Jasmine9 mins 365 9 mins 365
The car zipped along the freeway while Seema, seated on the passenger seat, frowned down upon at Jasmine, from the rearview mirror while Jasmine lay lazily on the rear seat, with her limbs pressed against the plush leather. Seema could not believe that her husband was so naive that he brought along Jasmine on this trip which was supposed to rekindle some romance in Seema's marriage.
Lately, Seema’s husband, the entrepreneur, Raj, had been mesmerised by Jasmine’s charisma. He would often sit for hours and stare into Jasmine's eyes. He would talk at great lengths with his wife about Jasmine’s enchanting persona, the sparkling eyes, the slender figure and even the way she walked. Seema still failed to understand what made her husband such an admirer of the ugly looking cat. Admiring her was tolerable to a certain extent but bringing her on this trip was a ridiculous idea and Seema honestly thought her husband should be ashamed of.
It all started when the husband otherwise devoid of any love for animals, suddenly turned early from work one day with an overweight cat tucked around his arm. He proclaimed he would call it Jasmine and extended his arms so as to bring the cat at par with Seema’s face. That was the first time and the last time that their eyes met. Later when Seema tried to inquire more about the cat, he erupted into a far too detailed story about how he found it near the garbage bins on the dark filthy streets and grew sympathetic to her state of living.
"So what is the ideal state of living for a cat, help me understand" was the first thing that she wanted to blurt out but she held it inside. Although Seema had her own doubts about the story like she often did with everything, for a while she decided to go with it. She wondered why would someone feed the cat so much only to abandon her, but consumed by the spirit of motherhood and the probability that her husband’s story might just be true she decided to support him. But soon Jasmine became the thorn in Seema’s eyes.
Jasmine would wake up earlier than Seema and fetch the husband newspaper from the living hall. She licked his shoes to make sure they were shinning, often also pushed them to exactly where the husband put them on while leaving for work. But as soon as he departed she would grow lazy and often act stupid, which Seema suspected was Jasmine’s way of avoiding her. Jasmine would demand food and go at great lengths when she failed to receive it in a timely manner. She would scratch the expensive sofas and throw around the carefully handpicked showpieces. Several servants had failed to meet Jasmine’s demands and as a result, quit within a few days. When the husband got back from work she would turn into the most loyal animal in the universe. Things escalated one night when Jasmine scratched Seema's wrist when Seema tried feeding her. Seema went straight upto to his husband's room and told him that she couldn't stand the cat anymore. The husband calmly replied that she needs to forget about the cat.
Two months after the arrival of Jasmine the husband’s otherwise stagnant business had started to flourish. One day it infuriated Seema when she heard his husband declare Jasmine as the lucky charm behind the company’s sudden success. Seema was being consumed by jealousy. So when she heard that his husband was planning to travel to attend a business conference she demanded that she be included in the trip.
“I love that part of the country can I join?" she asked rather assertively.
"Are you sure?" there was an awkward moment and the husband immediately filled it with "I mean you don't normally join me on such trips."
I’ll relax and when you are back from your work we can maybe get away for a romantic dinner” she said while batting her eyelashes.
“Sure, that sounds good.” the husband replied.
The next day just as the two of them were about to leave Jasmine appeared from within the bedroom and clung tightly to the husband's leg.
The husband thought for a moment and said, “Why don’t we take Jasmine along with us, I’m sure she would love the change of scenery as well”. Seema’s thoughts failed her at the moment and she couldn’t come with a valid reason to counter her husband and here she was on a business cum pleasure trip with her husband and Jasmine.
“Can I ask you something?” Seema asked while the husband took a sharp right on the path ahead.
“What is it with you and the cat? ”
“What do you mean? ”
“Why are the two of you so close, is there something you are hiding”
The husband erupted into laughter.
“Don’t you laugh at me like that, I'm not joking, ever since Jasmine's arrival, the little time you have from your work you hurl it away on that bitch.” She turned back to glance back at Jasmine and continued, "I mean look at her sitting there like she is some queen..."
