Miss You10 mins 159 10 mins 159
She is standing there. I don't want to recognize her.
I had hundred reasons to hate her.
She had come uninvited. She had no business in this house. Everytime I saw her I was feeling furious. She was making me mad. Look, she is having that 'I miss you' expression in her eyes. That's the main reason I hate her.
I had so many other things to worry. I had to leave her and start concentrating on my immediate duties. It was enough that I was bothered about her all these days. Now her hero - no, my hero(!) was gone. Enough damage had been done to my love for him. I don't want to lose him in my heart anymore.
He was lying there lifeless but even then I was having my doubts. Had he left his heart with her? I felt like screaming so that somebody could drive her away from there. As long as she was there I could not concentrate on anything else. I needed help to attend to the routine. Maybe people thought the other way that I got so upset with his loss.
Now that everything was over I sat in a corner to ponder over the past as if there was nothing else for me to do. His life with me was flawless but for her. I could never forget that first meeting we had, no I should say - they had. He was all eyes for her. That very first time I could feel the craziness in him. But no, he was a gentleman anyone would vouch.
Whenever he saw her at his entrance gate he could never hide that flash in his eyes. I never saw him trying to hide it even. She was not that beautiful. She was obese in my opinion, a little taller too. I felt that she was not even feminine. Her features were below average without any expression in her eyes. I can swear no man will fall for her. Then how did I ever think that my husband, of all, fell for her? Maybe I was too possessive. I forgot to mention one important thing, she was his steno for some time. It is always easy to connect a steno with her boss. That's what all the film directors do. But the irony here was that they became intimate only after she was not his steno anymore.
Her official name was Regina but she loved being called by her second name Gopika. Now Regina Gopika Stephan adding her husband's name as surname. Her mother was a converted Christian for the purpose of her marriage and had given her a Hindu second name. As Regina was so obsessed with Hindu Gods, especially Krishna and attracted to Hindu culture she liked to be called Gopika. Rather she insisted on everyone other than her office colleagues calling her by her second name. So she was Regina until she served him as his steno and suddenly became Gopika as soon as she left the job. Nice name suitable for the new service!
He was in service even after sixty, just a few months before seventy stopped going to office but continued his service as a consultant. That's how she started coming to my house. And started gaining his attention?
I never used to intervene in his job, never in his affairs but not such an affair. Initially, I was ignorant and innocent. I was getting along peacefully with my work and he was with his. Time allowed us to continue that way, maybe, up to a few months.
We, Gopika and myself, got introduced to each other but I was not very particular about her friendship as I was having my own circle which was more than enough for my lifetime. Of course that did not stop her from coming. I was thinking that she was coming for her job. It might have just started only like that. I didn't know when it got changed until one day I heard her singing. It was Hindustani music with which I was not very familiar. Even my meager knowledge about South Indian music could be attributed to him only. I could only listen to that and say that it was nice, nothing more than that. On the contrary, he was capable of doing critical analysis of the concerts with his friends showing the depth of his knowledge in the subject. Actually he never missed attending at least one concert a day during music festival season. I should admit that I was not that crazy.
Though her music was not enough to catch me her intentions caught me from behind. I started showing signs of getting furious. My reaction was so mild that it did not reach them. Everytime I heard her singing I felt something was going away from me. Her voice irritated me, her style disturbed me and her songs drove me crazy.
But everytime she sang for him, I repeat 'for him', he looked really engrossed. Certainly, it was not the melody, not the voice, not the style but something else - what was it? - that captured him. Surely it was she and not her music, that could take him in her inside. I was damn sure it could not be her singing, I swear it could never be mesmerizing. He himself had admitted it to me.
I could have remained patient but my love - my possessive ego got over me and lost patience. I was waiting for a chance and I could get it by the next weekend. Both of them got out of the car in front of me just waiting to get them red handed, after returning from a concert- must be hindustani music - in the middle of the night. But things turned out wrong when he came to me straight and pleaded guilty for coming late as the concert took longer time than expected to conclude. He also requested for my permission to allow her to stay with me that night as it was too late for her to return home. I searched for words. I had prepared myself with a long speech but all in vain. All I could do was just nod my head. Was I indirectly giving consent?
