The phone buzzed again, inviting smirks, rolling eyes and silent guffaws from everyone seated at the table. They were in the middle of a meeting and Ravi’s phone had silently albeit violently vibrated three times in the past one hour. Unmindful of the reactions it had garnered, Ravi continued with the brief for his team. Their client had indicated a possible cut-down on budget or let some of them go. Obviously, neither option was welcome.
Once back in his cabin, Ravi nervously ran his fingers through his hair and subconsciously prayed for the best. Then he reluctantly glanced at his phone screen. The background was a picture of him and Kajal, his wife, vacationing in Goa that summer. While she looked resplendent in her newly acquired tan, his face looked drawn and tired. ‘What was I thinking?’ he wondered.
He didn’t care much about other notifications but dreaded the three missed calls from Kajal. Would he be interrogated and forced to provide proofs, yet again? Will she demand a video call? Will she enquire whether Sania was in the meeting too? Should I lie that she wasn’t? Will Kajal believe me? Such and many other questions ran through his mind as he placed a call to her.
Ravi and Kajal had had an arranged marriage. After months of sulking for being ditched by the one girl he had truly loved, Ravi had agreed to meet Kajal after much deliberation by his parents who had already agreed to the match in principle. His intentions of politely declining the proposal went out the window when Kajal fell for him almost immediately and gave her nod of approval.
Fearing that Ravi would chicken out of this relation, his parents insisted on getting them married within a month. Ravi wanted to start his new life with a clean slate and wash his hands off his past. As much as he tried, he couldn’t find the right time or occasion to share it all with Kajal. Ravi was her fiancée and the boyfriend she never had. Whenever they talked, all she was concerned about was shopping or her romantic fantasies.
Destiny however, had a cruel surprise in store for him. Soon after they got married, a cousin of his who held some past grudge against him slyly let it out to Kajal, complete with intimate details Ravi would dare not reveal. That sowed the seed for the thriving tree of doubt Kajal kept nursing in her mind by looking suspiciously at every girl Ravi came in contact with. She argued with him endlessly and would rake up his long forgotten memories over and over again. Having a son together too didn’t change her attitude.
All his attempts at convincing her of his innocence met with a wall of distrust. Things had reached such a head that she now called him several times a day to make sure he was indeed at work. Any female colleague or employee of his was frowned upon by her. His staff respected his business acumen immensely but sniggered behind his back after once overhearing him pleading to her.
What had he done to deserve this? Why hadn’t she taken his cue and allowed him to confess when he wanted to? Everyone has a past and believe it or not, it bothers them more than they accept. Is it worth spoiling the present and future?
As his call went unanswered he smiled to himself. ‘I can breathe peacefully for now.’ he thought.