Friday, 16 June 2017

Love Vs. Life.

          "Today we have the Caprese salad with your favourite pesto sauce - a great antipasto dish to start your meal with. This will be followed by the Mushroom Risotto, where I have made a generous use of your darling mushrooms! Yes, I know it's another of your weaknesses. There's also  the Pasta Con Pomodoro E Bascilico - another simple dish which I whipped up for you.  And, we end the meal with one of my favourites - the delightful Tiramisu, with sponge fingers soaked in coffee and smeared with a creamy mascarpone mixture! So, bon appetit, sweetheart!" 

      Vinay winked at Anamika with a naughty grin as he gave her a run-through of the  menu with a flourish. It instantly  made her go weak in the knees.  She  smiled back at him, overwhelmed at the attention he heaped on her  and blew him a  kiss.

   "You really didn't have to do so much, Vinny. We could have simply ordered something." Anamika protested weakly, knowing it was  pointless trying to change Vinay's ways. She did love it all, really. But..

   "Hey babes, we meet once  a month, so I want to make these meetings as special as I can. That's all. And, these are the only times when this chef can go bonkers for his sweetheart! " Vinay quipped.

   "You know, you are not only a born flirt, Mr. Vinay, but also a born flatterer." she shot back with mock anger and a well-aimed punch that  landed softly on his cheek. Their playful banter continued during their lunch and way past dessert;  their real-life woes happily forgotten, but for some moments.

   Vinay and Anamika had been good friends in college, parted ways after their final exams and met again after some years, taking off from where they had left. But, things had changed over time. Vinay, who had never been  married, found happiness in Anamika's company. And Anamika, whose forced marriage to Dilip had robbed her of her peace of mind found all that she had yearned for in Vinay. The easy atmosphere and the camaraderie she experienced with Vinay gave her a respite from the humdrum life she led in her marital home.

   Although, for some time now, Anamika's emotions had begun oscillating between fear and guilt; fear of what society would think, and guilt for betraying her husband's trust. Moreover, the complications such an arrangement would cause left her feeling stressed out. On the one hand she looked forward to these meetings and on the other, she looked for ways to end the liaison. There really wasn't any future to look forward to, was there? she reasoned, at times.

    "Oh God, Vinny!"  Anamika exclaimed as she suddenly glanced at her watch. "It's 5 pm! Gaurav will be returning from school. I have to get the dinner ready, too. You know how Dilip likes everything ready when he returns home from work. Oh gosh, where did these hours go?" she complained as she looked at Vinay's strained expression. He hated it when she left him like this.

    "Hey, Vinny, come on now, sweetie. You know I can't be staying here, as much as I would love to. I really need to leave, you know." Anamika pleaded with him, trying to calm him before things turned serious again.
    Their initial meetings for coffee and chit-chat had soon turned into romantic rendezvouses, and parting ways after every meeting sapped them of their joy.  Moreover, the dilemma she found herself in these days, made her suffer endlessly. She wanted to see Vinay happy and cheerful always, but she also knew it wasn't going to be this way always.

   Yet, she lived each moment with Vinay to the fullest, laughing till her belly ached, eating all the sumptuous meals he prepared for her, and yes, indulging in endless games of Scrabble with him. Her moments with Vinay were the golden moments of her life; moments she treasured; moments she knew would give her strength to live the life she was destined to live; moments, which would one day become  memories of a past she would soon leave behind.  But, how soon?

    Squeezing her in his arms, Vinay nuzzled  her hair and whispered into her ears, "How I wish we had met earlier, babe. Then you wouldn't be leaving me like this, " he cupped her chin and lifted her face to his, placing a gentle kiss on her nose.

    "You may go now, but  next time, I am not allowing you to leave, got that ?" his tone changed all of a sudden and the coldness in his voice now sent shivers down her spine.

    "Vinny, " her voice now quivered as she gathered some courage to speak out her thoughts. "Do you think we should keep meeting like this? As much as I would like to forsake it all and come here to be with you, don't you think this is only going to complicate matters? I mean..." Anamika stopped short as she saw the expression on Vinay's face change. His pursed lips were enough to speak volumes about his disapproval of her thoughts. She felt his arms fall to his side and felt as if her life had been sucked out of her. How things could change in a matter of minutes! How life could change so abruptly, she wondered.

    Without uttering another word, Anamika gave him a brokenhearted smile and  walked out of the house without turning to see him one last time. With tears streaming down her face she made up her mind. Well, it had to end some day. So, why not today? She thought bitterly as she got into her car and sped off.

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