It was one of the most dismal morning! Like Bangalore is known for .. we had unexpected rains. The traffic jam that ensued had made me upset. I wanted to be home. No I wanted to be with Shlok. My love. and now my husband.
Finally 3 hours late, I reached Kanakpura road where she lived.
Akruti… The victim or the villain? In her case everything is so muddled. You cant help but love her charm..her humor.. her concern.. Such a warm host she was… Even while sporting a huge patch on her eye. she has this huge grin plastered on her face.
” Ah you are completely wet and late”, She said tongue in cheek.
” The traffic uff! I am sick of it!” , I replied rolling my eyes.
” Why don’t we sit in the kitchen? It is warm and I can make something for you. You must be hungry”
” Oh starving! ”
I sat on the dining table as she made coffee. Over coffee and yummy home made bhajiyas we started talking.
” Akruti. You know why I have come here don’t you?”
“Yes Dr Rao I know. You guys dont trust my words”
” You have an history with us and not all very good . This time it wont be easy. It will take hard evidence for you to convince me. This is the last time you know”
“Believe me I know. I have lived in the system all my life!”
” Mr Ranganathan is a very respected man. He is my counterpart you know. ” , He is a psychologist.
” As if I would forget that! Thats how we met you know. ”
The equanimity with which she took my words kind of surprised me. I put it to the fact that she wants to impress me. I decided to play along and said, “ Tell me about it”
“ He was such an handsome man. He still is”, she smiled.
I didn’t turn the recorder on. I wanted her to trust me first. We were quiet for some time.. it was as if she was dreaming.. remembering the past. I took the time to observe her properly.
It is very hard to tell much about her features as her eyes was swollen with a black eye, but her mouth was sensitive and with a pout that many would sell their soul to have. Slim and lithe she was still very beautiful. Long eyelashes and intelligent face that was live with good humor and fun.
She was wearing a very pleasing floral saree. And an apron tied to her waist. She looked like any other housewife happy in her life save her face.
“ So serious and so helpful”, she continued.
“ The first time I saw him I fell in love. He didnt want to love me.. but he couldnt resist me”, Still dreaming she started giggling.
“ I seduced him you know. And he drooled like a dog seeing a piece of juicy bone”, she guffawed.
I already started liking her. It became more like talking to a friend.. somewhere down the line we both forgot for what I have come until…..
“ You know he didnt want to marry me. He said I am not his type. He liked his ladies a bit servile and a lot dependant on him. That I am just too independent….” , she said
“ Bull!”, I was indignant! “ Why did you marry him? And how did it happen? “
“ I loved him. Even after all I have faced I still love him. We got married because he loves me. I told you.. I seduced him” she replied.
“ So how many kids do you have? “
Without knowing the bond that we had broke. And this always would be the tone of interview. Somehow we were back to the actual relationship.
“ Don’t you have it on file? “, she asked shortly.
“ Yes, I do. I want you to tell me though.”
“ 2. My boy is in 4th std and one girl. She is 7 years old.”
“ Where are they? “
“Both are in boarding school. We didnt want them to be affected by the issues we are facing.”
“ Whose decision was it?”
“ Ours. We decided it unanimously.”
“ Do children like it?”
“ They cannot decide what they want.”
I had antagonized her. I wanted to make amends but her husband came home. I was waiting for her to explain me off as her friend. I wanted to see fear, guilt and servitude that is common in most abused women.
I saw none of those. What I saw was a romantic union of two people so amazingly intune with each other.
They hugged smilingly thats when he noticed me. I saw a change in emotion here. I could see the man visibly closing up. He came to me formally with no smile and yet seemed warm.
“ Ah Dr Rao, pleased to meet you. Congratulations for your award”, he said as we shook hands. He had a firm grip.
“ Thank you. Didnt expect you to recognize me Dr Ranganathan.”
“ Call me Ananth. We all need to keep tabs about the competition don’t we?” He laughed.
“ Quite true”, I replied laughingly.
“ I hope you would stay for dinner”
“ Oh no. I have already taken too much of Akru’s time. I got to go.”
“ Please stay. It was fun”, Akriti said without any enthusiasm.
“ I insist. Lets have dinner in some restaurant. We have one nearby. The food is awesome you got to taste it”, he said.
Somehow I suddenly wanted to leave. I couldn’t possibly like both of them. They were a very likable and warm couple. I wondered what evilness lurked behind the man to hurt the wife he loves so much. Thats what interests me in my field. The complexity of human mind.
“ No some other time.” I replied. “ We will keep meeting for next few weeks. Why don’t we meet for lunch. I would like to ask you few questions” I was all business.
“ Sure. Anytime you would like.” he complied.
Soon I left their house with a very warm send off. Akriti even gifted me a casket of wine. I hadnt had fun for a long time. I even shared my life with her. She was so easy to talk to. I missed my girlfriends who had become busy with life kids n family.
Dr Ranganathan seemed to know what I was there but he didnt seem angry at all. Akriti was very friendly initially, but asking her more than what she wanted to say made her angry. I couldn’t peg both of them. I should be able to. I am a psychologist!
Soon I received Shlok’s call and I forgot all about them….