This is a scene from the Chapter 'The Dead End' that comes about one third down the way into my book 'Sorting Out Sid'. It may not be a usual practice to give away something like this, but I think it's obvious even from the book blurb that Sid's marriage to Mandira is doomed. So here goes. This scene isn't as funny as the rest of the book but I like it somehow and it represents a big turning point for Sid, and there's so much more that follows. If you like this, you can go ahead and get your copy of the book from Flipkart here (They're running a huge discount and free delivery right now, so check it out!)
The phone rang about ten times, but he waited patiently still tapping his fingers on the wheel. Finally Mandira picked up, sounding slightly breathless and more than a little annoyed. ‘Ya Sid? What is it?’
‘Nothing much,’ he said, ‘You enjoying your party?’
‘It’s fine,’ She answered curtly, ‘How are Mummy and Daddy?’
‘Oh, we’re all missing you very much. Hey, how come I don’t hear any music at the party?’
‘I’ve stepped out to talk to you in the hall.’ was her quick reply, ‘So why are you calling?’
‘Nothing, yaar … I just thought I’d tell you … I was getting a little bored, so I’m going to see Vikas tonight. Sunny told me he’s working on a presentation at the Farm. Remember the Farm? I guess you wouldn’t, we went there together to a party only once … years ago. So, anyway, I thought I’d surprise him there, maybe have a beer with him.’
There was a moment of silence and Mandira’s voice rang out shriller than before, ‘You can’t do that … you can’t just land up and disturb him …’
‘What disturb him, yaar!’ retorted Sid, ‘He’s my friend. I just felt like seeing him, it’s no big deal.’
Her voice was panicky now, ‘Listen … don’t leave Mummy and Daddy alone. They come to spend time with us, and …’
‘And you go out to an office party? Come on, if you can do that, surely I can go and see my oldest and best friend? Don’t worry, I won’t be long. I’ve almost reached anyway. Chalo … bye.’
Mandira didn’t even bother to say bye. She quickly cut the call and Sid took a deep breath and stared at his phone. He wished that there wasn’t this perverse part of him which had started to enjoy itself, especially since most of him felt sick to the stomach. He looked out of the window towards the gate, and waited.
It wasn’t a long wait. In about one and half minutes the gate opened and she emerged. She didn’t notice him, and he watched her now sprint across the road. Oh. That’s where she had parked, he could now make out the red of the Verna behind the tall bushes. It had been hidden pretty well. . It helped Sid to focus on the logistics of the situation. This took away some of the discomfort he felt from the bile in his throat as well as the bitter feeling of disappointment that rose from his stomach. Of course, he realized that somewhere in the back of his mind he had known this all along.
He watched Mandira scurry and hit the button on the remote keychain, from several meters away, to unlock the car. She scrambled into the driver’s seat and drove it out, heading with reckless speed down the road, away from him.
He pressed the redial button and waited until he got another breathless ‘Hello?’. He watched her from his vantage point as she slowed down marginally, saying, ‘Sid, I’m driving. I’ll be home soon, okay? What is it?’
‘You’re going the wrong way.’ Sid said in a pleasant, conversational tone. She pulled to an abrupt stop and even from the distance he could see that she was sitting frozen rigidly in her seat, the phone glued to her ear.
When she didn’t respond, he hastened to add, ‘The main road is the other way – that’s a dead end you’re heading for.’
Her stunned silence continued, and a feeling of weariness hit Sid all over again. Whatever little fleeting pleasure he had derived from his grand expose was already fading away. In fact, he was beginning to feel painfully sorry and embarrassed for her. He wished he didn’t have to put her through this - but it was too late now.
He sighed and waited for her to respond. What could she possibly say though? He had hit the nail right on the head. They had both been heading for it for a while, and now they’d reached it – The Dead End.
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