She never used perfumes, still she didn’t know why her hands were so eager to spray ‘Blue Lady’ on her. It was his, Hari’s favorite, on her. “Mamma…Mamma…”, her three-year-old son Ishaan screamed and rushed into the room. “Come Mammaa… we can go…I want to see him… I will get lots of chocolates.” They were getting ready to go and meet someone special. She was all set, but she found she had worn no earrings. She was about to pick a long earring that matched her yellow saree, which she draped purposefully today. It was gifted by Hari, long back. She picked a small studded earring instead of a long one, Hari liked it that way. She was not sure why she was feeling different. ‘It should be a normal visit.’ She conveyed herself.
She seated Ishaan in the back seat of the car and was about to get in for the drive. All of a sudden, “Tum hii dekho naa…yeh kyaa..” It was her phone ringing. She got tensed and tried to snatch the phone from Ishaan.
“Haloo Pappa….yes…” Ishaan picked up the call as she feared. It was Dev, her husband calling.
“It is Ishaan only Pappa.. We are going to …”.
“Ishaan…”, somehow she yelled and grabbed the phone from him.
“Hello, Dev… yeah… you reached? ”
Dev was on his way to Banglore for a business meeting. He had left early morning today.
“Dev, yes, we are going out… aah… we… we are going shopping…”
“Ok, yeah, I remember. I will take him there later. ”
“Ok bye, I’m about to start now. Call you later… ”
“Love you too…”.
They ended their calls mostly with ‘love you. Sometimes she felt, it was just for a sake of formality. She regretted after ending the call, that she lied. ‘What was the need for me to lie? He instead reminded me…’. She got in to drive, adjusted herself, and started her car.
‘It’s been almost one year or more since I met him last’ she was thinking while driving. That day she did not even raise her eyes to look at Hari. She hated him those days. Dev was with her and it was Dev who talked with Hari that day. She hated that situation too when both were together and she was in middle.
Soon they reached Hari’s apartments. She pressed the calling bell and waited for Hari. Ishaan was occupied in his ways by telling stories and talking to all nearby fascinating objects he found. She too was in her world. She was wondering, how she would start a conversation with Hari. She badly wanted to talk to him. But she was not sure what she had to talk about, what she had to express. All of a sudden, Hari opened the door. Ishaan jumped on top of him. She stared at Hari. He looked so weak. He stared at her back for a few seconds. As she was about to smile, he put his gaze down, turned, and walked away with Ishaan. She was about to enter when he asked in a subtle voice,
“When would you come back to pick him up?”
“Hari..” she answered, ”I… in two hours…”.
She couldn’t utter anything more. She turned and gently walked down the stairs.
Tears thinned down through her soft cheeks. She knew Hari was right this time. She knew this was the only thing that can happen now. This was why she always insisted to Dev, that he dropped Ishaan at Hari’s flat. ‘It was all my fault’, she regretted. She did not give a second thought while signing the divorce petition, two years back. Nowadays she felt guilty whenever she thought of Hari because it was she who had signed it first.
‘It all happened so suddenly. If ever I could go back in time and got a chance to correct Hari or at least forgive him. Never would have I, married Dev, all of a sudden, owing to my parent’s wish. Ishaan wouldn’t have to call two persons “Pappa” at the same time. Hari wouldn’t have been so miserable without Ishaan and me and I wouldn’t have been into so much uncertainty. What have I done to myself ??’, she couldn’t do anything but question herself. She opened her car gently as a breeze, dropped herself into the seat, and burst into tears.