Kavita Nalawde

Coffee @ 4:00 (Look inside..)

‘Are you mad?’ she asked.

‘None of your business,’ Geeta said.

‘Come and talk to me,’ the lady said.

Geeta wanted to oppose but she felt very weak in her legs and fainted.

‘OUCH!’ Geeta cried out. The girl in her beauty parlour had started to wax and the sudden tenderness in her legs brought Geeta back to the present.

‘You are lost in your thoughts today,’ the girl said.
 
‘Hmm, sorry babe, how have you been?’ Geeta was back in the real world now.
****
 Ria opened the door and took the newspaper that the delivery boy had hung on the shiny chrome handle outside. She was still sleepy as it was only 6.30 in the morning. She tried to hold the newspaper clumsily when the ‘Life’ supplement that was inside the main edition of the newspaper fell on the floor. She bent down to pick it up when the bold headlines of an article caught her attention ‘Why do women demand sex?’ She became awake. I must read this later she thought and came inside.
 
Her day started as usual and she got ready, woke everyone up, made breakfast for the kids and whizzed around the house like a battery operated robot. Her life had become mundane and she longed to get out from her usual routine. She was still young but felt like she was at the ripe old age of eighty. She didn’t realise when the transformation had taken place and how she became a motorised mum, wife and woman. Everything for her was planned like somebody had programmed her brain and things were happening like how they were supposed to be. However, her mind kept on drifting back and forth between her past and present. Not very long ago, she was this happy, bubbly and jovial college student, the charm of every party and the most notorious girl with ‘do not dare to stop me’ attitude. But in just ten years she had become this quiet, reserved typical housewife. The once extremely boisterous Ria had changed into this timid, silent person. She felt as if there was a different Ria inside her that was dying to burst out and enjoy life.
 
‘Mummy, time for my pink milk,’ her daughter Richa demanded.
 
Ria smiled and gave the strawberry milkshake to her. She had twins a boy and a girl Ravi and Richa. They were the main reason for her life now. She got them ready for school, wore her orange salwaar kameej and went down from her apartment to the main gate to see off the children in the school bus.
 
Every Thursday, the children went for their after school activity classes. Ravi loved playing the tabla and Richa went to her Kathak dance classes. Ria was also fond of dancing and had received lots of awards and medals in various inter-school and inter-college competitions in the past. She still loved classical dancing and would jump up impromptu on hearing the rhythm on TV.
 
Her husband Sunil on the other hand lived in a completely different world, a world of his own, a world of finance and gadgets, completely unaware of the things happening around the house. He was the Financial Director of a big firm and his life revolved around the ups and down of the share market and his blood pressure changed according to the fluctuations in the market prices. The presence of Ria was somewhere lost in between the Reliance share price and the Rupee to Dollar conversion rate. Ria glanced at him as he walked out of the bedroom and headed straight for the toaster.
 
He was this creature of routine and every morning would be the same. There was a time when they were newlyweds and Sunil would at least joke around with Ria in the morning and make her laugh. Laughter is an important daily vitamin he would say. This had completely changed and Ria would wait for hours for some conversation that did not involve the latest stock market crash. He could talk for hours about the financial issues and what companies should do to succeed. He could even discuss about the new plans for his office but even the slightest mention of foreplay would take him to deep silence.
 
Ria couldn’t understand the reason why? She always thought that sex was an important part of marriage. However, she wanted this desire to emerge from his brain.

Ria had often complained to him that she would prefer to talk about other things rather than his usual day at work or what the children did at school today? She needed some other conversation as well to keep her mind sane but Sunil wouldn’t understand what this ‘other conversation’ meant? It’s not that he couldn’t try but he would always nod and say ‘I will try tomorrow as I have to make plans for our audit meeting today.’
 
Ria would wait around for some time and go back again to play with the kids. Her evening would be spent in helping kids with their homework, puzzles, dinner and sorting the kitchen. Sunil would come to bed and sleep but Ria would be wide awake thinking what she could do to make Sunil take a more active part in their marriage. Love was important but if it was lacking, a normal conversation would at least be needed to keep the spark alive. She could understand that it was not possible for him to have long romantic chats with her every evening because of his so called ‘hectic’ lifestyle but what she couldn’t understand was his lack of enthusiasm to talk. Surely, he couldn’t be tired for that.
 
Ria lived in Star Apartments a society made up of four buildings that had twenty-five flats each. Each building faced a different direction so the flats in each building had a different view from the windows. There was a time when they were fishing around for an apartment and Ria wanted a flat where her bedroom windows faced the garden. But Sunil wanted a flat that had the view of the road outside. There was a battle of words and finally Sunil had won. They got a flat on the fourth floor facing the society entrance on the front and road beyond it. Ria was not happy at the start but soon got used to the view. She convinced herself although there was nature on the back, there was more of life here. In the mornings, Ria could see the bright sun rising from behind the little mountains far away. She could also see the busy street outside the main gates of the society where people would be rushing off to go to work and mums hurrying with school bags and water bottles taking their kids to school.