Reverse and Obverse

by Arnak

Preface

Siddhartha and Ayantika are a couple whose relationship had come to a certain level of dispassion and romance less, untill the trip to a sea-side destination changes everything.


His side of the story

A telephone ringing...

-"Please put them back in the drawer"

-"Somebody please pick up the phone...we need to ensure the job is completed on the time without any more hiccups"

-"Somebody just check the space on the server...Oh! Bloody hell!! Its already 90%....someone pick up the goddamn phone"

-"Hey did you call Mr. Biswas, we have been getting escalations from the client...hey, Sid, are you alright?"

"Yeah! I'm fine. His mobile is busy, i have already dropped a mail"

"Hey its your anniversary, don't waste your evening on your chair buddy, go home to your wife. Who knows, today might be your lucky day!" , Ratul ended his suggestion with a wink and a smutty grin.

Siddhartha Bose, or as everyone calls him, Sid is at his office since 10'o'clock, doing all his daily chores, and after having an atrocious conversation with the client, is upset and sipping a cup of annoyingly cold coffee, clicking and deleting all the unwanted disturbances on his desktop. An IT analyst by profession, Sid has been working very hard, not to make both ends meet, but for the satisfaction after he gets it done. By nature, Sid is a very introspective and a good observer. One may find Sid is an introvert; he can speak for hours if he likes the conversation or the person with whom he's having it. However, most of the time he doesn't like to talk much. He takes great pride in whatever he does and likes to attain perfection in it. Sid is very much admired and envied by his colleagues due to his great rapport with Mr. Biswas, the boss, who is only impressed by his diligent employees of his office. Most of the office folks are pretty scared of him. Sid has been promoted twice in last three years which is propitious for his career.

However, Sid is not happy or even satisfied with his life. Whatever his accomplishments might be, he thinks his greatest and most painful blunder in his life is his marriage. Sid is married to Ayantika for five years now, an early bird to wake up from his hibernation of bachelorship. Sid wasn't like his friends who were frightened by the very idea of matrimonial bondage. Also he knew Ayantika from his school days and they were dating from his 3rd year in college. He actually, proposed her in their trip to Digha after their graduation. Afterwards the tales of their marriage ceremony, the gala occasion, their honeymoon, and a peaceful life where one usually say "happily-ever-after", is known to everyone.

However, the fact that he did not like his marriage was not known to anyone. Not that he loved Ayantika less but loved his freedom more. Unlike other cages, socially accepted bonding, like marriages, don't break up easily, but when they do they make terrible sound, like breaking a window pane in a pristine chapel like a conservative society. At the beginning Sid tried to be indifferent to these feelings, but Ayantika was so much fitful, making a fuss about everything that she failed to understand what is wrong about it. His life out of his home is secluded from his wife only to keep those heated debates at bay. However, the more Sid concealed himself from his wife , Ayantika became suspicious of him the more.

Today is his 5th wedding anniversary, and also an important day in his life. Today is the last day at his office as an IT consultant as the management has decided to promote him as assistant consultant. He will be going abroad to client's office in the next month. Sid was more than happy to get a chance to stay away from his frustrated home life and Ayantika was indifferent to it. However their friends were not; Ratul, Sid's colleague and a common friend to the couple, arranged a weekend trip to Mondarmoni. Sid agreed to join them as he wanted others to dwell in their make belief about his marriage. However Ayantika didn't know about it although it has been planned for tomorrow. Sid was distressed and spent to think of a way to pursue his wife to join him on the trip who might be well asleep when he will return home.

Her perspective

Ayantika was very busy this morning, everybody was calling to wish her on her wedding anniversary. Some of her friends were hell bent on taking her to shopping but the only reason that she wasted one of her casual leaves is that she can stay home to cook lunch for her in-laws, who visited them on occasions. Sid's parents did not live with them. After retirement, Sid's father Mr. Bidhan Bose, decided to leave his son alone with his wife and went to stay with his elder brother in Khardah. They visited their Ballygunj home only on birthdays and anniversaries or on festivities. Also Sid's mother wasn't very approving of the fact that Ayantika was a working woman and still they are not having babies. She used to tell in her friends' circle that a woman must have time for her family or no one can save a marriage...a car must have two wheels to balance it . As if marriage is a mechanical bolt between the two. It was very insensitive of Sid to leave her alone to welcome her in-laws and that too on their marriage anniversary. It seems as is if she's the only one who should act like being married.