The husband laughed a little more, “Oh Seema! You and your jealousy.”
“Yes, there is something that I haven't told you about her”. Seema froze for a moment. "I've just been waiting for the right moment and I think that would be tomorrow."
"What do you mean by tomorrow, I want to know it now!" she exclaimed in agitation. Raj immediately applied on the brakes and brought the car to a halt. He pushed his seat back and looked straight into Seema's eyes. "This needs to stop, you'll just have to believe me here. All I can tell you is that it is important that she be with me". Seema shrunk her face at the thought of waiting another day but took pleasure from the fact that she was right about her husband hiding something.
The husband left the hotel room, as soon as they reached to attend his business meeting. While Seema was left in the room with Jasmine. Caught up with her own work back in the city, seldom would she find herself in such a situation. But today there was no way out of it. No matter how hard she tried she couldn't just stop her thoughts from lingering between the husband and the cat.
“What could it be that he has not told me yet and why would he want to wait till tomorrow?” she thought to herself. Soon she began to fill her head with the most atrocious stories she could up with. Given how holy his husband is she wondered if Jasmine was the reincarnation of his lover from his previous life and maybe the cat is now out to get her. When she was convinced it was a bizarre idea another thought crossed her mind. Maybe he was seeing other girls and one of them gifted him Jasmine so her husband would always be haunted by the mistresses’s thought. Her mind was starting to engulf her within it. She immediately got up from the bed and decided she needed fresh air and some distance away from the cat. So she left the room while the cat was left behind alone. Seema walked towards a garden located within the premises. The garden was occupied with lovers sitting out on benches under the trees. The sight of the couples pricked her eyes. She couldn’t help but think of her husband and the cat more than ever now. She never knew how much she loved her husband before the arrival of the cat. Seema turned and headed towards the restaurant, which said "bar" in print on a poster.
Seema settled herself on a circular stool at the bar table and ordered an old fashioned.
It was almost seven in the evening when she decided she had enough of alcohol and the complaining and decided to head back to her room, where she would comfortably lay her head and sleep. She opened the door and looked around the room while she thought of all the ways she could restrict the cat from messing her life. But to her horror, she could not spot the Jasmine. She hurried towards the bathroom and flung the door wide open but she found no respite. When she could not find the cat all over the room she started to grow worried. For a moment she was happy that Jasmine was gone from her life. The very next moment she realised the love and affection that the husband held for the cat and imagined her husband's disappointed face flash in front of her. I need to find that cat, a voice with her spoke and she immediately left the room to look around for Jasmine.
She rushed to the reception where two men were put on duty to find the cat, while she too worried and anxious looked for the cat. "Where would I go if I were Jasmine?" she thought. To my husband was the first thing she could think of. Then there were no thoughts. While her head still spinning due to the alcohol, she frantically stumbled along the main lobby, the common bathrooms, the kitchen but she could not find it anywhere. Just when she had given up all hope she saw a slender shadow pass across the floor. She turned her head quickly and with pacy steps started heading towards where the shadow of the cat had appeared. In her haste, she failed to notice of the yellow signs that would have alerted her of the wet floor she was about to tread on and with bam, she came crashing on her face and one of her teeth fell off. Seema stood up, put her teeth in her packed and turned around the corner to find a small mouse biting from a food particle clasped tightly between its fingers. Seema with her broken tooth and a head throbbing with pain from the alcohol and the fall headed back to her room. Wherein she would wait for her husband and announce the news.
It was almost midnight when the husband got back. She got him seated on the bed and narrated in great detail the happenings of the day. The husband could muster nothing but pity on the wife’s condition. Seema was rather shocked at her husband’s sudden carelessness.
“It doesn’t matter now, I got the deal ” the husband replied, ecstatic with joy.
“What do you mean?” Seema seemed confused.
“The cat was handed over to me by Babaji Deva-Anand." Seema stared at him dumbfounded. "I didn't tell you about it earlier because I didn't want to Jinx today, just before the most important meeting of my life, the cat did the trick we are rich.”