She was hurrying past the busy vegetable market, when she heard a loud squeal “Apeksha Mathur, is this really you?” Clutching her purse tightly, she sprinted through the crowds, panic rising within her. She reached her car, flung her purse in and sped away. On the way back, while driving, her thoughts took her back to what once was.
Apeksha Mathur, had been the topper in her college, the most popular person, people clamoured, for just a glimpse of her. She had been an all rounder with varied interests which had made her very popular. She was beautiful, well endowed at the right places, with a pleasing personality. In short, she had everything going for her, until she developed a dark side, her fantasies. Apeksha had built many fantasies around her, by the time she had reached college. All the romantic novels and movies had done their bit, making her long for perfect love, a soulmate. Little did she know the true definition of a soulmate. What was to follow, was an interesting series of events. She longed, for the man after her own heart, of her dreams, and she soon set off in this pursuit. Apeksha’s priorities had changed by the time she had landed her first job, in a top MNC. Her curious eyes scanned all eligible male colleagues for a possible relationship, leading to marriage. She was not looking for a short time liaison, but one that fuelled her fantasies.
All Apeksha had wanted, was a man who could melt her heart, simply with a gaze. One look and she would fling herself into his arms. Tall, dark and handsome, with matching interests and of course, well off. He would be the one to understand her unspoken words, ignite passion, at any time, of the day or night. In short, a sensual lover, a perfect friend and an ideal husband. Aradhana had been her best friend and confidante at college. They lived close by and were classmates. Aradhana’s brother Sumeet, had held Apeksha’s attention, while in college, albeit for a short time. They had dated for three years, before she had woken up one fine day, only to break up with him. He had been devastated, and had pleaded with her to reconsider their relationship. She wrote it down to the missing zing, in their relationship. If three years could do this, then how did people survive marriages for a lifetime? This came as a rude shock to her, for Sumeet had been the perfect gentleman throughout their courtship. Ah, so that was the thing, maybe someone who was a little impulsive, perhaps a bit wild, would fill the gaps, or so, she had begun to think.
Her parents had been watching her activities since a long time, hoping for a marriage between her and Sumeet. They went around looking for an arranged match, for her early marriage and were soon successful. Apeksha was married to Prashant, in a grand ceremony amidst emotional scenes. Being the only daughter, they had always wanted the best for her. Prashant was a banker, medium built, wheatish in complexion and well mannered. He had taken a liking to Apeksha, the minute his parents had shown him, her photograph. There was an air of innocence about her, he had thought. Little did he know, what was in store for him. Their first night went off smoothly, with no thunderous heartbeats between the sheets. Soon, she grew restless and yearned for some excitement in her life. Prashant was a gem of a husband, whose first priority had been her, from the first day, when she had entered his home and heart. He was soft spoken, kind, caring and extremely patient with her. Perhaps, he was too good to be true. Apeksha’s visitors were soon back to haunt her, her fantasies! She tossed in bed night after night and went about the days, in a stupour. Prashant was perplexed as well, for he had no clue about her lack. He asked her to get back to work, so that her mind remained occupied. And occupied it was, only with her fantasies. Soon, she joined a prestigious firm. The days went by calmly for some time.
