At that moment she looked at me and saw me staring at her. ‘What?’, she asked, ‘I have been running from Five in the morning, can’t I take some break now?’
I nodded a yes. She was right. If she did not get up early in the morning and saw to things, we would never reach our schools and office on time.
‘And by the way’, she continued, ‘You are looking awesome but the knot of your tie has not come right.’ And then she got up and corrected it without bothering that all her nails have not been painted yet.
Those are the two things that I absolutely love about Aditi. She is always speaks diplomatically, taking care never to criticize and yet correct and the other was that she always kept our interests to the forefront.
As I drove to the point where our lane joined the main road, I noticed in the rear view mirror another car parked near our neighbor’s house. Two people- a man and a woman got down from the car and then started walking to our home. I couldn’t see more as my car had progressed much.
Later about 11 am I called up Aditi on her mobile, I got a message that she was out of range. I called up the home number, she did not pick it up.
She called me later, ‘Did you call me Vikram, I got a miss call notification’, she said.
‘Yes, where were you?’, I asked.
‘I was speaking to Mrs. Bhatia’, she said.
It was strange because Mrs. Bhatia lived just two doors away and the mobile could not be ‘out of range’ there.
‘Vikram could you please come early by 4.00 p.m. today. I am going grocery shopping , there are some special discounts at Mega Mart, if I go late in the evening, the stocks may get over.’
‘Alright’, I said but my mind was somewhere else. Aditi did not mention about the people who had come in the morning. And never had she gone out like this… what was the matter…
‘Vikram are you there….’, she said.
‘Yes,’ I replied.
‘You have the house keys, don’t you’, she asked.
I checked and said yes.
My mind could not concentrate on work that day. It was true that I had become too centred on my work. The whole responsibility of home, managing kids and other relatives had fallen on Aditi. Was it because of that she had found someone else.
I left office by 3.00p.m. itself. The whole neighborhood looked deserted. Kids had left for their different classes, I think, because there was utter silence. It seemed that Aditi had left too. SO the only job for me to do was to pick up the kids from their respective classes at 4.30 p.m.
I dragged myself to the front door, put in my key and turned.
I thought of all the years that I had neglected her, all those times when I should have paid some attention to her but had not. All those times when I had dug into my files knowing well that it was our anniversary or her birthday.
As I stepped into the dark room I resolved that no I would not allow Aditi to go away from me. We were a team, we belonged. I switched on the light. As I moved my gaze, I saw a well arranged room, a table for two and Aditi in a red gown standing in a corner.
‘Knew you would come in early’, she said with a grin.
‘What is all this?’, I asked.
‘Today is the 15th anniversary of the day when we first met’, she said. ‘Do you remember that day’, she said.
‘How can I forget?’, I said. We had met in the famed local of Mumbai. From Mumbai we had moved to the Gulf, got married, had kids, it had been a long fruitful journey.
‘The way you were ignoring me, I thought you had forgotten’, she said, ‘And so I thought of this to revive your memory’.
‘Who were the two who came in that black Rav4 in the morning’, I asked unable to control my curiosity.
‘Oh did you see them..’, she giggled. ‘It was your brother Vikrant and his girlfriend who had come to arrange this room. I asked him why they both had dressed up in black with hat and all and he said it was to arouse your curiosity’.
I smiled. My brother and my wife both know me too well.
‘But why are we wasting time’, added Aditi, ‘Vikrant said that he will take care of the kids till 7.00 p.m, which means we just have some three and a half hours’, she smile mischievously.
I hugged her tight. The brief moments when I had thought that she was going far from me were hell. Never was I too ignore her again.