A velvety layer of grass covers the mound in one corner of the garden. I mowed the lawn yesterday, and now it is even all over, but with a slight bump. I will solve that problem soon. Last evening I went to the nursery and bought some rose saplings.
I will plant the saplings around the mound–as if laying a wreath on the coffin of a beloved–and soon the mound will disappear. And with all the manure the saplings will receive –thanks to you, my love–the roses will bloom in all their vivid glory!
No one will notice you missing. You were always travelling, anyway; combing locations for prehistoric artefacts and stuff that was of no use to us. Ancient statues and all that useless crap that landed up in a museum and provided you with your 15 minutes of fame.
Do you know how lonely it was, after you left on your tours? Did you bother to ask me, even once, how I spent my endless days and nights, in this huge house that felt more like a gilded cage? Yes, it was a goddammed gilded cage! Take that, you!
“I have my needs, Swati,” you said every time I begged you to stay home. “We made the deal, remember?” You asked when I grumbled about your work. What was it that you said? “I am an archaeologist, Swati. And human history is my passion. Why don’t you, too, find what it is that you are passionate about? Get busy, my sweet little rose!”
I am glad I met Manish. I finally got busy.
Weekend dates, movie dates, sleepovers, breakfast dates, dinner dates…precious moments that made me forget about you, my absentee husband, who preferred history to chemistry.
It was all going on so smoothly, almost like a dream, until the day you turned up, unannounced, like a nightmare, bearing gifts.
Gifts, it seems! Bah! Those clay statues from thousand years ago were all that you could think of gifting your wife, after being away for five months?
Thankfully, Manish and I had finished by the time you arrived at the door carrying your beloved treasure and that smug look on your face, like you had won a trophy. I wanted to wipe that look off your face. Heck, I wanted to wipe you from the face of the earth for being a nuisance and destroying the peaceful haven that I had created with Manish.
What good were you, anyway? You hardly stayed home, took up no responsibility, whatsoever, and showed no interest in your wife or your domestic life. You, who were wedded to the Earth (your words, not mine) but married me only to give your parents a grandkid, a successor to carry on the family name. “A scion,” you said. And how do you do that, when you are hardly home? Pray tell!
My happiness, my life, my needs, my desires meant nothing to you.
“You are the queen of my palace, Swati!” You announced with much pomp and show the day you brought me here. You knew this was what I needed, isn’t it? A huge house, servants at my beck and call, enough money to last me a lifetime, and some more.
Seeing you at the door that day, grinning ear to ear, your teeth sparkling in the morning sunshine, drove me insane. I wanted to savour those moments of passion in bed, with Manish, for some more time, but you spoilt it all.
Do you know how miserable life would have been had I not met Manish? You tricked me into falling for you. You charmed me off my feet with your passionate spiel about how you had waited years to meet a simple, unpretentious woman like me; someone, who would look after you and inspire you to live your life to its fullest.
But what about my life? You never cared about it, because, well, you offered me your “palace” and all your wealth. What more would I need? You…you self-absorbed, egocentric, old geezer! I am not wasting any more breath on you, now that you lie quiet. You fossil-in-the-making.
Manish was perfect. IS perfect. Just the kind I like having around. He reads poetry after we have made love, our faces, flushed, our naked bodies shining with sweat. And, oh, unlike you, he enquires about me, my day, my moods, my feelings, my likes, my dislikes, my life. A proxy husband, if I can call him that?
You really shouldn’t have turned up that morning. And worst, barged indoors with such enthusiasm, hugging me like you were so in love with me, and then walked off to our bedroom for a shower so you could then spend time regaling me with your adventures about your latest discovery.
Manish’s wallet and phone were on the bed. And it didn’t take you more than a few seconds to grasp the situation. You stormed out and yelled at me like I was trash. You were furious at me for being a cheating wife who had brought nothing but disgrace to your family name.
I was like, what the hell!? How much did you even care about me? Did you even love me? Heck, you loved the fossils more than you cared about your living, breathing wife, for god’s sake!
Your stinging slap stunned me. You know, never has anyone treated me like you did, like trash. I was not going to take it all lying down. Even if it was my mistake. And, no, looking for love was not my mistake. It was because you refused to give me what I needed. And, didn’t you say I needed to look for something to be passionate about like you were?
I found Manish.
It would have been better had you just walked out on me. Simple. Clean. No mess.
But, instead, you went out and got your spade. For what? To kill me?
Sadly, for you, you weren’t as skilled at using the spade for doing something other than digging. To be able to do that, you need to have lived a life of misery, where survival of the fittest is the only rule. A life that I had lived for twenty-five long years.
It took me just one strike to end your story.
Wrapping you in a bedsheet, dragging you to the garden and burying you in your favourite corner, had been easy. Manish stood stunned, watching me going about it all like I was a pro. He is okay now. It took him some time to get over it. But we are good. Back into the cosy space we had created.
The small mound needed something to conceal it. So I sprinkled some grass seeds and in a few days, it was all covered. That nursery I found during one of my tours round the town, is quite impressive, you see. And the owner has always been ever so helpful, explaining everything I need to know about gardening and stuff.
I always wanted a rose garden, with a verandah and an antique, wooden swing to sit on and watch the colourful blooms while sipping adrak wali chai.
You made my dream come true, my loving husband.
Now, once the rose bushes grow, the mound will be all but invisible. No one passes this way. It’s one of the perks of living in the countryside, you said once. Peace, quiet and privacy. Lots of privacy. And your parents? They never approved of me, anyway.
Now, Manish and I can live happily. That’s my kind of happily-ever-after story.
A little different. But, that’s okay. I like different.