‘It's just a trip….why are you getting so excited about it?’ yelled Rye at Abhi’s constant bickering.
‘It is not just a trip….it is a trip where you want to go alone and that too with your friends, and I feel it is not safe enough for you…and above all I can’t stay without you alone for 10 days….Do I ever leave you alone to go away with friends? I don’t understand how you can be so selfish….?’ Abhi lashed back and let the question hang in the space between them!
Rye could feel the tears sting her eyes….was it very selfish to demand some space in a marriage….and what was wrong in going on a trip with friends…. She loved Abhi alright but that did not mean she had to go everywhere with him and take him along with her in every vacation she took….she felt suffocated and ill….a dull headache kept throbbing at her temples! At times Abhi seemed the most insensitive person to be with….although he was quite modern in the treatment of women, in general, and his wife, in particular….at times he behaved in a strange and conservative manner….the reasoning he provided for all this behaviour seemed to be coming out of a 50 year old person and not from a man of today.
Rye felt frustrated because she could well understand that her trip will never materialize now…..all her plans got wasted and above all she will lose face in front of her friends….everyone will tag her husband conservative and narrow minded….there were other friends in her group who were married and whose husbands were not holding them on a leash….It was not that Abhi was dominating but at times he was just difficult, too difficult even to approach! Theirs was an arranged marriage, but love happened soon enough. The parents met first, and then the couple. Abhi and Rye decided to go around for some time before taking the plunge. Both families were ok with it. Within a short span of 6 months they started liking each other, so much so that they could not wait to get married. They conveyed their feelings to their parents, who in turn fixed dates, booked halls and the marriage got solemnised in the presence of both the families, their extended relatives, friends, family friends, friends of friends, siblings and the like!
They were now into a year of their marriage and this was by far their biggest argument till date! Abhi was feeling bad for having lost his temper with Rye and sensing her tears he came to sit beside her and put a hand lovingly on her shoulder. That touch was enough to infuriate Rye further. She jerked his hand off and stood up straight to face him. Her face a weird concoction of pain, insult and irritation, which she voiced in the following words: ‘I should have never married you in the first place….you are the biggest reason behind all my problems…Why am I expecting you to understand me and my relation with my friends….?? You have never had any real relation throughout your life. Your parents left you on your own when you were little, they thought it was better to lead their own lives without you…… it was nice of your father’s friend to adopt you, give you a name and a home…..and the people you call relatives are their relatives not yours….all of them pity you. Do you hear me…..they all pity you….A person who does not have any blood relations to call his own…..how can I expect such a person to be sensitive towards me?’ taking it all out of her she thumped back on the bed and almost immediately the realization of her words dawned on to her. Slowly she glanced sideways at Abhi; his face was red with insult….. He was hurt and pained. How could she do this? ‘Abhi….I….I didn’t mean to….’ She tried to cover up but Abhi stood up saying ‘It’s alright! Don’t bother!’ and walked out of the room.
This was the problem with Rye…..once she lost her temper she could resort to any means to justify her actions. Now she ended up hurting Abhi beyond imagination could ever reach. There was nothing made up in what Rye had just pointed out….this truly was Abhi’s life. But strangely enough, these events in his life has shaped him as a human being and made him more sensitive to human relations and feelings. He loved his foster parents more than anything else and they too returned his love with equal attention and affection, same was the case with his foster siblings…..that fact that Abhi was not one of their own was never discussed and they had probably forgotten about the whole thing and Rye would have never come to know of it, had Abhi not told her about it before their marriage was fixed. And today she just crossed her limit…..she betrayed his trust and lost more than just his faith! She knew the look on Abhi’s face and understood that he was not open to any kind of discussion now…..maybe she should go away for a day or two to her parents and let this thing rest a little. This seemed to be a good idea for the moment.
She walked up to Abhi to declare: ‘I think I should visit Ma for a day or two, I have not been there for a long time….’ Abhi sat still and muttered listlessly ‘As you wish….’ and then immersed himself in his work. Rye was not expecting this cold a reaction….she felt sad from within. Like always a part of her wanted him to stop her but she had managed to hurt him so much that he had actually turned cold….the thought scared her. She quickly returned to her room and dialled her mother’s number.
