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Mrs Sharma and her brigade was at the door. As usual.
“He’s so naughty Neeta. Not that I am complaining” she said as matter-of-factly while biting into the sandwich; “He needs to be- you know- taught to behave” She flashed her fake smile at me.
“Look at my children – Simple and Dimpy- So well behaved. No?”
I flashed my fake smile at her. The other day I had seen them sneaking out Mrs. Sharma’s make up and forcefully applying it on their maid’s face. It reminded me of the movie Chalbaaz. Yes the Sridevi one.
Draining her tea, Mr. Varma adjusted herself on our couch and asked “So, your Mister…. Is he not at home?” She asked speculatively. “Today is Sunday- No work No?”
“Well- er- he’s out of town on government work” I gave my well rehearsed reply. “You know the summers are about to start. He’s been asked to help with the Government Project”
“Of course of course. I understand.” She cleared her throat and made a face. She sure masked any signs of "understanding".
“ I just asked because the last time I saw him…” she pretended to mentally calculate and said “… was ten months ago” “Right after you moved in here”
Some of the ladies took a mini gasp at my statement minus the background score of a televised soap. In a town like ours, for a husband to be away from his family was the second most gossiped topic at the kitty party circles, building corridors and playground parks for unemployed wives of rich businessmen.
I sighed. “Yes, but his work is important. You know how government projects are. Er- please have more cake. I baked it” saying that I glanced at my plate to see the leftovers of my son’s birthday cake. I quickly excused myself to refill more potato chips and rushed to the kitchen.
I could still hear the chatter of the ladies and munching of crisps as I absentmindedly filled the bowl with more chips. A sideways glance and I saw my son all tired and angelically curled up in his bed still having his brand new sneakers on him clutching his brand new Iron Man figurine.
Banter in the family room ceased after the neighbours had left. I started to clean up and then-
“You sure know how to make an entry” I said.
“Well. Its my son’s birthday. I wouldn’t miss it for all the stars in the galaxy.” He said while climbing through the window.
“Well then you should have been there to help me field the questions. You heard them-“ And unconsciously I had started to well up. He noticed this and in a flash he was right beside me.
“I know my dear. I cannot apologise enough. It is- difficult – for me. You do understand don’t you? See, I have got something for you”
I turned to him and a shining stone gleamed out of his hand. It shone with such a gleam that I could not be angry at him for long. It was beautiful. Just like him.
I sniffed. “Ah! All the sacrifices I need to make while being married to a super human” I mocked lovingly at him.
He chuckled. “Being hidden from the eyes of world is easy. But being hidden from you….I cannot even think of it”
While his cape billowed in the cool night breeze, I forgot all my worries and the surrealism of it in his sweet embrace.