Some relationships are thus born,
When the heart is with love-torn,
To be with the beloved is the burning flame,
And they often come together under a name.
Some relationships, we hold no sway,
Because they arrive naturally our way,
By birth, arrangement or call it fate,
Joy and sorrow, all in the plate.
Yet some of the relationships are nameless,
The one that society does not bless,
But the partners therein do not bother,
And they are often happy together.
Roma was unusually restless that morning. It was not the ideal day for her habitual, lonely morning walks- the cloudy and intermittently drizzling Bangalore weather being a dampener but more than that her strained nerves seemed to be failing her to allow physical exertion of even a minor proportion. She could not calm herself down to sit for a few minutes, hold her breath for a few seconds and do her usual household chores. Why?
Awaiting the husband’s colleague
She was expecting a visitor soon – a visitor who is supposed to come along with her husband for lunch. Her husband, Satish, had already left for the occasional early morning meeting in his office but not before putting a word across to her that he will be accompanied by one of his new colleagues at home for lunch.
“Remember Rajesh is joining us for lunch today,” he said.
And as usual, he did not bother to ask if his wife would be troubled to entertain any guest for lunch. Roma’s docility was an accepted feature in their domesticity, and in an unequal relationship, Satish, however, had no such compulsions.
It was nearing noon now and her domestic help was leaving for the day having completed her daily household tasks.
“Madam, I am leaving for the day, and tomorrow I might not come for work,” she shouted before closing the main door behind her. Roma, however, was not in her mind to respond nor did she seem to hear anything. Such tantrums from the housemaid were not unexpected either.
Why the husband’s colleague made her anxious
But why would just the visit of any of her husband’s acquaintance for lunch be a cause of much anxiety for her? No apparent reason whatsoever. Didn’t she have had such visitors before- through her husband’s social or professional contact-quite a few already now and then? But the answer to that lies in the happenings of a few years ago.
Roma was then a student in the college – a simple yet attractive middle-class girl from a small town. Preoccupied with her studies, she was mostly introvert. She had a secret admirer though: one who would steal furtive, appreciating glances at her, thinking that those would never be noticed. But girls often perceive that- don’t they? To be making any impression on her, however –she was a lady who preferred mostly keeping to her own – the initial approach had to be made by the admirer.
Eventually, the boy gathered courage, they got talking and soon started sharing notebooks; and in one such exchange, the message was conveyed through a letter which also had ‘those three words’ which conveys it all. Roma was confused; she never knew that she could be looked upon as someone worth pursuing: that did excite her. She knew it was his handwriting. But the thrill had to be countered by conventional reasoning: did she have her parent’s consent to pursue it? She was also that obedient daughter who did not want to embarrass her parents. But she did have a soft corner for the boy.
She had decided to be the obedient daughter
So the parting note that went from Roma read: “Some feelings, although against the heart’s desire, cannot be reciprocated. Probably it waits for more suitable time and circumstances.” And as she placed that piece of paper in between the pages of the notebook, her eyes were filled with tears of helplessness. And the note was wet with her tears, and so a few pages of the book.
“I shall wait till time and circumstances get us together,” was the reply from her admirer.
Her parents eventually got her married. Coming from a conservative family and being the only daughter to her parents, her criteria for a prospective bridegroom was neither solicited nor was she encouraged to have any inclination on such a matter.
The best match wasn’t the best though
“We will look for the best match for you,” her parents used to say her assuring.
“And what a match they found!” she pondered in agony when on her own.
“The so-called good, established family; the guy with a decent job, and sound financial background- that is what counts for my parents-and only that,” she told herself.
“That love and understanding, the longing to be wanted and appreciated, respected, do they count for nothing?” she asked herself in agony.
She found her love on the net
She was never the one to be always glued to the internet, nor was she a social-networking butterfly who kept herself alive on such websites updating her status, ‘liking’ and commenting on others. But she did have an account, and once in a while, she did look at it. The one profile she often had a look was of her admirer from her college. He is now living in that same city as her. And now that she was in an unhappy marriage, she craved for sentiments more subtle and feelings more caring. She did add his number to her contacts in her phone but resisted herself from dropping any message to him through the messenger application. But every time seeing him online excited her; seeing him offline brought disappointment. The thought of dropping a message, however, made her heart skip a beat.