Mark Barrington, her boss was a man to die for, that’s what her female colleagues professed. This time, it was not planned, but it happened. Mark began to take a keen interest in her. Apeksha was in a dilemma, as she was a much married woman now. She succumbed to her fantasies and soon they began to spend more time together at work and beyond. She began to come home late. Prashant would have slept by then, on most days. They mostly met on weekends at the breakfast table, where Prashant would usually arrange a delightful breakfast platter, cooked lovingly for her. He was happy that she seemed cheerful, off late. Love, for Prashant, meant trust, and he stood by it. Mark had been pressing for a physical relationship, which Apeksha had been putting off, under some or the other pretext. Guilt had filled in, right down to her core. What was happening to her, she began to worry, as this was what she was missing in her wedded life. Mark was dominating, with a tinge of raw appeal, which she had been longing for. Unable to withstand the torturous dilemma, she quit her job. Prashant was secretly happy, as he could have her to himself, finally. He had missed her so much, all these days that he almost choked on his emotions. Days went by, but Apeksha remained confused as she was not sure anymore, as to what she wanted out of her life. She was already blessed with a good spouse and a loving home. Why, then was she restless? What more did she want out of life? Was a good relationship based only on perfect physical attributes? And what was perfection, did it not spoil relationships? Apeksha, knew it all and yet……
Prashant had to leave on a week long trip to another country, all of a sudden, within a short notice. Apeksha was relieved, as it would give her some time to think and make the right decision. The first day went by quietly. On the second day, she received a message from Mark, saying he wanted to meet her. Excitement shot within each nerve of her being with disbelief. So, Mark did love her, after all. It had not just been a carnal desire, then. She sang softly to herself as she got ready for the meeting with Mark, the final one, one that would solve the riddles of her life. Mark had just pulled out a chair for Apeksha, when a pretty English woman walked into the restaurant. Mark rushed to greet her with a warm hug. A shocked Apeksha, with her cheeks burning, tried to look away, but couldn’t. Her gaze was rooted to the couple in front of her. After what seemed like ages, they pulled away gently and Mark, with a shine in his eyes, introduced the pretty lady to him. Apeksha, “meet my wife, Lauren!” The world seemed to be spinning around her, as Mark continued to speak. He revealed that they had been married for 3 years and Lauren had been a very caring wife, meeting all his needs to the best of her ability. It was him, who was unsatisfied and longed for some thrill, perhaps an adventure in love, which was missing in his relationship with Lauren. He had taken over the Indian operations, to mull over this lack. It was after meeting Apeksha that he realized, how much he missed Lauren. The day Apeksha had refused to go physical with him, had been an eye opener for him. He thanked her profusely and came forward to hug her. Unable to control her tears, Apeksha bit into her lower lip and tasted blood, of her own deceit. Murmuring her best wishes hastily, she got up to leave, and to her horror, found Aradhana, seated with her family, right in front of their table, which included Sumeet and a pretty lady sitting beside him. So, he had moved on, she thought to herself. The best friends had fallen apart soon after the break up. She did not stop to greet them and had run out of the restaurant. As she was hurrying past the nearby vegetable market, where her car had been parked, she had heard the familiar loud squeal” Apeksha Mathur, is this really you?”
The drive back to her house was a really difficult one. The short journey was ridden with guilt, shame and panic. Had Aradhna seen her with Mark? What if Prashant came to know about her dark side? The side which housed her insatiable fantasies. One that had led her to Sumeet and Mark! She reached home, it was early evening and a soft breeze was blowing outside, just perfect, had she been in the right frame of mind. With a heavy heart, she unlocked the door, and was in for a pleasant surprise! There stood Prashant, her husband, who loved her more than anything in this world. He was smiling, misty eyed, as he opened his arms, out to her. Her glance fell upon the beautiful flowers all over the living room, the table had been arranged for a romantic candle light dinner. All this had been waiting for her. She quickly rushed to their room and shut the door behind her. Her heart was beating wildly, as she wondered about the sudden happenings in her life. She hastily opened her cupboard and brought out her diary, her only confidant, after marriage. As she opened the current page to write her heart out, she was shocked to find an entry already made under today’s date. It read, “Dearest Appu, I may not be the man of your fantasies. But, I want you to understand that true love surpasses all parameters, as it’s a connection made between two souls. This is the definition of a soulmate. I promise to cherish you forever, if you give me one last chance to prove my love to you. I miss you, please walk back into my arms, for a lifetime and beyond.” The tears were flowing freely as she fumbled to open the latch of the door, to find Prashant standing outside the room, with his arms stretched out open, towards her. She flung herself into his arms and he held her tight, secure and safe. Away from the world, away from her visitors, her fantasies! She would not need them anymore, for she had come home to the man of her dreams. The night that followed was every bit celestial, as the moon and the stars witnessed their passionate re-union.
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