Nihal woke up with a sudden jerk as soon as he heard the alarm snooze. He was angry at himself for not being able to get up in time for an important day. He dreamt of a time that he had with Priyanka, but now had nothing but himself. He dialled his son Abeer and spoke over a video call to know if he is okay and was doing good at his daily chores. He was happy to see his son adjusting to his life so well and doing better without him.
The only thing he was hating was his life sans her, as it had changed since she left. The world to him meant running after her but now it is all about reliving the past, memorizing her through those moments and being happy or sad accordingly. Amidst his thoughts, he suddenly recalled about the milk pot on the gas stove and rushed to the kitchen. He recalled how he used to shout at her for everything she forgot amidst the numerous tasks she already had. He realized how wrong he was when he added to those tasks instead of helping her out with it.
Lying down on the couch, donning the boss of the house tag, was his most prominent memory across years that she was there. But yes! At least she was there, which is not the case now. He had almost nothing to worry but only had to call out her name and allot her the work using his authority of being the man of the house. She had no option but to do that work, as was directed to her during the initial years of marriage itself. Priyanka had accepted this as her fate to an extent, but she was always a rebel and hence she knew where to put her foot down. It was because of her rebellion that she slowly drifted apart and finally one day in despair, their world fell apart.
The days were progressing, and he was almost adjusting to his new schedule of staying at home and doing all those chores all by himself. Preparing the morning tea, which constituted 10% of his yearly schedule, that too whenever Priyanka fell sick, was now a 100% role if he wanted to be sane throughout. He missed the taste and aroma of her cooked tea but still was able to keep his ego intact. Afterall, he was getting better at it too. Still somewhere he knew, he was missing that first cup of tea, her smell in the room and the love and care that he reciprocated with utmost meanness.
His own conscience was reminding him of her like she used to say every time they had a fight. It seemed as if she was asking him, “Missing me Nihal?” and he had no way to avoid this question and the void she left behind now. Dejected, he continued to carry on the days and was still clueless about the coming days. Mapping the groceries, keeping up with supplies, making sure all is okay in every nook and corner of the house. Cleaning the house, cooking meals thrice, all was getting on him now. He just wanted this to get over somehow and end forever. But since this was not the case to be, he was forced to move on.
As the day moved on, there was complete solitude for him to enjoy his phone and the television. There was no one to complain about his habit of ignoring the world around. But this time around, he was craving for those complaints, wanted to hear his wife and son yell at him and tell him that he is only made for gadgets. But today, his television and phone were not appearing amusing to him at all. He wanted live human voices, attention and noise around him. But alas, here he was, in his most cherished lifestyle but all alone.
It wasn’t like this since ever. Then what happened, pondered Nihal while preparing lunch for himself. The day he first saw Priyanka in his office lobby on his first day, he knew he wanted to talk to her. She was full of life, always with people and happy. He was the one who started to gather more information about her from wherever he could. Till one day, he got to know that she is a simple girl with dreams to do something in life. She was a friend of everyone, and everyone wanted to be friends with her. He remembered Alok at this point, the guy who always was after Priyanka and how he hated him. To be even with him, Nihal left no stone unturned to let him know about his feelings for Priyanka. Alok and Nihal were always against each other and that was known to Priyanka, since ever. But she never considered this as a problem as she was “good friends” with both.
Nihal shouted with pain, as he had cut his finger while chopping an onion, that bought him back to reality. He almost cried in pain and at the same time recalled another moment when he yelled at Priyanka for accidently cutting her finger through a blender. While he could have provided her the first aid, he had left the kitchen fuming. Almost immediately to this thought, yet again, the ego came to his rescue saying that it is carelessness, today when I was lost in my thoughts, I got a bruise, else I cannot, so my mistake.
