Everyday is a Rainbow Day

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Jhelum begins her story: her days in Singapore with her husband Roopayan and what happened thereafter.

Chapter 12 (v.1) - Chapter XII: Chance meeting with a reason

Submitted: August 05, 2016

Reads: 149

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Submitted: August 05, 2016

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“The kiss and the bite are such close cousins that in the heat of love they are readily confounded.”

- Heinrich von Kleist

 

 

 

Three years before

 

Singapore. May 29, 2014, Sunday. 10.30 pm.

It has been a week since Jhelum and Roopayan have arrived in Singapore. The first few days have flown in a jiffy, unpacking the luggage and re-arranging things at the apartment.  Jhelum was busy all day, doing chores at home, while he was away at work.

Finally, today, Jhelum has found some time for herself. She is surfing through some job sites, when her husband came and sat beside her on the bed, peering into her laptop screen, asked her,” what are you doing, dear, staying up, so late? ”

“Looking for jobs, honey” she said, looking at her screen.

“Oh” he said, “I pretty much envy these job sites. They are stealing you from me.”

She smiled and replied, “No, the recruiters are innocent. It is me who is responsible.”

“I thought you were looking at FB comments of our honeymoon pictures “, moving a little closer to her. “Did you see what Ronnie commented on our beach pic?”

“No. I will check it out sometime later” she said, rather nonchalantly, concentrating on a job posting. She was not really interested in off-color comments on their photos.

He looked her, looking rather disappointed.

A few minutes passed. He grew impatient and asked, “How long will you take?”

“Not much. Only 15 minutes.”

“Oh, that’s too long!” Roopayan pulled a pillow from the bed. “Please do hurry up.”

“Hmm” came her brief reply.

Five minutes passed.

“So, did you come across something?” Roopayan lied on the pillow beside her.

”Yeah, I applied for a few.” Jhelum turned towards him, “today I also got a call from a placement agency.” She stopped for a minute, to log out of the portal.

“Oh, is it?” came Roopayan’s reply.

Jhelum continued to say, “She said quite a few top notch MNCs are hiring. I sent her my project details at WW…”

He did not seem interested. Instead he was fidgeting with his mobile. She took a quick look at his mobile screen. Checking out some video, perhaps.

”Roop, tomorrow I need to see an officer at the Employment Exchange Center for Employment Permit. Can you please drop me at Capital Square?” she asked him, keeping the laptop on the side table.

“”Okay. I will think about it tomorrow morning.” and pulled her into his arms.

“Hey Roop, wait. Let me change into my nightwear…” Jhelum tried to stop him.

“Oh. You don’t need to change…it is time for something more important “he said and switched off the bedside lamp.

“Oh Roop, you are always in a hurry.” Jhelum was giggling.

“Yes, I am. I can hardly wait…”

 

 

 

Next morning. 9.45 am.

Roopayan is working on his laptop in the bedroom and biting on sandwich occasionally.  Jhelum is busy in the kitchen.

“Roop, are you done with your work?” she called out.

“Oh yeah, five more minutes.” He replied clicking on a page link.

“Hurry up, Roop.” she peeped from the dining room, “We have to leave in 15 minutes. And you are still working”, packing his lunch box.

 “At what time did you say your appointment is?”

“11 am.” Jhelum untied her apron and approached the wardrobe to take out a dress.

There was a chiming sound, probably of a meeting reminder.

“Oh my God. I cannot make it today!”Roopayan screamed all of a sudden.

“What happened?” a surprised Jhelum walked into the room.

“I cannot drop you to EEC office today, sweetheart.”

“Why?” she turned around.

“I cannot. I have a meeting at 10.30 am.”

“What?” she was flabbergasted” you did not know that?”

“I am sorry. I forgot. Just now, the meeting reminder chimed.” He said, getting up on his feet.

She stood astounded for a minute. The formal shirt that she had picked for wearing, dropped from her hand.

He looked at her blank face and asked, “What happened?”

“What about my appointment?”

“Call up the personnel. Ask for an alternative date.” He was getting his laptop bag ready.

“What if they cannot arrange for another date?” she stood bewildered for a few seconds, and then regained her senses, and asked him, “cannot you speed up a bit and drop me, before you head for office?”

“No way.” He was putting on his shirt, “EEC office is at the other end of the city. It will take a minimum of 30 minutes. I have the meeting coming up in 15 minutes!”

Roopayan’s office was just 15 minutes car drive from where they stayed.

“Why are you looking so pale?” he said, looking at Jhelum’s pensive face” what is the big hurry for the appointment? “He was putting on his trousers. “Don’t panic. They will surely arrange for another date.”

She watched him move across the room getting his stuff.

“Or else, you can do one thing…” he was tying his shoes.

“What?” she asked.

“You can take a shuttle train from Davenport and get down at Capital Square. From there you might have to walk 5-10 minutes towards Church Street. Ask somebody about the EEC office.” Roopayan narrated the road directions hurriedly and picked up his lunch pack from the dining table.

