Swara tossed and turned in bed. It was 10 pm. She had hoped to have an early start the next
morning in order to make up for the time she had lost in the afternoon. Her headache had
worsened and sleep was evading her. Finally she got up and made herself a cup of tea. Taking it
into the lounge room she sat down in the same seat she had the night Sanskar had gone to sleep on
the lounge. Her dogs followed her in, one sitting on either side of her.
She stared at the now empty sofa, and then the tears once again fell. She told herself she was
right in taking the decision to resign. She prayed that somehow, Sanskar would find her
replacement soon so that she could get away from work soon. She had thought that she would be
able to avoid Sanskar for the next few months and carry on with her job as before, but she knew
now that Sanskar did not have to be in the room, for her to feel his presence. He was now a part of
her and the pain she felt was never going to ease. But at least if he was not in sight she might
have a better chance of keeping him off her mind too.
Suddenly the dogs barked and Swara jumped out of her seat. Then the doorbell rang. Swara
guessed it had to be someone she knew from the way the dogs were wagging their tails. She
looked into the keyhole. Her heartbeat once again ceased. Wwhat was Sanskar doing standing
outside her door at this time of the night,? Something had to be wrong. Without thinking twice
she opened the door, and stuttered “S…an..skar, is everyth..hing al right?”
Sanskar did not answer. He was once again mesmerized. Her eyes had the same hypnotic effect on
him as they had on the night of the nightmare. He could not look away. He was almost sure he
did not even blink. Words would not come out either. It was the dogs that broke the spell.
“I am sorry I did not mean to alarm you. I was passing by and your lights were on. I thought I
would just check in and see how you are feeling. I hope your headache is better?” Sanskar hoped
he would be forgiven for his little white lie. No one passes by anywhere at this time of the night.
“I am fine. I was not able to sleep so I was having a cup of t.tea. Please come in. In fact would
you like one?” she asked
“If you are sure I am not going to keep you awake longer.” he hoped he sounded genuine. The
truth was he wanted to see her again, if that meant that she would miss out on a little sleep, he’d
rather that than miss out on her company.
Swara returned with his tea. She also returned with her glasses.
“Swara you have the most beautiful eyes that I have seen. Why do you hide them behind those glasses?” he had said it before he could stop himself.
“They are sensitive to light. They hurt if I don’t have my glasses on.” she replied ignoring his compliment.
He knew that she was making up the excuse for she had been sitting in the light without her
glasses when he entered but still, Sanskar got up and switched the lights off. “In that case we will
talk in the dark.” he remarked.
Then he tried to make his way back to his seat in the dark, only to yell, as his right foot hit the
leg of the coffee table. “Hell!” he gave out a small curse.
Swara made her way to the switch and soon light flooded the room again. She looked a moment
in his direction, then asked “Are you ok?”
Sanskar nodded and walked slowly back to his seat. Swara stood another few moments by the
switch, then dimmed the light and came back to her chair.
“I can’t have you dropping tea on yourself as well.” with that she took off her glasses. Even in
the subdued lighting he could tell that she had been crying Her eyes glistened with the after
effects of her tears. If he had been more in control of their situation and their relationship he
would have been over consoling her. But Swara had once again built up the wall that only her
nightmares seem to bring down. He decided to stay where he was. The dimmer had added
softness to her features and he watched them as he took a sip of his tea.
“Swara, I have to be honest with you, I wasn’t just passing by.” Sanskar acknowledged after his sip.
“I know Sanskar” Swara said, a smile escaping her lips “You can’t pass through here. There is nowhere to go.”
Sanskar was glad he had owned up. He was also glad that she was smiling about it. The sign was an encouraging one.
“I actually wanted to speak to you.” he was still mesmerized by her eyes. He noticed she took
every opportunity to look away; the dogs were her most frequent excuse.
