Raghu B



Raghu B




13 mins

“Have you thought about, you know… talking to her?” asked Benny with a 30 ml of whiskey in hand. Both the friends were at the pub and Benny was called up just after work by Karan to discuss something important. And Benny came up with that question for which Karan looked up from his glass and scorned. It was Karan’s 4th drink of the evening which had unfortunately started even before Benny arrived there. 

“What…what do you mean… talk to her?” Karan asked Benny as though he didn’t fully understand what exactly it meant.

“I mean, talk to her, man. Maybe, she isn’t…you know”

“So, you’re telling I’m being unnecessarily suspicious? That’s what you… are… saying?” he gulped down his 5th drink during the conversation.

“Yeah. And what the fuck is all this drinking? You’re insane, man. Stop this” said Benny, concerned about his friend.

By now, Karan had hung his head, his face between his stretched arms, his fingers fiddling with the glass in front. His feet flapped in frenzied up and down motion hitting the bottom of the chair he sat on.

“I can feel it, bro. I can sense it. She is cheating on me, man. My wife…” Karan said in a muffled voice due to the stance he had his head in.

Benny barely heard anything but he knows his friend was mumbling. Benny was now visibly frustrated at the stupidity his friend was displaying, held his head in dismay and sighed heavily and said – 

“Talk to her. Please”

He patted Karan in a comforting way, drank a few drinks with him, left him at his home, and drove away.

At night, lying in his bed, with his wife sleeping, all he could think about was what made her do this and most importantly, who she was with. He moved his view towards her dozing face and stared at her for a few minutes. His face like thunder. A little strand of hair swayed with the air falling on her right cheek and over the left eye. He flustered a bit when the hair came up, so he carefully took it and tucked it behind her ear to clear his view of her face and he continued to stare at her. He then moved the other side and slept the night.

In the morning, while both of them were getting ready for work, a notification lit up Nitu’s phone and Karan, who was just beside her phone, wearing his shoes at that moment, peeped in to see an email from a certain Sam about a certain party, or that’s what he could gather from the subject line. He was reluctant to take the phone in his hands and unlock it. He thought maybe it wasn’t right to go in. Maybe he should. He was in a dilemma but also very curious. Maybe his suspicion is real. This was a way he could know what is really going on. He knew he had only a few seconds to see it, since Nitu could come here anytime, ready, and set for the cab. In an impulsive action, Karan took the phone in his hands and saw an unlock pattern needed to be drawn to get in. He didn’t realize his wife had her phone locked and looked surprised when he heard the sounds of her coming into the room. He quickly placed it in a distance away from him and continued with his shoes.

“It’s getting late. I’ll need to book a cab. Boss called too. I need to present him with the new idea we came up” Nitu said hurriedly as she looked around as if she was searching for something where she noticed her phone and picked it up.

As she left the room, Karan, in a low voice – “Uhh… what?”

She looked back and raised her eyebrows as though she was asking a question.

“Nothing” he laughed a bit and resisted his urge to question her about the mail.

He heard her leaving the house and into the cab and something from the conversation irked him. Something about her boss. ‘Doesn’t she have a lady boss?’ he thought, now a little shook up.

At work, he was restless and unsettled for the most part. At around lunchtime, he got out of his office, texting his boss that he was sick and had to go home and took a cab to Nitu’s office. He got down from the cab but did not enter the building. He stood by a café beside the building waiting for her to come down. He knew she had lunch from the restaurants around most days in the week, and lucky for him, she did go to the restaurant that day.

There were 3 of them, one more lady and a guy. Karan walked behind them at an unnoticeable distance. He noticed that the other lady wore a whole yellow suit and 3-inch heels, while Nitu wore flat foot. The 3 of them enter a restaurant called “INDIAN OCEAN”, a seafood restaurant. Karan muttered something to himself. Something about Nitu being disgusted at the sound of seafood when he said it. Karan took a seat at the corner of the restaurant which had a huge floor for guests to dine. He made sure he could see both the strangers while his wife would be facing him from her back.

