Friday, March 13, 2009

The Guilt Bug

"You know something," she said, "whenever it rains all of a sudden, something good happens to me."

"Really?"

"When the postman came with the appointment letter for this job, it had just rained that afternoon."

"And you started believing in it?"

"No, wait. Not just that. Many years ago, dad was in hospital. He had a heart attack. We were in Chhattisgarh then. There was only one small hospital there, a government hospital. Doctors said the only way to save him was to fly him to Delhi. How we managed to get into the plane is another long story, but the moment we landed in Delhi, it began to rain. And doctors in Delhi refused to believe that he had had a heart attack. He was perfectly fine."

"And you started believing in it?"

"Don't make fun of it," she playfully punched his arm.


So that night when it suddenly began to rain soon after they had ended up doing what they shouldn't have, considering that she was another man's wife, he was surprised as well as relieved.

Do you hear that? It's raining," he whispered to her. She didn't respond. She lay clinging to him, absent-mindedly drawing invisible geometrical figures on his bare chest.

"Do you hear that? It's raining," he said again. This time she looked up at him shyly, her face glowing in the darkened room. She smiled at him and nodded. They locked their lips and bodies once again and rolled over, trampling upon the guilt-bug that was lurking on the bed.

When he woke up, he found her arm around him. She was wide awake. Their cheeks were touching and her big, beautiful eyes were fixed at him. The gaze, at any other time of the day, would have made him feel smug. But right now it unnerved him.

"You are up already?" he asked.

"I didn't sleep at all."

"Why?"

"Because I was busy looking at you."

"Come on," he blushed. "What's the time now?"

"Wait," she said and reached for her mobile phone that was lying behind her. In the process, she let him have a good look at her breasts, something that she had refused outright the night before. She had made it clear that she would remove her clothes only if the lights were off, or else he could forget about the whole thing. So they had spent the entire evening in near darkness, guided by the dim light emanating from the next room. But now, bare under the streaming sunlight, she made no attempt to cover herself.

"Seven-twenty," she said. As she checked the time, he couldn't help notice that the phone showed fourteen missed calls. She pressed the key to find out who all might have called her, and they all turned to be from one number, identified as 'Hubby.' From the corner of her eye she noticed he was watching, and she quickly pressed the 'exit' button and flung the phone away.

"Why didn't you answer his calls?" he asked.

"Because I didn't want to. That's why I kept the phone on silent mode."

"But won't he be worried? You've been missing for the night."

"I want him to worry. I have lost count of the nights I worried about him."

"So you want to get even with him."

"Yes, can't I?"

"Using me as the tool?"

"Shut up, I love you. If I had to sleep with someone just to get even, I would've done that long ago. Do you think there is any dearth of men?"

"I didn't mean that way."

She now pulled up a sheet and covered herself. He got up and walked, naked, to the door to collect the morning's newspapers. The only other flat on that floor was mostly locked, so there was no problem opening the door a little while naked and stretching the hand out to pull in the small bundle of newspapers. He got seven newspapers, one of them being the newspaper he worked for. A part of his job was to read through the other six papers the first thing in the morning and find out if his paper had missed any news and then scan his own paper to look for errors.

He slapped the bundle next to her. She lay there motionless, her gaze fixed at the ceiling. He didn't feel like indulging her. He put on his clothes and went to the kitchen to make tea. In the fridge, he found three eggs. So while the water boiled, he chopped an onion and two green chillies and made an omelette. And while the tea leaves infused, he toasted four pieces of bread. He carried the breakfast tray and placed it on top of the pile of newspapers. She was still looking at the ceiling.

"Look," he said, "I have never done this even for my wife. Do you mind getting up and having this?"

"Why, do you think you are doing me a big favour?"

"Not a favour. I am just being nice. Now please get up."

She sat up, holding the sheet tightly around her throat so that it didn't come off.
"What's this fuss about? I have seen you naked. Now what's the big deal?"

"Oh, shut up! You haven't see me naked."

"I have."

"No, you haven't."

"But I have."

"Ok, whatever. Where's the ketchup?"

When he got back from the kitchen, she was not there on the bed. He heard water running in the bathroom. He lit a cigarette and drank his tea. But hers was getting cold, and that was now irritating him. He rarely made tea, not even for himself, and now that he had presented an entire breakfast on the tray, she chose to go to the bathroom. Couldn't she have gone to the bathroom before, or a little later? When the bathroom door opened, she emerged fully clad, just like she was the evening before, and sat in a corner of the bed in a dignified manner.

"Could you pass me my plate, please?" she said. She smelt of his soap.

"But the tea has gone cold."

"Oh is it? Don't bother, I can't drink it hot anyway."

"Are you sure?"

"I told you, don't bother."

"Are you pissed off about something?"

"Pissed off? Whatever for? All men are the same."

"All men? But what did I do?"

"You did nothing. When did I ever say you did anything?"

"But you sound angry."

"Not at all," she said, as she took a bite of the bread and omelette. "Why should I
be angry? You men are the same."

