" We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person."
-William Sommerset Maugham
-William Sommerset Maugham
"Akshu", Pratham called out.
"Yes", she repsonded.
"I thought you were not at home. Where are the kids?", asked Pratham.
Akanksha wondered what had gotten into him that he was asking about the kids. He had not done that in years.
"They are at Mumma's place. I left them there, as they have holidays until Sunday", Akanksha answered.
"Dinner?", Pratham asked.
"It's ready." she answered.
"Ok, you have it and go to sleep. I shall have it later", Pratham added as he took out his laptop from his bag and started to look pre-occupied.
"Ok. I got some work too. Some freelancing stuff. I am up. Incase you want me to serve dinner, just call me", Akanksha said.
"Ya", Pratham answered, engrossed in his laptop, not looking at his wife.
Akanksha, like she was used to this reaction, accepted what he said and went to have dinner alone. She had not had dinner with her husband in last 2 years. The feeling of love that had begun to creep, suddenly was covered by a layer of reality.
She came to terms with it and carried on with her chores.
Pratham completed some official work and logged into his mail account.He checked his emails, replied to a few and then sat idle thinking about something.
"Are you available on Yahoo Chat?", Jenny asked.
"Yes. cool_pratham That's my id", Pratham replied.
"Great I'll add you then", Jen said.
Pratham logged onto his yahoo immediately. It had been 6 years that he hadn't accessed this account. He had a more sophisticated gmail account. But the one that he used for chat had been long forgotten.
He typed his username. And then he entered his password. He unsuccessfully began with "Ganesha", "ShirdiSai" then gradually recollected something more and entered "prat123", "Jenny 123" and finally another attempt of "jenniferpeterson" got him onto some page.
The page said, that the account has been deactivated and whether he would
like to get it activated again.
He opted for a "Yes" and eagerly waited for the inbox to open. He was anticipating some unread mails, which he thought Jenny must have sent him.
While the page loaded, he sat staring at the laptop screen, reliving a conversation.
"Did you read my mail?", Jenny asked.
"No. Anything Important?", Pratham asked as he licked his icecream cone.
"I sent you a few ideas about the interiors. You said you wanted to use them somewhere", replied Jenny.
"Ya Ya, I'll check them", Pratham said.
"What interiors are we talking about, here?", asked Jenny.
"Oh. I gave up that idea. It's too much of a headache", Pratham seemed carefree as he replied in a happy tone.
"Why don't you stick to something? I took so much efforts to send you those and you are say you are done contemplating on that idea? Grow up Pratham", Jenny sounded serious.
"What do you want me to do then?", Pratham asked.
"Now should I tell you what you should do? Don't you know?", Jenny asked.
The voices echoed again in his mind. Pratham became restless as the thoughts hurt him, as much as the wait did. The page wouldn't load. He refreshed the page and sat back, resting his back and looking up at the ceiling. He breathed slowly. After a while, he looked at the screen, and he saw the homepage.
There were no emails. The inbox was empty. All the old emails, communications were deleted.
He clicked on the account settings and changed his password as "Schumacher". He took one of the sticky notes and wrote his username and password on it, just incase he needed it in future.
He logged off, left his things there as they were and headed towards his room to sleep.
"Now should I tell you what you should do?" Don't you know?".
It kept lingering in his mind. His Ego hurt again.
But his resolve to face the demons was stronger this time. He punished himself by skipping dinner and went to sleep.
Akanksha realised that it was past midnight and she went to the drawing room to see whether Pratham was still busy with work. She looked for her husband and found him sleeping. She knew Pratham had not had his dinner.
She cleared the mess in the drawing room and the kitchen. While she took the couch to sleep on, she found the sticky note on the table.
Username : cool_pratham@yahoomail
She immediately logged on to the yahoo and sneaked into his account.
Realising that it was just a newly created account, she logged off. She shutdown the laptop and as she switched off the lights, she smiled.
The smile persisted as she weaved her thoughts and finally went to sleep only to wake up to a new experimental morning.
...to be contd.
Onto Chapter 6: New and Old
Back to Chapter 4: Pyrrhic Victory