I didn’t see Mahita at office the next week, as she had to be away at the showrooms where our new computer systems and ‘Points of Sale’ systems were being installed.
I spoke for a long time.
I told her how I’d had to marry Kamini because of my grandfather's wish, how I thought I would love her for what she was, and how I had initially succeeded.
How Kamini was not the kind of woman I had imagined as a wife.
And most importantly, how she wasn't ready to don the role of a mother.
How that had led to the lifelessness in our marriage.
And inevitably, how I found out that she, Mahita, fitted my perception about wife.
Then I told her how much I loved her.
She gestured me to stop.
" I have heard all that you spoke about your life, Vinod. To that extent, it's fine. But again, I don't see why you should stop loving Kamini all of a sudden. Why don't you try to see things from her perspective ? Perhaps that could change your thoughts, too", she said.
" I do try, Mahita. I have, in the past. But it didn't bear fruit," I replied, exasperated at her preachy tone.
"Then, I must say this, Vinod, that you've not tried as much as you ought to have," she replied, with the same calmness.
This provoked me. I had taken so much effort to convey my feelings for her, and she was advising me, on my face. My ego was hurt.
" Enough of your advice, Mahita. You've been a widow for what, 5 years now ? May be a little more than that ? Probably you haven't known the love of a man for a long time now, that's why you are disregarding my love . The way you're ignoring my feelings , I think you can't feel love at all. Can you ever love a man ? ", I voiced out questions one after the other, some making sense, some absolute non sense. Even I could feel it.
She maintained her composure for a moment, and then spoke.
" You're speaking to a woman, who was married at 19 and widowed at 21, Vinod. I've been alone for almost ten years now. I've known the love of a man, and I know how to love, so don't question that. And my denial is precisely because, I know. I know what it is like to love, and I also know what it is like to lose someone you love, " she said.
I looked at her for a long minute.
In my mind, another question had raised its hood.
If she had been alone for more than ten years , how would she explain the six-year old, who was her son ?