It was Friday evening. Nisha was returning to home from work. She was looking forward to the weekend. On her way back, she was thinking of a weekend trip with Harsh. It would be a nice escape from their routine life and they’d have some time to talk about a couple of things, she thought. She wanted to spend some quality time with him and have a conversation, but somehow it hadn’t happened for some time. She had booked a resort in Matheran. It was their favorite getaway in monsoon. She wanted to surprise Harsh.
They have been married for four years and they lived in Andheri, Mumbai. It was a love marriage and the couple was referred as an example of ‘made for each other’. Their friends envied them. Harsh used to make Nisha laugh and sometimes she’d laugh so hard that her cheeks would start paining. He used to surprise her with gifts and surprise dates. They used to have drinking competitions and Harsh would let her win. When he came home tired from work, she’d prepare his favorite dinner and after dinner she’d let him sleep in her lap while she ran her fingers in his hair and sung for him. Work brought them together and love brought them closer. Nisha & Harsh became work friends and their friendship had grown into a relationship. Initially, their parents didn’t approve of it, but later they yielded to their children’s wish. Both of them couldn’t be happier. When their friends complained about marriage life problems, they’d look at each other and wink. There were hardly any dull moments when they were together. Their love for each other amplified with time.
Lately, Harsh was not behaving his usual. There was something wrong with him. Whenever Nisha asked him what it was about, he’d argue it was work pressure. He’d then turn on the TV, scan the channels, watch the news for a while and go to bed. Nisha was certainly upset about it. She knew it was not work pressure that bothered him. They had mutually decided not to work at the same place after marriage. It was for their own benefit. She had called some of her ex-colleagues where she worked previously with Harsh and enquired about his behavior. Some of them said he had changed. They thought she’d know and they were surprised to know that she didn’t. May be it was a part of a plan that he could be having, they said. She wanted to figure out what was going on. Why was Harsh not telling her about it? Was it some kind of surprise act or was it a genuine one? Why, why, why? She decided that she’d find answers to her questions over the weekend.
Harsh returned from the office and relaxed on the sofa. “Nisha, I am back.” Nisha appeared from the kitchen. She hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. “Hey handsome, how was your day?” she said romantically. “Nothing special.” he said casually and turned on the TV.
“You seem tired, baby. Freshen up and we’ll have dinner afterwards.”
“What are we having for dinner today?”
“Malai kofta, paratha and pulao. You know what’s for dessert, don’t you?” she winked.
“Okay, I’ll be at the table in 20 minutes.” He got up, went to the washroom and resorted to the sofa again.
“Any messages or phone calls for me, Nisha?”
“Ishika called. Again. I don’t know what the deal with that woman is. She always calls during dinner. I asked her if she wanted to leave a message and she hung up.”
“Is the dinner ready?”
“Yes. Please do me a favor, darling. Why don’t you plate up the food and I’ll see you at the table in 5 minutes? I need to change. Oh, and uh, pour two glasses of wine for us. I got your favorite one.”
Nisha reached at the dining table and noticed that Harsh was talking to someone over his phone and he was smiling. “I’ll talk to you later, Ishika. Bye.” He hung up the call and placed himself on the chair. He arranged the plates on the dining table.
“Shall we start? I am getting hungry.” he said.
“Sure. Ishika called you again? Was it something important?”
“No. I did. Just some work related discussion. Wine?” he replied.
“Yes. Let’s cheers to this weekend. Cheers!” she said while sipping the wine.
“Harsh, did you mix something with it? It tastes different.”
“Oh, seems like I gave you my glass. I added some scotch to it. Here have this one.”
“Why would you do that? Wine itself tastes so much better.”
“I just felt like having scotch and wine. Let’s start eating before the food gets cold. Pass me the pulao, please.”
“Sure.” she handed him the bowl of pulao. She noticed something.
“Why did you add mushrooms in it? You know I don’t like mushrooms, right?” she asked with some anger in her voice.
“I totally forgot.”
“Harsh, what is wrong? You have been behaving very strangely for some time. Last week you added schezwan sauce to my noodles and I absolutely hate it. It is not just food. Two weeks ago we were at a restaurant with some of our mutual friends and you made a ridicule of me. You had a few drinks so I forgave you. But, you are doing these things again and again and you don’t feel sorry for it. You are not even talking to me properly. You argue that you get tired too soon. What’s going on? You have to tell me.” she said with a concern.
