It’s 4.00 a.m. Our flight is about to land in New York within one hour.
I am in a suite – our own cabin, Mumbai to New York flight. We are on honeymoon trip. My selection.
I am laden with ornaments like a moving jewellery shop. Costly saree, matching blouse. I indeed look beautiful ! My hand goes to the thick necklace, the big blue sapphire on its pendant, right in the middle. I have put my mangalsutra in my bag.
My hubby, Nilam Chand, slight dark, muscular body, holds my hand. I get it away. His eyes have a question.
“ Why ?”
I remain closed.
He turns to music – blue tooth.
I divert to my past.
All of us live with our past. All of us allow it to shape our future. But some of us know how to shrug the past. I think that is who I am….
I love diamonds, diamonds are for ever.
For me, Anil is my diamond. I know him since our childhood. We have grown up in the same housing colony – Sterling housing colony. There is lot of greenery around and birds twit almost 24×7. At times, three peacocks and two peahens are also seen. Sometimes, you can see them dancing too.
I was residing in a bungalow with my parents and a brother.
He was with his parents and two younger brothers.
Our closeness had started when he was in standard X and I was in VIII. Those were exam days and it was evening time. Anil met me.
He smiled at me and I at him.
“ Exams are on ?”
“ Yeah.” I said.
“ What’s tomorrow ?”
“ Any doubts, questions ?”
“ What’s the hardest substance on earth ?” came out of my mouth.
“ The hardest substance on earth is JK super – cement.” He quoted from a TV ad and laughed loudly.
“ Silly. Don’t joke.”
“ Dear Suni..” My name is Sunita but the colony teens and elders call me Suni.
“ Everyone knows it’s diamond.” he said little proudly.
“ Oh, I was confused. I thought it must be uranium, you know the atom bomb and all that.”
“ Diamonds.” He said em pathetically fisting his right hand and showing his out-stretched thumb.
My eyes glued there.
I still remember the scene. He had a cricket bat in his other hand. He had come earlier than his mates. His teen – tanned muscular body, long beautiful face, big wide black eyes, long Amitabh style dark hair got photographed in my brain plate. His voice too, simultaneously got registered. His smile was just killing.
I show a peacock dancing there in front of a peahen. So had danced my heart.
My father had once before told me that sapphire is the hardest. We have a jewellery shop in the posh locality of the city.
“ Blue sapphire is the best. It’s most costly too.”
I didn’t refer to the text or guide on that but the question did appear as fill in the blank in my exam paper.
I trusted Anil and diamond. I was happy to learn later that I was right.
Since then Anil was my diamond.
And we never knew when we were in love. First love is ever lasting ! A girl never forgets it, it endures till her life !
Thereafter, we were always together. In parks, in school, in college, cinema halls, in malls, in restaurants, in temples, in tours and at some places which I can’t write here. We grew up like that all. We completed our respective studies. He his M.Sc. Computer and I my M.A.
And then he left for States for his higher studies. He got a job in New York, high pay with chauffeur – driven car and a posh apartment too.
But. I could not join him, could not follow him. My study visa was rejected, my visitor visa was also rejected.
But our love, our longing for each other never receded. Though, because of his job there, there were some bumps, slow-downs, delays and he could not come to India, I could not go to US. We suffered, our marriage too suffered. Of course, we were in regular touch by phones, net, chats, videos and all that.
Sometimes, it occurred to me, shall I ever be with Anil, my dearest Anil ? I can’t remain idle. I should find my way. This way or that way.
And one day, I saw a matrimonial.
A wealthy, smart youth 30, well studied, well settled in New York, high earning, wants a life – partner.
I sent my proposal.
He was Nilam Chand. A high family since generations. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Our meeting was in a five star hotel suite.
He is handsome, well mannered highly educated, director in his father’s 100 million – dollar company in US and elsewhere.
This I saw as the best chance to reach US. I selected Nilam Chand and he and his parents and other elders selected me ! Have you seen a dolphin standing up on the sea – waters on her tail and moving in a straight line – just twisting and twirling ?! Happy and dancing ! I was that then!
I remember the tune played in my wedding was, aaj mere yaar ki shaadi hai jaise saare sansar ki shaadi hai ! ( Today my friend is wedding, it seems, as though the whole world is wedding ! ) So joyful, so hilarious.
As now am going to New York with Nilam Chand – a good man, well mannered, handsome and sober. I visualise my paradise is very near, very very near. Just I need to stretch my hand and grab it.
There everything is ready. At the airport Anil is to come. He may come with some folks – friends, body – guards, companions.
His message flashes on my mobile.
“ Welcome, to New York. Well – come to U.S.”
The plane lands.
As I come out , I follow Nilam Chand but my eyes are searching for Anil, my Anil.
But I don’t see him.
We move out and wait for our luggage to arrive.
“ Oh yes, Anil.”
Anil comes near. And he, suddenly, embraces me. I hug him.
Nilam Chand is bewildered.
I introduce him to Anil.
“ Nilam. I am very sorry. Very very sorry, but this is Anil. Anil Shevare – my love. Real love. We loved each other immensely since childhood but circumstances….. ”
My eyes get wet. I can’t speak further. My voice is choked.
But I clear my throat.
“ Nilam, you’ve been very nice to me through out. I respect you, I admire you but my love is….”
Anil now drags me.
I look back. Nilam Chand is staring at me. His fingers are at his eyes clearing the moisture.
He raised his hand but it fails to reach full.
