‘Saugat’s daddy, can we take the children to the theatre tonight?’ Manorama asked her husband as she helped him put his jacket.
Lookdeep was flanked by his wife and kids as he was ready to go to his office.
Saugat and Sweta were having year end vacation. Both of them were glad that they didn’t have to go to school but they were missing something at home for the last two weeks.
‘Yes daddy, they are showing Harry Porter at the River oaks’, Saugat wanted to persuade his father.
‘Harry Porter and the Goblet of Fire’, seven years old Sweta corrected her brother in her typical intonation.
‘Hmmm! all right, I will let you know after I get to the office ok. I have to check my schedules’ Lookdeep replied.
‘Don’t forget, right?’ Manorama said, ‘Make sure you come in time’.
Lokdeep pulled his daughter by her waist up in the air, kissed her and strolled down the stairs towards his car. He used to shower the same affection to her mom before Sweta emerged.
Thanks to their kids, Manorama was forced to take a break from her decent job; she had been a total housewife since little Sweta was born. Initially, she thought about hiring a nanny for their siblings but she changed her mind to take the guard herself. She didn’t think that the break would stretch for years though.
‘Daddy, come soon’, the jubilant boy and girl shouted as their father’s Mustang skidded through the Austin street.
At office, he checked his inbox. There was a mail from Sarah.
Sorry I couldn’t inform you before. I am coming to Houston today. I will stay at the Magnolia for three days.
It would be great if you could join me in the evening.
Missed you pal- badly!
See you tonight,
Sarah was an administrative assistant at Lokdeep’s office where he was one of the operational managers. She had been transferred to Dallas division in an attachment scheme just a couple of months ago. A divorcee, 31, she was as charming as a normal well nurtured American woman of that age could be. She used to greet him when she passed by his desk everyday. He would smile back and carry on with his work.
One lunch hour, in their office cafeteria, they happened to eat in the same table. A brief conversation followed by a pledge that they would try to meet tomorrow, and they were done with their meal.
The following day, they ate together and the next day too and it was like a routine. Sarah would gossip about anything she liked – soaps, charts, box office, fashion, cookery, her ex and just anything. Lokdeep would seldom understand what she talked about but he listened to her attentively. She is funny, he thought as he munched his turkey breast and stared somewhere at her body. A reserved kind of Lokdeep started to open him up with Sarah and then they were good companions. He even tried his hand at poems for her. ‘It’s beautiful’, she admired his words. The friendship flourished without Sarah knowing that he was married and a father of two. A studious Lokdeep had climbed the career ladder at quite an early age. A rigorous gym work during his early twenties had given him a sturdy shape and a regular drilling since then was enough to maintain it. At 36, he looked much younger than his age.
Lokdeep and Sarah exchanged pranks. They shared their meals. They went to restaurants and one evening they broke the last barrier. Lokdeep found her different. She had the art that Manorama lacked, he thought. Something new and exciting!
He felt queasy when Sarah said she was going to Dallas. He even tried to annul her attachment. But after few days, he was fine. They would talk in telephone. Lokdeep would delete his sms as soon as he wrote one to her. He wrote few emails telling how much he missed her and so on. She did it too. But after few weeks, the frequency plummeted. He found his bank account resurging. He was happy that Sarah had gone. His thoughts were focussed at Saurav and Sweta and Manoraman again. He had almost forgotten her.
An unexpected email from Sarah this afternoon surprised him. He was confused. In the past, he would tell Manorama that he had meetings to represent, or some official dinners to attend. This time he was in a dilemma. He forgot everything during the office hours. When he pulled his motor out of the parking lot, he decided to head towards the Magnolia. This was the hotel where Sarah was staying.
At home, the children were dressed in their new clothes. They never wore the outfit their mum had bought for them from the Christmas sales. After months, they were going to the theatre.
Unfortunately their father didn’t turn up. Manorama tried to call her husband but his mobile was switched off. ‘What happened?’ She thought, ‘he would let me know if he had a meeting.’
The kids cried with their mum, cursed their father and undressed themselves. They refused to eat and went to sleep very early. ‘I will do a nice grilling today’, the mother decided. She slammed the kitchen door and went to the bedroom.
In the evening, Lokdeep met Sarah at the Magnolia. She looked even prettier this time. They walked down to the bar, drank, dined and came back to her room. They were reunited. Sarah had a big appetite. Lokdeep did his best to satisfy her. After they were done and tired, Sarah asked Lokdeep to take her to the local obstetrician’s clinic tomorrow. ‘Why?’ Lokdeep asked in bewilderment. ‘I haven’t had my period since I last met you. I must have conceived’ She replied.
It was late night when Lokdeep returned home. He slipped into the bathroom, showered and changed himself first. He wouldn’t see the kids tonight as he stealthily walked towards the bedroom. Manorama was lying in the bed facing herself towards the wall.
‘What happened?’ She questioned at her husband as he crept into the blanket. ‘Hmmm, there was an emergency meeting at the director’s office’.
‘Meeting. And this late?’ She had decided to grill him.
‘Don’t you trust me?’ he bumped at her.
‘Of course I do’, she said with an apologetic tone, ‘I trust you darling’.
‘Ok goodnight’, Lokdeep pushed her hand away from his chest and turned round the other side.
Manorama cursed herself for being rude at her husband. She had missed something that her body wanted so much at that instant.
Lokdeep, in the mean time, was wondering about Sarah’s menstrual mishap.
‘When did I mess up?’ he was asking himself as he struggled to fall asleep.
(Source : Poet’s Blog)