I harden myself and message Uma, “I wish you hadn’t discussed my life with Vijay. He is just a client and nothing more. Anything else is just a misunderstanding.”
She finally calls. “What misunderstanding?” she asks, her voice heavy.
“You know what I am talking about.” I am on the offensive now, the best way to defend myself. “You have been a fool to jump to conclusions and talk to Vijay about my life…and embarrass me completely. I design his house, that’s all. I would thank you to keep out of my life and stop speculating. How can I work with him if he thinks I have feelings for him?” I am amazed that I sound so confidently angry.
“No, and that’s the end of it.”
Disconnect. Walk out. Leave the mobile behind.
There is a depression over the sea and it is possible that the city will bear its brunt. The cyclone depresses me.
I hate the howling winds and the swishing branches. I hate them. They are eerie, they scare me. There is something terribly ominous about the weather this year, as if it is sending me a personal message. I wish I had someone with me to receive the message.
“Don’t you think Chennai can do with the rains?” Karthik would ask.
“Rains can pour without all this drama,” I would say pensively.
Why, even the Baisakhi winds in Calcutta used to give me this sinking feeling though Kavitha used to like it.
I reach home with difficulty navigating against the furious winds and try my luck chatting with Kavitha, telling her about the weather.
She perks up at my taking the initiative and we chat awhile, recollecting some adventure we had in this period. I don’t remember it but I am sure she is right.
“But why are you alone? You never told me about your family.”
I resist the urge to evade. I tell her I broke up with Karthik.
“Oh! You broke up? Incompatible?”
“Can’t say that,” I admit. “Something I did to hurt him,” I say.
“Oh! Had an affair? LOL”
“Almost.” I can imagine her falling off the chair.
“Whaaattt! Do you mean it?”
“Let me call.”
“LOL! Don’t. You think I will reveal the dirty secrets?” I ask, hiding behind the neutrality of the computer.
“Hey, I don’t know how to react. Are you okay? Are you steady with the guy? He was a friend?”
“No. His sister’s husband. ”
“What! What madness. Why?” She adds, “Suicidal! Unless you wanted to end your marriage, or hated the sister-in-law.”
“Not that…I like her.”
“Then you hated your husband?”
I put my head down on the table. No! I can’t understand how I could hate him so much then and not understand why now.
“Bye, got a call.”
I escape. I thought exorcising would bring some clarity. But nothing good has happened. I have proved to Kavitha I am crazed, that is all.
I switch the lights off and go to bed. The howling thoughts in my head are louder than the winds outside.