Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Off the hook

Jhanvi tapped her fingers on the table top and looked towards the door once again. No sign of RK. The impatience was beginning to show. She fidgeted in her seat and flipped the pages of the magazine for the third time. He was supposed to meet her at 4 and it was 4: 25 in her watch.

Maybe I should just leave.

She got up and waved at the waiter. Just then, the music in the room changed and Jhanvi recognized the song immediately. Surprisingly, she did not feel any sense of discomfort unlike that evening, a year ago.


*Off the hook, with the cutz, that's right
I'm feel'n loose cuz it sounds so tight
We rock da spot till the very end
And make sure that you're there when we do it again

The lead singer’s voice rose above the chatter and clanking of frothy beer mugs, and it was giving Jhanvi a headache. But she tried her best to keep a straight face and not let the discomfort show in front of her husband’s friends. It was a big night of celebration for RK.

Tanya! Been ages…!” Jhanvi heard her husband greeting one of his friends. She smiled at Tanya followed by a polite hello. RK of course made a feeble introduction of his wife to all his friends. Jhanvi realized that no matter how hard she tried, the cracks in their relationship always remained visible to everyone, strangers included.

The loud music continued and people began to trickle in. Her husband was obviously more popular than Jhanvi could ever imagine. She exchanged customary hi-hellos with some of RK’s friends, just a handful who she knew. According to him, Jhanvi was a misfit at any party. She did not drink nor did she smoke. And of course, she did not know how to “mingle”. He had lit a cigarette for her once. “You must try these things sometimes. It is no big deal” he had said.

Three hours later and unable to sleep, Jhanvi switched on the TV and switched channels furiously, while her mind raced back to the events of the night. She popped in a tablet hoping the nagging pain would subside. RK slept peacefully in the next room with his shoes on. After a while, she switched off the TV and contemplated on whether to read or check her mail. Her thoughts were interrupted by a beep. RK had thrown his phone on the sofa in a state of complete drunkenness. The phone blinked continuously and on any other day, she would have chosen to ignore it. But somehow that night she felt she had the right – to know. Jhanvi made sure that RK was fast asleep before she picked up his phone.

A feeling of resentment engulfed her as she read the lines that appeared on the screen.

We should do this more often. Tonight’s party was totally off the hook! *wink*


Jhanvi remembered the next day clearly. RK had refused to speak to her after she had confronted him. The next two weeks had been miserable. But all that was a year ago. She sighed with relief and let the thoughts drift away. Things were slowly coming back to normal. He had promised that he won’t hurt her again.

That’s when she heard his voice.

Sorry.. Got stuck in a meeting. I need to leave tonight at 10 to Hyderabad... The Director wants me to travel with him for a client meeting.”

She concealed her disappointment. The last few months together had been peaceful and she did not want to rock the boat. Pleased that his wife had chosen to tacitly agree, RK smiled. “ Let me join you in a minute. Meanwhile see what you want to drink.” He walked towards the men’s room and Jhanvi turned her attention to the menu half-heartedly.

As she leafed through the pages, the waiter approached her holding something familiar. “Mam, I think this fell out of Sir’s bag. I found it near the door.

The waiter handed over RK’s notepad and Jhanvi eyes immediately fell on the two chits of paper which had slipped out. Crumpled at the edges, they seemed to have been hastily tucked into the book. The dates printed in big bold letters stared back at her.

But she did not remember making any plans for that evening.

He just said he is traveling.

Jhanvi narrowed her eyes to get a closer look at the rest of the printed matter.

10: 45 pm
Screen 2; Row K – 14, 15

*Lyrics of the song "off the hook" by P.O.D

1 comment:

  1. Yaay!! Its great to see this story in its full form finally!! :) loved it!! And am already craving more from you already!! :) :D Loved it!!


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