Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Inconstant

The night seemed to stretch on and on for Mridul. As yet another
colleague stepped into the lounge with his wife, Mridul lost his
temper and marched out. It was an end- of- the- year success party for
the media house he worked in. And it was one of those numerous
occasions when his wife Chaya refused to accompany him, as the
consequence of a feud.

Mridul headed to the bar, his hands tucked deep into the pockets of
his tuxedo, inadvertently thinking about their last heated argument.
Chaya had told him point blank that she would not be joining him for
dinner, and had stormed out of the house, apparently to stay the night
at her best friend’s place.
As he sat at the bar and ordered a classic whiskey, his eyes wondered,
searching for company. This place was also crowded with couples or
people huddled together in small groups. Just as he was about to
wallow in self pity, Mridul saw her- a beautiful woman in her forties,
swathed in silver lame and turquoise chiffon and dripping diamonds.

She sat alone, sipping on her second glass of vodka, looking
practically regal. It seemed like she felt his gaze on her because, a
moment later she turned to look at him. He smiled in response, his
handsome face lighting up with the twinkle in his eyes. Mridul
collected his drink and walked up to her.

“May I buy a drink for the beautiful lady?”

She smiled at him, her clever eyes shining, “The name is Setika. And
thanks, I’d like a martini.”

“Pleased to meet you, Setika.” He replied. “I’m Mridul, advertising
head of the ________.”

“I see…So you work under Naresh?”

That wiped the smile off his face. “You know my boss?”

Setika laughed, “Well, yes. I do. He’s my date.”

Mridul raised his eyebrows. What on earth was his stupid boss doing,
leaving this gorgeous woman behind to party with a bunch of
sycophants? Well, that is probably it- he must be enjoying all the
flattery before getting down to business, thought Mridul
condescendingly. “If I were him, I wouldn’t miss out on an evening
with you for anything.”

“Oh, it’s alright. I’m a little blue this evening and Naresh is not
exactly the sort of person who would lend you a shoulder to cry on.
He’s more of a man of action than of words, if you know what I mean.”

Mridul snorted into his drink. No wonder the moron had gotten
divorced. When he recovered, he said, “May I ask why you’re upset?”

Setika stared into the distance, and took her time. Mridul waited
patiently, having realized that she was choosing her words. When she
looked at him again he gave her a warm, benign smile. And Setika told

“My husband called from London today. I told him I want a divorce.”
He should’ve guessed she was married. “I’m sorry.” He said softly.
“Was it very hard?”

Setika sighed. “He didn’t take it very well. He’s flying back to Delhi
tomorrow.” She locked her tearful eyes on his, trying to make him
understand. “He loves me. He really does. We have the perfect home,
two brilliant kids. But sometimes it’s just not enough.”

“What went wrong, Setika?” Mridul asked, his mind turning to his own
marriage, which was far from perfect. Would Chaya to that to him?

“I stopped loving him, Mridul.” A tear streaked down her fair cheek.
“And after my kids moved out of the house, my life just turned so
dull. Amar is frequently abroad and there’s only so much time I can
spend with my friends.”

“I understand, Setika. Please don’t cry.”

He was hardly the kind of guy who’d be seen carrying a handkerchief
around, so he gave her a tissue. Setika dabbed at her pretty eyes and
Mridul felt a strong urge to put his arms around her. She looked so
much younger than her years.

“And no matter what he’s like, Naresh does make me feel special…and
desired. I think I’m in love again.”

With the wrong man, Mridul wanted to say, but decided against it.
“Well, maybe it’s time for your life to change- for the better.”

“But I hurt Amar so bad.” She said, while she sobbed uncontrollably.
People were starting to stare at the two of them.

“The happiness of every single person in your life is not in your
hands. But the one person you can make sure remains happy is you.”

“Thanks, Mridul.” Setika said, as she wiped away her tears.

“Why don’t we take a walk?”


Together, they walked into the posh gardens. He thought of leading her
to the bench by the fountain but stopped short when he noticed a
couple in the shadows nearby.

“Oops. Wrong timing,” Mridul winked at her and made to leave for the
other end of the garden. But she seemed rooted to the spot. Mridul
raised his eyebrows at her questioningly. Then he followed her gaze,
and swore under his breath.

“That’s Naresh with---”

“----Mehta’s wife!” Mridul grimaced. “That’s sick!”

The recently dried tears came flooding down Setika’s cheeks once
again. She started shivering violently. Alarmed, Mridul pulled her
away before his boss could see them.

“Setika, listen---”

“I want to go home, Mridul.” She gasped. “Please take me home before I
lose my mind.”

Finding her unable to speak coherently, he threw caution to the winds
and decided to drive her to his own house. When they pulled into the
driveway, he helped her out of the car and into the living room. As
soon as he locked the door, Setika collapsed into his arms, crying

“It’ll be okay.” He pulled her closer as he kissed her hair. She
smelled amazing. “The guy’s a total nymphomaniac, Setika. You deserve
someone so much better.”
She lifted her head to look at him. Setika had never even expected him
to be so understanding of her extra marital affair, and here he was
comforting her when she had found out that her lover had cheated on

“I’m so sorry I ruined your evening, Mridul.” Said Setika miserably,
shaking her head.

“You are the best thing that happened to me this evening, Setika.
Believe me.” Said Mridul. And he kissed her softly on the lips.


It was 1:00 A.M. when Mridul woke up, his arms around Setika as she
slept, her angelic face looking at peace. He kissed her nose
playfully, wondering if she’s wake up and, once again, make him feel
like he’d died and gone to heaven. When she didn’t wake up, he gently
laid her head down on the pillow and tiptoed downstairs for a glass of

As he climbed down the flight of steps, he heard the landline phone
ring. Who the hell is calling right now? He wondered irritably. He’d
deliberately switched off his cell phone so that he couldn’t be
disturbed. Before he could answer the call, it went to the answering
machine. He chose to ignore it, but on his way back from the kitchen,
he changed his mind. Mridul played the message. It was Chaya’s best

“Mridul, it’s Sapna. Please call me back as soon as you can. I’m
calling from the hospital. Chaya was on her way to your party. Her car
collided with a truck.”




The Aspirant said...

damn dude.....
where's d next part???

you hv becum so gud dese dazzz bro seriusly...
post nxt part soon.....

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

Its strange that a man true to his wife shall take recourse to the comfort of another woman in harsh times.
Though it is strange for any Man to indulge in any such philandering, but He loved his wife right, though things weren't as bright.
I won't comment on the lady though, she was also going through a hard time and split minds.

The last incident was indeed a shocker. It could have been another shocker had his wife managed to get to the party and see him indulging another woman.

I am not sure whom to side with, I have my sympathies with all the characters of this wonderfully narrated story.

Nice piece of fiction.

Blasphemous Aesthete

anushree said...

well well well...
permit me to be a little biased.this post is good,but m still fond of the mirror lies.
but that doesnt mean i wont read the next part...waiting for it...
keep writing
god bless u dear!

Neeha said...

Do this have a sequel?
Hope so:)

Swarnali said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.