I was looking straight out of the glass window. My eyes were greeted with the surrounding lush greenery and the low hillocks of the Singbhum district of Jharkhand. The hillocks were quite distinctly visible since it was a clear sunny winter morning.

I moved from the bedside towards the extensive verandah of this hotel room. I seated myself on a comfortable overstuffed chair. A cool breeze was persistently blowing, but it had lost its early morning chill. I was aimlessly gazing at the clear sky enshrouded by cumulonimbus clouds which were quite rare in late December. A lot of local birds were chirping outside since this hotel was wrapped in ample greenery. The persistent cool breeze drifted my thoughts to all the positive aspects of my life. Indeed God has been quite benevolent towards me. Maybe I could have achieved more and I am nowhere close to the pinnacle of the renowned multinational company where I am presently employed as a sales executive. However, I am quite content with my life.

I am quite indebted to my mother who has been a constant pillar of support after my father’s untimely demise. It was her persistent moral support in every step of my career that kept me afloat and motivated me on the right path. There were a lot of occasions when I was about to lose faith in myself, but she was the one who had immense belief in my credentials and kept on motivating me towards my goal. She was the only person with whom I could confide all my feelings and emotions.

However, things started to change drastically after I met Tania. She was my batchmate in college. We gradually became quite close since we had many common interests that help us strengthen our bonding. I was mostly busy conversing with Tania over the phone after coming back home. My mother observed this drastic change since I no longer used to share my daily experiences with her. Now I realize she must have felt very lonely while I was engrossed in conversing with Tania. She used to eagerly anticipate our conversations which I could sometimes faintly realize from her expressions, but at that time I had different priorities. However, she hardly complained and one day she directly asked me about Tania. I did not hold back anything from her. She wanted to meet her and after a few days, Tania came to our rented flat in South Kolkata.

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The sequence of events that unfolded after that day was nothing less than a dream which would lead most of the lovers to envy us. Both of our families consented in no time. I soon bagged the job of junior sales executive in a reputed multinational company which allowed me to tie the knot with Tania. After marriage, Tania also managed to bag the job of Assistant Professor in a reputed girls’ college in South Kolkata. We soon shifted to a spacious flat in a newly constructed posh apartment in the southern fringes of the city.

However, I could feel that few niggles created a bit of a rift between my mother and Tania. There were few petty issues where they failed to reconcile. Tania often informed me about these things, but I thought that my silence on such issues will not be anything less than golden. I was smart enough to realize that taking any one’s side in such matters will mean alienating the other person which I could never afford to do. However, I patiently used to listen to both parties without making any drastic comments.

However, as the days rolled on I could feel entrapped between two woman sentinels who were discreetly waging a cold war between themselves while executing their daily household chores. It was a kind of situation which only men could understand and I am pretty sure that I am in the same boat on this issue with a major proportion of Indian husbands.

My thought processes were suddenly derailed and I soon realized that I am seated on an overstuffed chair on the verandah of a hotel room in Ghatsila. Tania came and touched me from behind and motioned me to take a bath. She had completed her bath by then. I then remembered that I had to hurry up since we had planned to spend the night in Jamshedpur which is just a one and half hour drive from here. We were planning to travel thereafter completing our lunch. Tania was getting ready and was continually telling me to hurry up. I quickly went on to take a bath, but traces of thoughts were still quite predominant in my mind. Tania almost forced me to arrange this sojourn. I was never quite keen to come to be a part of this trip. This was mostly because I didn’t want to keep my mother alone. She has not been in her pink of her health for quite some time. She has been suffering from some respiratory niggles for the last few months. Tania suggested that her mother could come over our flat and spend some time with my mother in our absence. But my mother did not relent because she thought that Tania’s father will face a grave problem in handling the household chores sans her wife. I knew very well that her terms with Tania’s mother were quite similar to that of Tania. So I could not force this issue and had to consent that she will be alone while we are away.

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Both I and Tania always remain entangled in handling our respective careers. We hardly get the much-needed quality time with each other. So I had to relent giving up my initial hesitation when Tania decided for this trip, which she thought was quite necessary for reinvigorating our nuptial bonds. I could not disagree with her because she was quite justified in her demands. A thought persistently crossed my mind now. It would have been better if my mother accompanied us, but I could never muster that courage to even ask her. You can call me henpecked, but I didn’t want to initiate conjugal agitation and I thought that this trip would also be an unexpected respite for me from the hands of the daily effeminate squabbles. I quickly went to the shower and completed my bath. 

I had to call my mother. She did not pick up my phone when I called her this morning. Maybe she was asleep, but she is an early riser. I was trying not to evade any negative thoughts from haunting my mind since I am quite helpless being almost three hundred kilometers away from her. I had told my neighbors, to keep an eye on her. They are quite responsible people and I was quite sure they would have informed me if something had occurred. After coming out of the bathroom, I noticed that Tania was ready draped in a lovely blue sari but looked quite pensive. She informed me that our neighbor had called. My mother was running a fever and was also suffering from some respiratory problems. But things are now under control as they have provided all the necessary medical attention. Our suitcases were already packed. I decided, we had to go back. Tania was also anticipating this. She just softly mentioned that things are now under control. But I was not in a mood to continue our romantic sojourn. She could easily comprehend this and she relented to return. I called up our neighbors and informed them that we are coming and thanked them wholeheartedly for whatever they have done.

We completed our lunch and we drove back to Kolkata. Tania remained silent throughout this drive. I could feel what she was going through. We had planned to visit the famous Jubilee Park in Jamshedpur. Incidentally, tonight was a full moon and the park with all its decorative grandeur bathing in serene moonlight would have been no less than our tailor-made romantic abode that could instill an indelible impression in our hearts. But things hardly pan out the way we plan it and I think that the almighty has some specific reasons for shaping our lives in a particular pattern which we later realize. However, I was feeling sorry for her but these are the vagaries of life. Life often assesses a single individual by providing him different roles that he has to execute at the same time. This was exactly what I was going through. My mother was quite glad to see us. She was watching a news channel lying on the sofa in our drawing-room. She seemed me a bit tired, but I could feel she was quite relieved to see me. I checked her temperature and examined the medicines which she was taking. I was about to get fresh when suddenly a news announcement of a local news channel grabbed my attention. The news presenter was announcing that a series of bomb blast had taken place this late afternoon, which has wreaked havoc on numerous private cars and public transport vehicles. There were many casualties and a local rebel group has confirmed their involvement in this incident. The incident had taken place on the Golmuri road, which is a connecting road between Ghatshila and Jamshedpur.

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