“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.” ― Rumi
How do we draw the line between right and Wrong ? Every single being has their own take on Ethics , Morals , Principles. Norms created by the society.
What if something we do feels perfectly right and awesome but it is obnoxious according to certain norms laid down by society?
What if that experience is the only thing you want ?
You love it so much that you find reasons and arguments to justify that thing. You feel absolutely ecstatic about it.
This gives rise to a rebel ” Khanabadosh” is an urdu word for someone who swims against the current.. He is someone who goes above and beyond what is considered to be a normal way of living. He is someone who flirts with risks and lives on the edge. He is someone who is ready to lose everything he has to the flip of a coin and start all over again. He is insane , Unpredictable and Ambitious
Dev Kripalani lived his life on his own terms. He did things randomly like quitting jobs and changing careers. He hated to live his life based on a routine. He hated time tables and alarm clocks He enjoyed doing certain things which were totally against all norms.
His Decision to get married to Vaani had been an instant one too. They had fallen in love on a Thursday and gotten married on a Friday. She was completely drunk when he had proposed to her kneeling down with a rose in his hand. She had been barely able to stand on her feet but had accepted his proposal and jumped with joy.
But things had become pretty stagnant considering his vagabond ways and her disconnection from him. He always felt she was in a world of her own. Barely listening to him . He felt lonely in her company. He felt he was the only one attempting a conversation, starting a topic and then ending it himself.. He had stopped feeling that spark and all his efforts to rejuvenate their marriage had been futile. He hoped that one day she might understand his worth and acknowledge his presence.
He was not someone who could be captivated within certain predefined limits and restricted boundaries. He was like a bird that flew above and beyond breaking all shackles of society
But then something happened in his life that left him wrecked completely
Her name was Shreya. His relationship with shreya could not be defined by him. He was definitely smitten by her. But he had never had any bad intentions or hidden agenda .
But he was always unsure about her. He himself could not predict what she could come up with next.
Shreya was the most awesome thing that had ever happened to him. It was way beyond friendship and yet it was not love. Society understands the most complex of things But what it fails to understand is a special bond of friendship between a man and a woman
They had met in the strangest of ways possible He had been standing there at the grocery store watching her argue with the store owner over selling goods which have been long expired .
This girl looked like an Aphrodite with her round face and beautifully carved features. As if the maker had specifically drawn the beautiful eyes, nose , lips and structured the way her lips curved when she smiled. She was petite and vivacious. Her voice was chirpy and she had the exuberance of youth.
Logically speaking , Every friendship is based on attraction and every relationship is based on friendship. Sometimes you just like the way someone smiles or speaks or just the way they are
He instantly developed a liking for this girl. But he was scared to speak to her. He Stood there staring at her and when she looked at him, he looked away and started walking . The Chirpy voice stopped him “ You are Vaani’s Husband right ?”That brought an instant smile on his face. The Girl knew him. He smiled and introduced himself ” Dev Kripalani” and she replied by saying ” I Know”.
They hit it off , right from the day they had met. High fives and loud roars of laughter ensued every time they were together. She brought out the best in him and he seemed to have the solutions to all her woes. They shared a common ground. Unfriendliness from their respective spouses.
Her past had been a very tragic one. She trusted him and shared everything with him about her Past, Present and Future Aspirations.
She had belonged a small village on the outskirts of Gurgaon where Khap Panchayats still created havoc. She had been married off to her Husband Randeep just because she had been caught by her brother watching a movie with a boy. A Normal date where they bunked college and caught the latest bollywood blockbuster. But that ensured her brothers rage, She was caged in her own house and then made ready to be sent off as soon as they found a suitor. The age gap between them was not considered since it was more of a generation gap.
Four Years into her marriage she still longed for acknowledgment from him. He was the old school patriarch who did not have great respect for strong and independent women.
According to him women were only supposed to do certain household chores and keep their husbands happy She had religiously fulfilled all her duties as a wife. Randeep was a self proclaimed perfect man. He was well groomed, well read, educated, a great orator, extremely handsome and played the role of the patriarch perfectly. But what she needed was a light hearted conversation. His attention and acknowledgment. Maybe a couple of compliments on her looks and even a faint lopsided smile.