The guy looked great in the grey suit. He was what Karan thought was traditionally handsome, with sharp features, especially his nose. Karan, then, slowly reached his nose and checked it with his fingers as though he was comparing with the strangers. He had perfect facial hair that blended with his perfect sized head and good looking face. He noticed the way he handled the cutlery. He laughed as though he knew that would work on women. He talked in a way that exuded charisma. ‘Was he the boss?’ he thought.

Karan’s order had come. A salad. Very minimal in quantity in a small bowl as was the norm with the fancy restaurants. But he wasn’t interested in the food. He was interested in the guy. He saw his wife laughing a lot more than the other lady. Laughed more than when she was with him, he thought. Was she sleeping with him? Is she cheating on him with this guy? He had to know. And he did. In his own way.

The next day, Karan had already called his office to inform about his “illness” and that he needed a week to recover from that. This time he sat outside Nitu’s workplace near the reception. He had already bribed the receptionist to tell him where she was going to go later in the day. It was a client meet downtown. She was going to go with the man in the grey suit again. In his car. Only her this time.

“Uhh… could you tell me who the guy in the grey suit is? Thanks” Karan asked the naïve receptionist. She replied that she was new and – “might be her boss” putting Karan into more confusion and a new level of suspicion.

Downstairs, he saw her entering the man’s car, him opening the door to her and being cheeky with the manners and all. He watched everything. He then followed the car in an auto, driven by then clueless auto driver, who was shouted at for not taking the left that car took and not maintaining necessary distance with it. Just when he got down, he got a call on his phone, it was Nitu. He removed himself from the scene but still in proximity to her so that she and the grey suit man was in his vision. 

“Hello, Nitu… Yeah. At home. Yeah. Not well. It’s just… it’s ok. Don’t worry about it. I told the office, yeah. You take care too, baby”

The call finished. Karan didn’t know what to do. He paced about on the road. Did she find out? Was the guy in the grey suit involved in all this? He stood there literally holding his hair in his hands. He was caught stalking his own wife. And to top it all, she was mocking him. That was the phone call. That was what it was about. To mock him. He saw her from above the bush he was standing behind. She talked to the people she just met as though nothing had happened. A gleeful face she had, as though she had accomplished something. To her left was the grey suit guy, who in all possibility was involved in this.

‘That fucker’ he thought to himself, not able to cope with the embarrassment his wife and the stranger had endured upon him just now. After a few greetings were exchanged with people she was meeting, she tilted her head towards the direction where Karan was standing but didn’t really see him from the distance. ‘Damn, she’s good. How subtle was she in noticing but not really noticing?’ he thought, now convinced that she caught him stalking her. 

By now, Nitu and the grey suit guy and the others who they met outside had gone in the building. Karan on the other hand, his head was exploding with embarrassment and anger. “I have to call Benny,” he said and took his phone out from his pocket. He struggled to take it out, with his restless and unsettled movements. He wasn’t able to grab his phone properly and *splash* it fell into the puddle nearby. He sighed and tried to remove it from the mud and the dirt and get it started but in vain. He looked around and wandered a bit when – 

“Madam, madam. Please. Can you give me your phone? I have to make a call” Karan asked a woman carrying an umbrella. 

 The woman noticed his dirt-stained trousers. He was also sweating a lot from all the tension he gathered with sweat spots on places in his shirt. Here he was looking like a madman asking a random woman her phone. 

“Please. Please, madam” he pleaded.

The woman was reluctant to lend her phone to Karan.

“My fucking wife is cheating on me and it’s fucking with my mind” he yelled. His voice echoed on the lonely road. Now, the woman was scared. Karan noticed that she was difficult to persuade through pleading and also the vacant road and so he grabbed her purse and ran aside, took her phone out and said in a high threatening tone – 

“I’ll give it back in a minute. Wait. WAIT!”

His yelling silenced the poor woman, who thought it was better to wait.

Karan was getting even more restless now that the call wasn’t connecting. His pacing became shorter and quicker. 

“Hello, Benny, man! I fucking knew my wife is cheating on me. Now she is so cunning she knows I follow her too”

The woman with the umbrella was slightly taken aback listening to those words. Her eyes displayed equal amounts of confusion as much as the fear that she already had.

