In continuation of The Lover
It took a while for Sneha to calm down. Realizing the awkward position they were in, Sneha shifted away from Ajay and he let her go.
“Let’s go to the police station and give a written complaint about this person before going to your house.” Saying so Ajay walked towards the bike and Sneha followed. As Ajay started the bike, Sneha sat on the bike keeping as much distance between the two as she could.
When they reached the police station, it took a while for the officer to attend to them; he then asked them to narrate the incident to the constable who made a note of every detail and then handed over the report to Sneha to read and sign it.
The officer suggested taking a constable along with them as they told him they would be going back to Sneha’s house.
Ajay and Sneha rode on Ajay’s bike while the constable followed them on his own. When they reached Sneha’s apartment, the constable made sure the place was safe and then they entered the flat. The door was wide open, just as Sneha had left it. A couple of neighbors were standing at the door, watching the three of them as they entered. A police constable and a young man with Sneha was enough gossip for the ladies. One of the neighbors even walked out of her flat to try and hear the conversation so she could pass it on to her friends. The constable, realizing what was happening, closed the door behind him. He then surveyed the place and jotted down a few points in his notebook and waited for Sneha to tell him where he could crash.
Sneha told him that he could sleep on the couch and went in to get a blanket for him. Ajay stood where he was and the constable gave him a look that read “Are you going to stay here?” he was about to ask the question in words when Sneha returned with the blanket.
There was no way Ajay would leave Sneha alone in this house. Constable or no constable! He watched as the constable took the blanket from Sneha’s hand and placing his rifle on the floor, he spread out on the couch and made himself comfortable.
“Please switch off the lights when you go in.” he said and closed his eyes.
Sneha switched off the lights and walked in and Ajay followed her. As they entered the bedroom, Sneha turned to Ajay and said, “Thank you for today.”
“I am glad you are okay.” Ajay said and looked around. An awkward silence followed as both of them thought about the circumstances and the situation they were in. They knew that soon this would be a daily routine for them, being in the same room together. Sneha felt as if their being together like this was a sort of dress-rehearsal of the future days. Thinking about this, Sneha smiled but turned away quickly to hide the smile from Ajay.
As both of them were on the same thought frequency what Ajay said next made sense, “I think, since we have to do this someday… and soon, you should come home with me tomorrow. I will help you pack whatever stuff you want to take with you. Most of the stuff, I believe you will have to use Smriti’s, like most of her clothes, etc. And, once you are comfortable being in the house, we will go together and bring Shreya back home.”
Sneha took a deep breath and walked towards the wardrobe. She pulled out yet another blanket from the storage compartment and handed it to Ajay. After he took it from her, they both looked around, obviously wondering where Ajay could sleep. The place which could have been his was already taken up by the constable and as Ajay had in his bedroom, Sneha did not have a couch in hers. Finally Ajay walked towards the window and spread his blanket so that he could sleep on it. Not knowing what to do or say, Sneha turned off the lights and got into the bed.
The next morning, after the constable left, Ajay helped Sneha with the breakfast and then with packing. Sneha took a day off and made a mental note of talking to her friend in cafeteria about another job offer. She knew she would soon have to leave this job. Thankfully, she was not directly answerable to the management but the guy who was, was her friend and she had to tell him that she would quit.
As they waited for a cab, Sneha spoke to break the silence, “I did not know you had a bike.” And then she smiled.
“Oh that! That is not my bike. I borrowed it yesterday from the neighbor. I have a car that’s gone in for repair. Anyways, I prefer cabs to cars.”
Sneha knew that he was thinking of the accident. Whatever the topic would be, it would always lead to the accident and Smriti, Sneha was sure of that. She had to get used to it, the ugly voice spoke again. Sneha had to admit that how-much-ever she hated the ugly voice, whatever it said, made sense. She wished she could ignore the voice and just once, be able to prove it wrong.
Sneha took the cab to Ajay’s house while Ajay rode on his neighbor’s bike. When Sneha stepped in the house with her luggage, she felt she was home. Her heart was filled with happiness she could not understand. This house was so different than the house she used to live it. This house, her new home, for time being – the ugly voice reminded her, was full of positive energy. Sneha could feel the positivity inside her and hence it was easy to ignore the ugly voice. When she finally turned to look at Ajay she saw that he was staring at her. Breaking eye contact, Ajay took out his cell phone and dialed a number. Sneha knew he was calling Shreya. He spoke to Smriti’s father for a while and when he walked out of the living room, while still on the phone, she knew that he was telling Smriti’s father that Sneha had moved in with him.
Ajay walked back to the living room and Sneha could make out from the conversation that he was now talking to Shreya.
“Yes honey, mom and I would be coming to pick you up soon. Yes, she is fine now. She’s right her.”
Knowing that it was time to talk to Shreya again, Sneha took the phone from Ajay. It was not a hard effort for Sneha to talk to Shreya as Smriti. Sneha was surprised and so was Ajay to know this. Sneha saw Ajay relax as the conversation between Sneha and Shreya went smoother than he had expected.
Since they had the entire day to themselves, Sneha asked a couple of questions about Smriti, her time with Shreya and Ajay told her a few things on his own. Things which Sneha needed to know, the ugly voice teased.
Whatever! Sneha thought.
“Excuse me?” Ajay asked and Sneha realized she had spoken aloud.
She tried her best to change the topic and though Ajay did not ask her again, she knew that Ajay had noticed what she had said. What would he say if he knew of the conversations she had with herself? She wondered and shook her head and caught Ajay staring.
Finally, after all the dramatic happenings, after the obstacles, Sneha had managed to settle down. After spending so many years of her life without a purpose, her new life with a purpose had started. And, finally she was home.
.. The Room