Soul VS Sole When Ritika faced the marriage-or-freedom dilemma… By Kumud Bhatnagar

If not complacent in life, Ritika was not unsatisfied either. She was making steady progress in her career and happy with her siblings’ families and her own circle of friends. Whenever her elder sister or brother’s wife would advise her to get married, she would convince them that she would in due course without giving them any idea that she was going steady with someone. That way in spite of being head over heels in love for three years, Ritika and Karan had not given an inkling of their affair to their colleagues either. Since both were working on the same project, equally devoted to their subject, people took their close proximity as the professional necessity and, while in company, they both were discreet enough not to be possessive or unduly concerned about one another.

Soon after joining the institute Karan had hit a jackpot, an unmarried uncle had left him a large legacy. Now Karan was no more worried over mundane issues like promotions or lack of funds and concentrated on his project only. He acquired his own collection of books, CDs, etc, on his subject and often shared them with his colleagues. It was but natural for Ritika to often go to his flat to browse through the books.

With no financial or social worry, both Ritika and Karan were having a whale of a time. Karan would spend lavishly on her. He would take her to the most exclusive hotels or expensive live programmes where those known to them couldn’t even dream of ever stepping in. Karan would himself finance all expenses for his and Ritika’s trip abroad to attend a seminar on a manipulated invitation and thus have the holiday of a lifetime.

“How long will it continue?” Ritika once asked Karan.

“What?” Karan frowned.

“Our way of life or, say, our relationship.”

“Till death does us apart. And supposing one of us gets inflicted with a terminal disease, we can enter into a suicide pact. Don’t worry luv, we’ll be

together in life and death. Let the things continue the way they are.”

That’s exactly what she wanted to ask Karan. “How long can things continue like this? What’ll we do when this project is over?”

“This project will take quite some time to get completed and then there would be another projec There’s no dearth of subjects,” Karan said carelessly.

“Would your family allow you to remain unmarried any more?”

“As such I don’t have much of a family and I know how to tackle them. What about yours?”

“I too don’t have parents and have tc : my siblings that I’ll think about my marriage after completing this project, feel after completing this project I’ll introduce you to them.”

“You can introduce me to them right no-‘ “No chance. Then they will pressurise . either to get married immediately or stoc seeing each other. They won’t allow lover to work together either. And, mind you, Karan, I am not in a mood to marry rigf • now and become a housewife.”

“That’s exactly what I too don’t want let things remain as they are.”

Thus, things continued blissfully and would have continued for ever perhaps had her cousin Raashi not returned fro- America to get married. Actually, it was Raashi w: had influenced Ritika to give preference to a care-; and personal development rather than marriage : -: other social norms. When Ritika asked her abou^ *«■ sudden change of mind, Raashi heaved a deep long sigh.

“It used to feel good being single but it doesr • any more.”

“So what? Acquire a live-in boy friend, this shouldn’t be difficult in the States,” Ritika remar- e:

“I have a lot of male friends and a steady one : well but now I want someone to call my own, someone exclusively mine and me his,” Raashi s: : dreamily. “And that’s possible only after marriage and that too in India.”

 

“Marriages are not permanent in India any longer. Divorce is no more an ugly word here,”

Ritika pointed out.

“As such nothing is permanent in life, Ritika and everything is to be enjoyed as long the going is good then, why not go for the best?” Raashi observed philosophically. Soon Raashi got married to Rasik. Ritika couldn’t attend the marriage as she and Karan had manipulated an invitation for a conference in Switzerland. Coupling it with their annual leave, they had a long holiday.

‘Raashi’s getting married but I am enjoying the honeymoon,’ Ritika often thought smugly.

On her return she was surprised to see Raashi, her face was glowing as if a lamp was lit inside her.

“Enough of the career, Ritika, it is time to think about yourself. Have a home of your own and then realise the thrill of shopping…”

“I already have a home of my own, the one I was born and brought up in. Both Mahesh and Surabhi treat me like one of them and give me a free hand in buying things for the house, children and for themselves. Not only for Mahesh, I shop for my elder
sister Latika’s family as well,” Ritika interrupted.

“That’s all right, Ritika. It is different to shop for the man you love and for the house you share with him,” Raashi said.

“I do have a man or, say, a lover, Raashi, for the last four’years,” Ritika admitted slowly. “I do shop for him, sometimes cook for him. I know the thrill c* all this, Raashi.”

“No, you don’t. I too had a long live-in relationship with Suhail. He was a nice guy and I used to love to pamper him by cooking for him the exotic dishes of his choice and buy him the latest trendy clothes, the moment they hit the shelves. He too reciprocated warmly but, due to family commitments, he had to return to India while I wc: half way through my research, so we had to be separated. Anyway, the same things, I mean, shopping, cooking or taking care of the house, -: – a depth and new meaning now.”

A

nd, as if to reinforce her assertions, Raash invited Ritika and Karan over to dinner. The did the trick. The authoritative way Raash playing the hostess or the way Rasik proudly she* Raashi’s paintings or discussed their plans of bt. • their own flat and then going for a child, Ritika realised that in Mahesh’s house, she was the respected elder sister but the homemaker was Surabhi. The house belonged to her.

