“What happened in the High Court today, Master?’ asked Selvi.
“It’s all over, Selvi. She came in a matter of fact manner and never even looked at me. The judge asked us the history of our marriage. Of course, the lawyers had prepared us for the questions and had even given us the answers. The divorce judgment had an air of inevitability about it,” Dinesh said and ended his replywith a yawn.
“Was that fellow there?” Selvi asked.
“You mean her lover? He was also there. They were talking very intimately and he was full of spirits,” he said.
“You must have felt very bad,” she said.
“No, it had to happen,” He washed his face and sat at the table.
“When did their affair begin?”
“A few months after our marriage. She must have met him somewhere. Anyway I was not meant forher.”
“Then why did you marry her in the first place?’
“No choice. I joined the software industry and my parents were looking for a bride. They knew her parents well, though not her.”
“And after marriage?”
“You know Selvi, I don’t belong to Chennai. I come from a village. And our values differed.”
“Not so many. She did have a lot of hatred towards me. It was like a volcano waitingto erupt. What have you prepared for breakfast? I told you to give me fish. Where is it?”
“No fish today, master. It was a downpour day before yesterday.”
“Oh! Can’t I get even that?” He beat his fist on the table.
“Master, I can’t get sea fish tomorrow from my relative’s shop.”
“Why didn’t you both have children, Master?”
“I wish you didn’t.”
“No, Selvi,you won’t understand. This had to end. We were poles apart. I don’t blame her. I was just too old-fashioned. She of course was busy at her job as a software programmer in a better company, and was rising high slowly. I just couldn’t stick to any job, had too many problems with my boss wherever I went. I used to return home depressed. She loved going out – enjoying life. I was too dreamy, too aloof.”“It’s all right, Master. You will be happy with another girl.”
“I cannot think of marriage now.”
“Vegetables and rice today, Master.”
“Selvi, you know, my parents were too good. Too good for me. I just kept quarrelling with them. I was always a rebel. They were very patient with me.”
“You told me that your father was a postmaster.”
“Yes, he educated me – gave me something to live for. But Idid nothing for him. Even when he was lying in the Intensive Care Unit, I didn’t take leave to care for him. My mother never forgave me for this. She also died six months ago.”
“Master, everyting will be all right. Shall I prepare soup for you?’
“No, Selvi. Have you ever loved anyone?’
“No, Master, Who will love a poor girl like me?”
You know, today, I went to my office directly from court.Everyone there knew about the development. When we were having lunch together, they said, that I should have handled my relationship with her in a more mature manner. They criticised me severely for applying for divorce. “You should have gone for a compromise, “they said. I had given her a chance. I took the decision only when I felt that this would not click any longer. Isn’t it easy tosermonise?”
“Master, don’t listen to them. I know you.”
“And of course Bitu, my assistant in programming felt that such things have become common. Just take it easy,” he said.
“Yes, Master, he is right.”
“You know, there are a group of girls in our office – fresh graduates from top level engineering colleges, brilliant and hard working. Of course they enjoy life and have boyfriends. But I don’t like themI don’t fit in their circle. They told me point- blank that I lack maturity. They said things like “marriage is all about accommodation and adjustment.” They refuse to face the real question – was it right for her to seek another guy? Anyway I want to forget everything.
“Everything will be alright, Master.”
“Selvi, I have never asked anything about you so far. You are an orphan taken care of...