Avi was fed with living a dual life, and he wanted out. The stress was too much, and it was affecting his physical and mental health.
It's high time he charted out a new course for his life and made a decision soon, he thought, or it would be too late. Today he would speak to his wife Nima and confess everything. She will be shocked and hurt, but he hoped she would forgive him eventually.
The phone rang, and he snapped out of his reviree, it was his Boss.
"Avi please come to my cabin with the project report."
Avi picked up the file, and walked to his Boss's room. He had completed the report before the deadline and was sure his Boss would be mighty pleased about it.
"May I come in Sir?"
"Yes please do".
Avi handed the file to his Boss. His Boss 'Yaver, 'was a middle-aged man, and a taskmaster.
"Please sit down", he said, as he went through the report.
"Good work Avi, as usual you have managed to complete it before the stipulated time."
"Thank you, Sir," said 'Avi.'
"I have some good news for you, I'm promoting you to the post of 'Regional Head" of the northern region", said the Boss.
Avi was thrilled to bits, he had been waiting for this opportunity for a long time, and couldn't hide his pleasure.
"Thank you Sir. I won't disapoint you."
"I know," said his Boss, it means more traveling and more responsibility, but of course with lots of perks".
"I'm fully aware of what it takes to make it to the top, Sir," said Avi confidently
"Good, the project will commence only next week. Why don't you take a break and enjoy some time with your family? Once the new project starts it's going to be very hectic without much free time.." said Yaver
As he walked out of his Boss's cabin, Avi called his travel agent, and booked a ticket on the first available flight to Delhi.
On the way home he picked up Nima's favourite chocochip cake from the bakery near his office. He remembered a phrase he had read somewhere, "killing with sweetness" but he quickly got rid of the thought.
Nima was genuinely delighted to hear about his promotion.
"Let's go out and celebrate in the evening", she said.
"Not tonight Nima , I'm leaving for Delhi in the evening . Infact this is a long business trip and I will return only next week".
Nima didn't say anything, as she was used to his erratic working schedules. Next month would be their thirteenth wedding anniversary. Everything was hunky dory with their marriage, the only flaw was that they were childless.
They had tried various treatments, doctors, hospitals but no results. She wanted to adopt a baby but Avi was against it. He assured her it didn't matter to him,that she couldn't conceive, and is happy with things as they are, but in her heart of hearts she knew he was lying.
Avi wondered, how she would react , once he told her about his decision, but as cruel as it may sound, he had to do it, as he couldn't think of any other option.
Nima was oblivious of what was going in Avi's mind, she was busy packing his bag, and making plans to celebrate his promotion, after he returned from his business trip. Seeing her excited and animated face, Avi decided to wait, and tell her of his decision only after he returned from his trip.
He landed at Delhi airport by 8pm.After hiring a cab, he settled in, for a long ride that would take him to the outskirts of the city.
Two hours later, he entered a gated community which had series of row houses, a swimming pool, a club house shopping center, and a school, with top rate security at all hours. It was a very safe and secure place. He loved coming here.
He stopped his cab outside a small cosy cottage surrounded by tiny creepers and plants.
He paid the driver, and walked up the three steps and rang the door bell.
A small girl around eight years old, opened the door.
"Daddy !! " she squealed, as soon as she saw him and leapt up into his arms" .
Her mother, a shy simple young lady stood behind her smiling happily.
"How are you Sarita?"he looked at her lovingly.
"What a grand surprise this is! " she said and hugged Avi.
"My boss has granted me one week's leave, so I came here to spend with my family."
He entered the tastefully decorated living room, and sat on his favorite armchair with his daughter hovering around him and regaling him with stories about her school and friends. He looked happy and contented. Finally he was home.
Later that night, as they lay in bed, he shared the news if his promotion with Sarita.
"I'm planning to shift here permanently, as I will have to operate from Delhi".
"What about Nima?" asked Sarita with a puzzled look.
"I'm going to ask her for a divorce, once I go back to Mumbai, and tell her everything"
"Are you sure Avi ? I'm feeling so guilty about it".
"Don't be Sarita, I will see that she is well taken care of, and she won't lack for anything as long as she lives. I'm also giving the house in Mumbai to her.
He placed a finger on her lips to quiten her.
"I'm not happy being a weekend father to Kiara.She's growing up and I want to be present here all times for her and you. I have made up my mind after pondering over it for years.
Sarita was elated, finally Avi will be living with Kiara and her, which she always wanted.She felt sorry for Nima ,but life can be cruel sometimes.
She had Avi met eight years ago. She used to work in a a bank those days where he had an account They would interact frequently as she was handling his account, and would solve any problems regarding his account.
One day he had come to bank during the closing hours, and had offered her a lift home.She accepted readily as she knew him.
On the way home, she told him a little about herself that she was an only child, her father was no more, and she was living with her old mother.informed her, that he was married.
Avi was attracted to this simple yet girl with a sweet voice. He never missed an opportunity to see her whenever he visited the city.
Very soon both got into a relationship which was not going to lead anywhere.
