Story by Ranjana Jaiswal “If You Are Together”

Moon and I look out the window. Today I want to become the moon. Oh night, you are the witness of those sounds I have cut by changing sides… But today I want that ‘A night zara tham-tham ke gujarati’… Sugandha said to herself. Sugandha was happy today. Very happy.. Sugandha always complained to Ashok that he didn’t love her. This thing always remained close to Sugandha’s heart. Because, according to him, he had never spoken three magical alphabets in front of him with a red rose in his hand bowing his head and holding a hand behind him.

Ashok’s friend Viraj was also his age. But how much he loved his wife. Wherever they go, both husband and wife wear clothes of the same color. Viraj did not leave Shobha’s hand even for a moment. Looking into each other’s eyes like movie actors and actresses, they were both lost in their own world. Had a main parrot pair. He had a loving marriage. The relatives protested a lot. But in the end everything was fine. He also wanted the same love that would break him though. Ashok had never photographed Sugandha with his hand on her shoulder.

She kept looking for a lover in her husband throughout her life. But he couldn’t find it anywhere. If only she found Ashok her husband. Before marriage, she would easily be attracted to men with beautiful tall stature, broad forehead, silky eyelashes and strong shoulders. Maybe that was the age. A decorated lover who says no to yes and no to every yes. Have the courage to take the stars out of the sky in a pinch. When you call everyday, you must also give your consent. But she was also looking for a husband in her lover.

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To be honest, I was also looking for a secure future with Prem. But his search was incomplete. She did not find a husband in a lover or a lover in a husband. Every woman wishes at least once in her life that there is no prince handsome, even if there is an effigy of flesh and blood. Knock on the doors of his mind softly and passing through those seven doors of the heart, dive into that fathomless ocean of love and death, shaking his mind and heart. Those strong hands that knock on each person’s life are not necessarily lucky. These doors can be left untouched by the touch of these fingers.

“Endure…”

Sugandha was snapped out of the realm of her thoughts by the sound of the window crashing, Ashok’s hair tossed across her forehead. Pressing the pillow tightly against his chest, he smiled as he slept. The sheet rolled off the body and rolled on the floor. Sugandha took a step towards Ashok with soft steps and lifted Ashok lifting the bed sheet lying on the floor. She looked so innocent in her sleep… “Don’t love me.”

That’s what he had said while drinking tea in the evening. And she was stunned. As if Ashok had caught his theft. This evening, he sat down again after opening the complaint packet. Shobha had told him over the phone. How many gifts did Viraj give her on Valentine’s Day? Surprise her every day with a new gift. On the 14th, he surprised her by giving her a candlelit dinner at an expensive hotel in the city. How swearing was Sugandha?

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“These are the quirks of the British, what problems are you talking about too.”

Sugandha got irritated hearing Ashok’s words.

“It’s useless to tell you anything, how much Viraj loves his wife.. $$$”

“But what is beauty?”

Sugandha went to Chowk after hearing Ashok.

“Fragrance! I know Shobha not from today but from a long time. When both of them were not even married. Do you know the fragrance? Shobha is very upset with this careless behavior of Viraj. She also doesn’t like to spend money like l ‘water in the name of surprise all the time. But to keep Viraj’s mind, he pretends to be happy. He still lives as a lover. He couldn’t even be a husband and father. In the name of saving, he is Gopal, he hasn’t even thought about yesterday. He lives in the present. No matter how heavy it is today or tomorrow. The kids are growing up. Nor for his future. He still hasn’t got his house and car EMI discounted and is thinking of buying a house in the heart of the city.

“That’s what Viraj had said at home.”

“Remember what he said? Shobha shouldn’t know. I want to give her her birthday. Today was a matter of home, then she hides it gracefully, but I don’t know what else she will hide tomorrow or maybe she should have been hidden until today.

Hearing Ashok’s words, Sugandha was engrossed in her thoughts.

“Fragrance! How long can you stay a lover forever. Sometimes you have to understand your responsibilities becoming a husband or a father. Tell me something you love me.”

Sugandha was shocked to hear Ashoka, as if the theft had been caught.

“Maybe you don’t have an answer for that today. But I know you love me very much. Yes, it’s different that this love is not Romeo-Juliet. Neither Heer-Ranjha nor Laila Majnu. But I can say for sure that you love me” .

Sugandha was listening to the delighted Si Ashok.

“When you go to the office, without telling me, you’re not the only one who keeps towels, handkerchiefs, socks, clothes and files in the bathroom. You’re the one who puts breakfast on the dining room table on the clock. You’re the one who takes care of the slightly cold parathas, the hot tea and the slightly warm water, right? When you return from office in the evening, your mind’s preoccupation takes you from door to door when it is a little late. Four days before going home, you start making dry snacks that if I’m hungry, what will I do? Whereas you know, even when you’re at home, I myself never raise my hand. You’re the one who forces me to eat in my hand. Whether it is to carry the electricity bill, the children’s fees or the ration, you have taken responsibility for them all. Because you love me I don’t want to get entangled in the problems of the office and bury myself in the problems of the house. You unravel the silky web of relationships before they even get tangled.

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Mother used to say well that love happens in marriage arranged by parents, not before marriage, but after. Sugandha was looking at Ashoka. How easily Ashok understood Sugandha’s love but she too…

“Fragrance! Marriage is a feeling that is never lonely in a lifetime. It is not necessary that someone walks with you, only you are with you. It is important that the presence of someone never makes you feel alone. You have a thing like that for me.”

Ashok was telling the truth. He didn’t even know when his happiness joined his laughter. In Ashok’s pain and suffering, even his eyes do not know when and why they become moist. Why do his tears stop coming out of his eyelids? It’s just a belief that never lets you down. Just a feeling that unites two people… There was no love between us, but there was something that kept us together for so many years. A bond that grew stronger in pleasure and stronger in pain. I don’t know why Sugandha didn’t feel the kitchen sting of broken dreams and aspirations today. Not knowing when the light of the mind spread secretly on his face. Today he truly understood the meaning of his marriage.

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