‘Oh… What a day it was?’ mouthed the woman to her husband. ‘Indeed…. But all I can say is, all’s well that ends well. What do you say?’ asked Arun to his wife in return. Sunaina, was checking the contents of her handbag to ensure that everything was with her and she had not forgotten anything in a hurry. She looked up from it and nodded in approval to what Arun said. For a moment, she felt she caught a glimpse of the lively and casual person that was her husband. Then again that lasted only a moment; that spark went missing again and she glanced back at his sad eyes. She looked out of the window of the speeding bus. Maybe this was fate’s way of telling her not to go, but did she do the right thing by defying that and boarding the bus to leave. Her flight for Mumbai was scheduled for tomorrow evening. Boarding this bus was important to her, because otherwise she would have to cancel her Mumbai’s flight. In all this hiatus of catching the bus, Arun was silent, almost as if he was not present or as if he wanted to miss the bus. On boarding the bus, for a fleeting moment he was his normal self again, but then….
She turned and looked at Arun to ask, ‘Are you angry with me? Tell me the truth… please!’ Arun looked a little sad, and smiled. He held her hand in his and replied, ‘How can I be angry with you? Its only today and tomorrow’s morning that we have with us, to spend together. After that you will have to leave…right? So let’s not worry about all these now…!’ Sunaina put her head on Arun’s shoulder and began to think. It really was a big blow for Arun, accepting the fact that his childhood sweetheart turned wife of so many years, wanted to try her luck away from him. She wanted to pursue her career in a different city and she had informed him about all this only after confirming the last details. Right from booking the flight tickets till booking a hotel and landing a job offer in her future-company that offered a 50% hike over her present salary. Actually, it was a big blow for Sunaina too. She had never expected to actually take the offer. She had thought that as a reply to all their quarrels over the past 2-3 months she would give Arun the biggest blow. They would fight, quarrel, shout, cry and make up… of course!
But… nothing such happened! This time Sunaina had gone overboard. She had hurt Arun too much. He had turned cold and silent. After this news was broken to him, he was behaving in a surreal manner. He planned what had to be done before she left for Mumbai. He planned her visit to her parents’ place and to a temple. He also helped her with her shopping and packing. Suddenly all their fights had stopped, almost overnight. Arun did not want any explanation, neither did he shout at her or fight with her or blame her. He had accepted it, as it was. Sunaina had tried many times to explain why she did this and what her plans actually were, but every time he just smiled and put off the topic.
Sunaina took her head off Arun’s shoulder ‘Listen to me carefully, I want you to ask your Boss for a transfer to Mumbai, if he agrees then it’s fine but if he doesn’t …… then promise me that you will look for another job in Mumbai and shift there. This job, that I have got, you know that I will not be able to re-locate before a year at least…. Are you listening?’ questioned Sunaina and looked into his eyes. ‘Yes of course… but I can’t promise anything!’ his voice lacked the enthusiasm or the hope that Sunaina wanted to hear. ‘What do you mean by that? You want to make me feel guilty, right?’ retorted Sunaina. Arun smiled again and nodded his head in denial. Another attempt wasted, in the past few days Sunaina had tried many times to enrage Arun and have a fight. She was certain that a fight would bring out all his emotions and he would behave normally again, but each time he smiled at her and dropped the topic. It was, as if, he read her mind and wanted to win the situation from her, as if, he wanted this state to remain as it was: Suffocating!
Like everything they undertook together, the bus journey too came to an end, and the time of her leaving for Mumbai was drawing to a close. Was their relationship coming to an end too? They were silently treading the path of hurt and sadness, each curled inside their own selves, refusing to let the other take a peep inside. They had large issues and larger egos, and that too bruised ones; a solution was not in the offing! The day finally arrived and went by too. Life was not a Bollywood movie where the hero and heroine meet at the airport…. In real life nothing such happens! Sunaina too lost hope of Arun trying to stop her, and made preparations to leave. Arun accompanied her to the airport, hoping every minute that she will stop and change her decision. She bade good bye to her parents over phone before leaving and hugged Arun ‘Come soon!’ she whispered in his ears, when Arun was expecting to hear ‘I will not go!’ Arun smiled, when Sunaina had expected to hear ‘Yes… of course!’ She waved good-bye and disappeared through the airport terminal! Arun was left standing alone in the crowd!
You have huge expectations from people you love, and these expectations are usually not attuned to reality. Sunaina and Arun too had expectations; their only problem was that their expectations were not in sync!
After Sunaina left, life certainly was not the same for both of them. Things that they had taken for granted became the most sought-after ones. He missed the home-cooked food at all times of the day and her post-it notes on the refrigerator, while she missed curling up in bed next to him after a hard day’s work. But they nurtured their egos well enough to keep these feelings tucked deep inside them. But humans they were, and most definitely in love! The crux of the matter being that they missed each other and badly so….
In the initial days they called up one another only at night to give a robotic description of the day’s work, but the ice was broken soon enough. A little more discussion about that male colleague at office by Sunaina or the description of how one of Arun’s female colleagues had prepared lunch for him; was enough to break the silence. ‘I see that you are having a gala time there!’ retorted Sunaina. Smelling the fumes of her jealousy, Arun did not waste time in cooking up an imaginary tale about that special female-colleague’s interest in him. She laughed and fought, he teased and enjoyed! It was not even a week when they started calling each other every hour: talking, fighting, laughing, crying and loving each other again. They slept late into the night, because they had so much to talk about. Was there any fight between them ever? If there was any, it was hard to figure….
‘Today I will be wearing your favorite shirt to office…. I have a client meet. You remember the shirt right?’ Arun asked Sunaina. ‘Of course… I do…how can I forget…? I remember gifting it on your Birthday… Best of luck with your client meet then!’ chimed in Sunaina. Arun was actually trying to remind her of his upcoming Birthday, although Sunaina caught the hint, she played hard to get! She had planned a surprise gift for him, but like always she was bad at keeping surprises and invariably was tempted to tell him about it, somehow she controlled herself.
Arun broke the silence ‘Actually I have something to ask you…. Do you have any important work in the weekend of my Birthday?’ ‘No… nothing such…why do you ask?’ replied Sunaina instantly. ‘Actually I have booked tickets for us to visit Bangkok! Are you ok with it?’ asked Arun with a mischievous smile, knowing well that Sunaina had for long wanted to visit the place but every time something or the other came up and the trip was cancelled. He knew Sunaina would be elated!
‘BANGKOK?? Are you serious? I had got tickets for us to Goa for your birthday….. Oh My God! I’m so happy I will cancel the Goa tickets…Bangkok it is…’ blurted out Sunaina in her excitement. ‘So you did have some plan in mind… I thought I was the only one planning for my Birthday!’ added Arun rolling his eyes in a child-like manner and both of them burst out laughing!
Expectations, probably, get attuned to reality when your feelings for each other are in sync!