YashodaI feel the coldness of the bed which prompts the thought in my mind that she has been gone long.
The clock strikes six in the morning. The sound of the alarm deprives me of my sound sleep. I delay the alarm time to continue with my laziness. The irascible alarm rings again after twenty minutes to wake me up but I, drowned in drowsiness, refuse to cooperate with it. So, I give it another deferment to persist my indolence.
The peevish sound strikes my ears for the third time and I, thrashing the clock, stop the alarm and turn to the other side with my eyes still closed. Unable to lift my eyebrows that contain the sensation of carrying a heavy weight, I caress the other half side of the bed occupied by my wife. I stroke my hand all over the side including the pillow but to no avail. With immense effort, combating the dizziness, I lift my eyebrows to support my hands. But my eyes too disappoint me providing a vacuum sight.
I feel the coldness of the bed which prompts the thought in my mind that she has been gone long. She must have rushed to the bathroom. I close my eyes without the slightest intention of sleeping further but to dawdle until her arrival. I wait for her for almost an hour thinking she might be taking a shower. After an hour long of futile wait, I get out of the bed to complete the search. I sneak a peek at the bathroom to find the door open and no one in sight. I glance at the other bedroom and kitchen to find the same deserted sight. She must have gone to the market. I decide not to go back to bed and head towards the bathroom. After that, I take a hot shower to complete my morning rituals.
I take a look at the watch hung in the wall which gives me the haunting time of half past nine. Yashoda hasn’t arrived yet. Oh! She is angry! I say to myself, as, in a trice, I remember yesterday’s acrimonious fight between us. I must be losing my memory along with my youth as I age. What shall I do now? I have always been poor at placating my wife and expressing my love towards her but, I have been pugnacious and belligerent during our brawls. It is hard to evince love in words but a grotesque grimace is abundant to reveal hatred.
I get an idea. I know she can’t resist hunger for too long, so I decide to cook her some delicious chicken and flatbreads. I adhere to the saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” I initiate my act in the hope that it will appeal to a woman too. I leave the house to head for the market. I buy chicken for her and paneer for me. What else could be a vegetarian’s first choice to combat the aromatic steam wafting from a chicken gravy?
I go back to the house with sheer alacrity but as soon as I enter the kitchen, I fall into a state of dejection seeing last night’s dirty dishes. I sense a tinge of wrath in my sadness because no matter how bitter the fight was, Yashoda never left the house without completing the chores. Maybe yesterday’s tussle was disparate from the other ones. It’s weird how you do the things that you usually don’t just to vent your ire. I wash the dishes to find out she made chicken yesterday but threw it all away; maybe she lost her appetite due to our fight. I prepare the food and decide to wait for her to have lunch together.
I feel like giving her a call to know her whereabouts. As soon as I pick the mobile, my mind rebels with my heart. It’s always men that apologize after a fight so, I refuse to conform with the stereotype. Such dissent might lead to a vitriolic strife upon her advent and end up with parlous repercussions but I eschew the thought and make up my mind not to call. I feel bored and tiresome. Age definitely plays a pivotal role in maintaining exuberance throughout the day. I succumb to my weariness and lie on my bed.
I fall asleep and wake up at 5o’ clock. An evening nap certainly gives more hangover than any intoxicating substance. I realise, to my dismay, Yashoda hasn’t arrived still. I check my mobile in the hope to find any sort of communication initiated from her side but not a thing. I remember my ego hindering the appeasement and paving way for a more dreadful situation so, pushing my ego aside, I give her a call. The call fails to connect. I give it a couple more tries but all in vain. A farrago of fear and anger kindles in my heart for her such unseemly and remiss behavior. My ambivalence makes me apprehensive.
Where could she go for the night? She will have to come home. I give myself a feeble assurance and decide to carry on with my waiting. The clock provides me a daunting time of quarter past eight and keeps reminding me of Yashoda’s absence. My ambivalence starts to subside and trepidation takes over my heart entirely. I never thought the animosity would bring such sinister ramifications. It’s absurd how you don’t sense the necessity to reckon the consequences during your actions but aftermath all you can do is brood over it. Nevertheless, it is beyond our power to grasp the predestined.
I feel hungry so I heat my food and the chicken as well lest she is heading towards home. I finish my dinner and give her a couple more calls just to encounter the same network failure. I get in my bed for sleep because it’s getting late. As soon as I get in the bed, I see the light and surmise that she might have left a note for me that could unveil the secrets of her whereabouts. So I check under my mattress and there lies the answer to my conjecture.
The note seems very old and torn-out in places obliterating the likelihood of it being placed there just this morning. Yet, I unfold the paper to read. I read the paper with tears rolling down my cheeks. Instead of being a note from Yashoda, it happens to be a letter from the Kathmandu District Court dated seven years back. I couldn’t bear to read it in depth, so I fold and put the divorce paper under the mattress that unearths the excruciating reality of my estranged relationship with Yashoda.