This is the second part of the story that I had started some time back. Read the first part here.
It had been two days since I came back from my one week long Honeymoon to Maldives. It was Dhruvesh’s surprise for me. Before our marriage, he had once asked me if I would like beaches or mountains, and I picked beaches. Beaches meant Maldives. Simi had come to meet me at my ‘new’ home for the first time and she was visibly excited about my Honeymoon too.
“So, how was it?”, Simi asked in her excitement.
“It was good. Maldives is a nice place. Their beaches are better than ours”, I replied
“Fuck Maldives, how was your honeymoon??So what did you do huh? Come on give me all the details!”, she asked.
“Honeymoon was good”, I replied choosing my words very carefully.
“Did you do anything or no?”, Simi asked, visibly irritated with me. I just looked out of the window. She turned my face to face hers and asked me again, “A kiss at least?”And I turned my face again to continue staring outside the window
“What is wrong with you?”, she fumed
“What is wrong with me? What is wrong with everyone? I can’t sleep with a guy whom I just know for a little over one month! Is that my fault? No, I don’t think so!”, I exhaled and removed all the pent up frustration I had in me for the past one week.
“You’re still not happy with him?”, she asked and I continued looking out of the window, but with this question, tears came rolling down my cheeks. “Why did you marry him then?”
“I didn’t have an option”
“Bullshit! You always had an option, you just chose not to stand up for yourself and exercise the option! You could’ve put your foot down the minute things started getting finalised saying this is not the guy you wanted. Your parents would’ve tried convincing you, but never force you! Instead of telling me one night before the wedding, you could’ve told your Mom about it. Calling off your wedding one night prior to it is better than calling it off after the honeymoon!”
With that, I couldn’t control my tears. I hugged her and cried as much as I cried during my bidaai after the wedding.
“You know what Payal, the problem is not Dhruvesh. The problem is that you don’t even want to give him one fair chance. He could be the guy you wanted. You won’t know if you don’t allow him to show it to you. He deserves at least that much! Come on! That guy didn’t even get to touch his wife on his Honeymoon!” And with that, I wiped my tears and smiled. “ You know, Payal, life is about making compromises. And some of them are really beautiful compromises. But you get to know them only with time. Life is not a Bollywood movie. It comes nowhere close to it. Accept it. Your love story could be beautiful, if you let it bloom. And if you do let it bloom, it will not be like the ones shown in movies!”
“I know life is not a Bollywood movie but”
“See, ‘But’ is a conjunction…. You join two sentences with it. You can’t ever end one with it. Think about what I said. It’ll make a lot of sense only if you want it to make sense to you”, she said. That hit the nail. She was right. I was way too rigid and I refused to bow down. I just simply refused to even think that maybe, even after all the things about Dhruvesh that I didn’t like, there might be something that I might just like. Whichever ways, it wasn’t like I had any other option but to like him.
“Maybe you’re right. I just have never given him a chance … and I needed someone to drill it into me.”
“Hmm. Good. So what did you tell him for not you know…..”
“One night he was trying to you know get close and stuff, so I told him very politely that I need some time to get comfortable with him…. And I think he understood. He didn’t try after that night”
“He respected your decision. That was a sweet thing to do. And I’ll also tell you one thing. Take time to get comfortable with him but don’t take so long that he runs out of patience and you know has an affair or something!!”
“Really?”, I asked, flummoxed.
“I know you were born at night, but didn’t know that it was last night!! Dude, you seem to have forgotten all the men gyaan we gathered through our teenage!!”
“My mind’s just not working. I don’t know what I am doing in life”
“Oh your life… you’re not doing anything much. You’re just ruining it, that’s it!”
“Fine! I’m listening to your advice! Save the sarcasm now!”, I replied.
I felt really good after I got the pasting from Simi. I think I really needed it. I thought I’d call him for a change today and ask if he would like to go out for dinner. He agreed and we went to dinner. At the dinner, I realised that he wasn’t as bad as I was assuming him to be. He was interesting to talk to. He was funny at times, sarcastic sometimes and he could make me smile. I realised that I liked talking to him too. But it just wasn’t in the language I wanted. After dinner, we went to Marine Drive for a walk and talk some more before we went home. We had just started opening up to each other.
“The city looks so amazing here na”, he said.
“Yeah. It’s beautiful. I used to come here with my college friends. It used to be so much fun with them!!”, I answered.
“I don’t want to go to dinner at Pushpa Aunt’s place tomorrow! It is going to be so boring!”, he said, talking smaller steps to be able to keep pace with me.
“Same here! Can we not go? Please!!”, I urged. “Let us both go out for dinner instead. And probably a movie too”, I said. I wouldn’t have imagined myself saying this 24 hours back!
Dhruvesh just looked at me and smiled probably wondering what had gotten into me. “Ok.”
“It is like role reversal now! Earlier I was hardly talking, and now you are hardly talking!!”, I said.
“It’s not that I’m complaining, but just wondering what has suddenly happened to you!”
“I told you, I just needed some time”, I lied because I didn’t want him to know how shallow his wife is.
“I understand”, he smiled.
“Thank you for being so understanding and so patient with me.”, I said
“That’s ok! It’s not a big deal. People take time to adjust to new situations. And besides, you really didn’t have time”, he quipped
“You didn’t have time either!”, I replied. He just smiled. “What is the smile for? You too didn’t have time to get adjusted with me”, I asked, perplexed with his smile.
“Anyways, when are you resuming work?”, he asked me.
“I still have three more weeks”
“That’s a real big holiday you got from office!”, he said.
“I know! I was lucky. I was thinking of quitting work”
“Why? You said you love your job na”
“Yeah, I love my job…. But I don’t know I was just thinking that probably I’ll just stay home…..”
“You want to be a housewife?”
“And waste all that talent that you have? You’re not getting to do that! You’re working and not staying home doing nothing!”
“I don’t think I can manage home and office all together….”, I said.
“It’ll be fine. Don’t worry. And besides Mom is there na. You don’t have to run an entire house by yourself! Don’t even get this thought again. You’re working until you genuinely get bored of it. I don’t want you to waste your talent.”
“Thanks”, I looked at him and smiled. I felt it was a big thing for him to do…. To let me work. I know of many of my cousins who stopped working because their husbands didn’t approve of it. Simi was really right when she said that Dhruvesh wasn’t that bad!
“Your job has made you who you are today. I don’t want you to lose your identity only because your surname has changed”
“I am really lucky to have such a supportive husband”, I said and meant every word that I spoke.
“Being supportive is just a polite way of saying ‘I don’t mind the extra income coming home!’”, he laughed. I laughed too. While walking our hands clashed and he let them touch. The touching later progressed to our fingers intertwining with each other’s and walking holding hands.
“I love your hair. Don’t ever think about cutting them!”, he spoke after some time, putting a strand of my hair behind my ears.
“So, now you’ve stated giving me orders!”, I joked. “And I thought you were all supportive and understanding”. I said and he laughed.
“You should get a taste of both!” and with that I smiled.
We left for home after some time. And I put my hands on his shoulders while sitting on the bike with him. It felt good. Simi was God! She knew everything!! I liked the first set of physical contact that I had with him. It was romantic yet subtle. Not over the top like how it is in movies!!
There were no roses, no candle light dinner, no moon lit stroll on the beach, but still, it was the most romantic evening that I had. Street food for dinner, a walk with honking horns for background music and so much to talk!