The secret life of Mukta Bhide

‘Bye, Call me if you are going to be late,’ she said and closed the door, counted till 20 and then rushed to get ready. Pulled out her bag, stuffed a towel inside it, took a deep breath, slowly turned the lock and stepped out.

Mrs Menon, her neighbour was a very alert woman. The smallest ‘noise’ and she would be at the peep-hole to check what was happening outside. Hence the efforts to keep the sound minimal. Mukta could not afford to be seen or heard.

No she was not having an affair, nor was she doing anything illegal. She was just going for a swim at the Marina Club. Her kids were now teenagers and Anup her husband was very busy with his work, and she was becoming depressed, she was on housewife visa and so could not go to work. All this was making her depressed, and to come out of it she decided to go back to her old love – swimming. If not anything she would get back in shape.

Oh how she loved to swim.

But when she had told Anup he said a NO. Why? Because, according to him there were many Forced bachelors( men who had left their wives back home for some reason) who loitered around the pool to ogle at women and try to touch them. Such a silly excuse really. Now there were ‘burkinis’ (Full length swimming costume) available, what would they ogle at. And anyways their were separate enclosures for men and women so what would they ogle at.

But today she had a premonition that something was going to be wrong.

Anup finished his pool side meeting with the client. He was happy. The meet had gone well. The situation at the home front had gone better since Mukta decided to do volunteer service at the Indian Ladies Association. She was busy and had managed to lose weight too. She was also more responsive towards the kids now.His glance took him to the ladies section and he saw someone stepping out of the pool wearing a burkini.

Hah Burkinis he thought, it might cover the entire body but still it can’t hide the curves, he thought.

But whats this its Mukta and his whole world came crashing down.

‘ Why Mukta, why did you have to hide. if you wanted to swim  so much. I would not have restricted you, you know’, he said, later in the evening when he told her that he knew.

Mukta felt bad. She could not see him upset,’But you said no’.

‘Yes but if you had told me how much you missed swimming, I would have relented. The fact that you hid the truth hurts me more than the fact that you swim.’

There was silence for some time.

‘Actually Anup, the thrill of doing something secretly is what made it fun. You remember when we were kids and were told not to eat too many mangoes or else will fall sick, still we hide and have some. Just for the sake of thrill. the same happened with me. Life had become routine to the point that I knew what was going on in your mind and vice versa. There was nothing new, the same old problems of job, kids studies and money issues. SO when you said no but I wanted to swim, I opted to be secretive. It was not to hurt you or to score over you. But the thrill that it gave me’.

Anup heard her very seriously and then……….. burst out laughing .

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