If wolves win the battle against tigers, what right do tigers have to live?
So, what have you all decided about our vacation? Are we going to the jungle safari as decided earlier or has Shweta persuaded you all to go to the honeymoon spot again?
Raghav was loud, unlike many other content writers in his profession. Shalini, his wife and Shushma, his sister, could easily hear him as he entered the apartment with Raman.
As Raman sat down, Raghav noticed Shweta. She was sitting elegantly on the couch with Shalini’s hand in her lap. Raghav became tense. Others sensed it. Mood of the whole room quickly changed from gaiety to gloomy. This small room of 15 ft. by 10 ft. felt like a confined cell to Raghav. The cell from where he could not run away. Raghav was not courageous enough to confront Shweta, so he lighted a cigarette, to calm himself down.
Raman took his usual place near his girlfriend, Shweta’s, feet. Shushma and Shalini sat down on the couch with cushions on their legs, facing Raghav. Shweta’s hands still caressed Shalini’s. Raghav felt alienated and puffed the cigarette once more. Everyone knew it was going to be Raghav and Shweta’s show now. They just have to listen to the conversation, sometimes affirming to Raghav and always assorting to Shweta.
Shweta was Raghav’s girlfriend during college. But life changed after graduation. Raghav joined as an assistant to a writer and met Shalini there. Meetings turned into dates and they got married. After marriage Shalini left her job and became a homemaker. Shweta entered their life again as Raghav’s college friend. Tonight, all college friends have gathered together and were planning a pleasure trip.
Last year, they had traveled to a honeymoon spot. There all had a good time, other than Shweta breaking up with her then boyfriend David. Due to that, David and Raghav had to stay in one room. Shweta and Shalini took another room. Shushma stayed alone.
All this flashed instantly in Raghav’s mind, besides many other disturbing things. All things, he didn’t want to remember. For the first time in his life, he wasn’t in a mood to wit out this awkward situation. He despised Shweta for being there this afternoon. He had come home early, exhausted. This entire week was tough at office.
Raghav noticed that Shweta was witting over the situation by calling him a dumb. She gave an impression that he was thinking unreasonable about her, as she had already agreed to go for a jungle safari with them.
But Shweta was Shweta. She blurted out the plan in a hurry. First, they will go to a jungle safari and then they will move to a honeymoon spot. Raghav sensed the cunning ways of Shweta and was much more alert now. He started thinking about how to cancel the tour.
Raghav- I was joking. I didn’t get leave from office. May be this time I won’t be able to come with you guys.
To Raghav’s surprise, Shalini seemed pleased to hear that.
Shalini (smiling back to Raghav): I won’t cancel mine. You can request again for leave or we all will go by ourselves. (She completed her sentence by looking in affirmation at Shweta).
This alarming reply made Raghav light one more cigarette. He excused himself from there to get changed.
The response of Shweta and quick reply of Shalini were ringing in his head. He stood in front of the mirror thinking about the situation. Fatigued and exhausted by work, he had taken an early leave to be with Shalini and Shushma. Shushma was living with them for last few days.
While driving back to home, he had got a call from Raman. He was happy to pick him up. On way back home, they had a good chat about their holiday plans. They were confident of working out something proper for everybody.
He was aghast to see Shweta in his house. At this hour of the day, she generally avoids all contacts. Unless she is on a hunt or looking out for some information. Shweta is an immaculate beauty, not to go unnoticed by anyone. Even for Raghav, after 3 years of breakup.
Raghav comes out of the room, fresh from his fatigue and thoughts. All his friends were discussing the trip in high pitch and seemed full of excitement. He dragged a chair close to Shweta, caresses her hair and kissed her on forehead.
Raghav- I am sorry for my mistakes. You all always understand me. So, I understand you too. I thought I could come to the trip with you all. But since I won’t get leave from office, I won’t be able to come. This is my final position. Hope you all will respect my sentiments.
He noticed a tinge of jealously in Shalini’s eye. He avoided confronting her and turned to Raman.
Raghav- Make sure that everything is managed well. Call my fried Biyandu, if you need anything there for jungle safari. For Shimla I will request Birendra to help with arrangements.
After a long time, Raghav noticed solace in the penetrating eyes of Shweta. He knew is going to happen. He was least bothered about it.
Raghav returned from office with a box full of work-stuffs. He planned to work a lot this weekend. This Friday morning’s events would have been anyone’s guess. Shweta would have persuaded everyone else to go for the trip. She must be waiting for him at his house, to spend some time with him. To avoid all that, he came back home late. Carrying extra work to engage him during the weekend and shield his shame.
He opened the door and to his surprise, Shalini was standing there. Standing with a bunch of red roses. His favorite! Her face is so dear that he could not even acknowledge his guilt.