But the old school men were taught to be rude and arrogant. They had learned to be aloof and not show their love. If they showed love and appreciation to their women, the women might just be compelled to have an upper hand . If they gave too much liberty she might start taking her own decisions and it would be too disrespectful for them. She might even end up talking back and putting her foot down against unrealistic demands and not fulfilling her duties as expected.
Dev was the one who gave her undivided attention. He complimented her for every new dress she wore and how pretty she looked. He even remembered certain things she had spoken about and made sure he helped her fulfill those wishes. He had once helped her sneak out of her house and taken her to a discotheque that she had longed to visit. She had then fulfilled her wish of sipping alcohol and dancing like no-one’s watching .He considered himself lucky to be in her company. He longed for spending some with her. Listen to her chirpy voice. Smell the fragrance of her perfume.
On One such Fateful day when they had met secretly. she had come with a different agenda. She had been predetermined to end their friendship.
Her friends had spoken about seeing her with another man and the fear of Randeep knowing about her friendship had shaken her completely. Today she had made up her mind to tell him that she wanted to never meet him again
“ Dev, You are a wonderful friend to have” Shreya quipped “ You understand me perfectly. Your sense of humor relieves me of all the stress I go through , sometimes you miraculously resolve all the issues I have” “ But” She said and paused
“ But What” Dev asked
“ Don’t you think we are taking it too far. We are literally talking all day and spending too much time in each other’s company. I am scared we might end up with a bad name in society” She Concluded
“ But we know that it is just friendship. We connect at a certain level but we are not crossing boundaries .” “ Society never understood friendship between man and a woman and they never will” “They have their minds full of filth “Dev Said
“ I wish you understand me again and stop all sorts of communication with me” She said with tears in her eyes. She had said and walked away
Our rebellious hero decided to play some stunts. He enrolled himself for the same cricket club where Randeep used to play. His game plan was to befriend Randeep and in the bargain get his old friendship back..
His struggle for winning Randeep’s friendship may never seen the light of the day unless Vaani entered the scenario. After earning his spot as the opening batsman alongside Randeep when he started wearing his gloves, randeep asked him the same question that he had heard in a chirpy voice before “ You are Vaani’s Husband right ?”
And then the Pandora box opened revealing loads of secrets.
History Professor at the most reputed Arts college in the city Mr Randeep Singh had a special liking for his student Ms Vaani Thakur. He had spent a lot of time with her after college imparting historical wisdom into her
It happened to be Vaani’s birthday.The stage was set. Dev had decided to make them meet. For him it was a win win situation. Vaani gets to meet her old crush Professor Randeep and he gets to meet his special friend Shreya
He had invited the couple for dinner to a safe and sophisticated italian restaurant where he personally knew the owner . He had taken Vaani along and not informed her the names of the guests.
The Surprise in store was going to be as surprising to the recipient as it was to the Planner of the surprise.
He kept fidgeting with the forks, spoons and tissues in anticipation of what was coming next.
Randeep and Shreya entered arm in arm . They looked beautiful together. Dev looked at his wife and he had expected a certain discomfort or awkwardness which would have given him lots of sadistic pleasure. But Vaani greeted them with a smile.
The two women were having a lovely conversation from planning for kids to shades of nail pant.
The awkwardness ensued between the men. Dev realized that Randeep had sensed his special inclination towards his wife, by the way he had looked at her, greeted her and continued to stare at her.
Randeep proposed the two men take a smoke break. As they lit their respective cigarettes in the smoking arena ,Randeep spoke “ Vaani is a fabulous human being, Things did not work out between us since we had a tremendous age- gap. Her father had not given his authorization for our marriage. He felt that two people with an age-difference of 15 years are not compatible “ .
Taking a Deep Breath He Continued .
“You know I accepted the proposal from Shreya’s parents simply to show him that I can live my life with a girl who is 15 years younger to me. That too a perfect life”
“Shreya is perfect wife. Cooks amazing food, takes care of my parents. She starts her day at 7.00 am and is doing something for me and my parents till way past midnight”
Another puff and he confinued
“She did get a little distracted in between due to a new friend she made. Her name was Devi “
“ But she soon stopped meeting her , since she was leading her to be rebellious” I discouraged her from meeting Devi, Since it would mean unnecessary confidence and higher expectations “ Dev could not believe how logic and reasoning went beyond this professor who believed in being the god of his wife’s life. Controlling every bit of emotion she had ever had.
