My reverie is broken by the noise of the sliding of the windowpane. Was it a reverie? Was it a dream? Or was I just trudging the memory lane? I remain in confusion for some time. I see that Nirupama is peeking out of the window. She is wearing a maroon sequined dress. Her hair is open and reaches well below her shoulders. I see that her rich black and straight hair covers half her face, curling at the ends. She looks as beautiful as she used to when I had first set my eyes on her. She is no longer a girl. Now she is a woman. She has put on some weight, not only a little. It is more visible on her hips, which are flared now. It is almost fifteen since we left the university campus.
I know the view from the window. A kidney-shaped swimming pool in the middle of lush green lawns and. Some artificial ducks are floating in the greenish blue waters of the pool. There are rose beds, shrubs, and bushes, all neatly landscaped. Some sparrows are chirping and there are white doves too, resting on the lawns. Some beautiful children will be playing there. The resort is costly, but looking at the ambience of the interiors and the beautiful lawns outside, it is worth. It is a very calm and serene place, away from the noise and pollution of the city.
I close my eyes but I can still see her. She is so close; I can smell her refreshing perfume. Last night was like a blizzard. I had conceived it to be something like avenging a long-standing grudge; like attaining the thing that had been wrongfully denied to me in the first place; like a victory that had evaded me all these years. But no, it was none of these. Or rather it had not been even one of these. It had not even been a simple pleasure. It was just like a release of a tension, of escape from a formidable pressure; nothing more. I wouldn’t say it was disappointing, but it was not even fulfilling. I feel that I have been villainous, exploiting a situation in the creation of which I did not have any part.
“Harsha, what are you brooding over? Last evening you were so talkative. It was as though you would never get another chance to talk to me!” Nirupama says without turning towards me. She continues to gaze at the lawns.
“Humm...” I manage to grunt and curl on the bed. “I am just relaxing now. If you want some tea, I will order.”
“Not yet,” she replied looking at me turning only her face towards me, “why don’t you go and have bath?” she suggested.
“Let me lay like this some more time,” I say and close my eyes. I feel a great emptiness spreading deep inside me. What went wrong? How could it have all gone wry? I never would have imagined things going this way…
“I must leave early,” she reminds me gently.
“Alright. I too must.”
“Are you worried that you’d be missed last night?” she asks a question which I should have asked. I open my eyes and see that her face is devoid of any expression. It was a casual question, quite business-like.
“Do you really care?” I ask her. She laughs but suddenly becomes grim and replies, “I think I do.”
“Don’t you worry, I won’t be missed. It would be more so in your case,” I say.
A couple of hours later, I drop her in the market area of the city. We promise each other that we would meet again. But do not fix a date or rendezvous.
I park my car in the parking lot of a restaurant. At this time of the day, there are very few customers in the bar. I flip open my mobile and see that it is eleven in the morning. I order a large scotch with mineral water. When was it that I had my first drink at this hour of the day? I begin musing…