Dinner is done. It is already 8:30 PM and Akash has not yet come today. Varsha while sitting in her room, thought about the sad and crestfallen expression of Ira and she wished for Akash to be present. The atmosphere on the dining table and the turmoil in her heart made her miss Akash so much.
Finally, Akash came back home from the office around 9:00 PM. When she heard a car entering from the main gate and later shutting off of the engine, Varsha ran out of her room to open the door for Akash. The day was very hectic for Akash as the implementation of all the projects has started. Today was the first day of implementation and many unexpected and new situations have arisen and collaborating with teams and solving the issues took up a lot of mental effort from him. He is feeling mentally exhausted and wishing to just enter the room and fall flat on the bed.
Akash parked the car in the garage and walked to the main house building. The moment he reached the gate of the house, he found the door open and Varsha standing at the door welcoming him with a happy yet nervous smile. He felt odd seeing this type of expression from Varsha. She has always been shy or meek in front of him but today she seems anxious but not so shy and extra happy seeing him. He gave her an awkward smile and walked into the house. He went to the sofa and removed his shoes and got ready to have his dinner.
Varsha put his shoes on the rack and served him dinner at the sofa and stood nearby fidgeting curls of her hairs. Akash started eating and saw the nervous Varsha who is busy in her own thoughts. He coughed and getting her attention pointed on another sofa. Varsha became startled and then understanding his meaning she took her seat on the sofa. She does not know how to start the talk with Akash and especially when she is planning to tell her grievances. Akash is also tired, So he continued with his dinner without giving much thought to why his wife is being so strange today. Dinner of Akash ended in half an hour and he went to their room to sleep. Varsha also entered the room shortly after taking care of things in the kitchen.
Akash changed his dress and turned on the news on TV. Akash is stressed because work is a bit delayed and it may cause him to postpone some of his other work. He massaged his forehead with his hand while watching TV. He sighed and turned off the TV and got ready to sleep. He stood up and placed the remote back and when he wanted to walk toward the light switch to turn off the main light and turn on the night bulb, he saw Varsha still sitting on her side looking at him with a perplexed expression. Seeing her expression he laughed and asked: "What is it?"
Hearing his question, Varsha got startled and turned her gaze away. She was thinking about how to start the conversation and now it has started. She has seen his tired expression and felt guilty of causing an emotional burden on him but he should know. She looked at him again and asked softly "Is there too much work nowadays? It seems you have a headache. Should I massage your head?"
Akash got startled from her strange gaze and now a more strange question. He laughed and said "I am not so weak. It is fine. Just go to sleep."
Seeing the indifferent attitude of Akash, Varsha felt sad. To her, it seems Akash is trying to keep her away. He is tired but he still won't allow her to touch him. She felt something pressing on her heart. She said in a depressed tone "I also wanted to tell you something."
Akash looked at her and asked "Oh, what is it? Just tell it. No need to be so anxious."
Varsha looked at Akash and seeing his relaxed expression she felt encouraged and said "Cousin Arpit and also eldest uncle sometime make insulting comments in name of giving suggestion. Even when I am doing gardening or cooking, they pass unsolicited remarks. I do not know what should I do? Shouldn't everyone do constructive criticism and not make fun or ridicule?" She wished to start from the general idea of what is happening and then tell what happened today.
Akash thought she will make him amused or something interesting but listening to her made him irritated. Unknowingly he asked her in a stern tone "What did you want me to do?" His stress and frustration of office work felt multiplying due to complaining of Varsha.
She looked at his hardened expression and felt sad. He is not understanding how she feels. She said remorsefully "I just wished you to listen. I do not want you to do something." She wanted to tell him about what happened today and how sad Ira was and she said: "Actually today..."
Akash raised his hand and interrupted her and said in a frustrated tone while massaging his forehead "Don't make an issue of non-issues. You should not act like a petty person by complaining about others. You should handle these small things by yourself."
Varsha looked at his irritated expression felt like something painful is building up inside her chest. She forcefully suppressed her pain and said meekly "Today Ira ..."
Akash interrupted again and said "If you want to complain more, I suggest that you don't do it. I don't wish to be involved in these useless matters" Then he walked and sat on his side of his bed and looked toward Varsha waiting for her to continue.
Varsha looked toward Akash and did not know what to say. Unknowingly she felt her tears flowing without her knowledge. She lied down in the bed and turned her back toward Akash and pulled the quilt up to hide her tears and said in an aggrieved tone "I am sorry. Please do not say anything anymore." She is afraid he will chide her more and she won't be able to hold back and might cry harder.
Her apologetic tone filled with grievance made Akash aware that she is crying. He looked at her back which is covered with the quilt and facing him and knew that she must be crying and awake. He reprimanded himself silently for his stupid behaviour but did not know what to do. He also entered the quilt on his side of the bed and tried to sleep. He was tired and thought he will fall asleep the moment his head touched the pillow, but this night is doomed to be sleepless.
On the other side of the bed, Varsha is trying hard to hold back her tears. She has seen Akash busier and on call many times due to some critical work in the office nowadays. But she still wished he would not release his frustration on her. Who will she talk her mind to if not her husband? As she thought like this, her tears fell unceasingly.
She remembered the comments of Uncle and Arpit. She also remembered how Ira cried due to that. She hoped Akash will listen to her and tell her that everything will be all right. But thinking about his irritated expression and harsh words made her tears flow and unknowingly a sob escaped from her mouth. She suppressed it not to disturb Akash and cried silently.
She would use her hands to wipe her tears occasionally and the rustling sound of the quilt on her side will show this. Her shoulders also shook occasionally when she tried to suppress her sobs. Akash looked helplessly at her crying not knowing what to do. After a long time, both of them drifted to sleep.