She was his wife.
As the thought thundered around his head, he wheeled away from the window in frustration as he tried to force his memory to return.
As always, the attempt was futile. He’d spent the last 15 days struggling to accept that he didn’t remember anything that had happened over the past eighteen months.
Throwing himself into his chair, he leaned back, closing his eyes to try and block out the world. A moment later, his eyes popped open; it was as if the insides of his eyelids were a screen onto which a series of images of her were being projected continuously.
In frustration, he picked up the phone and summoned Adi- when his faithful second-in-command entered, he said “Adi, sab accounts ki summary tayyar hogayi mereliye”
“J j jj j ii sir, jo jo summaries aap ne maangi theen, woh sab aapko email kardeen hain”
“Theek hai, main ghar jaake padhloonga, then when I get back from Mumbai you can fill me in on the details. Until I’m fully up to speed with what’s going on with the business, I’m of no use here anyway. You’re more than able to run things, jab se mera ye haal hua hai, tumhi to sab sambhaal rahe ho.”
Picking up his phone, he walked towards the door, aware of Adi’s eyes following him. When he reached the door, he stopped, needing to know the answer to the question that has been troubling him for the past two hours. Without looking back at the only man he had ever been able to rely on (even though he would never accept that he ever needed anyone to watch his back) he said “Adi, woh.........”
He stopped, having to force the words out “Adi, Mrs Khurana kahan hain?”
“Geet? Geet to ghar pe hai Sir, Dadiji ke saath.”
He nodded once without looking at Adi, then strode towards the stairs, unwilling to spend any time cooped up in the lift. As he took the steps two at a time, his thoughts circled back to the woman who was never far from his thoughts at the moment.
The next morning, Sunday, he woke as the first rays of sunlight began teasing at the horizon. He looked over at the woman sleeping next to him, remembering the awkwardness of the evening before—as more and more days passed by without any signs of his memory returning, the pain in her eyes grew deeper and the silence more oppressive. At times his guilt was overwhelming, finding expression as anger- he cringed inwardly as he realised how rudely he spoke about her, seeming to punish her for his own flaws and weakness.
Rolling away from her, he noticed the tear tracks on her cheeks that bore mute witness to her distress. Cursing himself and her, cursing fate, his stepmother the doctors and everyone else who had landed him in this situation, he stood- in that moment, his gaze landed on their wedding picture; he stood for a moment studying it, trying to recognise himself in the man smiling so lovingly at Geet. He had looked at her that day as if she was the only thing of meaning in the world, as if her happiness was the only thing important to him. The picture showed that she was looking at him the same way, her eyes full of joy and hope. There wasn’t an inch between them- his arm was wrapped around her as she leaned into his body.
He glanced down at the woman he had left sleeping on the bed, trying to reconcile the glowingly happy woman in the photo with the pale cheeked, hollow eyed woman he saw before him. Guilt streaked through him again; he fought to turn it into anger the weight became too much to bear.
Needing to get away, needing time to think, he left the room as quietly as possible and made his way to the gym. He worked his way through the katas, letting his body flow through increasingly difficult patterns and movements; as the patterns flowed without any hesitation, he wondered how it was that he could remember every kata he had ever learned, every breathing exercise, every anger-management technique, every exercise that he needed to do to maintain his ripped physique but he couldn’t remember the woman he had loved enough to share his life with.
As the repetitive perfection of the katas calmed his thoughts, the realisation dawned that they were going to have to start afresh. He couldn’t keep torturing her the way he had been, the poor woman had done nothing to deserve that. He had to offer her a chance at a new life; he owed her at least the chance to decide whether she wanted nothing more to do with a man who could so easily forget her, or whether she wanted to try and build a new life with him, based on convenience and with the clear understanding that his ability to love seemed to have vanished with the unexpectedness with which it had seemed to appear in his life.
To be continued.............................