The moment Ajay had informed Lara about James, Lara was horrified. Her ocean blue eyes stretched on hearing Ajay. A drop of tear didn’t escape her eyes because she stifled at the same place finding it hard to believe what she had just heard. It was only after a couple of seconds she could sense Ajay was still there, waiting for her response.
“Wh…What did you… say?” Lara enquired him, believing that she heard him wrong. But to her bad luck, she had to hear the bad news again.
Her legs floundered and made her glitch. She suddenly gripped the chair beside her and collapsed on it. She slowly gazed at Ajay with panic ridden eyes demanding him to tell more about James. When Ajay left leaving the information he had known, she sat there bursting out uncontrollably without knowing what to do next. Her mind had stopped functioning. She understood that she couldn’t handle the situation herself. She needed help.
“WHAT??? James was arrested? But why??” Lara’s mom yelled from the other end of the phone.
“MA…I will tell you in detail. Now come home soon. Please, Ma,” Lara cried in disgust.
“Okay, Lara. Have you informed your mother-in-law?”
“Yes, I did. They are on the way,” Lara replied her mom in between her sobs.
“Okay don’t worry. We will be there soon” consoled her mom.
Lara waited for everyone to reach home. That was the most menacing time in her life. She walked back and forth starting from hall to door and back to the hall. Her eyes were fixed at the entrance waiting for her parents. She spent each minute in fear, anxiety, nervousness and whatever you term it as. She called her mom every ten minutes to check where they are. She even screamed at them for being slow, but they were actually not. She couldn’t believe herself now because she felt she could decide something bad if it took some more time for them to be here. She even paced at a faster rate to control her unwanted thoughts. Soon her legs became weak and her eyes blurred. She sat down in the hall gasping for breath, sweating heavily. Her head felt heavy. Before she could think more, she fainted.
“Lara…Get up. We are here. Get up” Lara’s mom sobbed when her dad sprinkled water on her face. James’ parents were sitting beside Lara with the worried face.
Lara slowly opened her eyes. Everyone looked at her with the moist eyes. The moment she saw her mother-in-law, she again burst out.
“Lara. Please don’t hurt yourself. We had talked to our Lawyer. The problem will be over soon.” said her father-in-law in a soft voice, soothing her a bit.
Everyone was worried and their eyes looked welled up. But they managed not to cry in front of Lara that could make her weak.
Lara just nodded and rubbed her eyes out of tears. She controlled herself not to cry again and make them more worried.
“But why was he arrested? What is the actual problem?” asked her dad.
“The policeman said they have arrested him for crossing the prohibited area” Lara replied in a calm tone with her heads down. She tried her best in locking her tears but a drop fell down on her wrist making her squeeze her eyes.
“But he is a researcher. He has the permit to go there right?” James’ mother squealed in annoyance.
“Yes, aunty. But the reality is he didn’t submit any proof to them when he was asked. I fear he missed it,” Lara said in disbelief.
“Oh my god!!! How careless he was!!” wailed his mom.
“Okay fine. There are ways to get him out. All of you please stay strong” said her dad. Then Lara’s dad and James’ dad left the room to talk to the lawyer.
May 15, 2018
“James was still behind the bars. The lawyer says the procedure is complicated to get him out.” Lara said with her tears streaming down.
“God… I am so sorry for your husband” replied Ahana in a dejected tone.
Lara meekly nodded and wiped her tears.
They both were silent for a moment. Then Lara continued.
“I couldn’t tolerate the pain of this separation. So I choose to see him in person (at least once) and pour my heart out to him”
“You made a good decision. Don’t worry. He will be out soon” Ahana solaced her a little and Lara thanked her for her support.
All this time, Abinaya was simply sitting in the middle and observing both of them. Truly, Abinaya could feel nothing for Lara. She didn’t even try to comfort Lara. Rather, she was confused about the emotions that Ahana and Lara shared.
“Why are they too emotional? Why did Lara open her dam constantly just for the sake of her husband? He was just arrested right?” she was fighting a war inside her.
She stared at Lara who was now chatting with Ahana. She thought of asking Lara some questions. So she interrupted them.
“Lara… Can I ask you…one thing? Abinaya asked with her eyebrows up.
Ahana gave Abinaya a puzzled look. She silently prayed to god that Abinaya should not ask anything stupid.
“Yes,” Lara approved Abinaya to proceed.
“Hmmm… is your husband a good… person?” asked Abinaya and saw Lara’s changing expressions.
“Hey!! Sorry, Lara. She doesn’t mean that” Ahana tried to hide Abinaya’s stupidity. Ahana even elbowed Abi to keep calm. But Abi was not in a position to hear her sister.
“No. I mean it. I asked, Is your husband a good person? Is he true to you? Why am I asking is, he is, after all, a man right?”
Abinaya was totally unaware of what she was talking. Also, she didn’t do it deliberately to hurt Lara. She couldn’t even understand the agony Lara was going through. The questions came from her heart that was filled with the hate towards men except for her dad (maybe Adhi too).
Lara breathed hard; her eyes widened in shock and lips parted. She threw an angry look at Abinaya and then shifted her look to Ahana who was pleading to Lara with her hands together, uttering sorry under her breathe. Yet Lara couldn’t control her anger.
How could any wife bear a word against her husband?
Abinaya was still staring at Lara demanding an answer. She was facing her back to Ahana. Ahana wanted to control this situation from getting worse. So, Ahana pointed her index finger at Abinaya, and signaled Lara that Abinaya was an abnormal girl.
When Lara understood the sign she suddenly changed her decision of shouting at Abinaya.
“Yes.. he is true to me” Lara replied shortly and turned to the other side.
“But my advice is not to believe any men, be it your husband, be it your friend, be it your relati…..”
“So, don’t you believe your dad?” Lara threw a question that startled Abi.
Lara stared right into Abi’s eyes which were now spread in shock.
Abi then took a deep breath and said, “Fine.. you have logic. of course, I believe my dad because..... I know him well”
“So, it’s simple. Don't judge people without knowing them” Lara finished her part of an argument and smiled.
“But…..” abi started. “Stop it Abi. You are crossing your limits” warned Ahana.
“But Ahana…..” Abinaya was again stopped before she could complete, this time not by Ahana, not even by Lara, but by the announcement for the landing.
Everyone sat straight and had their seat belts. Lara looked through the window. She was not much interested in arguing with Abinaya. That only increased her pain. So Lara chose to be silent.
At the same time, Abinaya was disturbed by fluctuating thoughts. Lara’s words kept ringing in her ears. “Don't judge a person without knowing them”. Abinaya sometimes thought Lara was right but the next moment she changed her mind.
Whatever the case may be, Abinaya’s stubborn stance on men had become a little fragile now. The hatred she had towards men was shattered a bit when she met Adhi and now, after talking to Lara, it was for sure Abinaya’s mind started oscillating.
The flight landed with the thud and the wheels brushed along the runway before halting at Port Blair airport.