‘ I cant do this’.
She forcefully released herself from Saurabh’s embrace because she suddenly felt repulsed at his hand travelling in to her blouse, trying to unhook her bra. Saurabh was taken aback. They had rented a cottage for an entire afternoon, they had kissed passionately and when he thought ‘ now is the right moment to get intimate ‘ what had gone wrong? But inspite her pulling away he brought a charming smile to his face and said,
‘Hey baby. What are you afraid of ? You love me, dont you’ ?
But Smita felt as if she was looking at a complete stranger.
‘ I said i cant do this. Lets please leave. ‘ she said hurriedly.
He thought that until a few minutes back she was meekly following his every command like a lamb. How could she suddenly break free of his spell ? The disarming smile on his lips was replaced by the thinning of his angry lips, which made him look cruel. He asked her in an accusatory tone,
‘ What’s your problem all of a sudden ? You came here of your own free will. You knew what was going to follow. You are not a child or some babe in the woods. You are a married woman. So why suddenly behave like a virgin’? ‘
‘ How many women have you brought here ‘?
‘ What kind of a question is that’? ‘
‘ I saw how friendly you were with the guy who manages these cottages.’
‘ Did i ask you about your past, about your husband? Did i ever ask you if i was the first man in your life after marriage or was i the fifth or the tenth ‘?
‘ I have never strayed in my marriage’, she screamed. ‘ i never wanted to stray. I had accepted my loveless life and was getting used to escaping in to my dream world from time to time, and living out my fantasies of being loved by an imaginary man; because that did not threaten the status quo of my marriage.’ She looked at him with her deer like eyes, ‘ Then i saw you feeding your daughter Riya in the cafeteria at the mall. Taking care of her, getting ordered around by that little girl. Your vulnerability attracted me. I felt drawn towards a father and a man who looked like the embodiment of love. And my heart felt drawn towards you because it had been screaming for love for many births, or so i think. ‘ She sighed and then said in a resigned tone, ‘But my search for love led me to this shady cottage in the end. I have seen enough men lusting for me in my life; i did not want to see one more. I ignored many a lustful looks but in this case i could not ignore it because i was in love with the man. I decided to give in to his lust… but i couldn’t.’
‘ Oh please don’t surrender your body to this lustful man. No need to feel like a sacrificial lamb.’ Saurabh said acidic sarcasm. Then after a pause he continued in the same tone, ‘ I am sorry i came across as an embodiment of love but the truth is that i am like any other normal man. I have my desires and i am not ashamed of them, unlike you. We are grown ups, in our late twenties or early thirties and not teenagers any more to create a big fuss about making love.’
Smita countered, ‘ Love ? No. This isn’t making love. This is what i have experienced with my husband from day one of my marriage. He does not love me. And i think.. nor do you. By the way who decides at what age we should stop seeking love ? I may be in my late twenties but i can tell you right away that i want to be loved even as i am breathing my last.’ She again sighed and shrugged her shoulders lightly. ‘ Anyway..you are entitled to have an opinion about love and life, but so am I. I am sorry i spoilt your afternoon. But you are a good looking man and i am sure there is no dearth of good looking women in your life, not to forget that you already have a pretty wife, who is travelling now, but will soon be back.’
‘ Can you please stop?’ he said irritatedly.
Smita nodded, ‘ Yes i can. I think i haven’t spoken at such greath length for many years. Have lived most of my life in monosyllables. I got carried away and it must have been too much for you. I will take your leave. I wish you the best in life and do give my love to Riya. She acts like a little devil sometimes but she is an angel at heart. I hope..’
‘ Please can you just leave? ‘ he cut her short mid-sentence.
Smita smiled, ‘ I will. ‘ Her shoulders drooped as she felt his humiliating tone tear in to her fragile being. With her head bowed down she quietly went to the cottage door,unlocked it and left, gently closing the door behind her. Saurabh fumed at being left alone in the cottage. He banged his fist in to the wall, hurting himself in the bargain, but his feeling of humiliation at being rejected by Smita was far greater than the physical pain.
Smita on the other hand passed the reception The guy behind the desk was leering at her. A suggestive smile on his lips seemed to say, ‘ You had a good time baby, didn’t you ? And all this illegally and immorally. With someone who is not your husband. ‘
She died a few deaths while walking out of the cottage complex. She thought, ‘Couples must be coming and leaving together and the sight of a lone woman leaving must be a rare sight for the lecherous guy at the reception. After all couples come here with one purpose in mind and he seems to enjoy that.’
She exited the gate of the complex and slowed down. Her breathing was laboured and in spite of the beautiful sun hanging over the sea, she felt a darkness enveloping her soul. Her dream had ended in disillusionment and now she was making her way back to the same old life which was devoid of love; leading which made her feel soul-less. She wasn’t aware but tears began to roll down her eyes. Her emotional body had suddenly come alive and the wounds of past and the present began to fester once again.
Many days had passed since Smita’s unpleasant break up with Saurabh. She was once again performing her duties as a wife and a mother with as much enthusiasm as she could muster from her dead being. She would visit malls in her free time, but avoided the mall where she had met Saurabh for the first time. There were too many memories attached to that mall. Their love had blossomed there, or so she thought, then. Now she was wiser and understood that for Saurabh her love was nothing but a game. A game which would lead to pinning down the fallen woman in bed.
Her point of view of life had changed drastically. She no longer believed that everyone in the world was celebrating love. When she would see a couple in the mall she would try to gauge if they were in love or was it one sided ? The girl in love and the guy in lust ? Its true that the world is but a reflection of our recent experiences. If you have recently fallen in love, everyone in the world appears to be in love. But if you have recently been through a heartbreaking experience then the world fills up with shadows of doubt. It appears as if every man is a blood hound, ready to take advantage of you and the girls out there. This was the current state of Smita’s mind and it reflected in her perception of the world at the moment.
Her husband Abhijeet led his monotonous life with utmost happiness. He got what he desired, when he desired. In fact his life was so well programmed that Smita knew on which day he desired what kind of food for his lunch and dinner. And after a gap of how many nights- his desire to make love would arise. She was astounded how some people found security in a monotonous life.
She was lying awake in bed though it was way past midnight but sleep had managed to elude her eyes. She saw a light flash in her mobile. She picked it up. ‘ I miss you baby.’ The message had two crying smilies and then a smily with a kiss. It was from Saurabh. A shiver ran through her entire body. She felt numb, staring at the ceiling endlessly. Then she gently shut her eyes. Tears rolled down her cheek.