‘Ma….it’s me here’ she started the dialogue. ‘Rye…I was thinking about you just now….you remember Savita mashi….she has come to visit us now….you remember she had two sons….how she wanted you to marry any one of them….but you anyhow settled for Abhi…..’ carried on Rye’s mother without any second thoughts or even taking a breath. Rye interrupted her abruptly, ‘What’s wrong with you? Why are you saying all this even after my marriage? Abhi is a very nice person and I’m happy with him….don’t forget that…’
‘Accha achha…ok, I will not say any such thing…tell me what is it? You are calling at this hour on a Sunday means you must have had a fight with Abhi….Do you want to come over now? Although it is a nice thing that you want to come and visit, but the thing is that Savita mashi will be staying here with us for a couple of days, her husband has also come….and you know that we don’t have many rooms, all I’m saying is that since you have become used to living in big homes now, you may find this space small and uncomfortable. But we are your own people, so you can come any day, ok?’ added her mother hastily. ‘It’s ok, Ma…I was calling just to check on you and baba…..I will call you later, I think….bye & take care!’ replied Rye mechanically! ‘Bye then….will call you when I’m a little free, ok? ....You take care too!’ responded her mother and the phone shut with a click. That’s it….that was all it was….thought Rye. She felt hollow from inside, it was as if someone had cored her insides out and left her vacant!
It is not that parents stop loving you or something but after a point they tend to grow a little selfish, especially after settling their children in marriages. Maybe they feel that they have completed their biggest duties and responsibilities, and they can think a little bit more about themselves and spend time on their own…. There is nothing right or wrong about it, everyone has a right to live their own lives. It’s just that, as humans, we are somehow not built to accept the fact that parents may also want some space and time of their own. No matter how much any one grows up in age, stature or in life, do children ever grow over the need of parents? I guess not….!! Insensitivity and lack of love from the whole world can be handled but not from your parents….This was exactly what Rye was thinking. She felt hurt and alone. She thought this was her apt punishment for misbehaving with Abhi….what did she say to him… ‘Blood relations of his own’ ….and where exactly did she stand now? She felt so belittled by her own thoughts….
Sensitivity to another person’s feelings has nothing to do with blood relations….it is the relation of one heart with another that makes one person sensitive towards the other!
She dragged herself to Abhi’s study and just stood there staring at him, hoping he would look up once. Eventually he did look up and immediately saw remorse etched all over Rye’s face. ‘I’m so sorry, Abhi!’ was all she could mutter….! Having been exposed to a myriad set of emotions from a very early age, Abhi knew remorse when he saw it. He came over at once, although he was still hurt, he tried to read her thoughts.
‘It’s ok….what happened? Why are you crying again?’ he enquired! ‘I’m so sorry, Abhi for what I said….It was hasty of me to react in such a way…’ added Rye. ‘What happened? Did Ma say something….?’….but how did he know that Rye was hurt by her mother’s behaviour? Was it so obvious? Or did he know her so well? She stared intently at him; sensing her confusion he led her to the bedroom and made her sit beside him…. ‘You know that she doesn’t mean to hurt you….she must have said it without much thought, as usual!’ comforted Abhi. Rye nodded in approval without saying anything…… she was trying to grasp the meaning to a lot of things now!
The space between them was getting leaden with grief and tears! Abhi had lost the love of his parents at an age when children usually learn to talk. For some strange reason, which his Papa never discussed with him, neither of his biological parents wanted to take his responsibility. They parted ways in their marriage and left little Abhi at their friend’s place, never to return ever. He was lucky to have found his foster parents, Mamoni and Papa, who has filled his life with more love, care and affection than he could have ever expected or deserved. Mamoni, although, always emphasized that it was they, who were lucky enough to have Abhi as their son. He had learned quickly and quite well, how to preserve precious relations and keep loved ones closer to oneself. He quickly imagined himself in Rye’s place and understood why she had reacted so….although she did go overboard, but she can still be forgiven…he did love her after all! She was young, impulsive and adjusting to a new marriage and new surroundings and of course she loved him too….
Abhi tried to change the heavy mood and shifted closer to Rye to whisper in her ears ‘So…..? What next? Will you start worshipping me with kumkum and flowers for the being the perfect man that I am?’….Rye turned towards him, wiped her tears and smiled. ‘But…you are still not going for the trip….’ added Abhi on a lighter note now…. ‘That’s ok….lets catch a movie then….what say? Or do you have any better plans for the afternoon?’ quipped Rye with a heavy tear-stained voice and red watery eyes that were slowly showing signs of happiness…. ‘Actually….I do’ winked Abhi mischievously!!