Beep beep! Listen! It beeped again.
She checked her watch. It said 2:30am. The room was washed with the dim glow from her husband’s mobile. A message at this time! She looked at her husband. If innocence has a face, it could be his! Her fingers sleepwalked towards the mobile lying on the window sill; her eyes were half-closed.
A message from a Sheeja? She pressed a button.
“Oh!” A gasp escaped her mouth, her eyes swung widely open to read the message again. This could never happen. Not in her life. She felt a sudden coldness growing in her stomach. The world is going upside down.
She’d read extramarital affairs in magazines, but never thought it could happen in real life. In her life. Her head swung towards her snoring husband. If villainy has a face!
What to do now? At first she thought of raising the hell. No…screaming won’t do. The whole family would lose its face. She thought hard as her fingers clutched the mobile hard. She couldn’t recall a single instance in which a Sheeja’s name was dropped when her husband talked.
In a flash, Divya saw herself writing a letter to the Agony aunt column. She had enjoyed reading them but never had imagined that she would someday read her own letter in the magazine. But now…
She read the message again in order to rule out the possibility that she’d misread it. No it is very clear.
Sheeja has delivered a baby. And now she wants Manu chettan to come and claim her from her home. It is clear. Manu chettan would use all loopholes in the message to get away from this incriminating evidence, she knew. But he won’t open his mouth at this, she was sure.
Once he admits it I must call my father and go home. No, I’ll hire a taxi and go on my own. But before that, he must know that I’ve caught him red-handed. Oh, my God. How could a husband be so mean and unfaithful!
“Manu Chetta!” She shook her husband violently.
“Hmm…” I was not in the mood.
“Eneekku Manu chetta, get up now.”
“Yes. Your biriyani is very tasty. I’m enjoying it” I said, squirming in my bed
“Who asked you about biriyani? Listen. I am going home,” she said between sobs.
“Ok. Take Ammu with you. You can take money from my purse,” I thought it was early morning and she was just going home. (See. Murphy is right. If something goes wrong, everything follows).
Divya now wiped her tears, deciding for war.
“I know, you want me to go. You’d get all the freedom then, alle?”
“Manu chetta, tell me the truth. Who is Sheeja?”
“Sheeja what?” I shuffled uneasily in bed.
“Lord Krishna’s wife Sheeja!” Divya sometimes could be really angry. “The Sheeja in your mobile.”
“Oh, she. My colleague, nice girl. They say, she’s a good cook too. Come, let us sleep.” I tried to pull her back into the bed, with closed eyes.
Is he pulling me or Sheeja? Divya boiled in that darkness.
Nice girl! Good cook! As if I am not anywhere there. She thought angrily about all the unniyappams she had wasted on me. All those puddings. Biriyanis. Chicken curry. Beef fry. Prawns vintaloo.
“Well, Congrats. Your good cook has delivered your baby. Go and collect the mother and child in the morning.”
“What are you blabbering?” I sat bolt upright on our bed. “Who delivered what!”
“Sheeja, your colleague.”
“Read it for yourself, and enjoy.” She thrust the mobile at my face.
I focused my sleepy eyes in the darkness and read the message:
“Manu sir. Big problems here. Njan pettu. Come and take me in the morning.”
(‘Njan pettu’ has two different meanings with a slight difference in pronunciation- a) I am trapped and b) I’ve given birth. The poor doctor meant the former and my wife who read the message at that night took the latter. When the mist finally lifted, the whole incident became a matter of a hearty laugh to all of our Palakkadan friends.
Extramarital affairs were only in fiction, Divya and Sukumaran sighed).