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She could get a whiff of his cologne, and it was going to be hard to resist her long buried desire to touch him, kiss him, feel her head against his broad shoulders…a possibility of a full fledged affair lay ahead of her…
Tara was idly browsing her Facebook page. She had another 2hrs to board her flight to New York. She called Raj to check if her daughter has slept yet. She hated to leave Riya back home, but twice a year she has to meet her team abroad and she can’t avoid it.
“She’s slept just now, though she’s been asking for you already. She understands you are at work and would be back in a week’s time. So don’t worry and have a safe flight” said Raj in hushed tone, to not disturb their sleeping daughter. “Thank you Raj, I know with you around, she is going to be just fine”.
Tara knew, her husband would move the mountains to make sure Riya was comfortable and would spoil her silly. “You rest well too. I will call you once I land” said Tara and kissed him goodnight.
She took out the earphones from her handbag and started to listen her playlist. “Just go to hell, O Dil…” blared the song, she reduced the volume and slouched in her seat to close her eyes. Some 30 minutes must have passed by, when she was woken up by a distant, but familiar voice. She scuffled a bit to come back from her hazy state to see Akash extending his hand for a shake.
“Whoa, who, what, Akash? How come you’re in this city?” Tara managed to mutter.
He saw this as a chance to squeeze her half extended hand. “Oh boy, look at you, it’s been what, 6 years now? Since we last met? You’re ageing like fine wine, my lady! So tell me what’s up? BTW, I have an hour to catch my flight to New York. What are you upto?” quizzed an effervescent Akash.
Her heart skipped a beat. He looked so much more handsome from the last time she had seen him. They were friends from their post graduation time. He was loud, dashing, an extrovert and a magnet among girls. She was an ambivert who secretly had a crush on him from the day she saw him practicing his guitar with the music group. They started hanging out together more often as they shared common interest in music.
Tara didn’t know when it happened, but she fell hard for Akash. She could imagine a lifetime with him, filled with his witticisms, laughter and blatant expression of love…never a dull moment…
When she confessed her intentions, initially he couldn’t believe it, for she was a friend. As soon as he realized the seriousness, he explicitly admitted that he didn’t want to be tied down. He wanted to explore, know his options, enjoy the company of as many women as he could before he could even think of committing to a single woman.
He clearly had other priorities and she couldn’t go around with someone who didn’t value commitment. Though they had different expectations from life, she could never hate him. He was at least honest to her as a friend.
Initially it was extremely difficult for her to stop looking for his qualities in the men she met after him, but life moved on. She never tried to stay in touch, for she knew she would fall for him every time. 2 years later she had met Raj, quite the opposite of Akash. An introvert to the core, but sharing the same passion for music. They bumped into each other frequently at music hubs and pubs that play soulful songs. They shared a similar outlook towards life and marriage was the logical next step.
“Did you say New York? Are you leaving for New York? The 2.30am flight?” beseeched Tara.
His nod confirmed a yes. That was the same flight as hers. A 14 hour long journey. “Why him, why him again?” Fluttered her heart. Conversations that she would lose her sleep for were awaiting. She could get a whiff of his cologne, and it was going to be hard to resist her long buried desire to touch him, kiss him, feel her head against his broad shoulders….a possibility of a full fledged affair lay ahead of her…
Better sense prevailed, and she talked about the weather, her daughter Riya and husband Raj. She gave a sneak peak into her life, which was firmly grounded around her family. He joked about how women still found him irresistible, but how he never found love. Did she hear a faint sigh? Maybe, maybe not…But when he asked where she was heading to, she had to think on her feet. She glanced around and said, there – gate number 17, Frankfurt.
It was the last call for the New York flight. They said their goodbyes and exchanged coordinates. She rushed to the ticket counter, rescheduled her trip to the next flight, which was at 7 am.
She went back to the lounge and slouched. Thinking of the narrow escape from committing adultery. One moment of weakness could have put her entire life and what she stands by into jeopardy. She glanced at the photos in her phone gallery. Raj and Riya were beaming in one of the pictures. She was happy she did what she did, for she had something so valuable, a family. She kept her unsaid promise of never letting them down. There may be fights, there may be dull moments but they were always there for each other to trust, to rely upon and support through every up and down of life. She couldnt trade that for anything in the world.
With a heavy, but cheery heart, Tara went back to listening “just go to hell, O Dil…”
Header image is a still from the movie Dear Zindagi
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