A Happy Ending
A Happy Ending9 mins 373 9 mins 373
Dayalu was astonished to see her husband, sorry ex-husband Achyuth in that crowd. She had a sort of instinct that he was somewhere around but she could not believe her eyes when that instinct turned right! And what a surprise! He was wearing that orange shirt that she had gifted him on that fateful day when everything in her life turned topsy-turvy!
Eight years, 3 months and 2 days since she moved away from her dear Achyuth. Yes, she had kept an accurate count of every minute that she passed without him. She had never imagined that she would ever live without him. How is able to carry on and lead such a normal life after divorcing him? Strange!
Dayalu was very intelligent and did very well in her studies. She was the younger of two children to Subbanna and Bhagya. Subbanna worked in Tata’s and earned very well. Dayalu and her sister Mayura had a very comfortable childhood. Bhagya worked in the Telephone Department and their lives were very smooth and uneventful. In fact, ‘boring’ as Dayalu felt sometimes when she heard her friends relate some anecdotes of their lives. But little did she realise that her boredom would seem a better option very soon in her life!
She was a very romantic person and fell in love with Achyuth, her classmate, when she was doing her M.Sc. Even their romance and their marriage thereafter happened very smoothly, with both families accepting the proposal very openly.
Of course, when Dayalu courted Achyuth, she did come to know of his strong principles, stubborn behaviour and simple lifestyle. In fact, she had admired him for his nature and his humility. Achyuth continued his studies and went to the US for his PhD, while Dayalu took up a job in a private lab. During those five years when Achyuth was away, Dayalu really missed him. Whenever he came on a holiday, she pestered him to get married so that she too could go along with him. But he was very stubborn that he would not marry until he finished his PhD.
He finished his Ph.D., and got a postdoctoral fellowship in the same university. He then came down and married Dayalu. When Dayalu first landed in the US with Achyuth, her joy knew no bounds. She too got inspired to continue her studies and enrolled for PhD in a University nearby. The two of them could meet only once or twice a month. But since they both respected each other’s careers, they got along well. By the time Dayalu finished her Ph.D., she was 35 years old. When they set up their first home together in Chicago, they were thrilled. Dayalu too found a job very soon and life went on for a couple of years.
However, both of them realised that living under a single roof continuously meant compromising a lot! As long as they were meeting rarely, their love remained strong and the little time that they got together they would be conscious not to displease each other. But now, they could not continue pretending for long. Thus, there appeared small little disagreements and arguments. Dayalu was petrified with the kind of strong attachment that Achyuth had for his principles. He could never compromise even a bit. For some time, Dayalu put up and let go. But then, she started feeling, ‘why should it always be me? Why not him?’
Achyuth was very practical minded and believed that one need not say in that many words that he loves somebody, every now and then. He did not believe in gifting anything or even surprising his spouse on occasions. Fine! Dayalu had got used to that idea of his. But once in a way, she would want to surprise him with something, just that life should not get too boring eventually.
“Achyuth, we are nearing forty years. Are you not feeling bored of this life? Don’t you think we should a child of our own to make this home more lively?”
“Come on Dayalu! Don’t be so sentimental. We have been free and independent all these years. Do you think we can now manage a young one efficiently? I don’t think we are the kind of couples, who beget children just mechanically, without even planning properly or without thinking whether they can really do justice to them. I cannot think of a third person in this house. I cannot imagine managing a cranky or sick child. I have no patience. I am too involved in my work.”
Dayalu could never convince him on that issue, though in her heart of hearts she yearned for a child. She gave up sadly.
For Achyuth’s fortieth birthday, Dayalu organised a surprise party for him, by inviting all his close friends. Instead of feeling happy for that, Achyuth made a comment, “What’s all this childish behaviour Dayalu? Don’t you know I do not believe in such things?” Of course he did enjoy the company of his friends but at the end of it, he disappointed her with his caustic remark.
“Achyuth, let’s plan a trip to Alaska this year. That is one of my dreams.”