Since she was fully clothed now, he suddenly felt like disrobing her and making love to her once again. But he didn't have the courage. She was sitting on the edge of the bed, in a ladylike fashion, eating her breakfast. He tried arousing her by placing his foot on her right shoulder and ticking her ear with his toes.

"Hello! What do you think you are doing?" she snapped at him, shaking his leg off. "Can't you see I'm eating?"

He felt a bit embarrassed and withdrew his leg. "I am sorry. Just that I was overcome by affection."

"Affection, my foot! All you men want is sex."

"Why do you keep saying 'You men'? I don't know about the other men in your life, but I certainly was not keen on the sex part."

"Oh yeah? And you want me to believe that?"

"I swear on God."

"You don't have to say anything. I know what you mean. I know you men."

"You are getting me wrong," he said.

"I'm getting you right."

"But what did I do? Did I do or say something to piss you off?"

"Nothing. It's just that I love my husband."

"Then why didn't you take his calls? He kept calling the whole night"

"That's a personal matter."

He saw her off at the elevator and said, "Bye, Meenakshi." Only last evening, she had told him, "Get used to calling me Meenu."

36 comments:

Swarup said...

Don't know why but after reading this post I had a sense of Deja vu. Had I read it in your express column or what?

Anyway I immensely enjoyed this post.

nayana said...

I dont know what to comment on this post, condone or criticize the relationship or just enjoy since its fiction???

Anonymous said...

I am waiting for your book to be published!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The post starts of with the lady dwelling in the aftermath of the passionate night she is lost in his love, in his looks and the wonderful moments they shared and does not care a damn about the world .
the sunlight the staring at the cealing brings retrospection and the guilt began to crawl on to her and as she comes back from the wash the smell of his soap on her signifies the cherished memories she made ,and as she steps back to the room dressed and ready to face the world wearing the facade that is obliged by the society ,she is a transformed person who suddenly thinks and behaves the way the society would expect her to behave.she declares love for a husband whom just a few hours she could not give a damn about and reduces the love making just to an act of sex .
as she gets into the lift and he calls her meenakshi it marks the end of that affair.

Anonymous said...

I noticed something else this is the first time your heroine did not have a name starting with sanjana.was it because at the end you show disapproval of her character?

Anonymous said...

sorry starting with S letter.

Anonymous said...

She did not take her husband's calls, she was physically and mentally with you all night. Why did you have to bring up your wife? Isn't that enough to piss her off? You men do it all the time. Have all the fun and talk of love for the wife. Why do you have to indulge in it at all if you love your wife that much?

Maya said...

I need to do this sometime *wink*

Anonymous said...

nice post. yeah, waiting for your book :-)

padma said...

a woman's mind and actions are unpredictable even to her.poor girl.

sreelatha maneeram said...

just came in to your mail stop while skimming for something else.

i liked the style of communication in narrating a fiction/story..


it was a good read to keep you glued to the end..

Anonymous said...

who is guilty? - the man or the meenu!!

Soumya said...

Simple,yet gripping. Is your book a collection of short stories?

Anonymous said...

One night of love. Many nights of regret, sorrow, guilt, sleeplessness ...and many other things that could weigh your heart down.

Is it really worth it?

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Thanks, all of you -- Swarup, Nayana, Maya, Sreelatha, Soumya, Padma -- for your comments.

Anon@11.39AM: Wish you could come out of the veil of anonymity. That's an accurate interpretation which escaped even me when I wrote the story. May your tribe grow.

Anon@1.31PM: "Is it really worth it?" I guess that's one question many people ask themselves throughout their lives. Some take the plunge to find the answer, other keep pondering over the question.

My next post will be about the story behind this story -- I am not sure if it will interest anyone, but I will still write it to clear my head, to map my thought process.

Anonymous said...

I have always wondered!!!!

In every case of adultery the blouse of the woman so perfectly matches with your bed spread:)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 8.45 AM

well, when you believe in satanic actions, you should also believe in satanic powers. ;)

Yours sincerely
God.

Anonymous said...

Is meenakshi another shivani? Only the next post will tell. Fiction or fact.

love is fragile said...

did does not seem she was at all in love with him. It seems a one night stand...

love is fragile said...

typo...did not mean the "did" above.
But anyways there does not seem to be any love from either side...

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Love is fragile:

Does love necessarily have to be there in situations like these? In my humble opinion, it is 'liking' and not 'loving' that usually leads to such situations.

To like someone, according to me, is anyday better than loving someone. I find 'liking' more honest and intimate than 'loving'. And you don't have to love a person to like him or her.

love is fragile said...

Very rightly said..You don't have to like someone to love that person..never thought in these terms. Also would like to mention here... True Love does not "most of the time " ask for physical relation, love is just love, you can be deeply in love with someone with no physical relation ever or may be once in a lifetime..Being is love is painful, liking someone does not hurt you, love does...

love is fragile said...

Typo again..."Being in Love is painful...

Anonymous said...

When you cling on to words strongly, the meaning gets distorted for sure.

I was astonished when you mentioned in your comments that you prefer "liking a person" to "Loving a person"

Every liking has a reason attached to it.
You like a woman for she has a pretty face.
You like mangoes for it tastes wonderful,
you like surfing for it gives you a great thrill.