Benny calmed him down and said that nothing was happening and that he was overthinking all this. He asked Karan to go home and take rest and not think about all this. After a few minutes of calming down, Karan cut the call and gave the phone back to the woman. He just left the scene, running. 

He sat at the beach till dusk, thinking about the times she refused to accept his opinions. The times they argued about trivial things, the gossip her family members spread about not having a baby, the times she laughed at others’ jokes and not his, every vacation has gone ugly because of her behavior, the small things she did that irritated him, the drinking and swearing. He thought about everything they did, together, but what struck him were the things she did, which he enjoyed but now seemed like things that should be condoned.

Nitu came home at 7.30. She saw Karan at the dining table with messed up hair and an irritated look on his face. She put her hand on his shoulders and slowly massaged them. Karan didn’t budge. He looked straight ahead. He was in his night pajamas. There was a bowl with a spoonful of soup left. Nitu kept massaging his shoulders, like the way he liked. Karan eased his irritated look and slowly laid his hand on her right hand, still massaging. He held his hand with hers in a soft manner. He then held her other hand also with his left hand. She bent down to rub her face at the hair on the back of his head. She then kissed his ear which led him to move his head to the side, and they started kissing.

At night, before sleeping, she held his hand and said “Tomorrow, the big day, baby”. Karan didn’t respond to it but his head started talking again. 

What was the big day? Is it something related to her work? Something he doesn’t know. Some secret. Should he ask her? She’s already slept now. Karan was again, thinking everything. This night he slept very minimum, with sudden thoughts keeping him up constantly, that he resolved at around 5 in the morning to confront both his wife about the grey suit guy. And then if everything was as he had thought, go and give a nice thrashing to him. With this in mind, morning happened for Karan.

His phone showed him a reminder notification which he switched it off without seeing. He had to confront her somehow. Maybe use force or even threaten to go to the police with whatever he knows. He didn’t have an idea of what he was going to do. A million thoughts conjugated in his head. With no way to sort them, Karan rushed into the kitchen. There was no Nitu. She wasn’t there in any of the rooms as he checked one by one. Now, Karan had lost his mind. He went into the bedroom to get his phone when he noticed something stuck on the dresser. It was a sticky note. 

‘I am at Rane Building, 5th Street. Come get me’

Karan crumpled the note and throw it away. He was infuriated and pumped up with energy enough to bash anyone in his way. He slammed his front door and got out of his house and into his car. He was still in his pajamas. Through the side mirror his face could be seen, a face of extreme resentment that could blow up at any time. In his mind, he was already taking out the grey suit guy and his cheating, lying wife. There were a lot of cars outside Rane building. He looked down from the window and made sure he was going into the correct house.

It was an independent house, different from the several apartments on the same street. He opened the gate at the front, then went up the stairs and turned the doorknob, which was not locked, to his surprise. Entering the house, he saw that there was nothing in the main living room, a huge open room with high ceilings. He looked around like a child, aimlessly, when he met eyes with Nitu, who came in from the side. Karan then charged towards her with – 


“Happy 40th birthday, Karan” she hollered.

Karan then stopped and just stood, shocked. He didn’t understand what was going on. Nitu came and hugged him. 

“What? What’s happening?” Karan asked confused out of proportion.

“It’s your birthday, Karan. It’s your party” she said.

And then so many people came in. His boss, who he had lied about the leaves, his friend Benny who started laughing immediately after looking at Karan, his cousins from abroad, other relatives and friends. Everyone gathered around him to wish him for his birthday.

Benny came close to Karan and said, “How was the surprise, idiot?”

Karan kept smiling, he didn’t know what to utter. This was all too much for him. Everything was good when in a distance he noticed the grey suit guy and his face changed again. He took Nitu aside and asked who that guy was. She replied, “Him? He’s Gaurav. This is his place. Nice of him na?”

“Yeah. Okay. I got it”

He kept watching the grey suit guy during the course of the event. Something about him irked him. And he wasn’t going to let of it. He looked at him and then at Nitu, and then kept looking again at him, and he decided to go up and punch the guy.

“You fucker…”

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