When Priya left Nayana’s house, she was all the more confused. She had epitomized Nayana on the basis of Vijay’s conversation, but she did not match with that image at all. Priya doubted that even if this relationship went further, would it sustain for a longer time?
Was Vijay at fault by selecting Nayana as her life partner? Probably he wanted to be associated with a high class family….perhaps from point of view of his career… or family’s future….but ……. he was surely doing a blunder. Even if this reason is justified, was Vijay sure of benefitting out of this association or he would have been hurled far away from his family.
Or as Vijay said, were those people pretending of disapproval in front of me.
Surely, they must be pretending only. And moreover, it was quite conflicting with what Vijay had described about them, it is obvious that they are pretending to be so. Priya was juggling with her positive and negative thoughts.
But she was still not convinced about the reason behind this pretention. In short, she was boggled to the core. Hence, she decided to involve Rajesh to clear this chaos.
Priya had deliberately called Rajesh and Vijay both in Ashok Park today. Priya and Rajesh both reached early so as to discuss the happenings beforehand, which could have not been possible in Vijay’s presence.
Vijay had still not arrived. Priya stated the entire story to Rajesh.
“Look Rajesh, I have heard both the sides and also have understood them well. But still…. I am not able to conclude anything out of it. They don’t match each other.” Priya summed up the confusion.
“Ok, it means… according to Nayana, Vijay is lying” deduced Rajesh.
“Vijay won’t lie for sure. I am sure about it.” Priya said and Rajesh also agreed with her.
“Then why Nayana is lying” was Priya’s question.
Rajesh was packed with thoughts - If Nayana and Vijay undergo a breakup, it would be good only. At least Priya will have a chance to be close to Vijay.
Actually he was very happy with the situation but he could not have been verbose about it.
“As you described about Nayana, it’s better for both of them to break up.”Rajesh worded his opinion.
“What? How can you say this? …Today Vijay has lost his love and job also. You should be thinking of some way-out and on the contrary you are happy about events.” Priya was angry.
“Then you tell me what I should say... Vijay has completely changed since he has got the job...He is not ready to understand who is friend and who is foe.” Rajesh also got angry.
“But Rajesh, please understand, this time is not to fight over these issues.” , Priya requested him.
Rajesh kept quiet. And both of them waited for Vijay. This was the first time when Priya and
Rajesh were discussing something about Vijay. On the contrary, Vijay was the one who sorted
out these people’s problems. He was a guide and guru to both of them. And today he needed guidance...Priya was comparing the situations.
“She should be under her father’s pressure” concluded Priya and Rajesh.
“Yes you are right..... I could clearly see her stressed face.” Priya said.
“Or she must be having some restraints due to which she was lying.”Rajesh added.
“What restraints you are talking about?” Priya.
“Or they must be giving themselves some time before they come to some conclusion.” Rajesh.
“But why so?” Priya
“Because she might get someone else ... probably better than Vijay.” Rajesh.
“But how can she behave like that?” Priya.
“Priya … these high class people are very indifferent...they keep all the options open... and once they get the best choice, they don’t hesitate to leave the earlier ones.” Rajesh.
“Yes... I also felt that they are unemotional. It was clear when I entered their house. But still they can go to this level, I can’t believe.” Priya.
Suddenly they saw Vijay coming from the front gate.
“What is this...So late?” Rajesh looked at his watch.
“Excuse me...I am not late.. I came well in time...exact IST...you people came early...as usual.” Vijay laughed.
Priya looked at her watch. Vijay was late by half an hour. Usually he was not late. And even if he was, he used to apologize. But today, he was very casual in his attitude. It’s probably love which has made him so indifferent. Priya was occupied with ifs and buts.
They all sat on a bench nearby.
Everyone was quite. Vijay broke the silence and asked, “What’s special then... why did you call me here? Rajesh is also here, it means it’s serious.”
“Ok … it means that I am there only when something serious happens”, Rajesh was irritated by this comment.
“Why do you get angry buddy?...even if it is correct...still it’s better than going to someone’s funeral...right? Vijay was sarcastic.
Rajesh was irritated to the core and he could not think of any answer.
“Why do you talk of such murky things Vijay?” Priya also joined Rajesh.
“Everyone has to die some day...so why to get worried of death?” Vijay.
Priya was happy to see Vijay in his same old philosophical mood again.
Priya hid those expressions and hitting the target she continued, “ I went to Nayana’s house”.
“Oh! Nayani’s house? …. What did she say?” Vijay asked.
‘Nayani’ . This showed Vijay’s acute feelings for Nayana.
Rajesh did not like Vijay addressing Nayana as Nayani.
“Her side of story is totally different.” Priya fumbled.
“What does she say? We don’t support dowry and all.” Vijay was trying to be humorous.
“Vijay, be serious…. Please. It’s not as simple as it looks to be.” Priya stopped him.
Rajesh avoided talking in between. He thought that this could have led the topic astray.
“Then what does she say?” Vijay asked again.
“She says that …. She doesn’t love you… I asked her directly….on the contrary she says that she doesn’t believe in such feelings. These are useless and cheap emotions according to her.” Priya insisted on ‘cheap’.
“Vijay suddenly laughed and said, “exactly…that’s what I am trying to explain you…she is also involved with her father in this drama. They are pretending…. Many a times they start behaving such in office also and you should see the boggled reactions of my colleagues.”
“And they have not stopped here only. They have engaged one spy on me. He spies me all the time….and he observes me the whole day… where do I go … who do I meet…. What do I do…. Everything he observes.” Vijay said.
Priya and Rajesh were confused. Vijay further said, “it seems you don’t trust me…anyways… you are not at fault. Ok.. come…come with me for a minute.”
Vijay made them get up from that place and asked them to stand behind a tree.
“Stand here only and look … Outside the compound wall… can you see a car parked outside… its one of our colleague’s car… and he is still spying on me… look at him.” Vijay was telling.
Priya and Rajesh saw in the direction indicated by Vijay. But they could neither see any car or any person standing there and spying on Vijay. They both uttered out of curiosity, “Where?”
Priya was concerned about Vijay and Rajesh was not able to understand anything.
“Oh look outside.. you will see that car…Ok…. let it be.”
“Oh..ho”, exclaimed Vijay with joy. “Look, Nayana herself is here. Ask her here in my presence whether she loves me or not.” Vijay indicated at the lawn’s gate.
Rajesh and Priya tried again to locate her, but they couldn’t.
“Nayana??? Where is she?” Rajesh had never seen Nayana, so he was curious to see her.
But Priya had met Nayana once. However, she also was not able to trace Nayana near the gate.
And to their surprise, there was not a single person near the gate.
“You people are blind or what? Can’t you see Nayana there”, Vijay again pointed in the same direction.
Rajesh was totally confused. He was just staring at Vijay, Priya and that gate.
Unlike Rajesh, Priya was quick enough to understand the entire chaos. She was shocked. Now everything was clear before her. All the past memories ran through her mind. Vijay…. Rajesh’s party…. Vijay’s schizophrenic sister…. her hallucinations….her cries….her horrifying face … everything. Priya was horrified.
She recollected Vijay giving description of his sister, “My sister was alright till she was 21. Then god knows what happened, she became paranoid.”
“My God!” Priya cried.
“What happened?” Rajesh shouted.
Probably Priya was convinced of what Nayana said to her.
Original Novel – Sunil Doiphode
English Version – Mugdha Apte