When the reason vanishes or is substituted with something else, your liking for it disappears.People prefer to like for it gives you opportunities to disown and look for new pastures.

Loving a person on the contrary is a different experience altogether. You cant declare as to why you love a person. You are simply clueless. That is because love is a feeling in totality. It gives you no opportunity to disintegrate.

Everything about the person you love is so beautiful, you dont want to sit in judgment expressing your likes and dislikes.

Assume that you are watching TajMahal from outside and you are simple swept by its grandeur. You say "I like the structure"
You move inside and enjoy every bit of it and then you declare " I love TajMahal".

BG time for you to review:)

love is fragile said...

Beautiful...who are you..? You are so right. When you are in love you don't know why, you don't even try to find out the why..Love is just Love..liking is short lived Love is forever and deeper

Anonymous said...

Hi LOve is Fragile,

You know the beauty of understanding?
It leaves no room for doubts.When doubts vanish trust emerges.

To be in love is to be in trust.

That is why it is so difficult to separate lovers. The stronger you try to pull them apart for any reason whatsoever in disapproval of their love, more stronger they bond.

It is the absence of mind that makes you fall in love. Using your mind you can never love someone.

It would appear that you have succeeded, but the thread will break where it is weakest. It is the mind which prompts you to keep dividing everything that you see and perceive. Mind dwells on division.
The business of the scientist is to probe. You cannot probe something unless you are prepared to divide it.It is in the disintegration that the mind progressess.
But love rests on different parameter.
It needs to integrate constantly for survival.
That is why love is not open for a probe. Even if you rip it to pieces what are you going to find?
Simply nothing!!
Life needs everything.
Love needs nothing.

Everything in this world diminishes when you give.

Love is an exception to the rule.

The more you give , the more you have.
Something really wonderful isnt it?

Knowledgeable people cant fall in love. Their own knowledge works against them.
That is why it is said::
When you are in love , you are not wise::
When you are wise, you are not in love.

Somewhere you said being in love is painful.
I agree.
Where there is pain there is also pleasure.Infact life rests on duality.
Profit and Loss
Good and Bad
Pain and Pleasure.

These dualities are so finely sutured that you will know about one, only in the absence of the other.

Sorry for my nonsense.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 9:37p.m.
i have been a fan of 'the ganga mail' for quite some time..
your understanding and explanation of issues is beautifully expressed.. would like to read more of your writings, any links??

love is fragile said...

That was great nonsense...would like to hear more of this nonsense.....Yes, where there is pain; somewhere there is pleasure....You love someone cause you want to love..you don't ask anything in return, not even a return of "love"...it is just a blissful feeling mixed with pain..you might never ever be together, physically, you might never ever have a relation in paper, you may never ever be together in life...but you can't stop love, it just flows, has wings and will fly to beyond your imagination..you cannot hold love back, the more you try the more it grows.You ask only "Let me love you..just let me be..I ask nothing in return.." Sorry for my nonsense, just got carried away, LOVE is peace....

Anonymous said...

Anony!!!

Glad to know that you enjoyed reading my comments. Actually I dont write specifically for any websites.

I am a bit impulsive and when i see a blog provocating my thought, i offer my comments.

By the way do you blog?

Its so funny communicating in anonymity.Just like two answering machines.

AM1:: Hi I am the answring machine of my boss. He is out would you like to leave a message?
AM2:: Thanks AM1.How are you by the way. I prefer to talk to him when he returns back.::))

Anonymous said...

Love is fragile,

You said it differently again!!!

Love is peace!!

The beauty about love and peace is that you cannot fight both with any weapons.Infact whatever you use to fight love and peace, you would be the one who would be injured.
The beauty is love and peace can disarm any weapon.
I totally agree with you.You dont need a response from the other to plunge in love.Love is an overwhelming feeling and is subjective.
Radha was a wonderful exponent of the art.She was the wife of Ayana and daughter of Vriushabanu and Kamalavathi.Loving Krishna was her full time job. She never bothered about any response from him. Being in love was by itself a great gift and she enjoyed it to the hilt.

Compare it with todays love. What you give depends upon what you get.It can be traded just like any other commodity.Sad indeed.

BG I am sorry for using your space.Its your blog which has laid the foundation for the debate.And everything that is strong is usually not visible.:))

love is fragile said...

Not for all, I disagree there are still some hand full of Radha's around who don't bother for the response, happy with what they feel.. not asking for anything in return..

Lakshmi said...

Love I believe is a conflict between reflexes and reflections..not an original line though

Deepika Munot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deepika Munot said...

Only one thing to say - Had i been that man i would have felt that I had been grossly violated and asked her to leave very politely!!!

Anonymous said...

Somebody had read this post; I came upon this by chance, on the landing page of GM. Reiterates what I have always said, felt - this, B, is your metier! Wonderful piece :-)
The Tomato

Anubhuti said...

Some months ago, I watched this on you tube. Honestly, I didn't like it much. Today, I saw it here and loved it.
When you see something, you see what the person wants to show you but when you read something, you see what you want to see and you see much beyond what the writer may have wanted you to.