Shruti was falling in love again. Despite being 45 years now and having lived through 20 years of her marriage, she was falling in love once again. She felt like a teenager again, wanting to see him more.
She wanted to be with him more and wanted him to hold her and kiss her. The jumpiness in the stomach was back again. She hadn’t felt that way in years with her husband- Sarthak. Sarthak was busy throughout. Day in and day out, he had been working continuously, struggling through his life and making money; which he did. He was 50 and successful, but a tired man. When they got married, Shruti and Sarthak were full of love and life. Their life was paradise together. They made a perfect couple and seeing them together often compelled people to say “Touchwood.”
After a few years Shruti and Sarthak were on their family way and Sarthak felt more like a responsible father already. He always had the urge to earn more and fulfill Shruti’s desires but he also knew that it would take time. Shruti knew that he was a man of million aspirations and a lot more career dreams, which would take a lot of time. When they got married, Shruti also knew at heart that she would have to walk at every step with Sarthak to help him reach his goal. She wanted to see him realize his dreams, his aspirations. At first, she wanted him to be successful, just successful; but later when she was expecting, she wanted him to be successful for the baby, “their baby.”
After Shruti and Sarthak welcomed a daughter in their lives, Sarthak took a backseat in her life. She pumped in her soul and heart in raising their daughter and Sarthak..well he was important for her even then, but he had taken the number 2 position in her life. Sarthak eventually spent even more time in his work. Entire day he spent at his work and at home too, he was more into his work. Their daughter, Ananya was in her growing years. Whatever time Sarthak took out, it was only for Ananya. Watching his daughter was more like an inspiration towards his success for Sarthak. As far as Shruti was concerned, she too, had taken a backseat in his life after Ananya.
One day, after Sarthak was at work and Ananya at her school, Shruti finished the house errands (at which she was just a greenhorn once) and prepared a good and strong coffee for herself. For the first time in years, she didn’t feel like working for her job that day and so she had taken a day off on a weekday, which was very rare. She took her coffee mug and sat at the chair, looking outside at the endless sky. As she sipped through her coffee, she put her life in retrospective. She realized how things had changed, how her life had changed completely. At first when she got married to Sarthak, they had so much love for each other and so much time. Even when there was no time, one of them pushed away the schedule to arrange for the time together. Her life had taken a complete spin after their marriage, but it was still wonderful..blissful.
Then her life again took a spin after Ananya and it was still beautiful and blissful…but, but there was a sense of “something missing” in her life by that time. May be, she realized that both she and Sarthak had been too engrossed in their lives that they forgot to express their love. Even more, it brought jitters to her heart when she thought that the love was simply fading away from their marriage, gradually paving way for the monotony and formalities. She wanted to tie the loose strings of her life again and believe that love has to be a constant and continuous process of expression. That day, she was completely drained out, emotionally. Though she hadn’t done a lot of work since morning but her face still looked flushed out because of the constant mental and emotional struggle that was going on inside her.
Nevertheless, she had made up her mind to mend things her way with Sarthak. It was 8 p.m. and Sarthak was about to come home any time. Ananya was studying in her room and Shruti dolled up at her best so as to “demand” Sarthak’s attention, which was a rare scenario now. When he came home, Shruti unlocked the latch and waited for the response. It did come, but after a lot of wait. All he said was, “You look different today.” Things didn’t change much and Shruti’s futile efforts remained unproductive. He was so eventful the entire day that when he came home, he didn’t have the strength to talk or discuss things that would complicate their life further. In totality, both of them knew at heart that the things were falling apart and something needed to be done. In years, none of them had said anything to each other; neither complain nor an expression of annoyance. Nothing at all! But that day, when he didn’t respond well, all that was stored inside for years, bombarded.
Shruti opened fire of sadness, being disappointed in him and a lot more expressions at Sarthak that day. It was an indispensable moment for both of them. It felt like both of them were waiting for this opportunity to speak their hearts out, no matter how much it hurt both of them. It was as if the barricading had stopped water from overflowing since long and a minor crack rushed the entire flood outside. Needless to say, both of them slept that day with a lot of disappointment in each other and a lot more drained out than every day. But, deep in their hearts, they knew that it was right and that it had once again opened up a gate of “personal conversation” between both of them, something which the two were craving since years.
After that day too, nevertheless, things didn’t change much, at least as it seemed to the naked eyes! Ananya, on the cue, sensed that there was “something not good” between Maa and Daddy and tired of the constant uncomfortable silence of the home, Ananya, a grown up girl by that time, decided to move out in the name of her “further studies and better education.”