“Dayalu, you know I do not enjoy cold weather. In fact, only because of that we shifted to Arizona. Let’s go elsewhere.”
“Achyuth, can you not bear the weather for my sake even for a few days? I have been wanting to go there since long.”
“You may go with your friends. I have no objection. Don’t call me.”
“But I want your company. Did I not come to Calcutta with you, though I hated that city and its weather only for your sake? Did I not bury my wish to have a child only for your strange principles and fears?”
“Why do you compare every little thing to something from the past?”
“Because, I cannot remember even one instance when you compromised. It always has to be me.”
Finally, they never went to Alaska.
“Happy returns of the day, young couple! Let’s go out for dinner and celebrate your 25th anniversary”. This was their close friends David and Sara.
“What? 25 years since we married? When we have not celebrated any anniversary all these years, why now?” said Achyuth.
“This is a milestone Achyuth. We have organised a party at Hotel Hilton. Our other friends are already there. Get ready and start. We will be waiting for you”, said Sara and left.
“Achyuth, happy anniversary. Wear this and get ready”, Dayalu handed him an orange shirt.
“Dayalu, have you gone mad? When did you become so ordinary like others? And this orange shirt? You know I wear only light-coloured shirts. And you know I will definitely not celebrate such days. Forget it. We will inform them.”
“Achyuth, don’t be so stupid. They have already organised the party. All of them will be hurt. And, what’s wrong if you wear this shirt just for my sake? I am bored of seeing you in those light colours forever. Get ready soon.”
“Sorry, Dayalu, I cannot wear this shirt and I cannot go to the party. It is my principle. If you want, you are free to go.”
Dayalu was shocked. “What are you saying? How can I go alone to celebrate our anniversary?”
Achyuth never let go of his ego. She was in tears but that only made things worse. “Now don’t create such scenes and blackmail me emotionally Dayalu.”
They hurt each other and hurled abuses. Something snapped in Dayalu. She had had enough. She called Sara and said, “Sara, I will be there in half-an-hour. Sorry for the delay.”
Everybody was shocked to see her alone. “Where is Achyuth?”
“Sorry guys! He does not want to come. In fact, I too would not have come. But today, I have made an important decision and I want to announce that. That’s why I came. I am quitting. I cannot bear this anymore.” Dayalu broke down and wept bitterly. All her friends tried to comfort her and advise her against her sudden decision. But she was firm.
That was 8 years ago. Today, she came to attend David’s son’s wedding party and here he was here too. In fact, Dayalu had left the US and returned to Mysore. She had come to the US for a conference and that’s when David and Sara invited her to the party. Dayalu had not seen or contacted Achyuth in all eight years. She had goosebumps seeing Achyuth there and felt very uncomfortable.
“Sara, I think I will leave. I have a severe headache.”
“No way Dayalu; the party is yet to begin. What happened?”
“You never told me Achyuth will be coming. I feel very uncomfortable.”
“Dayalu, in fact, we invited you only because he is coming. Achyuth has changed a lot Dayalu. Trust me. He misses you. He keeps saying, ‘how stubborn I was! How much I have hurt her. I lost her out of my stupidity.’”
“I don’t believe that. A person who would not change in 30 years, would change in such a short time!”
Just then Achyuth came to them. His eyes were filled with tears. He looked at Dayalu with love oozing from his eyes and said, “How are you Dayalu? Don’t you miss me?”
That was all, Dayalu could not control her emotions. She burst out.
“This is not the time to cry Dayalu. Please say you have pardoned me and accept me again. I cannot live without you. I had almost turned insane.”
“Do you think I enjoyed life all these 8 years, 2 months and ………………….?”
“What, keeping count of every minute? Then why couldn’t you have contacted me?”
“This time I was very firm that I would get back ONLY IF you want me and you miss me.”
“Don’t you now trust that I miss you, at least after seeing me in this shirt? I wear it at least once a week.”
Dayalu smiled with tears in her eyes. All the friends around clapped and shouted, “Hey! What can be more exciting than this on such an auspicious day?”