Dear Pen Pal

Dear Pen Pal (Chapter 3)

Continued from Chapter 2…

 

Anjana had absolutely no other contact details of Sameer. She searched on Google… Facebook… Twitter… and every other place she could think of. But everywhere “Sameer Bhatia” would give over hundreds of search results. She did know how Sameer looked like; he had sent her one of his photographs some time ago, but she did not find that face common to any of those in the search results.

Harsha, who was Anjana’s husband had no knowledge of Sameer, or the relation that his wife shared with him. Well Anjana never really had any reason to tell him about Sameer. Their wedding was arranged by their parents, hence the intimacy that they shared was also not as much as it usually is between a couple who have known one another for at least sometime before marriage. But now she had to. She could not take all this tension by herself anymore.

It was 28th of May, 2015. Anjana waited anxiously for her husband to return home that evening. Harsha was working at a software company and he would return home at around nine in the evening.

The clock struck nine and Harsha did not return home. Anjana picked up her phone and called Harsha. She was not worried about Harsha. She was more worried about Sameer and wanted to share this with her husband.

The phone kept ringing… Harsha did not receive the call.

Anjana kept pacing around the house. At quarter past nine the front door opened and Harsha entered.

“Sorry… Couldn’t receive your call. I was driving. And do you see the rain? Damn… The weather is horrible!” Harsha started to speak while wiping the water from his head and stomping his feet on the doormat.

Anjana ran up to Harsha and hugged her drenched husband tight.

“Whoa… What happened?” Harsha responded. The poor man was literally taken aback. He had never got such show of affection from Anjana ever before.

“I have to tell you something…” Anjana slowly led Harsha to the couch and they both took a seat.

Anjana then began narrating her story… A story which had only two people… Sameer and Anjana. Anjana started from the very beginning when seven years back Sameer had mailed her inviting her to write for his blog and continued onward. Harsha did not speak a word… but only listened… in silence.

Anjana continued… her emotions more vivid and visible as her story progressed. Harsha did not move. He did not blink. He just kept staring at his recently married wife.

“…and now Sameer has gone missing from the past three weeks. What do I do? I had to share this with you. Please tell me what to do? I cannot take this any longer.” Anjana had reached the end of her story.

It was Harsha’s turn to respond now. But this man who had just got back from a tiring day at work and heard the most shocking story that could change his life was speechless. He was as still as a statue. His vision was blurring in front of him. He did not know what to do. His wife had not cheated on him. But was her relationship with Sameer only as much as it is between two friends? Oh no… they were just pen friends… yet they were so close. Did Anjana and Sameer love each other? Was his marriage with Anjana only a compromise from her end? Did she not love him?

A million questions began bombarding Harsha’s thoughts.

Almost as though he was suddenly woken up from a deep sleep, Harsha got up from the couch. “Get the dinner,” Harsha ordered in a stern voice.

“You’re not listening to me…” Anjana retaliated as she too got up from the couch. “I have to go to Kolkata. Yes. That’s the only remaining option now. I have to.” Anjana once again started pacing around the house as she spoke these words almost to herself. “If I leave now for the airport, I should get a flight. I will be in Kolkata by tonight, and I can start looking for Sameer early tomorrow morning. Yes… I have to do it.”

Harsha just keeps staring while Anjana runs up to their bedroom. Before he even realizes, Anjana is back with her mini duffle-bag, and was racing towards the door. Just as Anjana was about to open the door, Harsha speaks.

“Anjana.”

Anjana turns towards Harsha, while still holding the door knob.

“If you step out of that door today, you’re never coming back.”

Anjana pulls the door open and races out without a second thought.

Harsha sits back on the couch and his eyes fall on Anjana’s laptop. He opens the web browser, and automatically Anjana’s mailbox pops open. He scans through the past few mails which Anjana had sent Sameer. And then he reaches to the last mail which Sameer had sent her.

 

To be continued…

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