Dream

Grudges and Egos : A Short Story

Posted on: January 18, 2013

Amar’s heart was pounding against his ribcage as he made his way through the evening traffic of Bangalore to reach home. He had stopped feeling excited for past few days. All of a sudden the excitement had returned. He didn’t know how to deal with the excitement.

He knew that Reema was at his home. She was there with her mother. He didn’t want her to be there when he reached home. He was scared that something bad would happen. Something so bad that for which he would end up regretting forever.

But the battle was between the mind and the heart. The mind didn’t want her to be around when he reached home. At the same time the heart wanted her to be around. The heart, moreover, wanted her to smile at him when he reached.

While waiting for the signal to turn green, he pulled out his cell phone and nervously typed a text message that read can you please ensure that nobody is around when I reach home? He paused for a while before sending the message. When the signal was about to turn green, he pressed the send button and kick-started his bike after sliding his phone into his shirt pocket.

Amar had sent the text message to his wife Jyoti.

Amar had, once upon a time, a crush on Reema who was Jyoti’s cousin. There was a history of bad blood between Amar and Reema following the various attempts made by Amar to make Reema his ‘friend’.

Reema had initially kept those overtures a secret from Jyoti thinking that that would upset Jyoti and both husband and wife would end up fighting on account of her.

Amar had misunderstood her silence as a covert green signal and had gone to the extent of asking her out one evening after showering her with expensive gifts.

All this he had done after extracting a promise from Reema that she would never divulge a word of it to Jyoti.

God only knew how long all that love-struck behaviour of Amar would have gone on, had Jyoti not come across a text message accidentally in Reema’s mobile.

The message was from Amar asking Reema whether she would prefer dining with him at her favourite restaurant at Koromangala. Obviously, that had infuriated Jyoti who, in turn, had demanded to know what the whole thing was all about after accusing Reema of having an affair with her husband.

Bucketful of tears were shed as the accusations flew thick and fast. When Reema successfully proved that it was Amar who was stalking her, the attention shifted to Amar who was made to swear by their two daughters against any such future transgressions.

The doomsday had long gone. But its ugly aftermath kept casting its long shadow time and again. Amar had to prove his love for his hurt wife and commitment toward their marriage all over again.

The faith in their marriage was the main casualty. Now it was up to Amar to rebuild that faith brick by brick.

It was proving to be difficult as Reema was a family relative and her entry couldn’t be banned into their household. Time and again they ran into each other. Again the doubts cropped up and the old memories would come back to haunt the couple.

It was five years ago. But the wounds were still fresh. At times they both tried to pretend that it was a painful episode left behind for good. But in truth, those memories were always at the back of their minds.

While riding his bike he anxiously waited for his phone to vibrate against his chest in his shirt pocket. But the phone refused to vibrate indicating they were there to stay .

The evening was promising to be eventful as the hunter was about to see the prey after a gap of a couple of months.

Amar reached home and as feared Reema was there.

He nervously knocked at the door. As he stood waiting for the door to come open, the questions would Reema look at him, would she at least smile at him, will she give any indication that all was forgiven and forgotten and she was ready to move on raced across his minds making him go weak in his knees.

He felt like sitting down on the steps. Finally the door came open and he saw Jyoti and his younger daughter Sumi beaming at him proudly.

They both stepped aside to let him in. As he entered, Sumi asked, “Papa, what have you brought me?”

“Leave your papa alone, beti. He has returned home tired.” He heard Jyoti call out after Sumi as he walked into the bedroom for a change and shower.

Sumi was six years old and she snatched Amar’s Wildcraft bag and began to go through it frantically to come up with something for her. This behaviour struck Amar as odd.

His eyes were looking for Reema who was nowhere in sight. A pleasant smell pervaded in the air. The house looked cleaner than usual. The neat and clean bed-sheets adored the beds. The chairs were properly kept in the corner. The TV was switched off. The festivities were in the air thought Amar while throwing nervous glances around.

He continued to look around searchingly for their elder daughter. Even she was nowhere to be seen.

Jyoti could sense who Amar was looking for. She said, “Sara is over at Rosie’s place for the homework” while handing him over a glass of water.

Without a word Amar gulped down the water and handed the glass back to Jyoti who was standing there waiting for him to finish.

“Can you please say hello to aunt?” said Jyoti pointing in the direction of the kitchen.

He walked across to the kitchen and saw Reema and aunt huddled over the gas stove making dinner.

“Hello aunt, how are you doing?”

Aunt turned around to smile at Amar. But to his dismay Reema’s back continued to face him. Obviously, he was heart-broken.

Without bothering to wait for aunt’s answer, he turned back out of frustration and headed into the bedroom slamming the door shut behind him.

He was humiliated. On his own turf, there was a guest who was not interested in looking in his direction. He felt the snub had robbed him of all his self-pride in a single stroke.

The feeling of worthlessness grew more painful with each passing moment as he sat on the bed plotting the revenge.

Jyoti, sensing trouble, decided to stay out of Amar’s sight.

After half an hour, Amar heard Reema calling out to Sara. What he understood was Reema wanted Sara to accompany her somewhere for an urgent errand. He didn’t know what the errand was all about.

Suddenly an idea flashed across his mind. With a chuckle he got up and hurried out of the bed-room.

“Sara, what’s up? Don’t you want to say hello to your papa?”

Reema and Sara were at the door ready to go out somewhere.

“Hello Papa, sorry. Mommy asked me to let you sleep for a while. That was why I didn’t come in to say hello. Now give us five minutes. We are going out somewhere and will be back soon” said Sara with a naughty wink.

She was nine years and was very talkative. Everybody adored her in their family and neighborhood.

“No darling. How can you step out at this hour? Roads are unsafe out there. I want you to stay indoors”.

Reema and Jyoti exchanged nervous glances as Sara’s face lost all its colour.

It was futile to argue with Amar. Reema let go of Sara’s hand and looked in a corner where Sumi was seated on a plastic chair playing racing game on her PSP.

Amar knew what Reema was thinking. Without wasting a second, he said, “Sumi darling, can you press my head? I have a severe headache”.

Without a word, Sumi got up from her chair and rushed into the bed-room. Sara too followed her as Amar smiled a triumphant smile while closing the bed-room door behind them.

A silence fell over the house-hold. Nobody said a word for a long time. They ate dinner too in silence.

After dinner, Reema and her mother took their permission to leave.

It was eleven pm and the time to go to bed.

He went inside the room where his daughters slept to kiss them good night. Both had white cotton dresses on and they looked like angels. None of them looked up to smile at him.

Amar didn’t know what to do. He stood there for a while. It took him some time to realise that they were crying.

Amar sat next to his elder daughter Sara and cupped her small face in his palms. She looked at him and said, “Papa, you are really very cruel. How could you do that? Do you know how much you’ve hurt Sumi?”

He looked at Sumi who was sobbing loudly.

“Papa, go away from here. I don’t want to see your face. You remember nothing. Today was my seventh birthday. Forget about bringing cake and celebrating it, you haven’t even wished me. I will never forgive you. Please go out of my sight” yelled Sumi the birthday girl.

Amar felt like fainting right there.

“And you know what. While we were going out to bring a cake, even that you stopped from happening. Thank you for all your concerns. Please leave us alone now” cried Sara.

Amar noticed the presence of Jyoti behind him.

He turned around and walked past Jyoti as she mumbled, “For some human beings, their grudges and egos override everything else. They never change”.

Had the earth slid, Amar wouldn’t have minded falling into it.

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wow....!!! This Much Love.....!!!!

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