After A Divorce
After A Divorce
' Ok, Mr. Let's put it off the way we wanted to...you will hear from my lawyer' Arundhati stated. She minced no words. She just stated. Her voice had no apparent undulations. She had practised last night standing infront of the mirror half a dozen times this simple oneliner. It had been a difficult exercise to hold back one's emotional turmoil deep below and come up with a monotone like that, very robotic monotone, resembling mechanical voice. Hrid heard that. He had presupposed that. Not at all a surprise. He also few months meditated on this single thing. Divorce. There was no way to live with a woman who had been so concerned with money and social status. His job alone could not give happiness of owning all things that she desired.
She got her job. She pays for her car. He for his. She pays for her car's fuel. He for his. Next all domestic expenses. He had been bearing them all alone. She would not bear them. ' my money is mine... I am not to part with that for your family' Arundhati said that once Hrid fell short of cash and asked for a little monetary support. ' my family? We got no kids even ...only this two bedroomed flat and two domestic helps and we just two' Hrid reverted. Arundhati laughed loud. ' that's all the more reason...had we got kids, I would have thought of bearing some of the daily expenses, but to live with a man who can not even make me mother and earns not enough money to support two people, no way...' She had shot back. Hrid did not know then what to say. He just felt somehow a burning coal had been put into his mouth and he could not swallow it. It burnt his mouth, tongue, vocal pipe. ' so...as I am unable to give you a child, you have become so ? Is that to what our love for two years and one and half year of marriage turns into?' He had asked, trying hard to cope with the burning sensation of a coal on fire in his throat. ' if you think that way, then let it be so...quite a valid reason for divorce, having no child...marrying an impotent man' Arundhati had stated.
And that sealed everything. From that bit of conversation they both entered into a zone of complete silence. He spoke not to her. She did not. He spoke with domestic helps. She spoke with them too. They slept apart. She in her room. He in his. Still sometimes in the morning, there would be some tussles, verbal ones. ' If you would have to go early to office, get yourself to the bathroom before I do' He would tell her, watching the clock ticking away, getting anxious of being late for work. She would not reply. He would wait listening to her bathroom songs. 'I am getting late for work!' He would burst out, knocking at the bathroom door. She would open the door and in a mocking tone say : ' Why could not you wake up early and do your morning rituals?' Saying this she would close the door. Another fifteen minutes would be gone. Another day the same thing would happen. But this time he would keep the bathroom occupied. She would knock. She would yell. He would sing. Tit for tat. For three months this continued. Tit for tat. Now that it had all boiled down to law it bore some sense.
Hrid thought. At least there would be no meaningless silly quarrels. Specially in the morning. ---------------------------------------- ' you both are two beautiful human beings. I find no serious issues between you two. Other than monetary one.' The judge at the court observed. Arundhati was sitting quiet by her lawyer. Hrid beside his. ' child issue?' Hrid's lawyer asked. ' that's an insult...what to say...on manhood ' Hrid's lawyer added, wiping his face and neck with his handkerchief. It had been a hot and sultry day. The judge looked at Arundhati's lawyer.
Arundhati said something to her lawyer in a hushed tone. ' my client says that Mr. Hrid Goswami had said more insulting things than that to her. He told her to go away and live with a man who could give her a child. He would often insult her as a woman who was more interested in finding physical pleasures than anything else.' Arundhati's lawyer turned pages of her law book to find articles where verbal abuses are listed as offence. 'Do you not sleep together?' The judge asked. ' no we don't!' Arundhati and Hrid blurted out in unison. ' for how many months?' ' three' Said Arundhati. ' four' Said Hrid. The judge smiled. ' one of you is incorrect here... there can be no two answers to this query. Mrs. Arundhati Goswami, is it three or four?' The judge asked. ' three months and fourteen days to be precise' Arundhati replied. The judge looked at Hrid. He nodded. A dubious nod. ' okay... Mrs. Arundhati Goswami I can grant you a divorce... tell us how much money do you want to claim? Property share too... speak your mind' Arundhati stood up. Hrid's lawyer was waiting with pen and paper. He would have to note down her claims. ' Do not allow her to take more than thirty percent of my salary...she has a job ... she can sustain herself...plus we got no kids' Hrid whispered into his lawyer's ears. ' Your honour, I do not want a single penny of his. ' Arundhati stated. Hrid was shocked. His lawyer was amused.
' Are you sure?' The judge asked her. ' yes, your honour' Arundhati replied. ' okay then ...any thing to say on that declaration? Mr. Goswami?' The judge asked Hrid. Hrid stood up. ' I am willing to give thirty percent of my monthly salary to her and half of the current market price of the flat that I actually own' Hrid stated. ' No! I do not want anything' Arundhati repeated. The court was adjourned soon after. Hrid's lawyer shook hands with him and congratulated him for being a winner. ' you won' He told him. He patted his shoulders. ' you are a lucky guy...that woman took nothing! That actually leaves you with more dignity and pride...she must have done sonething wrong...she might have got a remarriage at hands...otherwise no one but a fool would let go of such an opportunity' The lawyer said as they were both going out of the court. ------------------- ' Is that not Hrid?' Hrid heard a female voice from behind. He was sitting at the cafe. After work on Fridays, he comes to this cafe before going back home. Two months had passed since his official single status. Within these two months , his aunt brought at least ten alliances.
He declined. ' O yes! How are you Shyamali?' Hrid asked, a bit surprised and also elated to find Shyamali after so many days. ' I am fine...' Shyamali said as she sat down opposite of Hrid at the table. ' So...how is life?' Shyamali asked. ' as usual...' Hrid replied. ' do you want coffee? Or snacks? Or both?' Hrid asked. ' as you would please to offer but before that, tell me, how is life without her?' Shyamali asked, dancing her eyebrows. It was not that Hrid never expected this query. Afterall Shyamali had been Arundhati's friend for many years. His friend too. ' just as usual' He replied. ' And she? Got remarried?' Hrid asked. He tried hard to suppress his curiosity, but could not resist that seeing Shyamali. ' nope' ' not remarried? Are you serious?' Hrid asked. ' no, not remarried. Left her job too. ' ' left her job? Joined another big company I suppose' Hrid asked, curiosity holding a tight grip on him. ' No... she left the job and just went away for a tour...' ' where?' ' that I do not know...' Shyamali said. Next half an hour though they had coffee and sandwiches, Hrid was not concentrating on them. He was thinking. Where could she go? -------------------
Returning home, he unpacked some little belongings of Arundhati which were not taken by her. Few books. Some photos. One of them was that of a wooden cottage. Just after marriage they went there together. Near Lataguri. Yes! ---------------- The car journey from Bagdogra took a bit long that expected. Hrid reached Lataguri around five thirty. The afternoon was giving way to evening. The yellow orange light of the setting sun was lending beautiful hues to the sky, the hills and the trees. The cottage looked just like it had been. No visible changes. A dupatta was hanging on its porch. He climbed the wooden stairs. The door was closed from inside. He knocked. ' who is there?' Hrid heard the voice. That unmistakable voice. ' it's me, Hrid' He said. The door was opened. Hrid looked at her. Her face upon which the setting sun's yellow red orangish light was drawing a picture, simply kept Hrid motionless and dumb. But that's for few minutes only. For soon he noticed how water from her eyes started to drop down her cheeks which glistened. Hrid felt his vision got blurred too. ----------------------