DR ISHAN MALHOTRA
A MONTH LATER
Sometimes I feel so cold inside that I want to start walking clueless and reach where my steps take me. Sometimes when I feel I need some air, I start my journey, walking along the marine drive at 04 am, I adore the ocean and its vastness, as if it is trying to teach me something, as if it is trying to teach me to remain calm whatever the situation maybe. It holds such a huge amount of water but always remains content and at peace, while we people lose our calm even at smallest of tensions that we get in life. It teaches us to keep our secrets safe within. It has an entire habitat residing in its heart, but we haven’t been able to explore it fully, same way, we must keep our secrets tightly bound within us. If we will share them, the world will lose the curiosity, just like we will lose curiosity if we will come to know fully about the aquatic life. It teaches us to provide without seeking. It houses innumerable species inside and never asks them for anything, we must also help the needy and provide if we have in abundance. The ocean teaches us lessons that books or school can’t teach us.
I looked into the ocean, the horizon seemed to be dark as it was almost night. I looked into the sky. The dawn broke but stars still managed to shine faintly, spread across the vast, bluish-black sky. In a few minutes, the darkness was over and it was light all around. I could see the horizon clearly, birds started chirping and it was a beautiful morning. I remembered my mother’s words when I was a kid – it’s always the darkest, just before the dawn. Maybe I too was going through a dark phase of my life, and maybe light was near, so near to me, and at this phase, I couldn’t give up! I wanted Avni so dearly that by now, every molecule and every atom around me knew what I wanted. What I hoped for was just a miracle to happen.
It’s like a thing of yesterday that I proposed to Avni in the strangest manner. Out of sheer cowardice and the fear of losing her to someone else, I asked her to marry me, and today, here I stand before the vast ocean, to ask for forgiveness. Today is the day that I have to appear in court to divorce the girl I loved the most.
I and Avni got married in the weirdest possible way. Just after a moment I asked her to marry me in my personal cabin in the hospital, she looked at me, thought about something, and said yes. At first, I couldn’t believe my ears. How could it be possible that I got the girl of my dreams so quickly and so effortlessly? How was it possible that she said a ‘yes’ so easily? But all answers were clear in the explanation she gave after her much-awaited ‘yes’.
A MONTH AGO
‘This is the best idea, doctor! We will get married so that my parents are free from the burden that they’re unnecessarily carrying around. And after a month, we will take divorce and free each other from the bondage. This way, both of us can get what we want, but I don’t want this thing to be publicized. I don’t want anybody in this hospital to know that we’re married, so we won’t come, or go together. You continue coming in your car, and I’ll come in mine. We will live in your house, so that my parents believe that I’m married, and after a month of marriage, we will file for a divorce. Oh my God, doctor, you’re a genius!’ she got up, hugged me and sat down back into the chair.
I was stunned for a moment. I didn’t even make the plan that she assumed to be the most genius one ever! I thought, if I’ll say a ‘no’ now, she will marry somebody else as her parents were already forcing her, and maybe she decides to stay with him forever, and I’ll lose her. The only way to impress her, was to stay with her, spend some time, and the opportunity shined like gold in front of me. She herself was offering me to marry her and stay in one house for a month. How could I refuse it, even if it meant for a contract and that too, only of a month?
‘Deal!’ I faked a smiled, and she walked out cheerfully.
She told about me to her parents, and her parents were grateful enough to have me as their son-in-law. Her father was already standing with folded hands on the day of marriage in the court. We had a simple court-marriage, with two witnesses from her side, her parents, and two from my side, a hospital nurse who swore not to tell about this ceremony to anyone, and a ward-boy who took ten thousand rupees to sign on the documents as a witness.
I felt as I was being sold to someone and as if the court-room was nothing, but a brothel, where instead of a female prostitute, a male gigolo was being traded and that too, for a month! I felt ashamed of myself for pushing such a nasty deal, but I had no option. I didn’t want to lose Avni, not to anybody.
My wedding night was nothing, but a usual night in my dirty room, while she slept in the guest room, which was otherwise locked since a long time. I opened it that night for her, because we were not supposed to share a room. Spending a wedding night ‘alone’ was the weirdest thing to do, but alas, my life wasn’t any normal either! Who else can imagine getting into a contract marriage and that too with a girl you love the most?
I hated myself for saying ‘yes’ to that stupid contract thing, but then when I thought about Avni getting married to someone else, it would send cold shivers down my spine and the mere thought of her with someone else would shudder my bones. The situation was out of control – I consoled myself and tried to handle my mind which was generating stupid thoughts every now and then. What else could I do? I thought, and then felt proud of myself for taking this decision, and slept with Avni, err…with my marriage certificate. For that night, her signatures were my company, and they were enough of a company.
The mere assurance of Avni, sleeping in a room just a few steps away was enough of an excitement to spend my wedding night with a wide smile and contentment in my heart. If this was something God had to offer, let it be, I was happy and much happy than I would have been if she would have married somebody else today!
The month had just started, I reminded myself. I had 30 more days to impress her, and maybe, maybe she changes her mind and decides to stay with me forever? Maybe she herself tears the contract papers that we had signed in secrecy, concealed from her parents? Maybe she decides to bear my kids and becomes my wife permanently and not just on papers for a month?
There were a lot of ‘maybe’s’ and a very few days left. I could count the days on my fingertips now, and it wasn’t a good sign.