Between boarding, books and bickering

With his folded hand resting under his chin, Pranav’s gaze is following the expanse of the passage that is laid in front of him.

Eyes fixated out front, he is thinking, “Why is T-3 so colossal, said no one ever, but if only it was smaller, Nam would have little area to pace and would look lesser of a restless wreck. I can see how much the trip is helping her to ease her mind. But how has she not started crushing the bottle in her hand; classic Namrata in anger, sabotage the first thing that comes your hand. How does she not realise that this incessant pacing cannot undo the three hour delay of their flight. Maybe I should look elsewhere but anywhere I look someone is looking at the raging woman who has not left even an inch of the passage untouched. Maybe I should stroll around the stores or grab something to eat. Maybe I should just disassociate from her for the next two hours so that she can peacefully have her tantrum. Maybe I should have not come at  all so she could satisfy whatever whim which has led for her to take this trip. God, her restlessness is contagious.”

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She can see him looking at her with great concentration, as if he can size her every move. That is why she is resisting from crushing the bottle because she cannot let him have the pleasure of being able to read her correctly. She knows that he believes her outrage to be unwarranted. But this is not outrage, she thinks, this is a normal human reaction to when something goes wrong. Or maybe this is outrage because having your flight delayed for 3 hours calls for outrage. She could have made a to and fro journey from Delhi to Srinagar in three hours exact but what use are her three hours coming to, pacing the length of the passage on the ground floor. Hail Air India!

He holds her shoulder gently and calls out Nam-rata. She turns around and has a brief moment looking at him. She thinks, every time he calls out her name, it feels like he wants to call her Nam but chooses otherwise and then looks at her with mild accusation in eyes, as if it is her fault that she does not come across as Nam to him. He smirks mentally, thinking that no one could be as perplexed on being addressed by their name as she is. He suppresses the thought, because it will irk her on knowing what he is thinking.

“I am hungry, let’s head to the first floor and have something.”, he tells her.

“You had two paranthas at 7 Pranav. How could you be hungry so early?”, she counters him.

“God, you have to question my appetite now, that is morose.”, he replies defensively.

“Don’t make me sound like a bitch, I know that you are lying.”, she replies affirmatively.

“I have barely slept, I am exhausted, I feel restless, can you please make a move now.”, he utters slightly agitated.

She stifles the urge to ask him on what is making him restless but a part of her suspects him to say that she is the one behind it. She quietly begins moving towards the escalator.

They settle on McDonald’s and order themselves a McVeggie Meal and a Pizza McPuff. He studies her face as she is unwrapping her puff, she seems less on the edge now. He solemnly proposes, “Why don’t you read one of the books that you had purchased on Kindle last night?”

“Yeah, I could do that. I was thinking, after eating, we’d go check the ones at WH Smith as well.”, she answers him.

“Of course we can. I never realized when did your appetite for books resurface again.”, he tells her.

“You know what, neither did I.”, she replies and gives him bleak smile. He nods and smiles back.

Namrata had always been a glutton for books before she met Pranav, before she was drawn to him and before she fell for him. When his love had begun to supplement the air she breathed, she did not feel the persuasion to reach out to fiction. He’d often ask her why and she’d tell him that she no longer needs an escape from reality. It was some odd thirty months back, when she read three books in a week and that is when it struck her, something was wrong between them.

There was a time some thirty months ago, when Pranav had come home to a sleeping Namrata and a couple of books set out on the side table. Among many other things, he had subtly mentioned the books to her but she spoke about them passively and switched topics.She never narrated the story of any of them to him. She had once told him in their early dating days, that she loves coming to him with a story and she can never read a book without talking to him about it. But she passed that time and that is when he knew something was wrong with them.

If only, they had realized that from that point on, it was only going to be more wrong.


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