“Swati! Oh God! Here you are. I’ve practically scanned the entire premise looking for you”, Riva heaved a sigh of relief. “Aren’t we getting late?”
“You can breathe now Riva”, Swati joked.
They had known each other for more than 20 years. She didn’t see an inkling of doubt on Swati; in fact she never looked happier.
Riva remembered the time, when newly married, she shifted next door to Swati. Shiv, her husband was your typical workaholic IT guy. His lack of time and attention, led to a beautiful bond between her and Swati. She was always vivacious and bubbly and Swati calm and serene. Between the two of them they shared happiness and positivity. Shiv always envious of their rapport. In fact, he had almost succeeded at breaking it.
Riva was pregnant 3 years into their marriage. However modern Shiv preached to be he couldn’t come above his small and primitive thoughts. “Riva, you don’t want to be associated with this barren lady in this happy time of your life. Besides, hope you haven’t forgotten the gossip surrounding her husband’s death and that her presence results in unforeseen calamities. We can’t take this risk. You are to immediately break down all your ties with her” Shiv warned Riva.
Riva was at a crossroads. To her astonishment, it was Swati who had verbatim said the same words to Riva. She couldn’t stop the tears flowing, “You are the greatest thing that has happened to me. I found in you, a friend, confidante, reason to live. I know the gossip surrounding me and I wouldn’t want my bad luck to touch you or your unborn child. It’s better if we part ways with a smile. Sometimes there is no happy choice, Riva, only one less grievous than the others, besides I’m just a door away, if you ever need me” Swati tried to smile through her tears.
And a door away she was.
Shiv was always busy with work and late night international projects, leaving Riva all by herself. She didn’t have an easy pregnancy. In her 4th month, Riva felt a shooting pain and by reflex called Swati. Post that incident, Swati was like an Angel, always hovering around Riva taking care of all her needs. In fact, the day ‘Khushi’ was born, Shiv was in a meeting and Swati accompanied Riva to the hospital. Right from her first smile to her first step, right till the day Khushi became a lawyer; Swati was the parent Shiv couldn’t ever be.
The divorce was amicable. Shiv and Riva were never together to part. It was probably the best for both of them.
Khushi hugged Swati and teased her, “You are looking as tensed and shy as a new bride.” Well, that’s what she felt like, enwrapped in her red saree with vermilion on her forehead.
At this new crossroad of life, Riva and Swati were finally together. Khushi and Shiv signed as witness in their marriage.
Vermilion: In traditional Hindu society, wearing Vermilion/Sindoor is considered must for married Hindu women. It is a visible expression of their desire for their husbands’ longevity. Traditionally therefore, widows did not wear vermilion.
The above story is an entry into #TheChoice a Five00-6 entry.
Check out event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/five00-6/
Check out Zenobia’s space here: https://artoonsinn.com/author/zenobia-merchant/
Photo by freestocks.org