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What Vanita did...

posted Aug 8, 2014, 12:14 AM by Madhuri Sen

Vanita looked at herself in the mirror. Her eye did not look quite as bad as it did last time and the concealing make-up stick might do adequately to cover it up; enough to get to work. She couldn’t quite afford to call in sick again today, it was starting to reflect on her performance record and more importantly putting her in the unreliable page in her boss’ book.  She looked at Amit through her mirror, sleeping as peacefully as a baby just after its born. She wondered how she could love him through all the battering. But she did. And the love making was always more fierce and satisfying when they made up after one of these bouts.


Last night’s episode had been brought on by her not being able to inform him that she was going to drop in at Aditi’s place on her request. Aditi was depressed about being between jobs and not being able to find anything suitable. Vanita’s phone battery had died just after she left office and could call Amit only after she reached Vanita’s place. His phone had been unreachable and she did not try again. Amit as usual suspected her of cheating on him. He never really had anyone specific that he suspected her with. But each time he had one of these flare ups, he would get literally violently angry and beat her up. The pattern remained the same for the last six years that they lived together, the last two of them married; before which they had started living in after a short torrential dating relationship. He would dissolve into tears once he had beaten her till the anger left him and beg her to forgive him and not leave him.


She left for work, shutting the door noiselessly so that Amit’s sleep wouldn’t be disturbed.


While she was still checking her day’s email, her mobile phone started to ring with an unknown number flashing on it. She picked it up all prepared to cut short a sales pitch for an insurance policy, credit card, car loan, holiday share plan or whatever else this telemarketing executive - that had been let loose on her and other unsuspecting mobile users – had to sell.


“Hey, Nats. How’ve you been?”


“Nats? Gaurav!! What the hell!” Vanita thought as she screeched down the phone line expressing her ecstasy at hearing from her favorite erstwhile colleague who had since left the country to study further.


The quickly agreed to meet for a coffee and Gaurav offered to pick her up at the office after work. Just as she kept the phone down, she quivered at the thought of telling Amit that she was meeting Gaurav for coffee. She just couldn’t take another of his storms today. Her body was yet to heal from yesterday’s.  She called him to let him know that she was meeting a client for coffee and that may delay her a bit; making sure to tell him the exact location and adding an hour to the time she actually expected to make her way back.


She didn’t remember having so much fun in all of the last year since she had changed jobs from a company with a more ‘young’ culture than the more staid corporate that she had since joined. The new job left her little time for her to make new friends or even keep in touch with older ones.  “I’m in this part of town a couple of days every week. We should really stay in touch” Gaurav said, just as they were leaving. Vanita happily agreed.


Establishing a regular routine of Gaurav calling at about the time she would be leaving work once or twice a week and then meet was easy. Telling Amit about it was not. What he wouldn’t know couldn’t hurt, she reasoned. And besides she was not really doing anything dishonest.


About six months down, Gaurav wanted to know if she’d like to join a group of them going off that on a weekend long trek. Vanita knew that that would be stretching things too far: taking off not telling Amit. So she politely declined.  The next week Gaurav was full of stories about all the fun they had out there and Vanita ached to go back to her carefree college days when she would have done this kind of thing every weekend.  It only took Gaurav to ask her out the next time they were going and she found a plausible enough story to tell Amit. She was tempted to tell him who she was really going with; but sufficed with telling him that she had joined a amateur trekkers and mountaineers club. He was none too happy about it, but did not actively protest.


Her meetings with Gaurav occasionally resulted in one of the violent episodes with Amit, but Vanita liked her newfound sense of self. It was like her early days with Amit when he unabashedly courted her. Gaurav’s behavior was fast starting to resemble a courtship and Vanita reveled in the attention.


The affair started with neither Gaurav nor Vanita choosing to admit that it was one. They chose to believe that their emotional and now physical intimacy was just an extension of their “good times” together.


Vanita lit a cigarette as she sat up. Gaurav was still lying back on the pillow, exhausted and fulfilled.  “So how often do you sleep with him now?” Vanita did not turn back as she responded, “How’s that any of your business?” “Only wondering,” said Gaurav as he fell into a disquieted silence. After about a couple of minutes, “Did you screw him last night?”




“And you might again today”


“Yes, I might….Stop it, Gaurav. You are making me uncomfortable.”


“How do you feel sleeping with both of us at the same time?”


“Why? Does it bother you?”


“I would really prefer if you didn’t. But then I guess no one else’s opinions or feelings but your own matters to you.”


Vanita turned back now to face him. “That was absolutely uncalled for, Gaurav! I have never misled you. You know that I’m married and I love my husband”


“Yes, so much so that you have no qualms cheating on him and he has no qualms beating the shit out of you. That’s just the perfect marriage!!” Gaurav shot back.


“How dare you!”


“I dare because I love you Vanita and I wish you could see that you did too….and give up that farce of a marriage you are in. We could be so happy together. We are just soulmates.”


“I think we should just stop meeting. This is not the conversation that I ever expected to have”


“Yeah…till you find another dolt to lead by the nose.”


“That’s it! I’m off”


She rose to dress quickly. Gaurav snarled, “Not so quickly. Not until you admit that you do love me.”


She continued to dress and Gaurav held her upper arm to stop her. “It hurts. Let me go.”


“And you think what you are doing to me does not hurt!”


As she struggled to tear away from him, Gaurav slapped her hard across her face and pushed her to the floor. Vanita crumpled in a heap on the floor sobbing “Yes I love you. I do. But if Amit ever gets to know about this he will kill me.”