“No! How can I do that? I am married now and trying to get in touch with someone for whom I had feelings once. It is not good,” she would restrain herself.
She dropped a message
But one day, in a show of rare courage, on finding him offline (probably texting him when he was online would have taken too much of a nerve for her) she dropped just a succinct message:
“How are you? Roma here.”
But as soon as the message was sent, it set of moments of anxiety in her.
“I shall not be anxious to see his reply, or if he replies at all,” she told herself with a determination that she knew might waver.
It had been about three days that the message was sent. She detested herself whenever she checked if he is online-yet she couldn’t help doing it. This sinking feeling to find absolutely no communication from him was becoming unbearable, almost torturous.
And suddenly, just as she sat down in her chair, her phone vibrated. With her heart thudding in her ear, she unlocked her phone and stared at the screen. Finally! It was his message.
But when she opened it and read it, she nearly stopped breathing. She didn’t know if he was joking or not. What was this?
The message said:
“Doing well; hoping to see you around this weekend at lunch as I am invited by your husband.”
She sat down contemplating restlessly and concluded that he might have come to know from her social networking profile (which had her marriage photographs) that the person with whom she was now married is the one who had invited him for lunch. Today, it is so easy to know a lot about your acquaintance without having to take much pain enquiring. Moreover, he could have easily verified that with her husband, who is a colleague.
When their eyes met…
So, a nervous Roma finally forced herself to open the door as the calling bell woke her up from a trance of anxiety. Her hands quivered as she unbolted the door and then she slowly picked up her eyes, meekly but expectantly, to look at the visitors at the door.
And there behind her husband stood Rajesh, the very person whom she knew so well, and their eyes met briefly as if they longed to have a look at each other before both of them lowered their eyelids quickly for the brief look brought in a lot of memories.
They soon sat in the drawing room for a chit-chat. It was mostly Satish speaking though, as the rest two persons were mostly mute audiences and seemed extremely uneasy. And when the previous lovers happened to see each other, there was a subdued spark but not for Satish to notice.
Why was he not married?
Soon as they proceeded to the dining table, with Roma arranging the lunch, Satish said:
“Roma, do you know, I came to know that Rajesh is still not married because he still believes that his once college flame would come back to him?”
She looked at Rajesh; he instantly lowered his eyes.
“How utterly foolish and hopelessly optimistic these lovers are,” Satish said breaking out in hysteric laughter.
“Look at me,” he said boasting himself, “I have been with a few women in my life, but never did I let that affect me; and eventually when I got married, I went for an arranged one to get a homely wife.”
Roma and Rajesh looked at each other; Roma humiliated.
Lunch went off fine
“As if I am here only to meet his purpose, and I don’t have my own choice,” she thought to herself.
But that her husband rarely cared for her sentiments is the understanding she came to accept in the two years of their marriage. The lunch was consumed mainly over a discussion about office related work in which the two men were the participants and Roma being the quiet, uninterested listener. Rajesh, however, was the much less vocal of the two, always conscious of Roma’s presence.
And in due course, half-an-hour post-lunch, Rajesh bid his hosts good-bye.
Where was Roma?
A month hence, after Satish came back from office in the evening, the calling-bell was not answered by Roma. He opened the door with the key which he always kept in his office bag.
“Where must have my wife gone at this time of the day?” he thought briefly.
“She does not have any relatives or friends here, so she must have gone to market for groceries, where else?” he told himself and smiled briefly as he sat down in the sofa, closing his eye. But an hour had elapsed and yet no sign of her.Trying to reach her on her mobile yielded little because it was switched off. He then picked himself up to get a bottle of cold water from the refrigerator, and having fetched that, his eyes fell on a piece of paper pasted on it that read:
“I am leaving you. Don’t try to search for me or even take the pain to divorce me either. I will behappy to be in a nameless relationship with love rather than being in a loveless relationship with a name Roma.”
Rajesh had been on uninformed leave at the office a day before that, and soon he was marked ‘absconding’ in the Human Resource department record of the company as all the means to contact him did not yield any result.