Kissaa Kahaani

April 30, 2011

The Watch.

Aakruti was aghast on phone, her face visibly paled. Animesh looked up from his paper and jumped to his feet and held her. She looked at him and said, “Anandi’s husband left her for a 22 year old girl and threw her and their son out of their house, she has nowhere to go”. “But they do have, its sad situation and who will help if not relatives”, said Animesh, “Ask them to bunk in here”. Animesh was a Sr. Project Manager at an MNC and was earning a hefty salary. With no children, his house looked bigger than it actually was. And he loved his peace. Aakruti wondered on his sudden generosity but shook it aside and went ahead to make the two spare rooms ready for her guests- Anandi her sister and Manav her 8 year old nephew whom she adored. She often thought when will she have her own child to adore, but Animesh was simply not ready even after 9 years and 8 months of their marriage. People already started looking at her with pity and her mother-in-law kept on calling to say how much her heart ached for a grandchild. But how can she say that its Animesh who is stalling the whole thing!! She just couldn’t. She loved him. Animesh set out for station to pick Anandi and Manav, if it were happening to someone else he would have laughed. He put his foot in his mouth. He put on his Pierre Cardin Watch, his only frivolous splurge, he realized that the watch was not working, he kept it in his pocket. “What was the need you dumb asshole”, he murmured to himself. But then he was right, where else his sister-in-law could go!? She and his wife were orphans abandoned by relatives after tragic accident of their parents and Aakruti was just 14 at that time. It was Anandi who was 18 who left her studies and joined a call center. Thank God they still had a roof on their heads. It was Anandi who made sure that Aakruti continues her studies without glitches and it Anandi who introduced Animesh and Aakruti and it was Anandi who arranged a simple wedding at when Aakruti was 24. Anandi married he boss when she was 30. She realized that it was impossible for her remain alone and ward of the ‘evil eye’ of the men in her vicinity. He boss was the only one showed some true compassion towards her. How wrong was she. By the end of the year she was blessed with Manav. Her life was complete, she was a success. Animesh respected Anandi, and in his heart he saw the reason for those ‘evil eye’ even at almost 38, she was beautiful and not an ounce of unnecessary fat on her body, tall and lithe and always active with ready smile and bright eyes. He was a man afterall- he knew that his sister-in-law very attractive and after a gap of almost 10 years- she was like a wine while his wife has started showing the signs of her battle with the age. He scolded himself for his train of thoughts and resolved to make sure that they wont stay here for more than required- a 2-3 weeks, a month tops! He will make some arrangements, get that woman a job and throw her out of his life. Anandi was bad news. Anandi was distraught. She was at her wits end. Where will she turn? What she would do now? Will he divorce her or will he come to his senses? Where will she live? What about Manav? “Why Madhav? Why? Why was I not enough for you? What does that virginal girl give you that I cant? Why are you punishing me? Why are you punishing your son”, she cried in her anguish and looked at Manav. Who was only 8, but was very perceptive and mature for his age. Who wouldnt be, if his mother is being sodomized by his father day in and day out. Anandi was glad too, she will be finally free of his. She couldnt leave him, she didnt have that much courage. Thank God he left her. The “chook chook” of the train was soothing and lulled her to sleep. She slept, she knew that she will finally be safe in her sister’s house. She saw Animesh and in relief of a familiar face who would not hurt her, she wept freely. Animesh hugged both of them, Manav hugged his knees while Anandi hugged his torso. Animesh felt his manhood stirring and released her. He loved Aakriti. They drove and chit chat continued in the car. As they reached the house, Aakruti came running and both sisters clung to each other and wept. While Manav looked at Animesh and remarked, “Women, their tears could end up drowning us men, eh Uncle” and laughed at his little joke. They went inside and after a while Anandi told her story to her only remaining family members. A week later, presence of Manav in the house made Aakruti resent her husband for depriving her of her chance of being a mother. More she interacted with Manav, more she felt the pang. She decided to punish Animesh and she chose the west weapon she had. Her body. That night when Animesh crawled in Aakruti kept her back towards him and swatted his advancing hands, “I dont feel like it Animesh. It seems useless to me” She said. “Animesh was shocked, he and Aakruti both loved their ‘Nightly Adventures’. But this was definitely something new, “What happened Kriti, you okay. Are you sick?” he was concerned. “Yes, I am as okay as I can be Anu, your mother called today, she came out of her veiled statements and asked me to go visit a doctor and see if there can be an alternative to my