Ayantika's marriage was the first among her sisters. Her parents were very keen on her marrying Sid much before it actually happened as they had two younger daughters. Although they did not force her, they were tensed knowing Ayantika very well. Ayantika always wanted to be a independent woman and that she loved Sid doesn't mean she should marry him at once. Finally, when her parents came to know about Sid, they did not waste time to meet Sid's parents and fix up their wedding, and soon they were married.

From the beginning, Ayantika had a gut feeling that everyone dragged her into this marriage hastily. However she was so much in love with Sid, she didn't hesitate either. She wanted to continue her job after her marriage and that's what Mr. Bose liked about his daughter-in-law. Although Sid's mother used to pin prick her so that she quits her job, Ayantika thinks that every individual should be able to contribute to the society based on their educational background. And its one of the factors that Ayantika pointed out while choosing a life partner that Sid gives great importance to his work.

However it was least expected by her that Sid's love for work will overshadow his love for her. Every other day Sid used to come late from office, didn't talk much. He refrained to say anything to admire her or her taste in choosing new curtains or even that she changed the old doormat outside the front door. She decorated the house with new furniture and little showpieces that filled all the shelves of that cupboard of the drawing room. Everything was acknowledged by just a cold exhalation which sounded like "good job". Moreover on holidays, Sid didn't like to go out like he used to before their marriage, his only excuse would be that he is tired, but he seemed not when his friends called him over their place. Everything she used to like about that person changed to a heap of boredom, disgust and anger.

Her train of thought broke with the telephone's ring, intervening into her solitary afternoon. Someone might have called to convey best wishes again!

-"Hello?"

-"Hello dear! How are you?" Preetha, Ratul's wife

-"I'm fine! Thank you. So you are calling after such long time only to wish me, otherwise there isn't a reason right?!"

-"Wrong! Many more happy returns of the day! And secondly, I called to inform you about tomorrows trip"

-"trip? Where?"

The trip

Its a fine Saturday morning in late November. Six of them were going to their weekend trip to Mondarmoni in Sunny' SUV. They had stopped at Kolaghat for some refreshment. The boys went straight into the bar at once while the ladies just ignored as if they didn't know those savage souls. They can have fun without the beer. Also Ratul and Preetha's five year old daughter Sneha was with them. Preetha was so busy telling about their trip to Thailand on last month and Sneha was busy bugging Ayantika for strawberry lip balm. Ayantika was actually happy to come.

Last night Sid was surprised to see Ayantika was awake, packing her bags. Although he was tensed, he asked very calmly if she was planning to see her parents for the weekend. However Ayantika broke in and replied, "Preetha called and informed me about the weekend trip to Mondarmoni, you didn't even mention it". After a long pause of thoughtful silence, she said "I told her that we will be going but from next time please leave a message somewhere so that i can figure out such things might happen". A sudden load was lifted up from Sid's shoulder, he went to the bathroom to freshen up, Ayantika put off the lights in their bedroom.

After reaching the resort at Mondarmoni, everybody was tired and wanted some rest, but Ayantika wanted to sit by the sea. Sid was always fond of the sea so he accompanied her. Now it is one in a million days when the rays cared to join the soft bubbling waves of the sea while the sun is completing its course across the firmament, to take a dip in the violet sea of passion, for once and all. Suddenly Sid remembered that evening midst the woods in Digha sea-shore. The previous one was years ago when she was walking on the sea shore as she knew the place, she knew the path she was treading. Brimming with beauty and confidence, it lured Sid to call out to her while he was on his knees on the wet sand. Ayantika seemed, as if she is at a great distance, in the dusk, from Sid and suddenly he felt he might lose her forever. Sid was going to call out to her but somehow he could not listen to his own heart, might be for the immense wind that carried her scent. Ayantika looked back as if she heard him and smiled as if she knew that he was going to call her from behind. He ran up to her and with a hesitant voice said "We should talk!". Her eyes were shining like black pearls from the deepest of the seas, she said "lets get back!".

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