Next time I did not let the chance go off my hand. I wanted to let him know that I was aware of their affair which of course hurt me a lot. I wanted him to decide between my love and their affair. Was I not justified to demand for it? So next time when I saw them together I could not control myself but I put only one sentence in my mouth, "This is the limit and you are crossing it." The tone was bitter though. He did not respond. I could see a question mark in his eyes nevertheless. That was enough to satisfy me.
That was the last day I saw her in my house until the time of my husband's death. I hate her so much that I don't want to see her even after his death. I pretended to be buried in grief so as to avoid meeting her eyes. She had to go away without talking to me even a single word of consolation. Who wants?
My parents wanted me never to die and that is what they must have meant at the time of my birth when giving me a name. In their lifetime they were particular that they proved themselves right. But after their demise? They couldn't take care of it forever. I have become a past now. My wife, Veena was lamenting beside me with so much of pain in her heart. What was that pain? For missing me from her life? In a way that was true though. Her eyes were showing something else too. At the same time, it was true that she didn't and would never know that what I missed was more than what she missed.
She had and has abundant love for me. Especially after death, I feel that I can peep into her heart and find it more easily. But that abundance played havoc in my otherwise enjoyable life.
I loved so many things in my life. I wanted to enjoy everything. Music was my obsession. I could even live without food but not without music. Had my cremation been carried out in the woods like good old golden days (instead of this electric cremation) people could have heard musical tones from my bones.
Even those friends who were not in unison with me about music - they cannot stand the slow beats and detailed rendition of long phrases which, according to me, is the life of Indian music - could understand that obsession but not my wife. She was not averse to both the beauty of music and my obsession but could never understand my passion. Maybe as it did not impress her it could not have the capacity to do the same to me too. Could I ever question that? After all, it was her opinion. Or could I question her passion for jewels and dress? No, I am kidding. She has other passions too.
With Carnatic music I did not have any complaints. I had so many companions to share and enjoy. I had even opportunities to learn a lot from many. But about Hindustani music I could not expect the same from others as I was in the extreme south. Fortunately or unfortunately Gopika was the only companion sharing Hindustani music with me. Actually I was fortunate to have had her company to learn and share the beauty and the nuances of the Hindustani music only for a short period though. Carnatic music is a running stream while Hindustani music is a calm pond with occasional currents and frequent waves. You need a lifetime to enjoy either. My lifetime was not enough for both.
Everything was as smooth as a calm and cool stream until I saw fire in her eyes, I mean my wife's eyes. The coolness of the stream was not enough to extinguish that fire. The first few times she expressed that through her eyes without uttering a word. I didn't mind. Then started the monosyllables. That's when maybe she thought I was crossing my limits. She couldn't foresee that I could set my limits. That's where everything got messed up.
I could have taken some time to explain myself to her. I assumed that my love was capable of doing it. Maybe I was wrong. That day I was discussing raga todi with Gopika. That seemed more important, rather more interesting to me than my wife's reactions. I did bother about my wife's feelings but didn't show it. Asavari todi was a new introduction to me and so I could not miss the discussion. How could I explain it to her?
The only mistake I might have done was that I got down from the car only after finishing the discussion but pleaded guilty of coming late from the concert. She even allowed Gopika to stay in the house after that. The second mistake was that I mistook it for her understanding.
Next time when I heard her telling me that that was the limit then only I realized that she had unmistakenly mistaken our friendship as an affair. Yes, then only I realized that a friendship between a man and a woman could be nothing but an affair. Yes, there could only be a notion of sex between them. The society had taught people to think only like that.
And...... even after crossing seventy!
Does it mean that sex alone plays a decisive role in one's life? Are we not bound by the social relationship? Are we not guided by the good and bad of our lives? Are we not bothered about the peace of mind? Why is society teaching us only to doubt anything and not to understand?
But with everything said and done, she was a part of the society and things could not change otherwise. It was too late. She was not going to be able to understand me. Could I have tried to set things right? I should have done that before anything went wrong but I ignored. Why? Was it my ignorance? Negligence? Had I taken her for granted? Had I taken the age for granted?
Now there is no point in analysing. What I missed remained as a loss in my life. I had to choose between my love for my wife and my passion. Easy solution was to surrender as every man does from time immemorial.
Jr. Stephan was seen at the entrance peeping inside to have a look at the dead body. He was searching for someone. His grandma?
"Where is my nanny?"
"She has gone just now."
"Oh! I missed her?"