“I was thinking the same thing before you came.” she said
“In that case its ladies first. What did you want to talk to me about?” he asked
Now that the moment was here, she did not know how to begin. How was she to explain her relationship with Suraj and how was she going to pressure him into finding a replacement for her sooner than later.
“How long do you think it will take before you aad..vertise my position….SSanskar?”
This was not what Sanskar wanted to hear. The question upset Sanskar and this time he knew why.
He was in love with her, but Swara did not return that feeling. She just wanted to leave. He was
going to ask her not to make any rash decisions. He wanted to tell her that he had worked things
out so that she would never have to attend a meeting. That he was setting up a new department
with her heading it and it would be totally based on the internet. Where, unless there was a
problem, she would never have to meet the clients. That he would do anything not to lose her.
After the question she had put to him, these were not the things he could tell her. Her question
meant that she could not wait to get away. Did that mean that she was going to move into Suraj’s
home? Swara I wish you would sit still long enough for me to be able to read your eyes, he
thought. What do you truly feel?
“Are you so very unhappy at work?” he asked in a sober tone.
“Unhappy! Never Sanskar, I love, er my work too much for that. I just thought that now that I have
decided to leave the sooner I do that the better.” Swara said
“So you are moving in with Suraj?” Sanskar moved to the point
“Move in with Suraj? Sanskar I knew that the rumours had started about my relationship with him,
but how can people assume a thing like that? How could you even think I would do that?” Swara
felt insulted. Despite all her guarded actions the time had once again come where people
misjudged her actions. First her precious mother had done that, now her beloved Sanskar. No, she
thought ‘My decision to move out was the right one’
Sanskar peered into her eyes. There was hurt in them now. Hurt, was one thing he never wanted to
see in those eyes or be the cause of it.
“Don’t Swara, don’t look at me that way. I did not mean to hurt or insult you in any way. I met
Galodia this morning. He said he had asked you to move in with him. I just thought that your
need to get away from work had something to do with that offer.” Sanskar had to clear his name.
He could not bear to have her think badly of him.
“Suraj told you that himself?” she asked
“Yes. Are you? He replied and questioned at the same time
“Did he say I was?” Swara asked
“He said he had asked you, I presumed you had not yet given your answer.” Sanskar was watching
“If he said it, and you believed it, I guess I must be.” Swara said in a matter of fact tone
“Swara, I want to believe differently. Suraj is a nice enough person. In fact, I got along quite well
with him, but leaving the work you love, and he is so much older..” Sanskar said
“I am not leaving because of Suraj. That decision was mine alone. Suraj has not asked me to
move into his home. Even if he did, I would not be doing that. I have my own place. I am happy
here.” Swara cleared the situation up.
Swara, Sanskar thought, ‘all you are saying is that you will not move into his home. What I want to
hear is that you will have nothing to do with him’. But to her he said
“So we come back to my earlier question. That means, you are not happy at work. Is that
correct?” Sanskar had taken a full circle and he was back to the start with not a question answered
the way he wanted. She did not reply.
“Swara I will be honest with you, I don’t want you to leave. I had already made plans for the
future to ensure you never have to attending presentations and meeting. You will only have to
deal with me and maybe Laksh. I was setting up a separate division that would be based on orders over the Internet…” Sanskar got no further
“Oh Sanskar! We really do think alike. Come with me.” with that she led the way to the studio
upstairs. On the way up, she smiled to herself at the irony of things. Sanskar was ensuring that she
would only have to deal with him, and it was him, that she was running from, her feelings for
him that she was escaping.
Once upstairs, Sanskar saw her little production unit. It was fully equipped, down to the draw pins
and pencils. Everything was ready. She only had to advertise and wait for the business. The sight
should have made him happy but instead he felt utter disappointment. Swara would not change
her mind now, she had planned and organised too much. She had even designed her business
card. SB it read.
“How long have you been planning this?” he had not meant to sound as if he was accusing her,
but his tone implied that.
