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What Vanita did next...

posted Aug 8, 2014, 12:15 AM by Madhuri Sen

Amit noticed the wedding card in the stack of mail that he was going through. Simple, elegant, muted card solemnly declaring ‘Gaurav weds Amrita’ with the customary mark of ‘om’ on top. He quickly mentally scanned through Vanita’s friends and colleagues list. Neither Gaurav nor Amrita rang a bell. The wedding was on the next Sunday. He made a mental note to ask her this evening. He had plans to hang out with the guys that Sunday and certainly didn’t want to throw that up for some stranger’s wedding. He hoped that Vanita wouldn’t insist as she usually did about anything that she decided just had to be done.


Vanita was staring at the empty pack of cigarettes as if one would materialize if she looked long and hard enough. The conversation had lapsed into an uncomfortable silence. She looked up tentatively at Gaurav and asked, “So what happens after this? Engaged last week and marrying the next. Is this the last time I’m seeing you?”


“You surprise me, Vanita! You know this is all for you; so that I don’t demand anymore time of you than you do of me. Both of us being in similar boats makes it so much easier,” retorted Gaurav. “Does it really, Gaurav? I am not so sure. This is about you and what you want. Not about me and certainly not about us.”


That evening as the family sat down to dinner, Amit casually checked, “Do I need to come for that wedding on Sunday or is it just a girl group kind of thing?” “Wedding?” “I mean Amrita’s. I saw the card this morning.” “But I don’t know an Amrita!” Amit went silent.


“Since its addressed ‘Vanita’, I’d then assume that it’s Gaurav that you know.” Vanita froze for a moment and recovered quickly. “It’s just someone I knew in college and bumped into quite recently and he mentioned he was getting married. We don’t really have to go at all.”


She abruptly got up from the dining table to get something from the kitchen.


“Mamma, can I have some ice cream now?”


“Vanita, sonu wants some ice cream. Do you hear?”


He got up to check on her when he didn’t get a response and found her sobbing, bent over the kitchen sink.


“What is it, Vanita?”


“Oh, it nothing. Just something at work that upset me.”


“I don’t believe that,” he said coldly. “Tell me what it is really.”


He paused for a few minutes and asked with steely anger in his tone, “It’s something to do with that Gaurav, isn’t it?”


“Isn’t it?”


Her ears buzzed with the familiar blow as she fell hitting her head on the sink as she fell. The kicking came next till there was nothing but pain around. Sonu stood mutely at the door crying silent tears saying “Mamma” softly at long intervals.


She lay on the floor in a painful daze till she was able to move and went straight to the room take her purse. She pulled he son by his hand half dragging him as she moved towards the door.


Amit blocked her way saying, “What the hell do you think you are doing?” There was a note of fright in his voice.


“Something I should have done years back. Get out of this house and your life.”


“But where would you go? And you don’t even have your things. It’s late in the night. And you certainly can’t go dragging Sonu around!”


“Yes I can. Though not dragging him around. I’m off to my house that I got myself a month back. Good bye.”


Amit’s grip on her arm though still tight, froze. “So you have been planning this for a while. Don’t leave me, Vanita. All I have is you. You and Sonu are the only ones I care for,” he said in a strangled voice.


Vanita yanked open the front door and started to walk out. Amit crumpled in a heap sobbing. “No Vanita. You can’t.”


“And how would you stop me? By beating me up even more until I die and your child is motherless?” she said bitterly.


“I’ve been going for anger management therapy, Vanita. I thought I had it under control. Was too embarrassed to tell you that I had been trying to get help. I promise to never beat you up again. Just don’t leave me. I love you.”


“I need my own time and space to think, Amit.  I’ll call you tomorrow.”


Vanita shook herself out of her reverie as she looked at Gaurav’s wedding card lying in a pile of old stuff that had not been discarded for over ten years. It had turned up as she was cleaning an old cupboard. She wondered what had happened to him after she had changed her phone number and her job two months into the time he got married. She went back to her cupboard cleaning. Amit would be back for the long weekend starting tomorrow so that they could go for Sonu’s annual day function together. He was so excited about his performance.