I opened my almirah and selected a cotton saree. I love wearing sarees as I am absolutely comfortable in them. I got dressed and gave a final look in the mirror before I stepped out for office. I paused a second to glance at my husband, Puneet, who was sleeping in the other room. Involuntarily, I gave a heavy sigh and came out.
I entered office and, “Hi Sandhya” said Priya. “You are looking perfect in the cotton saree”.
“Hi Priya, thank you …you made my day!”
I saw Shiva entering the office and we smiled at each other from a distance and he left to his desk. Shiva must be in his early 40s. He has a charming personality. He always gives a warm smile, very professional in work, always respects others. He doesn’t look his age and is handsome too. I joined this office a month back. So with few colleagues it’s only a simple smile, but with few it’s little more.
That day during lunch time I heard a voice from behind,”May I sit here?” I turned back and it’s Shiva with his lunch in his hand. “Of course yes, why not?” We sat facing each other and to start a conversation Shiva asked, “How was the weekend?” “Nothing much, doing the pending chores and a little rest…that’s it. And yours? “Have you gone anywhere with your family”? I asked him somehow confidently assuming him to be married.
“Nowhere, just at home. Saw a movie in my home theatre with my wife”.
“That’s like a loving husband!” I said, somewhere thinking, how I wish Puneet spends time with me like this.
Shiva continued,” Actually my wife is bedridden since two years after a fatal accident. So weekends I spend with her more.”
“Oh, I feel so sad to know about her condition. How do you manage everything?”
“I depend on my cook and a nurse to take care of her apart from a regular maid. No option.” His eyes were little moist. I did not know how and what to converse further. We finished our lunch and got back to work.
For few days it became a routine affair to chat at the table during the lunch time. Shiva is very witty and intelligent. He has a great sense of pun. So it’s never boring to talk to him. One day he asked, “Sandhya, You have not told me anything about your family.”
“Nothing great about my family”, I sighed and continued, “My husband, Puneet doesn’t work. He is an alcoholic. I run the house and I have to give him money for alcohol too. I have a son aged 10 and I have put him in a boarding school as I don’t want his father’s influence on him”.
“How irresponsible Puneet is!” said Shiva in a little aggressive tone.
“It’s ok Shiva. Initially he worked for couple of years and due to bad friends he got into this. In the starting years, I could not come to terms with this attitude of his. I tried taking him to rehab and counseling. Nothing worked as he has become a slave to alcohol. “
“Nothing can be done now Shiva. I set my mind and only see the positive things and I pity him. I keep myself busy managing home and office. I find solace in painting. I keep myself busy and have accepted the life as it is”.
“Sandhya, you are great. May be that’s why they say woman is a personification of patience.”
“Oh come on Shiva, you are no less. You do so much for your wife, you are a devoted and loving husband too.”
On one of the days Shiva said, “You look more beautiful today in this saree.”
I just loved a simple praise from a man. I always long for a basic conversation with Puneet. I am mostly lonely. I found a good friend in Shiva and am happier these days.
“I am taking 2 days leave to meet my son. See you next Monday Shiva!”
“That’s nice. Take care. Have a safe journey. Message me once you reach there.” These little concerns show how true a person is.
“Hope you reached safe. Have a great time with your son.” “Missed our regular conversation during lunch today!”These were the messages that Shiva gave me and I was liking his concern. As usual Puneet is lost in his own world, where only alcohol exists. Inadvertently the comparison comes in my mind between the two.
After few days I got a mail that me and Shiva are to attend a conference at Bangalore for 2 days next week and 2 rooms have been booked for us in a hotel. We need to buy air tickets which the company will reimburse later.
I immediately went to Shiva and asked him to book the flight ticket for me too. “Let’s prefer the early morning flight so that we can attend the conference the day we land.”I said to Shiva. He nodded in agreement.
The day has come and Shiva is sitting next to me in the flight. Though we became very friendly in past few months, never we sat so close. His shoulder is touching mine once in a while. I am loving the warmth of it but we both apparently seem to ignore it.
The day went on with lengthy conference and I was damn tired as I got up very early to catch the morning flight. “I need an hour sleep. Too tired.” I said to Shiva. “Me too. Ok take rest and by 8.30pm get ready. We will go to dining area down together.” I nodded in agreement this time.
I lay on bed and immediately slipped in sleep. I woke up I got dressed for dinner. It’s already 8.40pm. I waited for Shiva for 5 more min and decided to go to his room and call for dinner.
I rang the door bell and saw him in towel and he is speaking to someone over phone. I felt embarrassed and was about to go back to my room. But Shiva signaled me to come in and sit down. I could not say anything as he immediately rushed to take bath while ending the conversation.
I understood that he was talking to his wife.
I sat down in one of the two chairs kept at the corner of the room and was feeling very embarrassed over the situation. I picked up a magazine from the small table and going through it.
I heard the bathroom door being opened. Felt further uneasy and dug myself into the magazine. He may have to dress up. What to do now? Where to go?
After a minute or so I felt a hand lifting my chin and before I could react Shiva placed a deep kiss on my lips. He was again in his towel and somehow I too got tempted to reciprocate voluntarily. He was kissing my neck and I put my hand on his bare chest. I felt very different as I have never touched another man this way. In fact, I can’t recollect when Puneet and I made love. I could feel his well maintained body and he is pouring in kisses everywhere on my face and lips . He dug his head near my neck and I lost myself in him. I caressed his hair and longed for more. What happened later cannot be put in words. It’s a lovely feeling to be wanted with love, affection and desperation.
After a while we lay side by side. No words spoken and no need of them too. Surprisingly, I am not angry on him. May be I could understand him more as we are sailing in the same boat. My mind was racing with many questions. Is this wrong? Are our spouses responsible to some extent that we got tempted like this? Is this already destined? Will I be in an affair with him or is this a onetime affair? How will our friendship be from now on? Oh my God! How I got tempted like this? Though my mind is reeling with many questions, my heart is in bliss and is happy somewhere brushing aside the guilt!