June 18, 2008


I walked slowly, unwillingly, up the stairs. We had bought the first floor apartment, telling each other we would always walk up the stairs. We never did. For some reason, I wanted to take the stairs today. Because you want to delay entering the house. I froze, with my hand on the door knob. I looked around slowly. There was no one. My mind was playing tricks on me.

'Varsha and Adarsh' the door proclaimed. I cringed.

Adarsh was my high school sweetheart. We grew up together, and stayed devoted to each other, the object of derision and envy of our friends. When they started dating someone new, they would laugh at us, call us 'boring' and when they broke up, they would come crying to us, jealous that we always had each other right from the start, and wishing they could find 'true love' sooner. We reacted appropriately, ignoring them and forgiving them by turns, confident in our love.

Until now.

We married a few years after college, settled into our home, and waited to start a family. We waited five years. We tried every test, and it just wasn't meant to be. Adarsh, undaunted, started talking about adoption. Our families were aghast at first, but came around quickly to the idea. I didn't care one way or the other. I was tired of waiting, wishing. Adarsh decided I needed something to distract me.

"Yoga!" he had announced one day, convinced the positive energy would lift my spirits. I looked at his hopeful face, laughed and agreed to go to the classes. I reassured him that I could go alone, knowing he could never make it to the class with his work schedule.

Putting down my bag on the floor, I sat heavily on the sofa, and thought back to that first day.

It was the first time in ages that I was starting something without Adarsh. I was so used to being with him that I hadn't realize that we acted like we were joined at the hip, understanding now why our friends poked fun at us.

I had felt free. I hadn't expected to.

I entered the class, feeling a mix of trepidation and exhilaration. I had learnt yoga while at school, but barely remembered anything. I didn't know anyone. There were little kids, there were retirees. I smiled at everyone, feeling a little foolish. I stayed in the back, hoping I wouldn't be too clumsy and that no one will notice.

"Today, we will start with the Surya Namaskar, as usual" a frail man announced. The instructor was not surprisingly, fit and could twist his body in every imaginable way. The Surya Namaskar wasn't too bad.

"Hmmm does anyone want to try the Astavakrasana?" he posed the question to the class.

"Let me show you" and he quickly twisted both his legs to one side, lifting them off the ground, and balancing himself on his forearms, with only his palms touching the floor.

Someone gasped.

I found the whole scene hilarious, and wanted to burst out laughing. I looked around the room, searching, as always, to share the laugh. And then I remembered he wasn't with me. Before my laugh died in disappointment, I found him smiling at me, inviting me to laugh along with him. I stared, transfixed, forgetting my disappointment, forgetting everything.

"Ah, the one laughing in the back, why don't you come and show us the asana?" a voice broke into my consciousness. He winked at me, then looked at the instructor and said "Sure" and to everyone's surprise, he did.

After the class, he came over and introduced himself. His name was Vrishab. For some reason, I had failed to mention that I was married.

I just have a little crush, I will get over it. It has been a long time since I had a crush, I told myself.

I started going out for coffee or dinner right after the class, with him. Adarsh always worked late nights, and I never told him.

Three months later, I finally told Vrishab that I was married. "Married, beautiful, and she likes me. Any single man's dream" he said, sadly. I hadn't known what to say, except I couldn't let go of him.

Little things about Adarsh that I had found cute before, annoyed me now. I frowned if he plucked the morning paper out of my hand, as he always did.

"You are on a short leash these days" he had said..."Something bothering you?" he said with a concerned look.

"No, nothing. I have a headache" I said.

"You seem to be having a lot of headaches these days" he muttered under his breath. I pretended I didn't notice.

I was tired of pretending. I should decide soon. I wasn't being fair to either. I hadn't expected to fall in love again, and this was so different from the high school love Adarsh and I hadn't outgrown. I had never felt anything to be missing in our relationship before, now, I couldn't stop myself from finding holes.

The kitchen door opened. "I am making you dinner!" Adarsh poked his head out..and he looked so endearing, I pasted a smile on my face and walked to him.

"What are you making?"

"That, my dear, is a surprise" he said mysteriously and went back into the kitchen.

"Close your eyes" he ordered. "Open your mouth"

I did as he bid.

When he used his hand to put a morsel of the tempting food, I unthinkingly bit his finger.

"Hey" he shot back.

"What, don't you know I always bite your hand when you try to feed me?" I said, laughing, with a naughty inflection in my voice.

There was silence.

My eyes shot open. I found Adarsh staring at me. I knew I was wearing an expression of horror, and fear. His eyes were filled with sadness, comprehension dawning on him, of an intimate moment, not shared with him. I had never loved him more than at this moment, seeing him blamelessly looking at me, trying to understand what went wrong.. But it wouldn't be enough.

Everything would have to change. My friends, my life, everything.

"Vrishab" I said into the phone two days later, "I am free".


Divs said...

The bestest!! Dearie... yu are gettin better by the day!! Don't ever ever stop writing!!

Rush said...

Thank you sooooooooooooo much dodo :)