“Bye sweetheart” he left in a hurry, forgetting the goodbye kiss.

Jhelum looked at the clumsy bedroom; the crinkled bedsheet, the half-eaten sandwich on the plate, Roopayan’s boxer pants and t-shirt lying on the floor, sheets of paper on the bedside table.

 

 

15 minutes later. Davenport bus stop.

Jhelum is waiting for the next bus to Capital Square. She had called up the EEC office personnel and informed him that she might be 10 minutes late, and requested him to excuse her for that. The officer was polite enough to say that it will not be a problem.

She looked worried and was holding on to her folder bag, when someone called out her name in a foreign accent.

“Jelam, where are you off to?”

She looked around. The young guy on the bike was Jang Yong, a friendly, young Korean guy, their next-door neighbor.

“I am going to the Capital Square. EEC Office.”

“You have an appointment?”

“Yes. At 11.”She said, “And you?”

“I am on my way to office. I came to drop Myung to the tube rail station.” Myung was his live-in partner. She works at the tube rail station as an electronic operator.

“Okay.” She nodded her head.

“If you don’t mind, I can drop you at the EEC Office. My office is at Capital Square.”

She was unwilling to take any favors, but it was getting late. “But, won’t it be inconvenient for you?” she asked.

“Not at all.” Jang shook his head, “it is just two blocks away from my office”

“Okay.” She was pensive for a minute.

“Hurry up, Jelam. It is already 10.40 am.”

Jhelum got up on his bike and Jang sped off almost immediately.

 

 

Jang dropped her at the EEC office at 10.55 am.

“Thanks a lot, Jang” Jhelum said, as she got down from his bike.

“No mention, please” he smiled back.

He quickly gave her some travelling tips for her way back home.

“Hey Jelam, take Myung’s cell number, in case you need it. She’ll most happy to help you. After all, you are new to the city.”

Jhelum looked at him, as he messaged Myung’s number to her. Has he already discovered how callous Roopayan was?

“Rush Jelam, rush. The EEC guys are very particular about time.”

“Oh yeah. Bye. Thank you once again, Jang” to which he bowed with a warm smile.

She went in.

 

 

9 hours later. 8 pm.

Jhelum is dicing vegetables on a chopping board for salad. Roopayan is sitting a few yards away, on a sofa, watching a cricket match, and occasionally talking to her.

“So, your interview went off pretty well, huh?” he asked.

“Yeah. The officer was very well-behaved and did not ask any annoying questions.”

“Great. Send a thank you mail to him, once you get a job here.” Roopayan said jocundly.

“It is Jang, I should thank, rather than the EEC personnel.” Said Jhelum, reaching out for the salad bowl.

“What? Jang? What did the fellow do?” Roopayan looked at her, surprisingly.

“The EEC officer has only done his job. Of interviewing me. That’s his official duty, for which he is paid.” She looked at his face, changing color, “Jang made it possible for me to reach there and attend the meeting.”

“What do you mean? Jang took you to the EEC office?” he got up from the sofa and came to the table, where Jhelum was preparing salad. “You didn’t tell me anything?”

“What’s there to say? “She stole a quick glance at his face, “besides, were you even bothered about my appointment? “She added white sauce to the vegetables in the salad bowl with the hand mixer.

“Of course, I was concerned about you” he came closer, “I called you twice.”

“Yes. Four hours later. ” Her hand reached out for the boiled corns. “To remind me of picking up chicken on my way back home.”

“No, sweetheart. You see, I had a meeting” Roopayan came and sat at the edge of the table.

“So, he was with you all the while? Even while coming back home?’’ taking a searching glance at her face.

Jhelum also saw the unasked question in his eyes and replied, “No. I came back on my own.”

“I was at the Davenport bus stop, when he saw me and offered me a lift.” She said.

“These Chinese chaps are always on the lookout for pretty Indian girls “he muttered, to which Jhelum laughed and said, “Roop, Jang is not Chinese, he is Korean. Besides, he had come to drop Myung.”

“Myung?” his brows curled for a second, “Okay, his current sleep-in, sorry, live-in partner.” He said, with a crooked smile on his face.

“Don’t meddle much with these fellows.” He continued, looking at her, “They are always changing partners like innerwears.”

“Come on, Roop. I’m not meddling with anyone. Jang is of Jishnu’s age.”

Jishnu is Jhelum’s younger brother.

Roopayan did not say anything, but it was obvious that he was not happy with her answer.

She laid out the dinner plates on the table, in a slightly serious tone, and stopped for a while, to say “besides, it is entirely a matter of a person’s individual preference, to stay with a partner, or to break up. I suppose we have nothing to do with that.”

Roopayan came and sat down on the chair.

 

He lowered his voice, “I know. I trust you. But you know I am very possessive about you too. And I am really sorry for missing the appointment.” He took her hand, while saying.

“It is okay. “Jhelum nodded.

But the look in his eyes told her that this is not going to be the first time.


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