The sizzle on the tawa spread a pleasant aroma of dosa in the house. Swara was stirring the sambar beside the cooking dosa. She was juggling cooking and packing lunches for school and the office.
” Swara! Where is my belt?” a voice from the bedroom. ” Comming!” Swara responded, reducing the flames of the dishes simmering away, and ran to the bedroom. In around half an hour, like a superwoman, Swara had served breakfast, packed the lunches, and helped her husband, Nithin, and son, Adhineya, get ready for work and school. As she fed Adhineya, Nithin sat to break his fast.
“Swara, how many times do I have to remind you to serve water with the breakfast?” With an annoyed expression, he ate his breakfast and walked to his car, waiting for Adhineya to join him. Swara ran with the boy and the bag, and helped the 5-year-old boy settle in the car . As she waved them goodbye, the trickles of sweat on her forehead flew down her cheeks.
Swara was a housewife. Though she always aspired to be independent, she chose ‘happiness’ with her family. She was not paid but worked 24/7 in multiple roles, yet her small imperfections never went unnoticed while her hard work was ignored. Sometimes, certain of Nitin’s sharp words pierced her heart, but she was always considerate about Nitin’s office stress. Even when she wanted to talk to Nithin about how her day was, she respected his free time. Her world was just perfect, or so she believed.
Swara ran back home to resume her chores. She went into the bedroom to unload the laundry bag. Nithin preferred his shirts to be hand washed. As she sorted his shirts from the rest of the laundry, she noticed a small, smudged lipstick mark on the collar of one of his shirts. Chills ran down her spine. She remembered how she constantly ignored a female perfume’s aroma in Nithin’s shirt for a few years. The unfamiliar burgandy hair strand she got from his shirt a few weeks ago filled in the gaps for her. She cried a lot that day as she tried to find an excuse for all this.
In the evening, when Nithin came home, she confronted him. Nonchalantly, Nithin denied the allegations and blamed Swara for suspecting him of the unthinkable. Suddenly, Nithin’s phone rang, and probably it was karma that played its role; the phone went over speaker mode.
A female voice exclaimed,” NITHIN! Please come fast; our daughter is sick! SHE IS AT THE HOSPITAL.” Swara was blank. She stood there, staring in despair. Nithin fumbled for a second, and as he realised there wasn’t much he could do now, he just took the car keys and rushed out.
The next morning, as he returned home, he expected Swara to have left with Adhineya. But there she was, standing there waiting for Nithin with the coldest eyes he had seen. As he got out of his car, Swara asked, “Who is she?” Nithin simply stood there looking down and slowly replied, “Greesha.” That was her next shock. Greesha was a single mother who lived down the street. She remembered that she had a 3-year-old daughter and had recently shifted into their lane. The irony and shock was that there wasn’t a single time when Nithin hadn’t talked ill about her being overly smart and outrageous for being a single mom!
Without uttering a single word, she took Adhineya and walked off. Days passed, and Nithin received a divorce notice. His ego was at its peak, but the idea of separation from Swara broke him. As he was about to rush to Swara, he saw Greesha at his gate, entering the house. “Nithin, as Swara has left, I think we need to live together.” Nithin stood still, staring at her coldly. All the love and care he had showered upon her since they met were nowhere to be seen. “I am sorry, but I cannot let Swara go. She is my wife,” he replied as he was about to rush towards the gate. “Then who am I, Nithin?” You said you hated her but were stuck with her. You said if you had a chance, you would throw her away from your life! But now what has changed? “Tell me what changed?!” Screamed Greesha, crying. “I don’t know, Greesha… I thought I hated her; I remembered everything I hated about her, but when she was gone, I realised she was a part of my life, and she is like a habit now. I cannot live without her. I am sorry, Greesha……I will pay for you and your daughter’s expenses, but you can never be my wife. I am sorry. I am sorry.” Saying so, he ran out of the gate into the rushing road that lay ahead as Greesha tearfully stared at his shrinking image.