Read on how to enrich your life by purpose, i.e. to find depth and, a reason to get out of bed each morning, your own Ikigai.
They would spend the night together in Pune. Unlike last time, she would not split the expenses. Unlike last time, this night would be all about her.
The third winner of our September 2019 Muse of the Month contest is Tanvi Sinha.
Saira took a shower for the second time. She looked at her face in the mirror. Was this the face of a home-breaker?
72 hours ago
34-year-old Saira had signed up for a trekking tour in Lonavala. She had no interest in trekking. She was hoping to meet someone.
She did not want to join a dating app. She was afraid somebody known would recognize her and think that she is desperate.
She wanted it to be natural. It should just happen. She should fall in love.
Barely two hours into the introduction session, she could notice an attractive man looking at her. He was tall, dark and fit. He must be a regular trekker, she thought. She was not unattractive herself. She was very pretty and petite. Finally, the handsome man introduced himself to her. His name was Avinash. He was a startup owner. She asked if he lived with his family. She just wanted to know if he was married. He told her he was divorced after a brief marriage. He asked her if she had ever been married.
‘No!’ She replied honestly.
‘I don’t know. Just never went that far.’
‘You know. Never had a relationship serious enough to reach the marriage stage. Broke up before that.’
‘Good for me.’
It made her blush. If they would start dating, he would definitely be her best looking boyfriend so far.
‘What time the trek starts tomorrow morning?’ he asked her.
‘I think 5 am!’
‘Let’s go to Goa!’
‘I don’t want to go for the stupid trek. I want to spend time with you!’
‘We just met!’
‘Exactly! So we need to get to know each other better.’
‘But I drove all the way from Pune for this trek!’
‘And I drove all the way from Mumbai!’ He paused for a moment. ‘Let us drive to Mumbai. Take the next flight to Goa. Spend a day. Take an off on Monday. Take the flight back to Mumbai!’
‘My car is here!!’
‘I will drive you back till here!’
‘And then drive back to Mumbai again? What are you, jobless!’
‘I am a start-up owner, remember’. He chuckled. ‘It is not every day that I get an opportunity to be with a woman like you. Worth it.’
‘Who said you will get to be with me.’
‘A man cannot even dream!’
‘You are ridiculous.’
With this she went back to her room. Her empty room. Her empty bed. She would sleep. Alone. Just like she did for the past two years. The only person who had touched her in two years was the masseur. A female masseur! Her suspicions, mistrust, overthinking had made her skeptical about being with unknown men.
But what was the guarantee with known men! She had known Rohan for four years.. They were family friends.
She ran her fingers over her smooth body. She had great skin. Beautiful curves. It was a pity she was single!
I cannot do it anymore. I cannot spend another night alone. She thought of the trek the next day. Boring trek that would make her so tired.
48 hours ago
Saira and Avinash were walking on the Calangute beach, holding hands. She had never done anything like this before.
She received a text from her best friend, Rita. ‘Have you reached Pune yet? How was the trek?’
‘I am in Goa!’
‘What! With whom!’
Saira smiled. She had always been a careful girl. Thoughtful girl. She did everything right. This felt so liberating.
It was like a dream. She had bought a dress from a nearby street shop. It had a floral print. Spaghetti straps. Avinash wore beige shorts and a back T-shirt. They looked great together! She knew people who were looking at them thought so too.
‘We will make very good-looking kids!‘ She texted Rita.
‘A little concerned. Tell me who you are with!’ Rita replied.
Saira texted Avinash’s number to Rita along with his picture. She also sent her the location of the hotel they were in. This was a safety rule she and Rita followed… With that she switched off her phone. She wanted to be disconnected from the world.
Saira got very drunk after a very long time. Drinking made it easier for her to let herself go.
That night was something else altogether. Avinash made her see a side of herself she did not know existed. Rohan always made her feel like she was not passionate enough. He always wanted more. She was not averse to explore. But it was all about responding… If only he was better, she would have been so much better!
The next morning, Saira and Avinash had a heavy breakfast. Sausages. Bacon. Salmon. Croissant. Doughnut.
The flight from Goa was late. On the drive back from Mumbai, she played her favourite songs. The weather complemented the ride what with the rains, the mist, and the black clouds.
Past so many days she had been feeling so hollow. So empty. So incomplete. Now she felt the opposite. What was the opposite of hollow?
