A contemporary romantic short story set in India about what goes around comes around. However, it also asks a poignant question – can there really be a sweet revenge when it comes to love?
‘I hate you,’ Amol screamed at Priya for the first and the last time. ‘And I would keep hating you for the rest of my life.’
Priya had cheated on Amol with his friend, Anirudh. Amol wouldn’t have known if not for that fateful winter morning a month ago. Priya was over at his place and he woke up to her buzzing phone. She’d gone to bathe leaving her mobile on the bed. It had a text from Anirudh: ‘I’m unable to forget Friday night. You were a tornado!’ For the next few days, Amol didn’t confront her but kept watching her actions. He didn’t pry, he didn’t spy. He just patiently waited for her to inform him about it. He believed that if she had the courage to accept her new love in front of him, he would not come in between. If she dared to be honest, he will happily end it. But if she kept him in the dark, he would wait. It was hard for her to confront something as big as adultery. They were in a relationship for 3.5 years and Amol was invested in her, in them and their future together. She avoided conversations about their relationship, evaded questions that asked her well-being. As Amol watched Priya, she started dropping more hints about how she wanted to end it but never said it out loud. Once in a while, she would say, ‘You deserve someone better, someone more emotional.’
At last, Amol’s patience broke down. He went to her place in Gurgaon early in the morning, having made up his mind to confront her and end his misery. He couldn’t withhold himself when he found Anirudh’s Honda City parked below. He pressed the call bell and Priya came groggily thinking it to be a domestic help or the garbage man. He dashed inside and found Anirudh sleeping half-naked on her bed. He scrambled out of her house. Priya ran after Amol and cried, ‘It isn’t what you think it is.’ Amol stopped and asked her to then explain what it was. She didn’t have any answer. Priya broke down, wailed and started accusing him of mistreatment, neglect and lack of love. He could not stand it and that was when he screamed at her for the first and the last time. They never saw each other again.
Three months after they had broken up, Priya was happy with the newness of Anirudh while Amol was still recuperating from his loss with hatred as his only companion. He kept stalking her pictures on Facebook. The two of them seemed happy. He cringed at their display picture with their cheeks touching. Amol’s hatred got the better of him, and seized him with such passion that he wished for Priya to face the same fate as his. He believed it would take a betrayal for Priya to truly value Amol’s loyalty, for that matter loyalty as a virtue.
Last Sunday, when Amol’s mother came to see him, he took her to Gurgaon to meet the relatives. His mother is a diabetic and at eleven, she realized that she forgot to bring her medicines. Amol volunteered and rushed to the nearest medical shop on his bike. The shop was shut and he rode all the way to the only 24×7 shop in Gurgaon. On his way, he drove past her flat where he slowed and furtively looked at the first floor balcony. The lights were off. Anirudh’s car was nowhere to be seen. The thought that she would be at his place drinking, or relishing a long drive on Anirudh’s car disgusted him and Amol sped off his bike.
At last, Amol reached the medical shop and inquired about the medicines. Just as he was about to leave after purchase, he saw from the reflection of Anirudh at the glass door. He was about to enter the very same medical shop. To prevent any awkwardness, Amol hid beneath a shelf of fat boxes of whey proteins and peered at Anirudh clandestinely. He watched Anirudh tap twice on the glass desk that stocked contraceptives with his right hand that held his Honda City keys. The shopkeeper pulled out a blue packet. Anirudh said, ‘No, not the blue one. Give me the green one: apple one.’ He grabbed the green packet wrapped in brown-paper, put it in his tight denim pocket and rushed outside in his jolly walk.
Amol’s feet feared to move. Past five minutes were worse than the infidelity he encountered a few months ago. On an impulse, he rushed out to get one glimpse of the woman who preferred green over blue, whom he hated all the more, whom he wished to encounter treachery much like him, whom he wished to be doomed and devastated by the gloom of loss of love as him, whom he loved to hate.
Amol stood near the exit door with his helmet on. From there, he could see Anirudh’s car in the dim parking lot and a shadow of what seemed Priya seated inside. And then, he saw what he sought to see. Anirudh cuddled her as he handed over the packet wrapped in brown-paper with a toothy grin. Two shadows kissed. She pulled his ears and grabbed hold of the brown packet in her hands. As the car reached the exit door, Amol stood frozen, transfixed like a statue, murmuring to himself, ‘It’s not her. It’s not Priya. Fuck, it’s somebody else.’ He opened his phone and checked Priya’s Facebook and Whatsapp DP. It had Anirudh in it, cheek to cheek. Anirudh was cheating on her, the truth dawned on him.
In that moment, when he should have jumped with joy, when his wishful revenge was exacted out of Anirudh without Amol’s doing, all that Amol could do was cry. It felt his heart broke once again. He wailed like a newborn, like a helmet-wearing baby. He had never felt so miserable, not even for his own sorrow, than what he felt for Priya. At that moment, all he could think of was: She wasn’t the one he loved to hate, she was the one he still loved.
This story was originally published on The Fiction Project.
About the author: Chhaya is an aspiring 18 year old author from UP, India. She has been penning stories since childhood and hopes to break the glass ceiling one day by becoming an author of repute.