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She headed towards the same and started throwing the clothes helter skelter, just to find a sobbing Aisha, all curled up, digging her face between the knees and arms curled around.
“Ek Baar Se Dil Nahi Bharata Mudke Dekh Mujhe Dobaara, Tan Tana Tan Tan Tan Taara, chalti hai kya 9 se 12”
Yet again Payal heard her neighbour, Nitin shout it out to his newly wed wife Aisha. Perhaps, Nitin and Aisha were going out for a movie tonight?
Aisha was 5’ 7”, beautiful kohled eyes, buttery soft and supple skin, curly locks of hair brushing her sexy collar bones and slender fingers playing with those locks could have made anyone die for her. But Nitin also proved to be a worthy match and complemented her in every possible way. His shirt splitting biceps must be keeping the oglers of Aisha away and broad, well built chest would be a perfect cushion for Aisha’s head. Payal was still wondering of the fairy tale life Aisha and Nitin must be leading, with a beater in one hand and egg in other.
Just when her imagination was going a little wild, she heard her son crying for dinner. Coming back to reality, Payal’s dreamy eyes hid behind the bold spectacles and yet again, nobody realised what she craved for. Payal was well-qualified but after having her kid, she left the high paying job to take care of him. Her husband, Pankaj was a workaholic and came back home pretty late in night and it was almost impossible for her to take care of the job, home and her son all alone. So, Payal managed everything at home, and Pankaj never held her back for anything. He always trusted her and even taught her how to drive so that she can become independent but all Payal wanted was her husband’s time. She always craved to be with him. She often questioned herself, “Why did I marry? I am almost leading the life of a loner and it was better off when I was single. At least I wouldn’t have to wait for someone this long.”
She was taking her son out for a walk post dinner, when she noticed the neighbor’s door locked. She smirked in angst and told herself, “Lucky Aisha! She has such a perfect life. Almost every other day she moves out to have fun and uploads such awesome pictures on Instagram. I wish I had a life like her.” Just when she was lost in her thoughts, she noticed the lights of Aisha’s kitchen being switched off. She was stunned as the door was locked but she shrugged it off thinking, there might be a problem with the fuse. She would talk to Aisha the next morning.
Next morning, Payal rushed to the door tying her hair in a bun and managing her flowing skirt just to catch hold of Aisha while taking milk delivery. Payal had to search for such opportunities to strike a conversation with Aisha, because Aisha never responded to her with warmth. Payal always believed that Aisha is very egoistic and self-absorbed. Whatever Payal knew of Aisha, was through her Instagram pictures and snapchat stories. Every other day she would find a new upload, in a new place and with new people.
Payal just expressed her concern for the light going off, and whether Aisha wanted some kind of support with electrician. Aisha was still new and Payal was a kindhearted, sympathetic person who always wanted to extend a helping hand to anyone in need. But Aisha just said, its fine now and shut the door.
Payal always yearned for a lifestyle like that of Aisha and was always hurt by her cold behaviour, but still she couldn’t kill the goodness in her.
Today evening Payal again heard some commotion in the corridors and knew that Nitin and Aisha are moving out for fun yet again. Today, when she was moving out for the post dinner walk, she saw a figure walking past the window pane at Aisha’s place. Even after being a victim of cold treatment by Aisha, she took this as a responsibility of a good neighbour and decided to get the intruder out of Aisha’s place. She rang up Aisha but as expected, she didn’t answer any calls. So next she called up the key maker and security guards.
Within minutes, the key maker started banging the door of Aisha’s home to break it open. The security guards were unaffected, and against the idea of breaking open into someone’s home but Payal stood strong and doubted if security guards were involved with the intruder. Some other neighbors also gathered. Payal was constantly keeping a look on the window panes, so that the thief doesn’t escape.
After 15 minutes of banging, the door fell open and Payal followed by security guards rushed inside, just to find everything in place. Nothing had been touched or misplaced. In the bathrooms, kitchen drawers, drawing room chest, bedroom almirahs, people looked everywhere just to find nobody. Finding everything in place, Payal felt a chill down her spine. She realised that in her endeavor to be good and responsible, she just broke into a stranger’s place. She must be hallucinating.
Everybody left murmuring about Payal and while carrying the baggage of guilt, she started taking heavy steps out. Suddenly Payal noticed some disturbance in the pile of unwashed clothes. She headed towards the same and started throwing the clothes helter skelter, just to find a sobbing Aisha, all curled up, digging her face between the knees and arms curled around.
Shattered Payal, fell on her knees. She couldn’t believe what she saw. She just hugged Aisha with all the warmth and her kurta almost drenched in her tears. Payal wiped her tears and took her to the bed. Sobbing Aisha pointed to the ceiling and Payal was bewildered at what she saw. Aisha continued, “Nitin always keeps an eye on me through CCTV cameras. Kitchen, bedroom, bathrooms, and even balconies, he has installed cameras everywhere just to keep an eye on his beautiful wife. He hates people ogling at me and doesn’t entertain anybody at home. He doesn’t even want a servant to enter home in his absence. Initially when he took me to the party, he couldn’t stand people complimenting me for my looks and since then, he stopped taking me out for parties. His love for parties hasn’t subsided. He still loves to go out and locks me at home so that nobody even knocks at the door and comes in by mistake. The security guards are given alcohol to shut their mouths for any suspicion.”
Payal’s heart was in her mouth. She was dumbstruck and just then Aisha exclaimed – “All I do is sit back at home and upload pictures on social media, block my husband and gain loads of compliments and likes, because that is the only way I get to live the life I dream of. You are so lucky to have a husband like Pankaj. He always trusts you and gives you independence to do whatever you wish to.”
Payal was struck by a sense of realization that someone whom she always envied, was actually living in such desolation. She rushed back home and called up Pankaj, just to thank him for all the love and care he has showered on her, for all the nights he had been awake to take care of their son so that Payal can sleep in peace, for all the trust he had in her and all the quality time he gave her, however short it was.
Aisha’s bleak figure haunted Payal through the night and finally she decided to help Aisha get out of that troublesome marriage.
Now she knew that most of the times what we see on social media is not the actual truth and actual truth is hidden in the dark behind the flash of social media. Try to live the real life.
Published here earlier.
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