The sky looked constructed, in lights — some sharp, some dim, others revolving neon and few screaming for attention. The sky was a sight under the blanket of the heavy dusk. It was going to be a night of impending thundershowers. Loud and long thought Monideepa as she pulled down the semi-dry clothes, wet with their moist smell, from the clothes line. She piled them in her arms and spent an instant longer than usual admiring the events of the sky when she was interrupted with Suyash’s shrill “Come in, Mo!”. Why the hell has he returned on time today? Why couldn’t he be stuck in one of the thick jams, waterlogged till the next morning? Why am I thinking like this? Resigned, she went in.

Suyash Sengupta was an investment banker, one of those easily identifiable Bengali boys who give up their childhood artistic dreams of becoming a poet in pursuit of Physics, or Economics. He did quite well in life to have bought a more than spacious flat in one of Mumbai’s suburbia high rises and was chauffeured to his office located in the swanky Nariman Point. When he met Monideepa, back in those Presidency days of extended addas and idealized walks through College Street lanes, he often poeticized such rainy evenings in a predicted elite milieu. His brand of poetry dared to be contemporary and strike a chord out of rural red soil and the glorious smell of the pre-puja autumn air which every Calcuttan is blessed with. He loved the fact that Monideepa, of the English Department, loved her Bengali Literature and understood his poetics. His English was not too bad either, himself a proud Jacobean. This was a dream wedding of the gold medalist good boy and the outrageously talented and popular beautiful girl. Perseverance weds talent.

They looked nice together, comfortable, Mo and Suyash. Since the last twenty four years.

Mumbai was the ladder both were willing to step on for the sake of success. Mo organized camps and workshops and was associated with some of the most renowned artistic troupes of the city. Theatrics was her domain, she ruled it. And how well she taught! Suyash, on the contrary went on to his own office-space, and the travels around the world, with exclusive invites to after-parties and previews of exhibitions. Theirs was a life one would have never dreamt of from the clogged lanes of Calcutta. Their son was in his teens, studying in one of the most premier boarding schools of the country, also a success story.

The only thing left, perhaps, was a party. To host a grand Twenty Five years of Twogetherness — that would make the couple immortal in the leaves of a large life. It was two months away, and every time they sat to work on it, their differences came alive. The guest list was way too varied, their cuisine preferences poles apart, their themes not allowing for a bit of confluence. The distance they grew in taking their common steps exposed the unease in their living. The poised pretense was dismantling.

Mo was ready for the evening from the beginning of the year. Yet, since morning she did not know if she was. Why the hell has he returned on time today? Why couldn’t he be stuck in one of the thick jams, waterlogged till the next morning? Why am I thinking like this? Resigned, she went in. As Suyash spoke of more options to the cocktails, Mo quietly slipped an official looking envelop into his hands. Divorce, he was thinking. Divorce, she should have filed for. But it was not.

It was an invite from one of Vienna’s Theatrical Society slated for an August date. The party would not be possible. “You knew it all along, Mo?”

She handed him her tickets and the itinerary for the month next. She would be travelling with her troupe. “Use the time well, Suyash. Live. Think. I would too.”