MY NEW HOME
” I am sure Neena, Jai is having an affair. ”
” C’mon Ritu. Jai loves you. He would never do such a thing. Nothing to hurt you. You are unnecessarily worrying.”
Ritu knew that Jai was hiding something from her. She wanted to find out. All that she suspected was him having an affair.
Jai and Ritu were married for a little over a year. Jai was into banking and Ritu -a housewife. Ritu wanted to have a house of their own. They were trying their best to make ends meet and buy a house. They had cut off on most of their expenses. They were leading a frugal lifestyle.
Ritu had noticed some behavioural changes in Jai. He would often be seen glued to his phone. Either attending or making calls. Texting. When Jai would notice that Ritu was watching her, he would either flee the place or whisper and talk.
Whenever Ritu had confronted Jai, he would make some excuses. Jai would even come home late. This had made Ritu suspicious about the whole act. Neena was Ritu’s close friend. One day she had invited her home and discussed the matter with her. Neena had assured her that Jai would never do anything to hurt Ritu. She also had told Ritu to stop being doubtful as it would mar their relationship.
Ritu had tried her best to not raise any doubts- but Jai’s conduct had redirected her thoughts and she had continued to behave suspiciously.
” Ritu, I have something important to do. I shall come back soon. ”
” It’s Sunday today Jai. Where are you going ?”
” I told you Ritu that it’s important. Trust me I shall be back by noon. We will have lunch together. Bye. Love you.”
Ritu was unhappy. She had thought that what was so important that he had to go on a Sunday morning- as Jai would hardly step out on a Sunday morning.
Ritu had decided that she would follow Jai. Jai drove his car while Ritu had followed him in an auto-rickshaw. She had wondered as to where he was headed. Jai finally had parked his car and had entered an apartment complex. Ritu had got off the rickshaw and looked at the condominium. As she was about to enter the complex –
” Ma’am whom do you want to meet ?” asked the security guard.
” Just now one man went inside -I am with him. ”
” Oh okay. Sorry ma’am you can go .”
Ritu had entered the complex and had looked around. She could not find Jai.
” Hello, security- could you tell me where did that man go?”
The security glanced at Ritu.
” I am his wife. Which way did my husband go?”
The security guard got suspicious.
” Ma’am you say you are with him and he is your husband. Don’t you know where he has gone? Did he not tell you ?”
” He told me it was a surprise.”
” Fine then. Why don’t call him and ask ?”
Ritu did not know what to do. She thought she was so close to finding the truth and she had missed the opportunity. She had waited for him outside the complex. It was almost an hour. Ritu had seen Jai coming outside the building. She had quickly concealed herself. She saw Jai was with a lady. Both of them were laughing. After a brief handshake, Jai had walked towards the car.
Ritu again had followed Jai in an auto-rickshaw. Jai was going home this time. Ritu was angry. She had controlled herself. Jai had got off the car and walked towards the house. He had rung the bell and was surprised that Ritu had taken time to answer the doorbell. He had taken out his cell phone to call Ritu. Just when he was about to dial –
” Here you are. I have been ringing the bell for the last 10 minutes. Where had you been?”
” I had gone to the grocery store. ”
” Oh! I see. What is it that you wanted to buy? You should have told me. I would have got it on my way back home .”
Ritu was thinking about what to answer. She began stammering –
” Na. Na.. noth… nothing. It’s nothing. The shop was closed.”
” Okay relax Ritu. Why are you getting so nervous? Come let’s go inside. I am hungry. ”
After they had entered the house, Ritu yelled –
” Where had you been Jai? You never step out on a Sunday morning. Where did you go ?”
” Why are you shouting Ritu? Calm down. I told you it was something important. Like you said I never step out on a Sunday morning. If it wasn’t important, I would have not gone. ”
Ritu wanted to tell Jai that she had followed him. But then she had thought that she needed more proof to reveal that Jai has been cheating on her. If she would tell that she had seen him with some woman, he would make another excuse. Ritu started laughing aloud.
” I was just joking Jai. I know it must have been important. I trust you, darling.”
But from within, she was raging in anger.
