“Pyaar vyaar sab kehne ki baatein hai Khushi,” she scoffed, “Tumhare bhi toh itne saal ho gaye shaadi ke, tumhe toh pata hoga, shaadi ke baad kuch rishta rehta hai kya? Bas wohi zindagi ki daud main bhagte raho, kabhi is taraf toh kabhi us taraf! Pyaar akhir hota kya hai?”
It was as if a damn had burst and without waiting for an answer Payal continued speaking while Khushi listened in shocked silence, “Pyaar is a temporary state of mind, when a mixture of factors particularly biological clock and hormones make you believe that you cannot live without another person and if by some coincidence that other person is also on the same page, then both will be in ‘love’; but there should be no illusions that love is forever,” she sneered, clearly completely disillusioned.
“Par Jiji,” Khushi found her voice, but Payal was in no mood to let her speak, she continued without heeding, “Before marriage, it is the distance between the couple that make them yearn for each other, the rarity of their meetings, the sweetness of stolen meetings, keeps the flame of passion burning, you count the minutes till you can be with each other, even if it is to steal a glance at your beloved’s profile,” she laughed humorlessly, “Aur pata hai, kabhi kabhi toh wohi kaafi hota hai, unki ek jhalak, ek nazar par mahine guzaar sakte hain, in the first flush of love you make lofty promises and vows of undying love, companionship and togetherness; you are in the seventh heaven of delight, sab kuch badiya chal raha hota hai, you have a spring in your step, a smile in your heart, a sparkle in your eyes, a song on your lips, phir,” her voice broke.
“Phir?” Khushi whispered.
“Phir,” Payal cleared her throat, “Phir shaadi ho jaati hai,” she turned to Khushi and smiled mechanically, “Kahani khatam.”
“Par jiji” Khushi couldn’t believe her ears, “Aise kaise khatam? Pyaar toh hamesha ke liye hota hai na?”
“Hamesha!?” scoffed Payal, “Khushi tum ab bhi sapno ki duniya main ho!” she affectionately cupped her face, “You are so naïve and trusting, tumhe kuch samajh hi nahi aata, ya phir samajhna hi nahi chahti! Kabhi kuch hamesha ke liye hota hai kya?”
She sank down on to the couch, and mused softly, “Shaadi is like a goal or a terminal station, beyond which there is nothing; the initial years may be that of a fool’s paradise when you are too naïve and foolishly in love, you give your best you are on your best behavior and you are excited because it is all so new, there is so much to learn, there is so much to do and then your child is the culmination of your love and togetherness, your cup of joy is full. You are content and then you settle down into domesticated bliss. Only it isn’t bliss, is it? Exhaustion and monotony takes its toll and dissatisfaction creeps in. Life becomes an battlefield where togetherness takes a back seat; each of you have well demarcated territories, the home is your turf and the office his, as the newness and the novelty wears off, the need or the pressure to impress your partner is no longer there and you begin to take your partner for granted; your partner too looks for newer conquests, other challenges, wants to prove his worth, make his mark in the world while his wife sits at home, takes care of his needs, his kids, his parents.”
“Par Jiji,” Khushi intervened, “Each day is new and different, har roz kuch na kuch naya hota hai, hai ki nahi?”
Payal shook her head, “Hume toh nahi lagta! Life becomes like a clockwork routine, everyday is just like the other, you even know what he is going to say,” she smiled, albeit sadly, “Every morning after he comes back from his jog he will say, ‘Mumbai weather is terrible, pata nahi log kaise rehte hain’; he will pick up the paper and curse the Government and its policies while sipping his tea and the same old biscuit; perhaps share a word or two with Yash or Ankit before getting ready and coming down for breakfast, then he will grumble about the traffic and what a waste of time it is, how many crores are lost due to traffic, idling engines and leave. He will come back in the evening and by then he is too tired to even say anything, he will just loll in front of the TV till it is dinner time, then sleep; bas ho gaya na din khatam?” Payal challenged Khushi.
“Nahi Jiji, aise thodi na hota hai, chuttiya hoti hain, tyohaar hote hain, aur aapke bachche kitne pyaare hai!” Khushi protested.
Payal’s face softened as she looked at her sleeping son, “True, the children are the reason I go on, their love, their laughter everything about them keeps me going,” she sparkled and then drooped, “But then again I think for how long? Yash is already going to school and is busy in his own world, dekha na mere saath ayaa nahi? School and friends are more important, ghar toh bas sone aur khana khane ke liye hai! And in a couple of years, we will be constantly fighting in the little time that we do spend together over homework! I guess it will be the same story with Palash in a couple of years,” she shrugged, “Where does that leave me, trapped inside the walls of the house, with not a minute to call my own,” she looked helplessly at Khushi, “Can you imagine, a prisoner in my own house, everyone leaves, even Maji is better off, she disappears each day to one of her numerous kitty parties, movies whatever, everyday she has something planned, but I, I am stuck at home,” she fell silent.