not being able to conceive even after 10 years of my marriage? What should I tel her Anu? That her son refuses to grow up? That he is too self absorbed? Tell me Anu”. “Whats wrong with you, what does simple sex has to do with it? Tell her to call me next time and do inform her that its none of her business” He retorted. “And what should I tell myself Anu? That its none of my business as well?” “Anu I want a child, my heart aches for one. Please” She pleaded but Animesh said that after two years only he will think and if they are not able to conceive one they will sponsor or adopt sor something. He leaned in to kiss her, Aakruti turned her face away and took her pillow to separate her from her husband and said that she wont allow him to touch her until she gets to be a mother. And she slept off. Animesh sighed and thought about the joke Manav said about women’s tears. He was feeling drowned. Its just a phase, it will pass off. He slept. But it didnot pass off. Animesh started feeling resentful towards his sister-in-law and his nephew. He wanted to talk to talk Aakruti into making these guests leave, but Anandi was still mourning her marriage and Manav has finally adjusted to new place, “It will be cruel to have him uprooted again, its just been two weeks, and anyways you are not at home in day, the house is all empty, if not my children, I have my sister’s son here”. The discussion was dismissed. As days passes Animesh started feeling like a stranger in his own house. Aakruti wont let him touch him, the dinner would always be of Manav’s choice and not his. Many ither small things. He just couldnt take it. He was looking at Aakruti give her clothes to the Laundryman for washing and ironing. She asked Animesh to hand over the trousers he was wearing yesterday for washing. That night he literally begged Aakruti for reconciliation. But she was as stubborn as a mule and refused to let him touch her. Around midnight he just had it, he couldnt sleep and he went out to the dining room and he saw Anandi there. Sitting looking out of the window. He went towards her and she was startled. He realized that she was weeping, he offered a brotherly hug, but as soon as his engulfed her in his arms, his intentions were not at all brotherly anymore. He leaned into kiss her neck, “What are you doing Animesh”, she flung away from his as if she was bitten by a snake. “Calm down Anandi, I am man and I love your sister but since 20 days she has shied away from me, you live here. It may sound rude but you live here for free, why not make a win-win situation for everyone”, Animesh gave a evil grin. “What exactly do you mean?” Anandi explored calmly. “See Anandi, Aakruti wants a child, I dont. You need a house and a job, you dont have any and I need you. Why dont I let you live here till whatever time you want, I will even get you a job, Manav will be a substitute son for Aakruti and in turn you can make me happy. In fact we all will be happy. One big happy family, what do you say Anandi”. Anandi had a look of disgust on her face. “You want me to trade in my son, my self respect and my body for you to let me stay here?”, a loud crack sounded as Anandi slapped Animesh. Animesh was shocked and by the time he came out of his trance he ran towards Anandi room which was bolted from inside. Animesh went back fuming. Early morning when Aakruti woke up, totally in the bliss of ignorance of the last night’s event in her house she saw Animesh ravaging drawers after drawers of their wardrobe. “Where is my watch” He asked her, “But I dont know!!” She retaliated. When she got out of the bathroom after a bath, she heard Animesh shouting. She came out to see Aakruti in silent tears and Manav being held by almost cruelly by Animesh who was repeatedly shaking him and asking over and over again, “where is my watch you little thief? , I saw you playing with it the other day”. Manav was too shocked to reply. Aakruti intervened and pried Manav away. She asked for the reason of commotion and Animesh said, “She may be your sister, and she may have sacrificed a lot for you, but she has to leave. I cant tolerate a thief at my house, whatever the age may be. Shows the nurturing of that child, doesnt it” He turned towards Anandi and mocked at her, “Were you thrown out of your husband’s home because of this very reason? I dont care you will have to leave, you are not my headache anymore.” And he stormed off. Aakruti was still confused, she was not able to make heads or tails from the whole scenario. She sat down at the chair by the window, too numb to say anything. After an hour, Anandi came out holding Manav’s hands and looked at Aakruti, “It doesnt matter, but still I say, my Son is not a thief.” and silently she walked away. Aakruti ran behind them and saw them going away, she just stood at the threshold looking at them. After a long time as she turned back to enter her house again, she saw the laundryman coming towards. He said, “Madam, here is a paper I found in Saheb’s pocket, I thought it must be important.” And he rambled away. Aakruti looked at the paper. It was a receipt. A bill for the repairing of his watch, which he will get back day after tomorrow.

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