Avi was aware, he was cheating on his wife Nima, who was loyal and devoted to him, he was ridden with guilt but he couldn't help himself as he had fallen deeply in love with Sarita.
One day Avi got from Sarita call in his office, she was sobbing uncontrollably.
"Sarita what happened ?,"he asked, his heart sinking in.
"Avi I'm pregnant and I'm so scared, I will have to go in for an abortion".
"No!! He practically screamed.
I'm coming there, and don't do anything until I reach there".
Avi took the next available flight and reached Delhi, within a few hours.
She collapsed in his arms, as soon as she saw him.
"Don't worry Sarita I will take care of everything" he said trying to calm her down.
For years he was dying for this wonderful opportunity, he won't allow her to snuff it just like that.
"Let's get married", he told her out of the blue.
"But you're already married Avi" and our marriage won't be a legal one".
"I'm aware of it Sarita. I want our baby, and to get married legally it will take long of time, and we don't have the time.
He took her to a temple, and they got married in a simple ceremony attended by her mother and few close friends of Sarita's.
Avi was over the moon, at last he would be experiencing the joys of fatherhood which seemed like a far- fetched dream a few years ago.
He started visiting Sarita more often, and his happiness knew no bounds when he held his daughter in his arms for the first time, who was a replica of her mother, but had his long nose and broad forehead.
They settled in life peacefully. Avi visited them at the first available opportunity. Sarita resumed her job after few months and her mother helped her to look after the baby. Life was cruising along just fine.. Sarita never complained about anything, happy with things as they were.
A year ago Sarita's mother passed away, and Avi asked her to leave her job and stay at home with Kiara as he was in a position to provide for them. He purchased a house for them in a safe locality as he would be at peace, and not having to worry when he was not with them . But now more than ever he wanted to be with them, and hated to be away from his daughter.
Kiara was the happiest when she was with her dad. Her chitter chatter echoed in the house which radiated happiness.
The week passed very soon, they went to the movies, malls and markets with lots of shopping and gifts for Kiara and Sarita.
It was time for Avi to leave, and he held them in a tight hug promising to come and stay with them permanently very soon.
In Mumbai, Nima was excited, as Avi was coming home. This time around, he had been gone for many days and she missed him.
She wanted to share a wonderful news with him. When the doctor called her yesterday she didn't belive him, they had been trying for thirteen years and she had practically given up.
From past few days she was feeling very uneasy so she went to see the doctor.He
asked her to take some tests, and finally she got the results yesterday.
She was 'pregnant ', she knew Avi would be on top of the world , they had waited for so long for this precious gift.She was dying to see his face when she breaks this news to him
Avi reached Mumbai around 7pm, and took a cab home, he thought of completing the unpleasant task of confessing to Nima as soon as possible before his resolve weakens, and he succumbs to his guilt.
Nima welcomed him with a warm hug as always. Avi noticed a certain glow on her face and she looked very beautiful. She handed him a cup of hot coffee, and was going to the kitchen to prepare a special dinner for the double celebration.
Avi felt this was the right time to tell Nima about his final decision.
"Nima, please come and sit here, I want to tell you something very important".
"Not now Avi, I'm preparing your favorite dishes, and will talk after dinner. I too have a surprise for you"
"Nima its important , please sit down"..
" You look so tensed, what's on your mind Avi?" She was worried seeing his sad expression.
"Nima it may sound cruel, but I can't go on like this, it's killing my mental peace and affecting my work too, so I have taken this decision".
She had never seen Avi so agitated before.
"What is it Avi? Is it about your job?"
"Nima, please be calm and patient and listen to me .. you would always ask me why do I go to Delhi so often".
"Avi I was only teasing you .I know you go there for your official work."
"Nima, apart from my work, I also have a family there, one eight year old daughter and a wife". He told her how he had met Sarita nine years ago, about their affair and how he had to marry her because of his daughter Kiara.
"I'm planning to make Delhi my base and settle there. My daughter is growing up and she needs me and it's very difficult for me to be away from her. I want a divorce Nima so I can legally marry Sarita".
Nima felt as though she was standing in a battle field, and the enemy was spraying her with bullets.She couldn't believe her ears.The pain in her heart was so terrible as if someone had punctured it a hundred times over. She just stared at Avi as though he was some stranger who had come home in place of her husband.
"What about me Avi?" She struggled to keep her voice steady.
"I'm sorry Nima but don't worry, I have made good provisions for you. There's nothing you will lack for as long as you live". You can continue living in this house as it will be in your name.
Nima was blank ,she got up and went to her bedroom crying and sobbing as she lay on bed thinking of the life growing inside her.
Should she tell Avi about the baby?, after all it's his baby too and he has every right to know about it.
He had made his choice without giving her a second thought, cutting her out from his life as though she was some part of his body that had turned poisonous.
This is all wrong she thought.
She and Avi should be celebrating and rejoicing this beautiful moment, but here she was, all alone weeping and mourning .
Not anymore, she had made her final decision, she stood up,wiped her tears, and went out of her bedroom to face the inevitable.