24 hours ago
Saira was making Maggi in her home in Pune. She had received an email from the trek organizers that she was disqualified from their future events for ‘disappearing without providing any reason and wasting a spot, thereby exhibiting irresponsible behavior.’
Saira smiled. You have no idea what kind of irresponsible behavior I have exhibited this weekend. And the kind of irresponsible, unsafe things I have done! She wanted to reply. Avinash had received the same email. They had been texting non-stop.
The feeling of waiting for the text message. The longing. Thinking about that night again. How he made her feel. How he looked at her. There was no feeling in the world sweeter than the feeling of new love.
3 hours ago
‘Saira, I want to talk to you. Can we meet!’ There was an urgency in Rita’s voice.
‘What happened? I don’t feel like stepping out right now.’
‘You said Avinash’s last name was Nair’.
‘Yeah…’ Saira’s heart started beating very fast.
‘I don’t think that is his last name. His name is Avinash Menon.’
‘How do you know that!’
‘I searched on Truecaller. Then on Linkedin. Facebook. You had sent his picture so that helped… That start-up name is also fake I think. He works in an IT company. How could you be stupid enough to not even do some basic check before sleeping with someone! Was trying to call you earlier but your phone was switched off. You know he could have been a rapist. A murderer. A psycho!’
‘He is not! He was very nice to me!’
‘Well of course! He is married with two kids! Nice is the least he would be, to get a woman!’
‘He is divorced. He did not mention anything about the kids!’
‘Doesn’t seem divorced. His wife has put up recent pictures on her profile. Will share the link. And next time you decide to have a little rendezvous, please let me before, and not after.’
Saira was scared to open the link. But she had to. There he was. With another woman. Maybe she is his sister. She tried to fool herself. And there were two kids. Beautiful kids. The kind she thought she and he could have together. One kid looked 4-5 years old. A boy. The other one was just a baby. The little bangle and the little hairband on her bald head meant she was a girl. The wife was not too pretty but not bad either. She was pleasant looking. She was tall like him. But Saira knew she was much prettier… He looked like he was a great father…
Tears rolled down her cheeks. She had gone through so many emotions all in a span of two days. Thrill. Excitement. Happiness. Disappointment. Guilt. Regret.
How dare he! He was already making plans to meet her again next weekend. What a liar! She must tell him what an ****** he was!
I know about your wife!
You liar! You cheat! You scoundrel! I hate you!
Or maybe she would just send him the link. And block him. Or just block him without any explanation. What had he made her?! A woman who sleeps with somebody else’s husband! A married man with two kids! She started feeling scared. What if someone had seen them at the hotel? What if his wife found out? She would tell her clearly that he lied to her. It was not her fault!
One day later
Avinash was a little worried. Saira had not responded to his messages since last night. What was wrong? Had she found out? He had to meet her next weekend. Two more weeks before Bhavya would be back with the kids. He did not have the energy or time to put in effort in impressing a new girl now!
‘Hey! Sorry was caught up with some work in office. Took a day off na so pile up!’ Saira finally replied.
‘Oh! Should have at least sent one text message! I was so worried.’
‘How are you sweetie! Missing you already’.
‘Are we still on for next weekend?’
‘Yes. We are. Book something in Pune.’
Avinash was pleased with himself. He still had his charm. No doubt.
Saira was happy too. She had met liars before. She had met abusive men too. At least Avinash was good at one thing. The other men she had met were bad in behaviour and bad in bed. Horrible combo.
She had her weekend planned. Avinash would drive all the way from Mumbai. They would spend the night together in Pune. Unlike last time, she would not split the expenses. Unlike last time, this night would be all about her. After check out, she would ask him to get the **** out of her life forever, else she would tell his wife.
And with that Saira played her favourite song, as she drove back from work.
You wait, longing to hear
Words of reason, love or play
To lash or lull you toward the hollow day.
Editor’s note: In 2019 our beloved writing contest, Muse of the Month got bigger and better (find out how here) and also takes the cue from the words of women who inspire with their poetry.
The writing cue for September 2019 is this quote from the poem Someone Leans Near, from the book Five Poems by Nobel Prize awardee Toni Morrison, a towering literary giant, who passed away recently on 5th August 2019 at the age of 88.
“You wait, longing to hear
Words of reason, love or play
To lash or lull you toward the hollow day”
Tanvi Sinha wins a Rs 500 Amazon voucher from Women’s Web. Congratulations!
Image source: pixabay
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I like to write about the problems that have plagued the Indian society. I feel
It’s My Call [#ShortStory]
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