“Sanskar, you don’t t..think I was doing this behind your back? This room has always been like
this, it’s my workshop, and it’s where I usually b..brought my work. But in this past week, the
idea took concrete form. I only showed it to you so that you don’t think later that I stole your
Swara was hoping Sanskar would be happy for her. It seemed he wasn’t. He must think, she was
going to take his business with her.
“Sanskar, I won’t be competing with Maheshwari Industries. Nor am I going to try and take any of your
clients” she rushed the words.
“I thought you would want to look after the Galodia file at least.” again Sanskar could not hold
back the sarcasm.
“Never, ..S..Suraj asks too many questions. I don’t want direct contact with any of my clients.”
Sanskar found himself smiling back.
“So you are definitely leaving. In that case, I will put the ad in this weekend’s paper.” he said
hoping to find some sort of reaction in her eyes.
Instead she walked up to the desk and returned with her business card “Then, can I give you my
very first business card. Who knows you might bring me luck?”
As he took it from her hand, his fingers gently brushed hers. They stood looking at each other for
what seemed to be an eternity. Both hearts beat wildly but neither was able to hear the others.
Sanskar moved forward. The spell was broken. Swara turned and walked to the wall to switch off
the light. Sanskar looked at her standing with her back to him and then he began descending the
At the bottom, he turned and watched as Swara maneuvered the last of the steps. He did not go
back into the lounge. Instead he stood by the front door. If Swara had already decided to go, there
was no point in staying on.
“I am sorry to see you go but I do wish you every success. I won’t be seeing you tomorrow at
work. I am flying to Melbourne. I have a presentation there. I’ll see you when I return”.
“ T..Thanks Sanskar, I am sorry to let you down. This was the worst moment to do this to you.” she
“Don’t feel guilty Swara, you should feel proud of yourself. It’s a bold venture. Though, why I
am happy for you is beyond me. One day you are going to end up being competition. I can
already see that.” He tried to joke, but his eyes were serious as they met hers.
“Hardly a rival, S..Sanskar. I only want a small business, just big enough to keep me busy. But it
will be mine and that is important to me right now.” She said
‘Say the word and a lot more can be yours’ Sanskar thought. Instead he moved backward to let her
open the door. At that very moment she moved forward and the next moment they had collided.
Each tried to steady the other. This time the spell refused to be broken. And when it did, Sanskar
had lowered his lips. After her initial hesitation, Swara found herself kissing him back. Was this
another dream? Because if it wasn’t, then, had the other night been real as well?
“S..Sanskar!” Swara took his name.
“Swara, I can’t let you go out of my life after this” he whispered.
Then suddenly, Swara saw Pari’s face She also remembered that he was her boss, and their
wonderful kiss would one day be remembered as a mistake. She had to stop now.
Pushing him away, Swara stared with tear filled eyes. “Please leave Sanskar. Just as this street leads
to nothing, any relationship between us is going to go nowhere.”
Sanskar looked at her. He saw fear, he saw pain, and he saw distrust. She had kissed him back, had
clung to him. What happened to that moment? But it was the look of distrust that froze his hands
to his side.
“Please go Sanskar, can’t you see, this was a mistake?” she pleaded
“A mistake! How can you call it a mistake? ” Sanskar questioned, hurt that she should think so.
“Sanskar please go. Please.” Swara pleaded again.
Sanskar stared at her, hoping her expression would say otherwise. But she had closed up. He turned
and walked out of the door. Even when he shut the gate behind him, he did not look back.
Swara shut the door and sank to the floor as her body was raked with sobs. It was hard enough
working in the same office for the past week, how would she cope now? And that Suraj! She
would have to make sure she kept her distance with him too. On the one hand he talked of
making things hard for Sanskar then he lied about asking her to move in. Suraj was playing some
sort of sick game and she had no wish to join in. She would not be one man’s plaything and
another man’s game. This game would end now.
Credit to: JANPA