The sun was blazing down at 8 am, all traces of the rain of last night gone. It was hugely symbolic to me as I stepped into the first day of the rest of my life.
The movers arrived soon. I left the home in the charge of the maid, while I took Ik and the car to what would be one of our last impromptu trips to Kamla Nagar which was a frequent hang out place for both Ik and me. We bought some things for the new home. I said a silent goodbye to the Kamla Nagar market, also, known as KNAGs among the young DU crowd. I would definitely miss the north campus area, its Amaltas and Gulmohur tree lined wide roads, the Delhi ridge where Ik and I spent many weekend morning hikes.
I came back to see most of my stuff loaded on the truck. Even though I had wanted to move out for the longest time, I felt empty inside on seeing the bare rooms. I could not, after all, discount the bittersweet moments, the good times and the bad that were so intrinsically woven into my life for the past so many years.
After all of my stuff had been loaded on the truck, I get a call from my childhood friend A. I had reconnected with her after almost 10 years, thanks to the magical powers of the internets as George W Bush would say. Her husband was a HR consultant and had sent me for an interview some time ago. They seemed suitably impressed with me during the interview and I waiting to hear a positive response. It was serendipitous that on the day I decide to break away from my old life, I get a call from A informing me that they were very impressed with me and wanted to hire me. I just would need to send a presentation and it would take a couple of weeks, but the job essentially was mine. I was ecstatic. It had to be a sign from the heavens that I had taken a step down the right direction!!
Prof X had decided to stay away during the entire morning. I had expected he would take Ik with him to the University with him in the morning and spend the entire morning with him, especially since it was a Saturday. But if I have learnt anything in the so many years of marriage is that expectations are the ultimate deal breaker in a marriage or in any relationship for that matter. Broken expectations are like broken glass. Their jagged edges stab deep into the heart of the relationship, ending it once and for all.
But it was his loss, if he decided not to make use of his precious moments with Ik. I made a very nostalgic trip of Kamla Nagar market with Ik in tow. I knew this market like the back of my hand. From the bakery which sold yeasts which Ik and me had used one cold evening to make French baguettes together to the toyshop from which we had bought Ik his first cycle to the momo shop in the back lane which sold the most divine momos and manchow soup ever know to man. Well at least at that price!!
The chaos, the dirt, the stray dogs, the teenage boys in black and green flowing gowns stopping you at intersections with their version of Shanidev in a tin box whom your had to appease by putting in a few coins in their extended hand or await doom , the pizzas, McDonalds and momos, the unbelievable shopping…….These would be my misty water coloured memories of the frequent refuge Ik and me took in Kamla Nagar, to escape the bitter reality that engulfed most of our days.
We were about to leave our home for ever. Two of the things that had been constant in Ik’s life, his home and his dad, would, going forward, only appear infrequently in his life. I was hoping his dad would be a frequent visitor in his life. Parents lived apart many a times. What was important was to let Ik know that both parents loved him a lot. Yes, it was an unconventional living situation and I had no clue how to answer all of Ik’s questions that were bound to arise, but I crossed my fingers and waited for the best as I waited for Prof X to come in to take my keys from me before we left. And say goodbye.
He spent about 5 minutes with Ik, sitting with him in the car. I took a picture of both of them. Ik in his childlike excitement told his dad that we were going to live in a new house but we would not take his dad along. If there was a faint cloud of sadness that passed through Prof X’s eyes, he hid it well. We shook each other’s hands and wished each other well before the car accelerated towards my new life.