‘Leave me alone! I wish you would disappear.’
I did not disappear; I stayed in our home, slept in our bedroom. Sometime after this, I do not remember the exact date, he returned from office and took cognizance of my presence.
‘Want to discuss something. Are you free for a minute?’
I wasn’t, but I made myself available.
‘I have to leave for France for six months. Tomorrow.’
I waited. Aditya looked at me in the mirror.
‘What are your plans?’
‘Are you running away, Adi?’ I didn’t await his answer. ‘No, I have no plans. Have a play scheduled for next week and am busy with that.’
‘So when I return, will you still be here?’
I stood before him now, between him and the mirror.
‘I’ll be here. Not waiting, not pining, not penitent, not imperceptible to all creatures, intangible, unseen, veiled; not for me the penance for a sin I am not guilty of. I have absolved myself of all perceived guilt. I will be here as I am.’
* Sattar ,Arshia. Valmiki’s Ramayana. Penguin Books, 2000, p. 74
Sucharita Dutta-Asane is a writer based in Pune. Her work has appeared in Vanilla Desires, Unisun Publications and Ripples, Short Stories by Indian Women Writers, APK Pulishers as well as in various online magazines. Her retelling of Sita’s story has been selected for Zubaan’s forthcoming anthology, The Speculative Ramayana. Her collection of short stories titled The Jungle Stories won an award at Oxford Bookstores’ e-author contest in 2008. Besides this, she freelances as an editor with a Literary Agency in India.
First Published in Out of Print Literary Magazine, Aug 12, 2011