(Note: This post has been writing as a part of Blogadda's #CelebrateBlogging. My team is 'Tandem Tensome' and this post is the second chapter in the novel we are writing. You can read the first chapter here)
“The number you are trying to call is currently busy, please try again later.” was what Shekhar could hear on the other end of his call. He sighed and assured himself that indeed she must be busy at work. “I’ve boarded the train back home, and will reach by tomorrow. Call me ASAP.” he typed in a jiffy and sent the message to Tara, his wife, and slouched in his seat.He couldn’t help but think of Tara and how strained their relationship has become, not that it had been a healthy one erstwhile, but now it took a lot of effort even to communicate! They went days and sometimes even weeks without seeing each other although they lived together under the same roof; she'd be up and out even before the sun’s first rays hit the earth and home at a time which Shekhar could never track.
This resentment of Tara’s, Shekhar supposed, stemmed from his resignation. Two years back, he decided to leave his job as the editor of an English Daily to look after his daughter, Roohi. There had been complaints from her class teacher of her being too aloof and hitting other children. That paired with their disheveled domestic state forced him to take that step. Although he welcomed the change in his lifestyle, his better half slowly began drifting away even further from him. No matter how hard he’d try, she always found a reason to grow apart; from him and from Roohi.
The word “Chai-Chai” spoken in rhythmic intervals by the Chaiwaala got him off his train of thoughts, brought him back to the train he was travelling to Mumbai in. “Ek chai” he said. As soon as the Chaiwaala handed him over his plastic cup filled 3/4th with a liquid which he considered gold, he couldn’t help but wonder that being a stay-at-home-dad has certainly taught him to enjoy small things in life which people take for granted. He smiled to himself and began with his tea. One sip at a time.
Time seemed to fly and his train reached Mumbai. In past, whenever his train entered CST, a strange sensation passed through him. Today was no exception, but today he felt reluctant too. He didn’t want to retrace his steps back to a house which he and Tara were supposed to build together. “Bandra?” he asked the taxi driver and occupied the taxi after getting a nod of approval.
***“Has the photographer reported?” Tara questioned sharply in the meeting, she continued speaking “We have a very tight deadline and I hope you have that information”. All the while her eyes were on her phone; constantly checking mails, missed calls, taking mental notes of whom to call back. Shekhar’s missed calls and message didn’t escape her eye, yet she overlooked it.
It was easy for her to turn a blind eye to her ‘family’ now and even Shekhar had grown accustomed to it. He knew that Tara never wanted to be a part of this wedlock; hence, he never tried to grow closer to her romantically. But what had come as a shock to him was how she could neglect her own daughter with such an ease! The whole fault, Shekhar always thought, was his; if he hadn’t given impetus to his one-sided love for Tara, these circumstances would’ve never arose.
They had met in college once, all credit for that goes to their annual college festival. She was in the core committee and he had to do an article on the festival for the college magazine, for that he needed to interview her. He fell immediately for her. Who wouldn’t? With her tall stature, a stylish bob and polished sense of dressing she won hearts wherever she went. She hadn’t changed in her looks after all these years, not in the least bit.
Destiny made them cross their paths again, or so as Shekhar liked to think at that time, they met again a few years later when he unknowing moved to Tara’s next door and befriended her father, who thought Shekhar would make a great life-partner for Tara. At first Tara simply declined citing career as the reason but later on her family’s constant pressure forced her to give in. And so the knot was tied.