This is the second part of a long story.
First part of the story: Long Story 1
Vishva sat on the recliner that he’d bought last thanksgiving; he’d got it in the store, not online. Parvy aka Parvindher sat on the sofa with Vishva’s wife.
“In ½ hour, we have to pick Rohit up from his school. Talk fast” Vishva said. Rohit was Vishva’s son.
“You have to understand…” both started on the same time.
“You go!” said Parvy gesturing his hand in a ‘you go’ fashion.
“Vishu… “ his wife started to speak, Vishu… his pet name seemed to burn his ears.
“You have to understand that we did not plan this…” why the hell would anyone plan to have an affair, thought Vishva. Although he can plan now! He can ask Rhonda. She’s hot. Won’t it sound weird though? “Hi Rhonda! Would you like to have an affair?”
“Parvy… well! Look you were never emotionally available. “ She was saying. “I have mentioned this a thousand times to you”
Vishva did not even understand “emotionally available”. What the hell was it? He was here physically. With the shoulder come knee massager that he bought from Amazon. He turned to look at the package as he was thinking that.
“I don’t love Parvy…” she was saying, which made Parvy, the pervert, turn and look at her in shock.
“Later…” she said in an urgent tone to Parvy and continued “Vishu… This was just a venting out. We (her and Parvy) used to talk a lot. He was feeling bad because his wife is not able to conceive a baby and I was in a bad place because you never talk to me”
“I talk to you…” Vishva interrupted.
“Vishu! You never do….”
“I do! Yesterday… last Saturday… we talked about that movie… what is that?”
“Yes! The Room… we discussed about that movie”
“You said you hated the movie…you hate close to reality stuff… You like fantasy, avengers, harry potter….”
“We went to watch The Room together” interrupted Parvy with a smirk and Vishva rose to throw a punch on his face.
“Vishu.. please… “ his wife stopped him. “Parvy.. you should leave….”
“I am not leaving… “declared Parvy.. “You don’t love me? Why? Am I just a toy to you? Hai Bhagvan! I am a sex toy?”
This comment made Vishva laugh hysterically. “OMG!! Dude you’re a dildo…hahahahaha”
Vishva’s wife sat down on the sofa cradling her face with both hands. “Parvy… please just leave.. we can talk later” she said in a muzzled voice.
“No!” said Parvy, “Do you love me?”
Vishva started to laugh more hysterically now. “Dude! You just asked my wife if she loves you!!Haaaahahahaaaa”
“Oh! God! He’s lost it” Vishva’s wife said.
“Vishva….. VISHVANATH…” Parvy tried to get his attention.
“hahahah… wha…. What… what…” Vishva said and sat down on the ground, defeated. “Jaya! Should we divorce now?” Jaya was Vishva’s wife’s name.
Jaya sat on the sofa, defeated. Vishva was looking at the shoulder come knee massager for some reason. The house was quiet for a whole 5 seconds.
Then, Jaya started to cry and Parvy sat beside her to console her. Vishva sat near the sofa, transfixed. That’s when it stuck him hard. Parvy loved Jaya. His best friend loved his wife. And this did not shock him. Is he going insane? He wanted to be angry. To shout and get angry and throw things and break them. He just did not feel those things. Why? He thought.
“I’ll go get Rohit” Parvy said and got up to grab his jacket.
“I am coming too.” Vishva said, as he stood up.
Prabha was waiting for the elevators when her phone rang the familiar tone. “Hi Arun!” she answered the phone. Arun was her husband. “Yes! I am leaving now. No problem. I’ll pick Charan up.” Charan was Prabha’s son.
This was the 6th time her husband has backed out of a plan. She stared at the elevator buttons as the numbers changed, 10, 9, 8…I should remember to pick up some vegetables on the way, she thought. There were no vegetables in the fridge. Why was it called a fridge? Why not a freezer or frigerator or cooler? The elevator doors opened. And there he was. Mr. Angel was standing there typing away in his mobile phone. Prabha went inside the elevators and pressed the parking button. She bent her face and tried to wipe off the stupid grin on her face.
The elevator reached the P1 floor. Prabha and Mr. Angel walked out of the elevator. Mr. Angel was still busy on the phone. Oh! For God’s sake look at me Brown Eyes, Prabha thought. With a sigh, She turned to start her Activa. Who am I kidding? Of course, Mr. Angel won’t look at me, Prabha thought.
