Friday, November 29, 2013

The Gift


            Adesh was sipping his third tea since the day started. He had found it difficult to sleep through the night and had headed to the study at the crack of dawn. Perhaps it had been a bad decision. He should have tried to catch more sleep before he headed to London. His flight was in a few hours and he did not want to land in a fatigued state. Thinking of London brought a smile on his face.

              He closed the door of the study and slid the drawer open. There it lay! The CD that he had picked up at the airport store in London. He opened his laptop. Inserting the CD, he rested his head back on the chair. He tapped his feet gently to the tune. Right, left and turn, he mentally pictured the dance. Pulling her a little closer, her swiftly moving out of his arm and his tugging at her and coiling back into him.They moved like two bodies fused into one. He couldn't wait to play the CD and dance with her. He had practiced it in his thoughts for months!

              He had met Lysa at the university. She was born and brought up in a British household and he was from a Gujarati merchant family. They were poles apart in temperament and yet he had instantly warmed up to her. She had been friendly to him, as she was to all. Adesh soon developed a soft spot for her and he couldn't believe his luck when she responded to him. He had asked to keep their affair a secret. Deep within, he knew she was far out of his league. The beautiful, graceful dancer that she was and clumsy, two left footed man he was! Her fair skin against his dark, her light eyes against his dark, her easy way and his uptight nature. He felt blessed each day that he was with her.
              Lysa had insisted he learn ball dance. She had taught him the basics and soon he felt confident to ask her for dance when they went out. It had become fun to dance with her and slowly Adesh developed interest in the form. This time he would gift her the CD and surprise her with the moves..

             He was immersed in his thoughts when the commotion started. He shut his laptop close and looked down the balcony of the study.
            A skinny, four year old boy was arguing with two older boys.
           " I m not out!! He came in the way and I had to see that he doesn't get hurt." He shouted at the boys pointing at a man.
            They did not seem to agree with him.
            The young boy snatched the bat from the older and went back to bat.
          He has so much of me in him. Adesh smiled, adoring his four year old son.

           "Now don't come in between like an idiot. I don't want to get out." His 4 year old son, Viraj, told the man who was waiting by his side with a glass of milk. Gopi.
           Gopi had been in the house ever since Adesh could remember. He was their gardener's son. Gopi had been living in the house even after his father died. He did odd jobs. He was an idiot. Adesh had ridiculed him so much in his childhood! Gopi was too much of a simpleton. Anyone could fool him. Making a fool of him had been the favorite time pass of Adesh and his cousins. Adesh did not notice Gopi much during his growing up years. Gopi was always present to do the running around for every little thing that  no one noticed him actually. Somethings never change!
           " Is this the way to talk to elders?" Adesh's wife, Neelam, reprimanded Viraj.
           "Neelam, let him play. Come upstairs." Adesh shouted out to his wife.

           Neelam covered her head with her sari as she entered the left tower of the large house. Her husband's family owned the large palatial house. It was a joint family and they all worked together in the large business. The house was divided into three towers. Only the central and left tower were in use now. The right tower had been vacant for long and now was used for guests and also had a servant quarter. Neelam had been over whelmed when she had come to the house as a bride. She came from a family of lawyers but  she had just completed her graduation with difficulty. She wasn't very bright at studies and had been married off at 20 to Adesh. Adesh's family was rich but they were very old fashioned. They sent their sons to foreign universities but married them to simple and traditional girls. The women were expected to always cover their head and follow all customs. The men were always busy with trade.

       "Neelam, I m leaving for London in the evening." Adesh told without looking up from his papers.
       "Do you want me to pack anything?" She asked.
       "No. I have packed everything. I have kept some money in the locker for your use." He replied.

       Neelam saw the CD on his table and wondered what it was. She had never seen her husband listen to songs. He was always working. Neelam had learnt it the hard way to not ask him questions. It infuriated him if she invaded his privacy.
       She was full of dreams when she had married Adesh. He had been 21 and booming with enthusiasm. They would steal chances to meet each other in the house. They would spend time on the terrace, gazing at the stars and dreaming of the future. They would talk for hours and then resign to their rooms. Their customs prohibited consummation of the marriage till the 15th day. On the 7th day, Adesh's visa had arrived and on the 9th day he had packed his bag and she had bid him good bye with a heavy heart.

          For some months the letters came regularly and then it started dropping. After a year, a letter was a rarity. 2 years after their marriage, Adesh came back from London a changed man. Gone was the carefree talks and the simple thoughts. He had been polished and civilised the London way. He kept quiet and pondered a lot.
          He was no longer the man she had waited for.  He smelt of expensive perfume even when he was home. He read books that she could not comprehend. He talked about things that made no sense to her.
        Their intimacies were forced. Clumsy and uncomfortable he would seem with her. He moved about knowingly, she a novice. He rolled off her when he was done, she lay thinking of what she did wrong. She was pushed further away from his life. Nothing made a difference to him.

        Gopi stood by the suitcase at the door. Adesh went to say good bye to his parents and hugged Viraj. Neelam came to the door and saw him getting into the car. Another month of business.

        She tiptoed to the right tower, with a torch in her hand at night. She gently knocked the door. It was dark inside. She sat on the bedding rolled on the floor. He stared into her eyes.
        It was in his eyes. His bright, large luminous eyes. His child like eyes with large lashes. The unquestioning way in which he looked. The unassuming way in which he took in everything. His gentle smile that lit up in his eyes. His eyes that haunted her. His eyes that she felt on her. His eyes that she saw when she closed hers. Gopi talked to her with just his eyes, silently and lovingly..
        She hugged him close. He held her gently. He smelt of soil. He smelt of sweat. He smelt of innocence. She breathed easy in his embrace than in the suffocating smell of rich perfume. She did not have to think what CD he had, his life was an open book in front of her. She did not feel inferior with him. This idiot knew more of love than polished arrogance.
        Her eyes watered. He wiped it, knowingly.
        " I m so sorry. Viraj is just so rude." She told him.
        "He is just a child."
        "He should know to speak better to his father."

         He smiled. A smile that touched her heart. She knew she had made him unconditionally happy by speaking out what they always knew... He had given her  the gift that her husband was unable to..

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.


This time your entry must contain the three words idiotperfume and CD.



Jini Fernandez said...

Amazing. You've spun your story wonderfully around these three words.

Anita Jeyan Sandeep said...

You are getting better by the day ! I so love this story !

maithili said...

Thank you Jini :)

maithili said...

Thank you.. This made my day !

Soumya said...

Wow! You seriously get better with every story. I feel proud when I see how you have evolved as I have been following your blog since it was immature. Now its all grown and fending for itself :)

maithili said...

What a coincidence that you say that :D I was actually thinking the same today looking at my archives. From innocent and immature love stories to dark and enticing desires, I have come a long way from where I started :)

anitaexplorer said...

Kudos for the wow intriguing story Maithili!
Ending reminded me of The God of Small Things :)

maithili said...

Thank you anita.. It never came into my mind but now that you say it, I suddenly find Gopi like Esta :D Also the book is one of my favourites and yes I love the lines "To love by the night the man her children loved by the day" and OMG I just did not realise I was making a parallel here :D

ilakshee said...

You have such an engaging writing style that made me go through some more of your stories! Hope you turn out to be great writer one day!

maithili said...

Thank you so muc ilakshee. You have been very kind with your words. I was grinning after reading this comment.

P.S- I love your name :)

Sreeja Praveen said...

To all the Adeshs, Gopis, and Neelams out there in the world !! Kudos, Maithili.....well spun !