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Put yourself in Rannvijay’s shoes. How does it feel? You suggested not to tell him about today. Even if I don’t, he will know something is amiss.
It started as a tentative kiss, both of them willing and yet holding back. The lips held on, their hot breaths mingled, and they felt the sweat of passion on each other’s bodies. Eventually, they parted their lips and explored deeper. The tongues intertwined, desiring each other more with every passing second. Neither of them opened their eyes for fear of coming back to reality. Their hunger reached a crescendo, as they frenziedly continued the kiss for as long as possible.
Sonia withdrew first and rested her head against his chest.
Sameep opened his eyes and pushed aside the hair that covered her eyes. He felt at home even in his awkward position where he was half leaning forward on his chair to support Sonia’s weight. He wanted to be there for her always.
They sat like that for two full minutes.
‘I want to say sorry for what happened. Hope you aren’t offended.’
‘Huh!’ Sonia jerked upright.
‘I mean, you were emotionally upset, and I just wanted to comfort you. Whatever followed was unintentional. I just want you to know that I didn’t plan this. Believe me, I didn’t plan to kiss you,’ Sameep tried to explain his stance.
‘I believe you. Thanks for bringing me back to reality.’ A cynical laugh followed.
‘Reality?’ Sameep felt apprehensive.
‘Yes. I thought I was horrible but now I have surpassed the heights of selfishness. I want to say it wasn’t intentional from my side too but that won’t be the truth.’
Sameep was dumbstruck.
‘I mean, there’s all this confusion about Rannvijay and our relationship but I was somehow sticking it out for old time’s sake. But ever since I started spending time with you, I don’t know what’s the matter with me. One fine day, I realised that I liked you. I thought about stopping those badminton sessions, resisted my emotions but just could not. I struggled to resist holding your hand the other day when we were sitting outside the canteen. All of these added to my misgivings about Rannvijay. I now have a stronger conviction to end that relationship.’
She looked miserable.
‘I could not control myself when you embraced me. It was as if all my desires reached their zenith at that moment, and I wanted more of you. I forgot all that was behind me and what would come ahead of me but cared only about…this,’ she said, gesturing at each other with her hands.
Sonia drew her breath. ‘What’s more, I am not even feeling guilty about what happened. I am feeling guilty about not feeling guilty. Does it make sense?’ She looked askance at Sameep. ‘Have I cheated on Rannvijay? God! But I don’t want to hurt him….’
‘Rannvijay doesn’t have to know about this,’ Sameep said.
‘That will just add to my guilt…hiding the truth from him.’
‘If the truth hurts and we have a choice about not disclosing it, we should exercise that choice.’
‘That doesn’t change the fact that I am a horrible person. How can I have feelings for another when I am in a committed relationship?’
‘Calm down, Sonia. It was just one kiss.’
‘Just one kiss. That’s all it meant to you? An act of physical indiscretion and nothing beyond that?’ Sonia asked aloud.
‘Please, don’t overreact. I am also in a sea of emotions like you. It happened all of a sudden.’
‘You must be judging me for my infidelity.’
‘Be reasonable, Sonia. You have been honest. I am not even thinking on those lines. In fact, I am flattered that a girl like you has the same feelings for me that I have for her…’ Sameep stopped, abruptly.
‘What did you say?’
‘Yes…I have feelings for you, Sonia,’ Sameep sighed. ‘My feelings for you go much beyond the physical realm, I assure you. I want to protect you. I cannot see you unhappy.’
‘This makes it worse,’ Sonia uttered.
What is she saying? How the hell is it worse? ‘Did I hear you right?’
‘Don’t you see? If there was nothing from your side, we could have continued to remain friends after consoling ourselves that today’s indiscretion was an exception. Now, we cannot. To top it all, after wilfully cheating on Rannvijay, I will have to continue with him. I don’t want to hurt him more.’
‘I don’t understand this. You don’t want to be with him any longer, Sonia, so you don’t have to, period. Irrespective of what happened between us. Besides, you are his girlfriend, not wife, so you don’t have to take a moral high ground.’
‘So, sindoor and mangalsutra are the only criteria for a woman to stay committed in a relationship? Not having these gives her the license to break the trust in a relationship, does it?’ Sonia demanded.
Shit! The pearls of wisdom. There are hazards to a beauty with brains. Sameep pursed his lips in thought.
Sonia continued, ‘Put yourself in Rannvijay’s shoes. How does it feel? You suggested not to tell him about today. Even if I don’t, he will know something is amiss. When two people are in a relationship, they don’t need words to convey these things, they just know. Words are just one of the means for the souls to connect.’
Too much wisdom for a day. Sameep was getting restless.
‘I might not like Rannvijay anymore, but I do respect him. I respect the past six years of our relationship, his being there for me through everything. It would have been different if I had broken up with him before all this. Please understand where I’m coming from, I mean Rannvijay doesn’t deserve this. Now I feel morally obliged to be with him. Maybe, in time, you will realise that I was right.’ Sonia paused for a moment. ‘We must not see each other anymore.’
‘What?’ Sameep was jolted out of his thoughts. ‘No, please. Why would you say that? All right, I won’t insist on taking this any further. You have my word. I agree with you, okay. Hell, I will even support your relationship with Rannvijay. Let’s just remain friends as before?’ Sameep pleaded.
‘That won’t be possible for us now, Sameep. Be honest with yourself. I know I won’t be able to resist myself. Especially now when I know what you feel. It will break my heart to have you near and yet not be with you. I will feel guilty if I come close to you, miserable if I don’t. I think it’s better if we part ways,’ Sonia concluded.
‘I suppose my feelings and opinions don’t matter here,’ Sameep grumbled.
‘You will be all right. I know that. Take care.’
Sonia checked herself in the mirror, wiped her eyes and straightened her dress. She then opened the door, and left without another look.
Sameep sat unmoving, speechless. Please, let this be a dream. It can’t end before it even started.
At that moment, time stood still.
Publishers’ note (Readomania): A Price to Love is unique and special for its treatment and portrayal of the protagonist. Never before has a women character been shown like this – a guilt-free want-it-all attitude that is seldom sought but widely aspired.
The narrative is fast-paced and the book holds the readers’ attention throughout.
It has been a privilege to publish Smita Das Jain, a promising young author who has a flair for good storytelling and is good at the art of writing.
If you’d like to pick up A Price to Love written by Smita Das Jain, use our affiliate links at Amazon India, and at Amazon US.
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Image source: a still from the series Muramba
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Smita Das Jain is a writer by passion who writes every day. Samples of her writing are visible in the surroundings around her — her home office, her sunny terrace garden, her husband’s car and read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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