Bamboo Flower, a novel – Part 44
By Akendra Sana
“Bamboo Flower”, serialized here, is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to any actual person, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental
contd… from previous Sunday
On reaching home, he told Leima, Thoibi and Thembi who all had gathered around him that he and a friend had gone on work and were stranded because the car developed trouble and took shelter at a village chief’s house. He did not mention who the friend was nor did he name the place they had gone.
Although they sounded relieved, his mother made it clear that it was uncharacteristic of him to do such a thing. Thoibi reminded him to inform his family if he had to go anywhere that might necessitate staying overnight.
Leima, as usual, was her quiet self. He knew he would have to win back her trust in the privacy of their room. He also noticed that this was one occasion she did not possess a willing smile. She only fussed for a short while and went in. It was evident that she had not gone to her school that day. The anxiety they had at home and her very own private worries must have changed her routine.
The next thing Rajen did was to call up his cousins in the office. They told him that there was not any important matter that needed his immediate attention.
Priyo then told him that there was a telephone call some minutes back from a woman who identified herself as a freelance journalist named Nini who sought for an appointment with him tomorrow at about eleven o’clock in the morning.
Rajen kept quiet for a while before he explained why he was away from home yesterday to give the same reason he gave at home although Priyo had not enquired where he had been. It was either work in the office had dictated the course of the conversation or he thought that it was not such an unusual thing to be away from home for a night, he thought.
Rajen had to say that it was okay to have the appointment the next day and that he would in any case be coming to the office in the afternoon.
Now his mind again had to be on Nini. So, Nini was beginning a new chapter, he told himself.
He had, silently told himself that she would soon contact him as he drove home only a little while ago. But definitely not like this. He would have been glad to receive the telephone call himself. But, wasn’t it true to her ways that she had timed her call to the office when she was certain that he would not receive the call, he again told himself.
And of course, since she had technically contacted him if only to leave a message, he should not try to reach her immediately. He could definitely wait until tomorrow, he reasoned.
Nini still decided what was there in their relationship, he again gritted his teeth.
Rajen liked the almost laid-back schedule of bringing out a weekly. Three days of the week he could run his editorial office like any other commercial organization and with the remaining four days or so the pace and schedule of work gaining momentum.
Trying to talk his way to his wife’s heart and mind had to be in private and obviously had to wait until they were together in their bedroom later, he again told himself. He knew he had to be careful to ensure that her mind did not overtake her heart. He was confident of his abilities and told himself that his love for her would still be demonstrative enough to ensure that their mutual trust see him through.
Yet, he had his doubts. So when he returned home that day from office, he made every possible effort to appear normal and not to say anything, which might appear suspicious. Interacting with his mother earlier was simple. He had to be careful as the day progressed. He hoped to be able to carry on with his routine without revealing anything unusual.
He knew that he could not be honest enough to tell his wife that he had had sex with another woman. Honesty, he reasoned had to stop somewhere. Harmony in family life was more important than honesty, he told himself. These are choices one makes in life, he also reminded himself.
However, he also could not help thinking those small secrets like this in a man’s life made life interesting. He had heard this somewhere. Nevertheless, the idea seemed to have come quite easily and he liked it. Was this going to make his life more interesting, he wondered? Was this the adventure he had missed for a long time, he again wondered.
‘I think we have found something which will solve the menace’, said Rajen that evening. He could not believe his own ears so he was not sure how convincing he was to them.
He then slowly gingerly took out the bamboo twig when they were all having their evening tea after he and his cousins returned from work. In fact, the bamboo twig was still in the car when he went to office after lunch that day.
‘Of course, yes, we should try that. Why didn’t I ever think of that’, joined his mother enthusiastically. It took Rajen by surprise because he was not sure what kind of a reception the bamboo twig would have. Thoibi went on to say that, this was a bamboo species locally called, “Lai - Wah” or to translate, it was ‘God’s bamboo’ found only in the hills.
To be continued
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