about
to chicken out but then saw the light from under the door and knocked softly
and pushed the door open. When the opened the door she saw Aham glaring at her
like he always did and it was then she decided it was the right thing to do.
Aham had a rough day at
work, the licenses required to begin work on the project were not approved yet
thus delaying it. He wanted his first major international project to be a
benchmark for his company, their clients and competitors alike. He wanted it to
be referred to as a model project. This was Aham's dream, it was his baby. He
was annoyed at the speed at which things were moving or rather things were not
moving and was preparing his plan of
action when he heard a knock and when he watched her push the door ajar and
walk in, it was then he realized about the note and he had forgotten all about
He thought again - what
this could be about? he wondered. Is she coming to me about petty house issues with Rashi?
But she had never done that before and why send a note for private chat?
Instead of wasting time he got straight to the point – "What is it that you
wanted to talk about?" – It did not come out right. He was authoritative, was
clearly irritated and wanted to get things done and over with.
She walked in slowly, in
the process trying to regain her composure.
She moved towards him and the empty seat by the couch, contemplating
between standing and sitting and in the end deciding to stand. She looked at
him, trying to establish eye contact, and spoke out very softly and slowly – "Ahamji,
these past few weeks I had the time to consider
our situation" she said nervously
playing with her pallu within her fingers, she continued with a little
confidence, " we are like people from two different planets, we come from
different backgrounds and have, maybe, different expectations from life and the
people we want to share it with ", she paused looking for a reaction, he was
listening wide-eyed, " I have had a chance to analyze our situation, which is
not of our making ,but we are the ones in it", she went on " I sought advice
from a family lawyer.."
"Lawyer??" repeated a very
amused Aham, who was distracted until now, and Gopi now knew she had his
undivided attention, for once
" in the strictest
confidence of course, " she replied "yes of course !!" he snapped, not wanting
to think where it was leading
Gopi continued with her
monologue "I met up with the lawyer last week, in order to apply for a divorce,
he had explained to me various options available but I think we could agree
upon divorce by mutual consent." There she said it. "The other options are
rather too messy for everyone involved." She added, in a way wanting to tell
him that she had done her research.
He was staring at her,
wondering what had gotten into her, and then he smiled softly thinking about
the afternoon on Holi and asked, "Did you by any chance get something mixed up
in your food or drink?"
"No "she replied still
looking at him in all earnestness. "What I am trying to propose to you is that if
we mutually agree to dissolve the marriage, then we will have 6 months to file
for the petition and be divorced after a hearing." She said in one breath. Aham looked at her quizzically. She went on
"... six months will give me time to think about my future and also we need not
tell anyone about the development yet and can inform them later when we file
our petition, otherwise things would be very difficult for both of us", Gopi
said still hoping against hope that Aham would ask her stop all the nonsense.
"Why now, out of the blue,
all of a sudden?" Aham questioned not only to her but to himself as well, still
unconvinced about her and her motive. "There is no point living a charade,
pretending day in and day out for the people who love you and care about you,
we are only making them believe in a farce … their expectations will die a slow
death, most of them have resigned to our future and Maaji will understand that
it is in our best interests, she will let us go."
She paused and then went
on, as if to justify her decision, "I am
not what you want, I cannot be, what you want me to be, and I have accepted
that. I have led you to a lot of misery and some really uncomfortable
situations but now I do not wish you to be in such situations in the future. I
am not the right fit for you and I hope you find the person whom you can look
at and treat as an equal and is your equal in all meanings of the word".
Aham did not know what to
say, he was spell bound, Gopi had never ever spoken to him like this,
confidently and so much, without taking a break. She knew what she was talking
about and the idea definitely appealed to him.
Gopi said "Ahamji, if you
agree to my proposition, then I have the papers in my room, I will get them for
you to go through them and sign them. We could then visit the lawyer and ask
him to complete the other formalities; however I have a couple of requests to
make of you." There, Aham thought, I knew there was a catch. He waited
patiently for her to spell it out.
"First of all, under no circumstance let
anyone know of our deal and let us continue this charade for another six
months, with mutual respect and trust."
"Don't you want anything
else?" blurted Aham, surprised it came out loud.
"No" she said, "You can examine the contract,
the lawyer has added the clause for zero maintenance or alimony, I will not be
dependent on you after our separation."
Aham was shocked and had a
gnawing feeling. He just shook his head, in disbelief. Gopi, saying that she
would bring the papers for him peruse, turned slowly and left the room. While
walking back to her room, she was trying to pacify and reason with herself. She
walked with her head held high, but was shredding up at the core.
She went to Aham's room,
knocked again and walked in to leave the documents by his laptop. He was still
in shock from what he had just heard. Gopi had decided everything and there was
nothing much he had to do. Gopi, while still at the door looked back and said,
"Ahamji, if you want any changes to be made, we could discuss this with the
lawyer when we visit him in a day or two. Just let me know whenever you are
ready and I shall fix an appointment".
Saying this Gopi left.
Gopi rushed back to her
room, closed the door and cried her heart out. She had made her point and now
it was up to her to act and remain indifferent around Aham. She did not wish
for anyone to figure out anything until the last minute. Her defense was not
strong against the only family she had had and known. In the meantime, Gopi decided,
had to prepare herself for whatever lay ahead after the six month period. She
was determined to make it on her own. She had decided to increase her course
load with her tutor, arranged by Papaji and Baa. On Papaji's insistence she had
decided about enrolling herself into a basic computer course. She realized if
she planned and stuck to it, she could fit her new schedule into her routine.
Aham read and re-read the
document; it was simple and straight forward. He just gazed into the night,
blank. He knew, he had t talk to Gopi first, before setting things in motion. He
had to check his schedule for the next day and clear the afternoon.
************End of Part 2***********************