Priya lay on the bed. It was 2am but sleep evaded her. The future scared her. Divorced for a year and life was still at crossroads.
She had been married for 5 years. Early in their marriage they had discovered that she had problem in her fallopian tubes and conceiving would be difficult. But Aniket had been very understanding. She had been heartbroken but he had consoled her saying that in a couple of years they would adopt. Its all about having a child as your own, no need that the child should be from your own womb, he had said. He was a Pediatrician; she worked as a volunteer in a special school. It was only by accident that she had learnt that he was having an affair with her best friend and she was shattered. Some days later he had asked for a divorce stating that Shubha was pregnant and the child was his.
She wanted to fight tooth and nail against the divorce but the thought of an illegitimate baby kept her back. After all what was the fault of the baby; so she acquiesced.
And here she was, in Bangalore staying in a PG working for a trading company. It is difficult to find a job or accommodation being a divorcee, hundred questions asked, eyebrows raised. She had somehow found lodgings, because the landlady was her mother’s friend. The job was a fluke. The boss Mr. Goverdhan was such tyrant that no one wanted to work for, but she agreed; because she didn’t have a choice. A divorcee with no professional qualification or experience couldn’t find a job in ‘India shining’. She was a gofer there, doing odd jobs. Currently her role was of recovery. Being a trading company, her company was like a liaison agent, procuring goods for small traders and making a small profit. Usually it was some specialty product which was asked for, like ‘juttis’ from Rajasthan or ‘bibinca’ from Goa or something like that. Mr Govardhans partner –Mrs.Anushka Damani had the sole job of doing research on which product was available where and how to procure it at the cheapest possible price without compromising on quality. And she- she now was into recovery. Small traders often delayed on the payments and she had the herculean task of recovering sometimes on phone, sometimes personally and very often cajoling.
She was moderately successful. Her recovery rate was 70%, which was pretty good. But Mr. Goverdhan was just not happy. Her legs trembled like leaves when she was called into his cabin and his shouts and insults were increasing day by day. ‘I am learning am I not’ she thought and getting better everyday. And what can I do if I am not beautiful. The other day he had commented that she looked like a gunny bag.Her thoughts went on and on and she realized that it was already 6 and got up with a sigh.
It was 11 am and she was making her report on her ‘progresses’ when Anushka walked into her cubicle. ‘Hi Priya, how is it going?’
‘OK Anu’, she replied.
‘Why so morose’
‘Usual, the boss said that I was good for nothing and that he was wasting time and money on me’.
‘Hey come on don’t you know the adage, the dogs who bark seldom bite. Gopu is like that, if he had really found you unworthy, he would have kicked you out long back.’
‘Maybe. But these constant nags destroy my confidence and its getting too much to handle.’
‘Just ignore dear,’ she said and left.
Couple of days passed and again she was called into the Boss’s cabin.
‘Have you seen the report?’, he asked, it was her weekly recovery report.
‘Yes Sir, it was I who made it’, she replied back. She had had a rough week and was feeling edgy.
‘Don’t use that tone on me. If only you knew how to dress properly and how to speak; your recovery would have been 100%.’
‘Fine why don’t you get such a person then’ she answered and left.
The whole office was dumbfounded by her response. The normally docile Priya had retorted was a shocker to all.
Anushka came running to Priya’s cubicle only to find her packing her things.
“Where are you going?’
‘I am quitting’
‘Quitting-where will you go’.
‘ I got an offer from the school where I was working earlier. The salary is not much but with the alimony I can manage’, She said.
‘No Priya, don’t take such a hasty decision, you are doing great here’.
‘But he says I am a burden.’
‘Gopu doesn’t know how to behave or to speak-just ignore him’.
‘If someone demeans you at every single chance that he gets, will you be able to ignore him, Anu’, she asked.
‘I will tell you something Priya. I have known him since childhood. His father ran off with another woman when he was 5. His mother raised him till she too died when he was 12. His uncle raised him as a responsibility with little love, his wife left him when he had an accident and started walking with a limp, in short he feels whomever he liked and loved has deserted him.’
‘I don’t understand what you are trying to tell me Anu.’
‘ That, he likes you and is trying his best to fight you of. He feels that he is in the threat of falling in love with you.’
Priya was exasperated. To hear such a view was shocking. ‘I don’t believe you Anu and even if I did, his insults are too much for me to handle.’
Priya felt happy with the kids but she missed her earlier job too, the pace, her colleagues. Working with kids was alright but she missed some adult company. And it was so very tiring.
It was on a Friday when she was rushing home when she found Mr. Goverdhan standing near the school gate.
‘Hi Priya how have you been’, he asked
‘Good’, she replied.
‘Hmm care for a coffee?’
She didn’t understand how to refuse and so she said’ yes’
Over Coffee he kept a polite conversation and then said,’ I have realized how good you were in your job, so will you join back’
‘No thanks I am happy in my current job’ she replied.
He was silent and then said,’ not only in the job I have realize that you have made a positive influence in my life too, your determination, your demeanour your grace everything.’
‘What about my old hag looks, my sloppy dressing style my tussled hair? She retorted.
‘That was said just to infuriate you, see what I mean to say is I really like you, will you marry me?’
Priya was shocked.
‘See I have been married once and it has not been a pleasant experience. Nor has been my experience with you, so my answer is No.’ She said.
A couple of days later she got a mail from Mr. Goverdhan-Priya I know you don’t like me but can we be friends and try to understand each other.
She agreed, there was no harm in friendship. And so their romance started, there were no candlelight dinners and no gifts. But intellectual talks, she would tell him about her ‘children’, he about his clients, she would advise him on dealing with people, he would advise her about how to make the children curious and so on.
He told her how he had to quit being a Physical trainer because of his accident and how Anushka helped him to set up the business, she told about how she found joy in teaching.
They discovered their mutual love of books and black and white movies.
And how they argued. Being of extreme natures they seldom agreed on anything but the decision they finally arrived to was always right.
Until 5 months later they realized that indeed they were very much compatible for each other and decided to get married. They knew that their marriage would be rocky what with his always active temper and her flare for always touching his raw nerves, but they also understood that her persuasiveness and his emotionality would always make their life adventurous.
And yes Mr and Mrs. Damani were the witnesses for their liaison.