- “Memsaab, the car is at the door.” Said the driver. Maya got ready, to leave her cabin, she took one last glance at the I – Mac to see if its shut down. She was the C.E.O of a top networking company, the brain as well as the spine of the company.
Clad in a figure hugging knee length dark blue business skirt, a beige round neck, full sleeved formal shirt, bought in Marks and Spencer was a perfect wear for the formal meeting she attended today. The beige colour formal shoes completed the entire suave look. She took a look at herself in the elevator mirror and saw a wheatish – fair, dark eyed, oval face staring at her, the layer – cut hair sat perfectly at her chin, giving a ‘care – free look’.
“Memsaab, shall we leave?” Asked the driver
“Yes. Gopal” Maya replied.
“Hey Maya!” It was Sunil, her co – worker , who was vying for the position of M.D.
He had the characteristic handsome look and the chauvinistic air to complete the ‘don’t mess with me’ look.
“You’re off with your driver? Yesterday I asked you out.”
Turning her head towards him, she smiled ” You asked, I didn’t reply.” Sunil was baffled! No one had the cheek to deny him, no one had, in fact, in a long time now, especially not women.
A quick rush of blood, flushed his cheeks
“Ye, I mean right! But Maya you do understand? Don’t you?”
All she did was smile again.
‘Maya’ The name, the bewitching smile ,which could make any man go soft in the head, had worked its magic on Sunil.
“Maya…..don’t I stand a chance?”
Sunil was stranded for the third time in 2 months.
Maya opened the window of her Chevy Cruz to let the smoke filled, damp wind to enter, she took in a deep breath as if she were inhaling pure oxygen, put her head back and relaxed, oblivious to the buzz of the drivers’ maniacal honking.
“Maya!!….My goodness!!What have’ve you done to your hair?” Her gran-ma screamed, before she could retort, a tight slap resounded.
“Dadi! Don’t you dare hit me again,its my hair”
“Why did you cut it? To woo boys? Of course!! What else could be expected?”
Maya was too stung for words to make way, she was 16 and understood every syllable of the underlying unspoken words. Her new look no longer fancied her and she rushed to her room. She grabbed the knob of the closet, drew out the only picture of her mom and spat at it!!
The next day she awoke earlier than usual to ‘meet’ her extremely busy father, ” He will like my hair – cut” she thought.
“Baba, look at me!”, “Sir, doesn’t she look like a little diva?” Said Baba’s secretary.
“Ha – Um” Said Baba, “Say something nice Baba” Maya pleaded, already sensing her father’s withdrawal from her. It had always been like this since her mom had left them 5yrs ago for another man. Baba picked up the phone “Rajan, regarding the tender….” Maya dismissed herself.
Maya was not magical, she was a taboo, Baba resented her as she was a liability to him now, a living reminder of a humiliating relationship. Dadi’s punching bag, as her son couldn’t rebuild his life by remarrying , Maya was the impediment. Maya was the butt of mockery with the servants, friends and a new dimension added on with her 15 b’day…. the boys had decided she was an easy catch!!
“How easy it was when I was ignorant” She thought.
With a skip in her steps and a tune to her lips, she set out to college…..That was Maya
“Hiya gal!! You look kewllll…..” the gang complimented,”Hey WOW!!You look mind-blowing” That was Sanjay, a boy from a conservative family but with a ‘modern outlook’
“Thanks” Blushed Maya
“Say, why don’t ya teach me this Trig prob? Kinda eating my brains out dude”
“Ohhhh…….” hooted the gang and took the cue to leave them alone.
Maya was an outstanding student, both in academics as well as co – curricular activities. She felt the strong ‘need’ to ‘excel’
“Since when did ‘you’ start doing home works Sanjay?”
“Oh Hell! You know why I came” Sanjay tousled his hair and gave an innocent grin.
The car screeched “What happened Gopal?”
“Sorry memsaab, these cows….”
“Oh! Its already 7, I hope we reach soon Gopal , I’m too tired”
“Go back to sleep memsaab, I’ll turn the AC on, close the window.”
“No, leave it , after all its filthy everywhere, you can’t turn it off by turning the AC on”
With that Maya drifted off to Mumbai……
“Sanjay, how was your day today?”
“As usual, but dad had called me, he’s coming in a week”
“Wow! that’s nice”
“Oh, cut it out! You know what’s gonna happen”
“Sanjay, you keep running away from reality”
“Maya!Stop being ridiculous!Snap out of it,you run away from reality all the time”
“What’s stopping you ? Why do you want to keep me away from your family?”
“You really want me to say it?”Sanjay was mocking and Maya was baffled
“Your mom left you and your dad, like a slut, You had your share of flings in college,You eloped with me and here we are. What kind of dignified family would accept ‘your type’ as a bahu?”
Maya’s world was shaken, the ground beneath her gave way.
“I thought you loved me Sanjay”
“OH, I always will, but telling my family is a NO – NO””Maya ,I thought you were smart enough to take all this”
“Sanjay, do you remember I am pregnant?”
“Oh no! I gave you the solution and you want to go ahead with…… with THAT!!”
“Memsaab, we’re here.” “Okay Gopal tomorrow same time in the morning”
Maya opened the door to her paradise.
“Woof – woof” Said Tammy wagging his tail thirteen to a dozen
“Mummy!You should see this circular, they’re taking us to picnic – 3days, I will go! I wanna go”
This was ‘Diya’ , Maya’s 10yr old daughter. Maya ‘lit up’ to Diya’s voice and they ensued in a string of chatter.Tammy too contributed largely to the conversation.
“Maya beta, dinner is ready” Said Shanti the live – in maid.
“OK ma! good night”
Diya brought sunshine into Maya’s life, she smiled to herself and closed the door to her room, to see the cell – phone light up. A message.
“Maya , your smile says it all. I’ll be waiting in the Sheraton tomorrow (sat) at 11.30 AM”
Here we go again…….. Oh Sunil…… Maya closed her eyes.
Sunil waited in a striped blue and white T- Shirt, blue faded jeans, Nike shoes, the sun burnt face, which mirrored maturity, love and gentle firmness looked more handsome in the Ray – Ban.
Maya, stood still, her heart racing as it did, when she had a crush on Sanjay, No it hammered even more, all she wanted to do was to get into his arms, experience the warmth in the soothing sunshine, this was a new beginning, there would be MAGIC after all…….
“Diya! What happened?”
“Ma I’m scared, I can’t sleep, I went to the trip and when I came back you weren’t there.”
“Ma, I don’t want to go. I don’t want you to go anywhere leaving me.”Sobbed Diya
” No, darling”Maya took her into her arms “Ma’ll always be there…….”
Maya’s eyes welled up with tears, she closed it ‘Once – More’, to see Sunil fading away as the light from the ‘Diya’ the ‘sunshine’ of her life shone brightly.