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A to Z Series Post # 23 A Warm Beginning ? But....
That night, when I reached home, Kamini was waiting for me.
She didn’t ask me anything as to where I had been, or why I was late. Instead, she brought out the plates for dinner.
I went to the dining table, and opened the casseroles one by one.
Hot phulkas. Paneer Bhurji Masala. Onion and beaten curd raitha. And bananas.
Mahita’s words were ringing in my ears. Coming from her, those words gained and carried great weight. A greater depth.
She was right. I couldn’t ignore Kamini any longer. I had to make an effort. I had to.
I had been wrong with Mahita. I couldn’t be wrong with Kamini also. I would be a failure, then.
I looked at her. In the bright light cast by the lamp overhead, she looked quite pretty in the yellow kurti , her shoulder-length wavy hair beautifully framing her round face.
“ You’ve cooked wonderfully, Kamini. The paneer is perfect,” I said, smiling.
She looked surprised. I hadn’t spoken this way to her for a very long time.
“Thanks, Vinod. You always love Paneer,” she said, modestly.
“Need help with the dishes ?”, I asked.
“No, that’s fine. I’ll take care”, she said. “Are you alright ?,” she asked as an afterthought.
“ Yes, just thought that fighting isn’t going to do any good,” I shrugged.
Somehow , I felt that the warmth in our relationship would return soon.
That night, I couldn’t sleep. The evening with Mahita kept playing in my mind over and over again .
I looked at Kamini. She was in deep sleep. There was an aura of peace around her.
I drifted off to sleep after some time, so many thoughts running through my mind.
The next morning, I woke up very late, so I rang up the office and informed the HR that I was on leave that day.
Kamini had left for her duty, and I found her note on the dining table, beneath a packed Lunch box and a casserole, “ Good Morning. Leaving for duty. Breakfast and lunch here, and tea in the flask. Please do have. See you in the evening.”
I had my breakfast and decided to read a book. My heart was still heavy.
At around 1 PM, when I had finished my lunch, the phone rang.
It was from the office. Shahzad, one of our office boys.
“ Vinod Sir, Mahita Madam ko Latifa Hospital mein admit kiya hai. Behosh ho gayee thee, woh,” he said, in an urgent voice.
I was shocked.
‘Oh..kya hua unko ? “, I asked, my voice tensed.
“ Don’t know Sir, I went to see her on her seat. She sitting tired. I ask what happened and she fall down. No answer. So we call ambulance and they took her hospital,” he managed to convey this much to me in his broken English.
“ Ok, I will go there , now,” I said and disconnected the call.
Thankfully, this was the hospital where Kamini worked, so there was someone to help, if need be.
As I drove to the hospital, Ikept cursing myself.
I had made her speak out everything to me. She had relived all that pain once again . In a way, I was responsible for her being ill.