“Randeep Sir” Dev said reluctantly “ She is extremely beautiful, you are a very lucky man “
” I Would suggest you should allow her to see her friends once in a while” he added
Randeep smiled and left the smoking zone.
As Dev was walking towards the dinner table. He met shreya who was walking towards the smoking zone She dragged him back to the smoking zone and lit a cigarette for herself “You planned this, Didnt you? She demanded to know “Yes “ he said , looking down.
Shreya opened her big eyes really wide and said in an obnoxiously rude tone “ I know you do things randomly and then think about them. You married Vaani and then regretted” . “Now you are hopelessly attracted towards me and you keep planning things to get near me again” “You think you love me , Do you have the guts to walk out of your marriage and be with me” “You stammer while speaking to my husband “
He held her shoulders and calmed her down “ You are getting it all wrong. My Intention was to get back your friendship. I am not thinking about anything else. I am not a pervert as you are thinking now” “Even Vaani is missing friends in her life and she used to connect well with Professor Sahab”
“ Connect well “ , “My foot” she said “ She is the reason he married me but never loved me. “ I longed for his love, his acknowledgment, his affection. But he was so deeply depressed that she was not in his life that he had stopped living “
“I targeted you” she revealed . “ I wanted to take revenge from her for ruining my life” But half way through it , I realized I was doing the wrong thing. It was all a pretense. I wanted my life back” I was craving to get some love from my husband” “ I never intended to have any relationship with you”
“But when I started spending time with you. He realized something was missing. He realized that I was drifting apart. He started communicating with me, bringing me gifts, complimenting me “ “His attention seeking behavior made me blush”, “ The very fact that he was talking to me and sharing his problems, his jokes , his aspirations with me was redeeming “
Randeep and Shreya had redefined their relationship. Dev had unknowingly help them sort their marital issues. Shreya still did not understand that all Dev wanted was to be her friend. She shunned him for bringing Vaani back into her husbands life. She had pulled out his ex from his psyche after tremendous amount of effort and in his foolishness Dev was making all her efforts go waste.
“Right now she is sitting with my husband on that dinner table. I do not know what they are talking about. May be rekindling their old friendship. May be they made some plans to meet separately alone” “You are culprit. Do not play with my life now. Especially since I am pregnant “
“Wow “ Dev Said “ Excellent news. That calls for a party. “ I am really so happy for you”
“ You are Impossible” She Said and slammed the door of the smoking zone and left Dev kept thinking about it. Was she expecting that Dev gets angry knowing this? But she had said she enjoyed the attention from her husband. Understanding a woman is more difficult than rocket science .
Dev walked back to the dinner table and sat right across the history professor. “So how was the wisdom imparting session” he made a smart quip “Well” Vaani Said “ You will know when you get home” Should I tell him Sir ?” She winked at Randeep and they all laughed. They made it all sound so normal.
Well Vaani had never been able to forget her first love. She had always been in touch with Randeep. Shreya’s idea of revenge had started after she had eavesdropped on a conversation between Vaani and her husband.
And when Randeep found out about Shreya’s friendship with Dev. He had confronted her.
Things had been talked about. She had confessed to him about her wish to take revenge on Vaani and all that had transpired after that.
Her reasons and justifications had led to a grand session of tears and accusations . But Eventually They had both accepted each other and tried to start a new life.
With everyone having their hidden agenda and manipulating each other. They had somehow used Dev to rectify their lives and put all the blame on him .
Dev was left feeling bad about himself. To the three people sitting on that table he was A lowly pervert who had eyed someone else’s wife. And they were all perfect.
Since they had done all things within the dimensions defined by the society and not tried to swim against the current. A New day would start and he would get back to another routine normal life but considering the Khanabadosh he is , You never know. He may try another experiment against the basic rules the society sets for itself .
The fact is that he still feels great about himself and has tremendous respect for the fact that at least he was true to himself and pretending to be perfect. But the question still haunts him “ Can A Man and a woman be Just Friends , Can they have a purely platonic affection? And if they do, Will people talk about it with Straight faces ? “
© Jitendra Kotai