People would tell Surabhi that they liked her collection of cut glass and although Surabhi wol be honest enough to tell that all this was bought :«» Ritika, still people would appreciate the way she had displayed it. Even for Karan’s flat, she woi : buy whatever would suit Karan, not what woi : to them both. Inviting their friends over was r ■ scandal. She realised she had lived enough fc_ herself. No more I, me or myself, now onwar:. i I be, either we, us or ours, Ritika resolvec Next evening when Karan came to her c:r to escort her to his flat, she told him that s*e was fed up with sharing the house with he- brother’s family and wanted a house of _e- own.

“No problem, sweetheart. Actually, •<: also toying with the idea of buying a flc* ~ you in Galaxy Apartments. Besides, the flats ce -: the last word in comforts, the neighbours are -: interfering, I can walk in and out of your flat c* : I odd hours…”

“But once we get married, why do you nee: r barge in and out at odd hours?” Ritika cut in Karan gave her a steely, searching look.

“That’s very much unlike you Ritika. Since have you started thinking of stupid proposition • <*■ marriage?”

“Ever since I realised that marriage is not a stupid proposition. Look, Karan, as such, we care a lot for each other, then why shouldn’t we do the same as husband and wife? Have a home where we can invite our friends…”

Karan laughed, rather scoffed. “For the sake of inviting your friends over you want to stake your independence, Ritika?”

“What independence, Karan? Am I not dancing to your tune all the time or doesn’t my world orbit around you?”

“So does mine around you.”

“Then what’s the hitch in getting married?”

“I am a free bird, Ritika. You cannot cage me in with wedding vows.”

“But aren’t you already caged in by my love, Karan?”

“I am, sweetheart, but the day I feel that love is withering and I am sort of suffocating or I need space, I’ll fly away.

Well, that way one can wriggle out of a marriage as well but there’s so many hassles in that and I always want a nassle- free existence.”

“You’re unnecessarily being hypersensitive, Karan. Do you think that our love after all these years is going to wither away?”

Karan shrugged his shoulders.

“I don’t know. The way values and preferences keep changing with the times, love and emotions may also cnange.”

“Whatmakes you think so, Karan?”

“Your sudden urge to get married.”

“This is a normal urge to lead a normal life.”

“Might be, but I am quite happy with our currer abnormal lifestyle but at the same time, I feel that you should have a house of your own and I’ll buy you a lavishly-furnished luxury apartment.”

“I don’t want a house but a home, Karan, and c home can only be created with the love o’ a spouse and the laughter of children.”

“If you’re so particular about all this c-: prepare to shoulder the responsibilities –

take you away to some isolated seashos or secluded hill resort. I’ll search for something suitable on the Internet tonight. So tomorrow you come to the office armed with your leave application. We’ll go away from here at the earliest,” and, without waiting for her reaction, Karan went out of her cabin.

N

ext morning, Ritika didn’t come to the off :e After some time, Karan phoned her but he’ mobile was out of calling range. The same continued till a courier came with two letters in ~t late afternoon. Ritika had sent in her resignatic- to some unavoidable personal problems and requested to be relieved immediately. She hac enclosed a cheque of the stipulated amount to c-e given in lieu of an advanced notice.

In the other envelope marked ‘personal’ she stated that she had merged her soul in Karan s now wanted to flaunt him as her ‘soul mate’. 5 Karan was not interested in making their relat e legal or, say, public, means that he was not considering her the ‘soul mate’ but as a ‘sole ~c whom he could kick away at his whim. She v. prepared for it and so the parting of the ways : other words, walking out of his life, was the ‘Or walking over my soul rather trampling a it with her sole,’ Karan thought wryly.

By Our Correspondent“I like vibrant

colours as they
show enthusiasm
and vivacity,
says the artist.

ime is passing. It will never stop as it never did. Past went, present is here and future is ready to become present. In this process, present is taking place of past and future is taking place of present.

Thus, change is the process that keeps existence moving, working and life like.

Sandeep Passan does digital art, means latest changed/advanced form of art; forwarding message—

be the change what one wants :: m around. ‘Transformation’ is the “-■* of his art excels and so firstly be:.an the transformed artist transformed medium—digital d can be said a good effort. Bes res he is a well known spray a” : i Delhi and got name in this fieLc – period of practice.

Sandeep has an art bent -id since childhood and bagged va-cd prizes and rewards in schoo zsm Simultaneously he is fond of ga:: a and gizmos. Hence he :» technologies to present his art ccrd that have been revolving for lor: m in his mind. Actually, it’s a inheritance of qualities in ar mi Sandeep’s father, Sham Lai J was one of the few who took a -d art & finishing art to great he rd during 60s to early 90s, during * ~d he served most of the top adve~ : d agencies.

Nascent and untouched art – d heart of Sandeep got shape ad maturity in Delhi College of A- ad completing graduation from University. Shri Ashwini K.d Prithviwasi has trained this c a:d to leave footprints on the ps~ fl digital art.

His art works see the interrre: d position of transformation in

one is taking place r d other. In these pa ‘ ga one fades and \ :~d one emerges. The * ■ reflex how the ene’:^l or vibrant comes “”“J vanishing body.

Mr Passan talker J Woman’s Era on a ■ art and other recently.

 

 

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