One of the two stories I’m currently writing (trying to) is called Romance. And no it’s not what you think 😉
Here’s a teaser. I will continue depending on the response.
In a world where society defines everything, a woman seeks to define herself
I’m a woman
Not a heroine
Or a celebrity
Just a regular woman
From a regular family
With regular feelings
And this is my story
1: I thought I had it all
Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley:
The scene in the hotel room resembled the aftermath of a mini tornado. Fortunately the occupants had been left unscathed. Or had they? I sat on the king size bed in the few inches of space I could find and fidgeted with the pallu of my expensive sari. Spun from the finest silk, in the lightest shade of peach with a green and red wedding procession marching along the edge—it was undoubtedly a fine work of art. As I twisted and untwisted the richly embroidered fabric, I saw the men and women drift apart then come together, often in quite compromising positions. It was fascinating.
“Aanch, what are doing there? I thought you had pitched in to help me and give me advice. Come here, tell me how I look.”
I left my seat and gingerly picked my way through the obstacle course on the floor and went over to where my friend (my best friend) was preening herself in front of the lighted mirror.
“You are looking very pretty Rosh,” I admitted albeit reluctantly and readjusted her exquisite gem-studded jewelry; a slight tug here, a gentle nudge there. Her parents had spared no expense.
Rosh turned to me with a bright smile, “You think so Aanch? Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” I said, then pointed my cell at her. As if on cue she went into her usual pose—a slight tilt of chin and a coy pout. Gosh how I despised it! Click. “There! It’s posted on my wall. Look, this is how I’ve captioned it;” I extended the device; “Have you ever seen a more beauteous bride?’ See, the likes have begun pouring in already!”
I observed her happy face and smiled; “Yes, I must complement your beautician. She has done an excellent job and so has your mom. Your bump is barely showing.”
“You… know?” Wariness clouded Rosh’s pretty almond eyes.
I burst into a laugh. “Of course I know and so does everyone! Else why should a guy like Rohan marry you?”
A stunned silence followed. I left the room before it could speak. I was feeling mean that day. Very mean.
Please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not really a nasty person. Not at all. In fact, I’m quite the opposite—sweet and kind, an ocean of sympathy. At least that’s how I believe all my friends would describe me. But not today. Today I felt mean and deservedly so. Because the girl who I had so far believed to be my best friend had gone and got herself hitched to a man who I thought rightfully belonged to me! And what’s more she stole him from right under my nose! Could anything be more unfair?
I bristled and fumed like a caged tigress in a secluded aisle, while the merry mob bounced and screamed around me.
Rohan—Rosh’s husband and alleged father of her child. Yes, I did think he was mine even though nothing to the effect had been openly declared between us. But that is not something to be surprised about. People like us don’t waste time on formalities. We are intellectuals; too sophisticated for common things like that. At least I thought Rohan was.
I believed he was enamored by me. By my beauty (I had numerous admirers) and brains (I was in my final year psychiatry and the perennial class topper). Most of my medical school colleagues were, but they were boys. Rohan was a man. And what a man!
He was new to our college (the first point in his favor) and a neuroscience research fellow which added several more feathers to his cap. I happen to be a sucker for grey cells. And last but not the least—he was smoking hot handsome. Phew! I almost had an orgasm every time his eyes met mine.
And it wasn’t all one-sided. I have proof to the contrary.
Once Rohan and I figured out how supremely compatible we were, we began to seek each other’s company. We started hanging out together. In a way we were inseparable. Of course, the pretext was work in the beginning; we were collaborating on a project. But when it was completed we still remained a couple—Aanchal and Rohan. At least that’s how everyone saw it. Lunch, tea, coffee breaks—we spent together.
I wasn’t a fool. I knew Rohan desired me. I could sense it in the tone of his voice, the intensity in his eyes, the urgency of his embrace. There were times when things could have progressed beyond had I encouraged them. I didn’t. I subscribed to the notion that I reserved the right to gift myself to my husband on my wedding night. Rohan could wait.
But then I guess he couldn’t.
I have no idea when the business with Rosh started. She was my friend from school days—who I had maintained despite our different paths. She used to pop in sometimes to see me when Rohan and I were together. I hadn’t really witnessed them display more than a passing interest in each other. Guess I was the blind woman in the theater. Damn! The girl didn’t even possess a college degree!
“You look gorgeous Aanchal, as always.” Rohan said.
My immediate instinct was to mar his beautiful face with the imprint of my fingers but I controlled it and made do with a demure smile, “Congratulations Rohan. Have fun with your new wife and kid.”
His discomfiture urged me to hold his hand a while longer than necessary. It didn’t escape my friend’s eyes. Correction ‘ex’ friend.
“Do you know where we are headed for our honeymoon Aanch?” she chimed in with an arch smile.
“No. Tell me.”
“To the Maldives; you know where Sonam and Aahil went? We’re going there exactly, and staying at the same resort. Isn’t that marvelous! You did make the reservations, didn’t you Rohan?”
Her hours old husband responded with a barely perceptible nod.
I smiled again. Sonam and Aahil’s alliance was on the rocks. Yet they were an exceedingly glamorous couple. It’s the glamour that counts.
“I’ll post the pictures on FB.”
“Please do. I’d love to see them.”
Like hell I did!
As I walked toward the exit, I made sure to erase all trace of her from my life.