Book Extract: Dancing on the notes of life
Author: K. B. Trehan
Publisher: Cedar books (www.pustakmahal.com)
BOTH MADHVI AND Ravi were thrilled when Seth called them up and informed that he was finally getting married to Reshma on October 9 at her Gurgaon residence. “Oh my God! This is such a short notice,” Madhvi said. “Yes, I know, but this is the only auspicious day before the next year and I don’t want to drag it for that long.” “I understand. Congratulations! I shall not be able to make it. But I will make it sure that your friends receive you when you arrive at Dhanbad.” “We will be there. You have to promise me that you would bring Reshma to our place at Jamshedpur.” “I will, as early as possible,” Seth promised to Madhvi. Kulbir had arranged a priest for the wedding and in fact, he was the only person to attend their wedding apart from the priest who solemnised the rituals conducted without the usual pomp and gaiety. It was their mutual understanding to keep the wedding ceremony totally simple and private. Seth had already taken seven rounds of the holy fire and rubbed vermilion on Reshma’s forehead in a symbolic gesture to pronounce her as his wife. The priest made them recite the customary vow to live for the rest of their lives as a couple and look after each other in thick and thin. THEY HAD DECIDED to stay in a farmhouse near the Country Club on the Delhi-Jaipur highway, barely half an hour drive from Gurgaon. It was a moonlit night with clear skies as Seth entered the room. They had a nice sumptuous dinner and Seth decided to take a long walk on the well-manicured lawn outside with a Havana cigar in hand. He was not a regular smoker but decided to have one probably to sooth his nerves. He had decided against touching alcohol on the night he was to open a new chapter in his life. Seth had chewed cardamom vigorously to ensue the strong smell of cigar would not put off Reshma. While puffing at the cigar, he was thinking that it was time for him to look forward to a new life and a happy future. “I will now have a companion by my side when the dusk of life settles in,” Seth thought. The room was empty. He rightfully thought that Reshma must be in the bath, probably to change into a more comfortable dress as she was wearing an expensive sari that had liberal use of gold and silver threads, making it heavy by any standards. Seth bolted the room from inside and switched off all the lights except the bedside lamp and lied down on the soft fluffy bed, waiting for his bride to come and make their first night memorable. Seth could hear the sound of the bathroom door being opened. His heart started pumping fast and seeing Reshma wearing a pink sleeveless silk nightgown missed even a beat or two. She looked more beautiful than ever and sexy. Probably she always looked like this but Seth was now seeing her with a different perspective. She was now his life partner and was also supposed to be his bed partner. Reshma entered the room and moved to her side of the bed without even bothering to look at him. She stood by the bedside for a moment. The bed lamp was behind her right shoulder. The dim light coming out of it was just enough to expose the highs and curves of her shapely body. Her light-coloured silk gown was not thick enough to prevent the light passing through it at the right angles. Seth suddenly felt some movements below his belly after ages without feeling guilty about a natural action. With great difficulty, he managed to lift his eyes and look at her face. He was expecting to see her elated, but was shocked to find her looking worried. “You appear gloomy. Is something bothering you?” Seth was about to ask her, but something prevented him from doing so. Reshma went to the cupboard, took out her handbag made of crocodile leather, walked to the bed and sat down on it without uttering a single word. She unzipped her expensive handbag and took out a handful of shiny silvery stripes. Seth felt relaxed and assumed she was taking her daily dose of pills to control her asthma, a disease she told him she was suffering from for the past couple of years. Seth stared at her for sometime without being sure of what do or say. The newlyweds were lying next to each other with an uncomfortable period of silence that followed. A deep sigh broke the deadly silence of a quiet night. Reshma was staring at the ceiling and at long last spoke, “You don’t know. Besides asthma, I have been suffering from many side-effects and other problems.” She paused, as if waiting for her words to sink in and then continued, “Depression, insomnia, anxiety and osteoporosis. I am suffering from all of these… . We should not think of sex at night only. We can perform any time of the day, whenever we wish. Let’s break the tradition of sex at night.” Reshma’s voice trailed off. Reshma took out another bag from the floor and took out some more vials. In no time, she had about 200 pills in her hand. A perplexed Seth got up and said, “Surely you don’t need so many pills for asthma. Are you trying to commit suicide?” Reshma said nothing, reached out for a glass of water kept on the bedside table and gulped all of them in a jiffy without bothering to reply to her husband of the last few hours. The revelations left Seth virtually numb. His mind refused to react, and when it did, the first thought that crossed his mind was, “Why didn’t she tell me about these before?” Sleep had gone away from Seth’s weary eyes as he reflected over the revelations. It was supposed to be a night of celebration. He had long been looking forward to a great start to a new relationship, a friendship and a companionship. The castle of his thoughts lay shattered, as he felt cheated. Seth was convinced that they would have been lying on the same bed even if Reshma had revealed to him the whole truth. He had liked her and his only concern was if a high-society woman like her would be able to adjust in a sleepy town like Dhanbad even when he dilly-dallied pronouncing his decision. Seth was sure that even in the event of Reshma revealing the whole truth, he would not have changed his mind. But her clandestine attitude had left him aghast and deeply hurt. He wondered if he would ever get over this setback. He, however, decided to forgive her and get on with the life, reassuring himself that with love and care he would lessen her dependence on drugs and help her recover from the state of depression, anxiety and insomnia. SETH HAD WOKEN up by seven the next morning after watching Reshma gulp all those pills on what was to become an uneventful honeymoon night. He had already set aside the woes of the previous night, hoping to go out for an early morning stroll with her to the woods nearby. The morning at the farmhouse had proved as disappointing as the night as Reshma slept on and Seth waited patiently for her to get up until he could take it no more. He called the servant and asked him to serve him a pre-prepared cup of tea. “Sir, you want a cup of tea or a pot of tea?” he had enquired in an astonished tone. He had never expected a honeymooning couple order for just a cup of tea. “Yes, one cup of tea. Ma’am is sleeping.” “Okay, sure sir. I will get tea within five minutes.” Seth was already occupying a table in the front lawn when the tea was served. He took a sip of the tea wondering why the hell he plunged into this marriage. “If it was for companionship, where is my companion? I have been waiting for my companion since last night,” Seth thought. But when Reshma finally joined him at around 10:30 am, she looked radiant and lovely. “I could get some sleep only after 3 am. Sorry for failing to give company.” “It’s okay,” all that a dazed Seth could say before he rushed back to the kitchen asked to serve them a pot of tea. “Sure sir, in just five minutes,” he finally sounded happy. They were hardly left with any time than go through the daily chores quickly, grab a hasty lunch and leave for Gurgaon so that Reshma could pack up her essentials before catching the Dhanbad-bound Rajdhani Express the same evening.