Mrs. Arya was sipping her tea when she heard voices from the next door. ‘Hmm she thought, so Shruti and Abhyas were fighting once again.’ She put her cup down on the table, went near the wall, put her right ear to the wall and tried to listen.
‘Crash’ there was a sound.
‘How many times have I told you to be careful,’ cried Abhyas
‘Oh ho, My fingers have ghee on them so the cup slipped, what can I do?’, said Shruti.
‘But why have ghee on the fingers?’
‘It’s not for me, Nitin has cracked lips, you know he does not like lip balm’. and so on the conversation went. Mrs. Arya next door could not make out anything but yes she had fodder for the day’s meet with her friend Mrs. Pal.
They met at 10.30 am and the first topic of discussion was Shruti. ‘You know Abhyas broke something once again’, said Mrs. Arya.
I hope he did not beat Shruti’, said Mrs. Pal.
‘They were arguing till Abhyas left for work. I tell you whenever that man is at home they fight. And whenever he is at home something breaks. Poor Shruti, what a life.’
‘I think Mrs. Arya her parents should be brought in the picture’, said Mrs.Pal
‘Really, do you think so?’
‘Yes, she is suffering so much. Do you have their contact?’
‘Oh yes, they live in Dahisar, I have their number’, said Mrs. Arya
It so happened that when Mrs. Pal was leaving her friend’s house, Shruti was coming home. Her nose was swollen like a potato and her lips well they looked like burger with a thin slice of ham in between.
‘What happened?’, cried out both in unison.
‘I was dropping Nitin at the bus stop, there is a pit dug in near the stop for some cable repair, I did not notice it and fell on my face. Its alright I have been to the Doctor’, she said and went inside.
‘But Mrs. Arya and Mrs. Pal had new fodder,’See how she is covering up for her husband. Poor girl, such a fate.’
‘I tell you, call her parents, tell them the truth’, said Mrs. Pal
Shruti got a call from her mother in the evening.
‘SO how did you get hurt?’
‘Huh, how do you know about it?’, Asked Shruti
‘Your kind neighbour informed me about it’
They talked for some minutes and then she was about to go to Mrs. Arya and give her a word or two when Abhyas came in and saw her.
‘Now where did you bang yourself?’
Already in a foul mood Shruti retorted with, ‘I got hurt and rather than talk a few sweet words, you taunt me…’
This dialogue went on for a few more minutes while Mrs. Arya tsk tsked on the other side of the wall.
The next day both of the ladies discussed about what to do next. Obviously Shruti’s mother had not done her bit; so what was to be done next? They decided to call on Aparna who was running an NGO for distressed women.
Aparna duly arrived with a photographer and they rushed to meet Shruti.
‘See Shruti I have brought Aparna to meet you’, Said Mrs. Arya.
‘Hello, Aparna’, said Shruti without any knowledge of who Aparna was.
‘See Shruti, now that Abhyas is not at home, you can tell freely about how he tortures you. You see Aparna runs an NGO for distressed women’.
Now Shruti understood what was happening and though she wanted to yell, she controlled herself and said sweetly, ‘That is commendable Aparna but no one is abused, distressed or beaten here’.
‘But the crash that happened day before yesterday’, Said Mrs. Arya.
‘A plate slipped from my hands because my fingers had ghee on them’, said Shruti gritting her teeth.
And the bruises that you have on your face’, added Mr.Pal
‘I fell into a pit’, said Shruti
Mrs. Pal and Mrs. Arya went on citing instances and Shruti patiently answered each one of them. She knew if she lost her temper it may be taken as if she was really being abused and was trying to defend her husband.
Abhyas returned home to a messy home, a hungry child and wife busy on the computer.
‘What are you doing?’, asked he.
‘Searching for ways to sound proof the walls’, was the answer.