Over the next few days, she had an eagle eye over Jai. She had even tried to access his phone if she could find a clue. Jai had become cautious after the Sunday morning episode. Hence he had changed his passcode on his phone and attended fewer calls from home. Ritu had observed these changes too and she was also aware that Jai had studied her behaviour.
One evening Ritu was watching a movie. While she was watching, she had come across this idea from the movie and decided to give it a try for real. The protagonist in the movie had drugged her co-worker to know about a business secret and he had divulged the code which had helped her grab the business deal. She did a little bit of research after that and had planned on doing the same.
Ritu was all set ready to execute her plan. It was her birthday on Saturday and she had thought that what better day would it be to experiment. She would record and have it as proof against her husband and she thought it would be a good birthday present she would gift herself.
Ritu had woken up early that morning and made juice. She had poured them into two glasses so that Jai would not suspect her as both would drink the juice together in the morning before their breakfast. She had added a little mixture of the serum in his glass and stirred it well and left it on the dining table. She had carried her glass of juice along with her to the sitting area and had begun reading the newspaper.
” Jai, Jai. Your juice is ready. It’s on the dining table. Come and have it fast. Jai, Jai….”
Jai had come outside from their bedroom. He saw that Ritu was in the sitting area reading the newspaper along with her juice glass.
“Ritu, you are getting a call on your phone. Please go get it. It’s been ringing. ”
” Really?? I did not hear the phone ringing.”
” Your phone is on silent. How will you hear? Go go. Go get it. ”
Ritu got up from the sofa and looked at Jai. He had headed towards the dining table where the juice had been placed. She had looked at him and smiled. She thought to herself that now the fun begins. She was even annoyed that Jai hadn’t wished her yet. As she was entering the room, she whispered to herself- ” How would he remember my birthday? He is busy with his external affairs.”
Ritu had entered the bedroom. It was a pleasant surprise for her. Jai had decorated the room with flowers and balloons. On the table, there was a box placed and beside it, there was a big envelope that was gift wrapped. Ritu had opened the box and seen a bunch of keys. Then she had opened the envelope. There were documents of a house. Ritu was nonplussed.
Ritu had taken the keys and the documents to the dining area. Jai wasn’t there. She had noticed that the juice glass was empty. Then she had walked towards the sitting area and had seen Jai on the balcony talking over the phone.
” Jai, Jai what is this ?”
Jai had signalled Ritu asking her to hold on for a few minutes. In the meantime, Ritu had sat on the sofa and completed her juice which she had kept earlier.
Jai had ended his conversation and had walked towards Ritu –
” Happy Birthday darling. It’s our house. It’s our new home.
These are the keys and these are the documents of the house.
Some more paperwork needs to be done. I was on the phone with the builder and he said that by next week everything will be ready. We can sign the papers and move in soon.
I shall take you to the house later today. You can have a look.
I wanted to surprise you.
I know I should have shown you first for your approval too.
But it’s just the way you like it.
I am sure you are going to love it. ”
Ritu looked at Jai. She was lost for words. Her eyes were moist.
” Thank you, Jai. Thank you. Sure we will go have a look at it later .”
” This was the reason I had been busy for the last couple of months.
Talking to the builder, plumbing work, carpentry, interiors.
I wanted to surprise you on your birthday.
That was the reason I was in a hurry.
There is some more work to be done. Have a look.
Any changes feel free to do it. ”
Ritu then thought that all this was because of the house and she had unnecessarily suspected him of having an affair. She thought how stupid she was to think about Jai in this manner. She had recollected Neena’s words that Jai would never do anything to hurt her. She looked at the keys and went through the documents. She had promised herself that she would never repeat this. She would not suspect him anymore. In all this excitement, Ritu had forgotten about the juice.
Jai called out for Ritu. Ritu was engaged in the documents. She looked at Jai –
” Ritu, Sorry.”
“That is okay Jai. No problem. I am sure the place is wonderful. Our choices are more or less the same .”
” I am not talking about the house Ritu.”
” Then what is it about Jai?”
” The juice that you had placed here-your juice glass, I accidentally spilt it.
I cleaned it up quickly before you came out of the room.
I did not want to disappoint the birthday girl and hence, I replaced my glass with yours.”
Ritu was baffled when she had learnt about it. She had bounced from the sofa and stood still not knowing what to do.