Anil and me are now in a cab.
We reach Anil’s apartment, sixteenth floor.
It is one BHK but nicely done.
Half of New York is visible. Certain parts are obstructed by high-rise buildings. Half of the sky is also there. I know, nobody gets full sky !
Inside, it is light brown. Not my colour, not sapphire – blue, light blue, dark blue….. there are many shades of blue but….
So cheers. Enjoy !
Anil and me hug again. We are in the bed. Number of times, our bodies were thirsty. Thirsty for years. Our love flows unobstructed. This’s my honeymoon, our honeymoon ! Best in the world !
I go to sleep. I am on seventh cloud and highest heaven.
Anil too, gets some naps.
Then he gets up.
In the hall, he opens a cupboard. It’s a small bar.
“ Will you take some wine ?” he asks lovingly.
“ Wine ?!” I am shocked.
“ Suni. Just cheer up. This’s U.S.”
I can’t say no.
I stay in the bed. He brings two champagnes, sprays everywhere!
We sip the joy, the joy of life !
Again I go to sleep. This time because of wine and some confusion.
When I wake up, I am alone. It’s four, afternoon.
Where’s Anil ?
Yes, his note is there on the corner table.
“ Honey, urgent office work, shall return by 9 pm.”
I start TV. All American stuff. I mostly fail to catch the pronunciations. I shut it.
I start music. While listening to it, I again fall in sleep.
My cell phone tweets.
My mom, my father and brother are there.
I say hi, hello. I say, I am fine. I am in my paradise with my Anil.
But I hear them weeping.
“ But why you did all this ?” They were angry. “ Why you cheated Nilam Chand, his parents ? You’ve cheated us too.”
“ Dear parents. I’d told thousand time, that I love Anil, only Anil, and none else. There was no other way and everything is fair in…..”
They cut off.
I realise there’s no message, no phone from Anil. “ Must be busy.”
I fiddle with computer. But password ?
I insert Anil.
It does not work.
I insert Lina.
“ Hello.” A beauty shines, Lavender – is written beneath her neck.
“ Hi love.” Another beauty. She is bare bosom.
She’s Cathy. A brunette.
“ Kiss ya…” An Asian… Bare as though born grown up.
More strikes, more messages, more pictures.
“ Do me ya honey….”
There are Asians too, Afro-Americans too.
I go mad. I see group sex, six, seven,…. My count fails. Anil is also there.
“ Is Anil…?”
I can’t think.
“ I shall have to seek explanation…..!” I explode.
“ What explanation ? You’ve all the proofs.” I implode.
I, nervously, again start the TV.
Anil is there. But what?!
“ This man, Anil, is involved in a murder. The famous Catch me casino murder case…” This time, I get each pronunciations correctly.
I start weeping.
The American TV is on. My weeping became louder. “ Police is after him !”
My phone tweets.
“ Sorry, Sunita, but….” He is Nilam Chand.
“ Nilam…” I cried out.
“ Police is after Anil.”
“ I know.”
“ So now ? May I help you ?”
“Yes, Suni. I love you.”
“But my Anil.”
“He is changed. U.S. Changes everybody, everything…..”
“Police isn’t slower here. The media is faster.”
“ Is this all true ?”
“I don’t know!”
I am silent.
“Tell me if I can do anything for you.”
The phone is off.
I rummage further. The drawers do not open.
No keys. I find a pincers in the kitchen. I break open the drawers.
Yes. I find CDs.
I see them.
I find Anil playing in the casino. Some papers I find, he is indebted to thousands of dollars.
And yes, he’s involved in a murder case too. A video shows him live.
“ Where am I ? What am I ?”
“ I cheated the whole world for you Anil, and you cheated me !”
What should I do now ? Commit suicide ?
I look up. There’s no fan. Only Air Conditioners and heaters.
A rummage the table drawers further.
I find a revolver.
I put it at my temple.
I click it.
Phut. It’s vain.
One by one, all the six failed.
It was empty. Where are the shots ?
I rummage again, but find no bullet.
I go out. I shall jump from the top. Why top. Any floor.
And oh. As I came out, I see Police on the road, American police.
They have handcuffed Anil and are coming to…
They’ll come up by lift.
I slide sideways. I take the fire-route.
I climb down hurriedly all the sixteen floors. As I leave the last step and go a little distance to recover my breath. I see a cop, occupying the place. Not to allow any one in or out.
I am on the footpath.
Where to go? Whom to ask? What to do….
Suddenly a car comes near me. It halts.
I am full with tears.
Nilam Chand is there on driver’s seat. He smiles wryly and opens the door for me.
“ Come in. Don’t bother.”
I reluctantly get in.
“Don’t bother.” He touches me at my shoulder. This’s first time he has touched me after the hast – milap.
“ You’re my wife. I can’t allow you to suffer !”
He starts the car.
“ You’re not angry on me.”
“ I was. But not now.”
“ As you love Anil, same way I love you. ”
“ Please halt.” I say.
“ Why ? Don’t afraid. I have arranged for an attorney for you…”
“ Oh, not that but….”
“But what ?”
He stops the car.
“ Sorry Nilam. Hundred times sorry. Please forgive me.”
“Forgiven. But for what ? You’re mine. I am yours for ever.”
He looks into my eyes.
I catch his hand, his mouth, place my lips on his, kiss him, and continue…..
A feeling grows up in me, my diamond was false, my sapphire is perfect and perfect blue !
And for me, for us, it’s eternity now !