Then one day, Shruti had again taken an off on the weekday from work. Lately, all she did was lay on her bed, think, think and think more. Sometimes, when thinking sapped her completely, she would just close her eyes, murmur a prayer and go to sleep.
It was on that day that an event made her feel happy in what seemed like a thousand years. When she was lying in her bed that day, completely worn out; the door bell rang. She collected her strength to get up from her bed and as her feet touched the cold floor of her room, a brief tingling occurred. She went to the door, unlocked it and saw a postman at the door. With a little cursing under her breath, she literally snatched the letter from him, signed the ‘don’t-know-what-paper’ and slammed the door at his face. Most of the times, these days, she remained in the mood like this. “Yet another bill,” she wondered. She didn’t even look at the letter and threw it at the side table. She lay on her bed with eyes closed once again. With a sudden sense of urgency, she got up, put on her reading glasses and had a close look at the letter. It was from Sarthak’s office. After don’t know how many years, butterflies fluttered in her stomach and she torn head of the envelope to extract the letter. It read like this:
To my beloved wife- Shruti!
The first thing that I want to say to you is that I Love You, I always have and will always do. I know I have been a real Mr. Busy all these years and didn’t find time to adore you or worse enough, even look at you properly. I am sorry for all this, I am sorry for not having said the things that I should have, at the right time. I know I have missed a lot of opportunities all these years, but today, give me a chance to express how much I love you.
Shruti, I want you to know that there hasn’t been one moment in my life when I haven’t loved you. There hasn’t been one moment when I have not thought about you or cared for you. I love you even more, believe me. No other person has, or will ever cross my mind apart from you. Let me also grasp a chance to thank you for being in my struggle for a better life, for you and Ananya. I know I haven’t been there all this while, but please remember that yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever… you were, you are and you will always be the most beautiful woman of my life, only second to Ananya.
I don’t know whether you will believe me or not, but I would still tell you that I have, with all my heart, watched you grow our daughter into a beautiful young lady that she is today. Trust me; I did see Ananya growing up beautiful day by day, though I didn’t show all this to you or to her. Watching her today, reminds me of you. She has truly become your reflection- absolutely same! And when I see her today or observe her personality, I see you in her; the Shruti that I met 20 years ago. I know how lonely you feel despite me having around, especially lately when even Ananya has moved to other city for her studies.
I am dropping in this letter to you not because I don’t have the courage to say it right at your face, but because I wanted you to feel young once again. And more than that, I admit that by doing a not-so-mature thing like this, I myself wanted to feel young too. I realize that our love, all this while has faded and I want you to know that I want to reinstate it as much as you do. I know that just like me, you too have hidden the love for me in your heart and not said anything all this while, but please know that I am writing to you not to discuss whether who was wrong all this while. All I want to say is that I admit that a part of me was.
My dear wife, as much as you want me to write more of this letter, I want you to know that I will complete the rest of it when I take you out for a date today at your favorite restaurant. Remember, I want you to look the same way that you did a few time ago when we had that ugly fight and when I realized how much you missed me and how much even I missed you all this time. Now, please get up and get all dolled up, like you did earlier. I’ll be arriving soon to pick you up for our date. It’s time to feel young again. But before folding this letter, I want you to read once again that I Love You, for today and forever..!!
Love, Sarthak .. !!
Shruti folded the letter neatly and couldn’t believe what was happening. Her eyes popped out like anything and suddenly a new light filled in them. Her body felt more energetic and no matter what, she did feel young once again. She felt like the Shruti that was going out with Sarthak on their first ever date.
She stood up and said to herself, “Unbelievable. Is it for real? Someone please pinch me..!!”
“Ouch!” she shouted feebly. “It is for real my love,” Sarthak turned her towards him, kissed her and wrapped her lean and pale body in his arms with an assurance that his love for her was still the same and that he was still very much only hers. He could feel her pain of so many years as she sobbed for a long time in his arms. Later at their date, she too expressed how much she craved for him and how much she loved him.
The story of Shruti and Sarthak is a very generic one. Every relationship (if it is long-lasting) reaches a phase like this when none of the two expresses the love, even though deep down they do love each other. Love is like a piece of diamond. At first it is expensive to have. It shines bright and fresh in the beginning. Once you have it, for a few days, you do realize that it is precious and needs care to b handled. But eventually, when you know that it is yours, you start taking it for granted and gradually completely forget that you do have something very precious like this. Like a diamond needs to be taken care for and polished from time to time to maintain its brightness and freshness; similarly love needs to be reinforced from time to time by way of surprises and expressions.