There was a silence for a moment. After a while he said “Nisha, nothing is wrong. It is just some work pressure. Everything is going to be okay and you need to stop spying on me.”
“So, someone told you, huh?”
“I have my sources.”
“I was just concerned about you. You are not giving me answers. I had to ask someone.”
“I told you it is just work. Nothing else. I don’t like to discuss these things with colleagues. So, they don’t know anything. Now can we please enjoy the dinner? It is Friday night for crying out loud.”
They ate for a while without exchanging a word. Harsh was down two glasses of wine and scotch. He was pouring himself another drink.
“Don’t drink too much. We have to wake up early tomorrow morning.” she said.
“Why? What’s the plan?”
“It’s a surprise.” she winked.
“Nisha, just tell me what it is. I am in no mood for surprises.” he said reluctantly.
“How about we go on a weekend trip? I’ve made some plans.” she said with a smile.
“Not possible. I’ll have to go to work tomorrow. Why don’t you go with one of your friends?”
“With a friend? What are you talking about? I planned this for us. I want to go with you. Can’t you just cancel your plan? We’ll have a beautiful weekend. It’ll be fun.”
“No. I just can’t. The project I am working on is about to finish and I need to finish it soon. There are lots of expectations from this project.”
“What about my expectations, Harsh? Don’t they matter?”
“Nisha, we’ll go some other weekend. Please try to understand.”
Nisha put her fingers over his wrist and said “Honey, I don’t understand the fact that you…” There was a phone call on Harsh’s phone. It was from Ishika. He got up and went to the balcony. Nisha overheard what Harsh was saying on the phone.
“Hey, I was about to call you as soon as dinner was over. I am still having my dinner…No, there is no problem. We’re meeting tomorrow…Yes, same place. I won’t be late. See ya…Me too.” he chuckled.
He returned to the kitchen and noticed Nisha was getting angry. “It was Ishika. She was saying…” before he could say another word he felt a pang on his cheek. Nisha slapped him.
“So this is work pressure? This is the reason you’ve been behaving oddly, huh? Your work trip some time ago was not at all a work trip. No wonder you seemed so happy after that. I thought your project was successful and that’s why you were happy. I was a fool. You’re getting bored of me? Who is this Ishika? Is she your latest crush? Since how long is this going on?” her face was turning red and her voice was growing loud. Harsh thought for a moment. He didn’t say anything. He just stared at her. His silence made Nisha more curious and eager.
“Why are you not saying anything?” Nisha almost screamed.
He took a deep breath and decided it was about time. “Calm down. I can explain.”
“Don’t even bother to. For a moment I thought you were going to surprise me and I am truly surprised. Just tell me all this is a joke. I can’t stand this kind of joke.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t know what to say? That’s the best thing you can say? I am shouting out my lungs here and you don’t what to say? I was really hoping we’d get back on track and things will be normal. But, you just don’t want it. You don’t want me.”
“Nisha, I love you.”
“Then why are you hurting me? What did I do wrong? For which mistake am I paying? Didn’t I love you enough?” She burst into tears.
“You are perfect. But, I am not. I hope you’ll understand and forgive me.”
He kissed her on forehead and went to the bedroom. She sat in the kitchen and cried her eyes out for hours. She wished she’d sunk in the ocean of dejection and lovelessness. She sat on the kitchen floor, tears rolled down her cheeks. “You could’ve said something at least…” she said and sobbed. She decided that she would have to separate from Harsh. She could no longer live with him.
On Saturday morning Harsh woke up and noticed Nisha wasn’t around. Usually on weekends he would find himself wrapped in Nisha’s arms. She’d lay her long, soft hair on his face and he would caress them. Nisha would prepare coffee and Harsh would get a book that Nisha would love to read. Their taste for books was quite similar and that’s how they became friends at work. They stayed in the bed till 10 or 11 am sipping coffee while Harsh would slowly read out the book to Nisha. They’d cuddle, kiss and make love before getting into the shower. After the shower they would head out to have brunch. It was their weekend ritual and they cherished it. That Saturday was different. He knew it was going to happen eventually and he had tried to prepare himself for it. He sighed and uttered “Finally, it happened.”
What happened next? Find out here.