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Akanksha didn't want to go. Big cities scared her.The company, she had been working since long was opening a new branch in Delhi and Akansha was promoted as well as transferred. Sumit was on cloud nine. "You go there, I will join you within six months." Akanksha was aghast. As much as she knew her husband, He loved to stay in a small city that too with his family. Her in-laws were taking care of their daughters.He always shared the stories of his friends who had changed after going to Delhi.Moreover, she was worried for her daughters. Her mother in law assured her that she would take care of Ravi and Rashi. Akanksha trusted her in-laws. Both the girls adored their grandparents. Sumit had started planning about their life in Delhi.Akanksha was in a dilemma. Finally,she gave in just to please her husband."This guy always knows how to get things done,"Akanksha heard her mother in law telling her father in law.
Akanksha planned to stay as a paying guest. She was scared. She had never stayed alone. Something in her heart told her that things would never be same again. She loved the new flat which she had to share with three other girls from different places. Radhika, Rajita and Ananya were her flatmates. In the beginning,she was busy with the new assignment so she didn't find any time to look around. Gradually, things started to settle down. Radhika and Rajita were quite aloof and kept to themselves. Ananya intrigued her.She exuded bonhomie.There was something mysterious about this girl which attracted Akanksha. In appearance, they were opposite. Akanksha was simple salwar kameez girl, while Ananya wore whatever she liked. Adding to her aura, were her auburn hair. Whenever she talked waving her thin arms, the butterfly tattoo on her right wrist flashed . Ananya opened to her in a way no one did before. Akanksha loved to listen to her stories about the guys who hovered around her due to her light-hearted manner. Although Ananya was younger to her by ten years, Akanksha was amazed by her wisdom. From a headache to heartache Ananya had a solution for all the pains.
"You know , Ravi loves jalebis, while Rashi likes sooji halwa," she told Ananya when they were having dinner one day.
"Akanksha, I know what does Sumit love, what your mother in law likes. I have been hearing about them since long.Now tell me something about yourself. Who are you?? What are your interests?? You are always talking about your family.
"Me??, Akanksha couldn't think of anything. "Ok, let's start with your friends,"Ananya tried to simplify it.
"Friends, I don't have. School and college friends are long lost.I have colleagues. You are my friend,"Akanksha smiled.
"I will be leaving tomorrow morning and will return on Monday,"she added further.
Ravi and Rashi hugged her when she reached home.Her mother in law had cooked her favourite paneer pasanda. "I don't like this house without you," she told Akanksha."I hope,Sumit gets a transfer soon. I can't wait longer." "Yes your mother is right, "her father in law said.Akanksha was overwhelmed. "I miss both of you too,"she said.
"My friend's family wants to come for dinner tonight. Please make your special chicken biryani, "said Sumit. Akanksha was expecting some affectionate words but all he cared for was food. Akanksha was crestfallen. She was looking for the person for whom she was working in that far off place away from her kids and loving in-laws, he was nowhere to be found. The dinner went well. "I missed you,Sumit" said she once they were alone. "Hmm, I am trying hard for the transfer. I am worried for Rashi and Ravi's studies. Their grades are falling. See, I have bought this new watch. It's imported. Now that you are earning more, we can afford these luxuries. I am planning to buy a new phone,"he said excitedly. "Why don't you take care of kids studies??"she asked. "I am tired after I come from the office. Perhaps we should arrange a tutor.Money is not a problem,now that you are earning so well," he said.Akanksha missed Ananya. "Doesn't he care about anything except money."Does he love me?? thought she. I have this new friend, Ananya. You have met her. Remember that girl with a butterfly tattoo,"she said to take the conversation further. And then she heard him snoring softly.A tear fell from her eyes and wet the pillow. "You must take care of kids studies. I will take over once we start living together. Papa and mummy shouldn't do all the work,"said she while he came to drop her at the railway station.
"Meet my husband, Ananya Akanksha introduced Sumit to her friend. They met for a dinner while Sumit came to Delhi office of his company for his transfer.
" Now I get to know the reason for your changed behaviour. I don't like your friend. I have realized, who is after your changed clothes and appearance," Sumit said bitterly. "Stay away from her. She's a bit too fast for us, the small city people. These girls have no morals.I want my old Akanksha back. You looked more beautiful that way. These western dresses don't suit you much. Akanksha couldn't sleep that night. "Can't this guy see me smiling?? Who I was when I came here to this big city?? She supported me and taught me to be strong. I could survive because she was around.He was the one who wanted me to earn more. I always put his dreams ahead of mine. He is more important than all other people put together. I left my littles ones behind as he wanted to rise in life. Then she remembered all the times, Sumit manipulated her to get what he wanted her to do. And the words of her mother in law. She knows him the best. How can she be wrong??
"You didn't sleep,"asked Ananya in the morning."I am a bit upset with Sumit's behaviour. I think he manipulates me.He presents the circumstances in such a way that I end up doing what he wants me to do and she started crying bitterly. Ananya tried to calm her."If I go out with my colleagues,he tells me that my first duty is to take care of my kids.If I won't teach them their grades will be bad. If I go to my parent's house, he says that his parents will think I love my parents more.If I want to visit my siblings, he finds one or the other fault in their behavior and how they don't treat him well, If I wear western dresses, he says that I look more beautiful in Indian clothes.Despite being a working woman, I never knew how much money my account had. I can never plan any vacation. He plans and controls everything. There is no property in my name. Everything belongs to him. And all this in the name of love," Akanksha was breathless.
"Love never controls. It lets you be who you are. Love is another name for freedom.If you love a bird, you will never keep her in the cage. You will allow her to fly in the open sky. That's where she belongs. People have a very wrong concept of love. Its good that you have understood all this. But now what, How will you explain this to your husband?? Will he understand all this?? Will you be able to live with him if he doesn't ?,"said Ananya. "I will talk to him. If he understands, it's good. I love him and nothing can ever change that. Now I will see the power of my love," said Akanksha.
"You have to visit me, Sumit
Now what, I came back yesterday. What would my parents say??
"I will talk to papa. It's urgent. Take a day off ."
"You come over. I am busy today."
"You must come," and she disconnected.
"Are you out of your mind?? Why did you call me?? asked Sumit once they were comfortably seated in a restaurant.
"I want a 50- 50 partnership,"said Akanksha."That silly girl is filling your mind with nonsense. She is coming between us,"Sumit lost his temper. No one can come between us if we are close enough. Let's come closer," Akanksha touched his hand gently. Sumit looked anxious. He had never seen her like that. A stronger, calmer Akanksha "Don't you love me??"Sumit asked. "I love you and now you have to show you love me too. In all these years , I did what you told me to do. I trusted you as I loved you. I have no regrets about that. however, I am exhausted now. I want more space, more trust and better understanding from you. I think you know what I am talking about or you want me to elaborate a little more,"Akanksha smiled.Sumit looked in her eyes and said," Yes,I understand. But you have to give me some time to match your steps. Wait till we get together. Everyone at home is waiting anxiously to shift with you here. I go back and try to hasten the process. Trust me, you will never get another chance to complain.
Ananya could guess the outcome of the meeting between husband and wife, when she saw Akanksha. "Congratulations on your new found freedom,"she giggled. "I wish I stood up to him earlier. His reaction was along the lines of"What took you so long?" Akanksha grimaced. "I am lucky to have a friend like you. Three cheers to our friendship!!