He had his own cooked rice which were not to his tongue’s taste but definitely appeased his mind that whispered in his mind that he cooked it better than anyone. He thought to be at this state of mind for the rest of the days. He again laid his mind to thoughts, when he returned to the time when Priyanka used to be his only focus and how now he is again directing his thoughts towards her. He observed the happiness that she had when he first saw her and how sad she looked when she was in his house. There was nothing that he did not know, there was nothing he did not have the solution for, but he now knew that he had not taken the righteous steps to correct them for her and make her life happier. He did not treat her right, took her for granted, took decisions on her behalf, considered her to be a slave of his orders and never really cared for her happiness.
Why did I do that to her? Was she right that I changed for worst towards her? Was she unhappy because I never paid attention to her? Was she annoyed with me because I was always concerned about myself? This time, he could not avoid these questions and had to answer them to himself to be at peace. He immediately wanted to let this known to her but then refrained because he knew there was no use of it now.
Suddenly his phone rang, and he saw Priyanka’s number on his screen. It was Abeer who was using her phone to video call him. He was happy to see that how his boy cared for him and was always keen in talking to him no matter what. Something that Priyanka always did. No matter how Nihal behaved, she would always call and ask about his mood and then eventually pacify him. She had over the years, got a knack of bringing him back to normal. But how he behaved that fateful day, when she left him, broke her and she left him with Abeer. He had hit her. This was the last streak she could handle after already having forgiven him for his past physical abuses. This was the final time, as she said and left.
He, in his anger, pushed her harder and told her to get lost. He had lost his cool and was not at all in his senses to control the abuses he hurled at her. She left in disgust with a promise to herself that she would not return now. After a few hours, when Nihal realized what he had done, he tried calling her, but nothing worked this time. Priyanka had lost it too this time. Nihal recalled how angry she looked and how she looked him in the eye while he was pushing her to the lift. He knew there and then that he had broken the last chord with her this time. She not only blocked him from all spheres of her life, but also made him starve to speak or seek her forgiveness. Only Abeer used to talk to his father once in a day because she knew that Abeer is close to his father and she never wanted to separate him from his father. She wanted him to decide for himself than to follow what she said.
After an entire week, on insistence from Nihal’s aunt, she got ready to speak but she maintained her decision to live with her parents. Nihal tried to pacify and apologize but she was just not ready this time around as he not only hurled abuses at her, he pushed her, hit her and foremostly, did not care that Abeer was watching all this happening to his mother. Nihal planned to visit her the next day and closed the call, he was somehow sure that he will be able to win her back.
Next day, while Nihal was readying himself to go and talk to Priyanka, and bring her back, a curfew was imposed all over the world thanks to a pandemic that had gradually engulfed the entire world. He could not move out and now knew that bringing his family back will not be possible this soon and he will have to wait for an undefined tenure.
Every day he calls on her phone, she avoids his call, and gives it to a waiting Abeer to be able to speak to his father. He asks Abeer about her and seeks her wellbeing but is unsure on how to get things settled with her. During the pandemic, the biggest lesson he learnt was that he had to only care of his own world, that he could not while the entire outside world is now in a grave danger. He is not even around his family and has no control over life. Had he been nicer to his world, his family would have been with him today and he would have had a better way to spend this lockdown time. While the entire world was locked down, he was locked in his own home, with memories all around him but the two most important people who made those memories with him were not there. He wanted to be happy again but now his wait was endless as no one knew how things would move from where they were.
He kept on sending messages to her but did not receive any response from her. Despite trying every day, he could not make her heart melt. He was now realizing that the entire episode is nothing but his Karma. He invested this hatred in her, made her feel alone and always intentionally left her alone when she needed him the most. The same is what is now happening with him. He was never concerned about her happiness. He always considered his own and his son’s convenience important and never bothered about her. His thinking never reached at par with her wishes and this was what never went down well with Priyanka too. She tried hard to make him realize but all in vain. Now that she was gone from his life since an entire week, he found it hard to imagine that she might never return.
Nihal during these few days, could realize his love for her and promised himself that he will be the best husband ever when this time she returns, because his life is nothing sans her. Now his only work to do was to mark his calendar for the epidemic to be over so that he can woo her…ALL OVER AGAIN!
Connect with Penmancy:
Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!