Antara threw away the book with a bored expression on her face. The magnificent library that MJ had made for her was amazing, but honestly, she would have preferred to sit MJ down and discuss how beautifully the author had written the murder scene, how cunning the murderer was, just like their old college days.
But that was almost fifteen years ago. Now, she had a fourteen and five-year-old son, a husband who cheated on her, an alcoholic mother-in-law, and whites that were slowly peeking out of her hair, which she hid using the most expensive hair colors that she could buy. Though just thirty-seven, her alcoholism and drug addiction were taking a toll on her body, her face. But, she was blessed with the best genes from her parents, she was beautiful enough to still make men turn to look at her as she passed them at the gala parties she attended with her husband. She was aware of the thoughts the men (and women) had as they watched her curvaceous self, stand behind MJ, like some porcelain doll.
She watched in amusement as the guest looked at her with admiration clear in his eyes.
“Roy, Antara Roy,” She smiled fleetingly at him, a smile that was reserved for men at those parties, filled with mischief yet modesty to pass off as a polite smile.
“Barun Deewan, I am here to meet Mr. Roy regarding the Dubai deal,”
That was five months ago, now Antara watched in fascination as her lover winked at her as he passed a comment in a bored tone to the person on the other side of the call.
“Yes Maa, I’ll be home in an hour….no, I am with Iqbal, we had a meeting regarding the Roys’ deal. Yeah, ok, bye, love you,” The thirty-five-year-old men threw the phone in her lap and sat next to her, capturing her lips on a searing kiss.
“I have to go to Dubai next week,”
“So you have said for the last two hours,” She rolled her eyes and passed him his shirt.
“I don’t want to go,” He whined and wrapped his arms around her. Antara wished for the nth time it was MJ instead of Barun, but that was not the case, not in the last two years, not since she had confronted him for cheating on her.
If you asked her how the affair started, she can't pinpoint to the exact date, either it was the first meeting that started the spark at the Annual party they threw to celebrate the success of the Roy Industries where she and Barun flirted with each other while her husband and Barun's father spoke business a few tables away, leaving the two to their accords out of negligence or when they kissed an hour later, drunk out of their wits, on the bonnet of Barun's Mercedes.
But then, she had started to hear whispers, whispers that Diya brought with her that she had heard when the ladies came to her with their PCOD complaints.
"Barun, I don't think we should continue this," She said and refrained from holding his hands, even though his arms were still around her. Any physical contact would have made it more difficult, for him. She wiggled out of his arms and looked at her hands, bringing herself to look upset, but inside, she felt no remorse.
It was just a relationship between a man looking for sex and a woman for companionship, after all, and no feelings were involved. She looked up at him, surprised to see tears in his eyes.
"Why am I surprised?" he spoke, mostly to himself, trying to stop his voice from cracking, a sign of weakness. "I always knew you'd break this anytime soon," He said. He collected up his belongings and left the suite. Till then, no words were shared, only a heavy silence sat around them.
Antara entered the house to a smiling Rishi who was smeared in oil paints and Nilanjana was at the bar, as usual, nursing a glass of whiskey.
"For how long?" She asked as made a drink for her.
"Five months; ended it today," She simply said, waiting for some sort of guilt or shame to cover her emotionless voice, but none came.
"For nineteen years," She raised her empty glass, patted her arm and left the bar. Antara watched Nilanjana's retreating figure and as she started to understand every retort the elderly women threw at her late husband and son, how it was filled with loneliness and self loathing along with extreme hatred.