She opened her front cabinet to keep her wallet and cloth bag, when “I thought so…” said Mr. Angel from behind her “How are you? I am sorry… It was a problem at home. But, How are you? How are you feeling now?”
Prabha’s stupid grin was back and she was nodding her head as a ‘yes’ and grinning like Batman joker.
“You travel in Activa?” asked Mr. Angel
“Yes! I live nearby” Prabha said.
“I live in Andheri. I come by my car”
“OK! Its nearby too.. at least with respect to Mumbai distance standards”
“Yeah! I moved from Bengaluru recently. So! Yeah the traffic is quite OK here!” said Mr. Angel
Ahhhh! So that’s why you are so nice, thought Prabha. No way a Mumbaikar is this nice.
“Hey! I am Ranjit.” Said Mr. Angel or Mr. Ranjit
“I am Prabha…”
“Nice to know your name”.
As Prabha was driving home, ‘Nice to know your name’ kept ringing in her ears. She never thought such an ordinary sentence will have a big effect on her. She started to giggle like a teenager in the privacy of her helmet.
Prabha picked up Charan from the day care and went to the vegetable market. She started to lock her vehicle when Charan declared,
“Mom! I want Cauliflower and Paneer, and Peas and Tomatoes” Prabha smiled and told him “what ever you need little one”
“Mom! I am in 5th std. Stop calling me little one”
“Ok! Ok! Big one then?”
Charan rolled his eyes and went inside the shop.
“Did you do all your homework Charu?” Prabha asked as she picked out tomatoes.
“Yes ma!” Charan answered as he kicked his football around.
“Charan, Please do not play with the ball. If you smash something, we have to pay for it kiddo!”
Charan stopped playing and sat on the football. “Mom! I got my Math paper marks today” Charan said and picked a tomatoes to eat.
Prabha smiled to herself as she was picking some ladies finger (Okra). She knew her son would have scored high. She got lucky in the parenting pool. The kid was a Jock with Nerd brains.
“Amma! Ask me how much I got! “ Charan complained.
“Full!” Charan said and started to dance in the middle of the shop, attracting other shoppers’ attention.
The kid does not have any inhibitions, Prabha thought. He reminded her of someone. Someone she’d not thought about for a long time. For many years, actually. Prabha looked at her son, transfixed by the moment and lost in temporary nostalgia.
“Ma’am, is that all?” asked the vegetable vendor.
“Yes!”, replied Prabha and gave him the cloth bag to place the vegetables inside.
“Amma, Vishu got full too. She was crying because I got full. God! Girls are weird.” Charan was saying.
Vishu was short for Vishvajyothi. She was, as her son calls her, “his nemesis” and fellow competitor in studies. ‘Vishu..’ Prabha had always liked that name. Vishu… She knew a Vishu once. His name definitely was not Vishvajyothi. She wondered what he’s doing now. They had decided to steer clear of each other. But she just could not help wondering sometimes. ‘what is my Vishu doing now?’, ‘what will he say when I share what happened with Mr. Angel?’. She wanted to tell him about the film she saw last weekend. Avengers Infinity war was awesome. Charan had thoroughly enjoyed. ‘Did you watch it Vishu?’ ‘Did you like it?’
Vishva and Parvy sat in silence in the car. Parvy was driving. Neither of them had the energy to speak. They’d been friends for 10 years now. The guilt, betrayal, and sheer shock weighed them down. The car stopped for red light. A small Indian girl was running across the zebra crossing to keep up with a boy, probably her brother. “Prabha baby!!!!” her mother called after her and ran to pick her up. The name ‘Prabha’ caught Vishva’s attention. He knew someone with that name. Somehow, he felt like he needed her now. ‘Prabha…Prabha….’ Vishva kept saying the name like a calming mantra. What will Prabha say when she hears my story? I wonder what she’s up to now! She’ll be able to explain ‘emotional availability’ to him. Vishva kept looking at the young child as the car started to move. He closed his eyes and let his head fall on the head-rest. His mind kept chanting, ‘Prabha…Prabha…Prabha…’. He was slowly calming down. Very slowly.
Next part of the story: Long story 3