Khushi was very upset; she hugged Payal and tried to rally her, “Par Jijaji toh ghumane lekar jaate hain na aapko?”
Payal’s lips turned downwards and she swallowed heroically, trying to hold back her emotions, “Haan par bachchon ke saath kahin ghumne jaana is a big pain, we always end up arguing or the kids get a yelling; it is just not worth it.”
“Jiji, you should leave the kids at home,” Khushi advised.
Payal laughed sarcastically, “That is easier said than done Khushi, Yash ko toh chhod bhi doon Papaji ke pass, par Maji refuses pointblank to look after Palash and I cannot really put the whole responsibility on the maid can I? Suppose there he throws a tantrum, tab toh Maji ko aana hi padega na usse sambhalne ke liye, I will never hear the end of it,” She paused and said reluctantly, “Aisa nahi hai ki we haven’t tried but then a couple of times we have made an effort to go for a movie together because Papaji encouraged us when only Yash was there, Maji would invariably call up in the middle of the movie claiming Yash was very cranky and she would make me speak to him, howling away,” she shrugged, “Aise koi movie dekh sakta hai kya? Anniversaries par bhi yehi hota hai, she too wants to go out with us and expects a matching gift for herself, waise bhi Aakash is not too fond of going out; ‘Main toh roz hi bahar jaata hoon, meetings main bahar ka khana ho hi jaata hai and so on and so forth’; tum samajh rahi ho na main kya keh rahi hoon?” Payal questioned her.
Khushi looked at her rather helplessly, “Haan,” She twisted her fingers and said reluctantly, “Haan, I do agree, he is busy in his work most of the time and there is a routine schedule daily, but aisa nahi hai ki hum isse pareshaan hai,” she clasped Payal’s hand and tried to explain, “Devansh ke baad humara bhi bahar jaana bahut kam ho gaya hai, par phir bhi kabhi kabhi chale hi jaate hain,” there was a faint flush on her cheeks, “Nahi toh ghar par hi ek saath main time spend kar lete hain.”
“Ghar par ek saath time spend karein!” Payal was astonished, “Impossible, koi chance hi nahi hai! Maji hai na humare saath time spend karne ke liye,” she said rather bitterly, “Waise toh ghar par nahi hoti, par bête ke aane se pehle zaroor pahunch jaati hain!” she made face and raised her hands helplessly, “Rahi baat bahar jane ki, kya fayda? Main toh bol bol kar thak gayi, aur kitna jhagda karoon, waise bhi we don’t have any common topic of conversation any more except for the kids. In the past eight years that we have lived together we seem not to have gotten to know each other, he doesn’t know what I would like or what are my concerns and I don’t know what he is working on, what are his plans, woh kya chahte hain, even if I ask he fobs me off saying that I wouldn’t understand, while my viewpoint he is just not interested! Toh saath bahar jaayein bhi toh kya baat karein? Sirf khana khane jayein? Isse toh achcha bachchon ke saath hi chale jayein, kam se kam mazaa toh aata hai.”
She was quiet for a while, “And what can I say about Maji, the less said the better, we will never see eye to eye about her, he thinks she can do no wrong, I am over-sensitive and uncooperative, while I,” she shrugged, “I know she is manipulative, interfering and petty; over the years, I think she has been the primary reason for our arguments and has caused a lot of bitterness between us,” she swallowed and turned away, ““Main toh samjha samjha kar thak gayi, now I don’t even bother to protest, kya fayda hoga, ek aur jhagda bas aur kuch nahi. I just swallow it, deal with it and carry on as best as I can, while he focuses on his work,” she turned around and looked at Khushi squarely in the face, “Pata hai Khushi, kabhi kabhi toh lagta hai sirf bachchon ke wajah se hi rishta chal raha hai; And the worst is when at the end of the day he asks you ‘tum karti kya ho?” to Khushi’s distress, a lone tear slipped out, Payal sighed defeatedly.
A/N Sorry aap log bore toh nahi huye na? Bechari Payal, bahut dino se kuch kehna chah rahi thi. Waise I am very keen to know your thoughts on this, so how about sharing them?
- Can understand and empathize with Payal as this is what usually happens
- Payal is a loser
- Who cares about Payal?
Click here for Chapter 220