It was Wednesday, the thirteenth of February, which marked the eleventh anniversary of Mahesh and Divya. Since morning, Divya had been extremely busy at home so much so that she didn't even have time to pause and wipe off the perspiration from her face. Divya, dressed in a modest maroon night gown, her hair tied up like a bun, her make-up all smudged was busy ticking off items in a long list clipped on the door of the refrigerator.
By five, she had succeeded in putting some kind of order into the arrangements. Chairs, tables, napkins, flowers, they were all there on the verandah, neatly arranged. Mahesh had come home much earlier than usual and was pleasantly surprised to see the arrangements she had made for their eleventh anniversary.
It was nearing nine when Divya started laying the table for dinner. As she was laying the table, there was a sudden power cut. She rushed to the kitchen and got a packet of birthday candles lying in between the Bru coffee packets above the refrigerator. Planting a red candle in the middle of the dining table, she sat down to have dinner. Every year, they followed a pattern of talking about their previous distractions. It wasn't a matter of concern as they had been very candid about these things. Thus, this year it was her turn to reveal her distraction.
She began her story after taking a deep breath. It was when she was a young college girl who was returning home after a classical music concert. She reached the station shortly after the last commuter train had departed from the station and there were no trains till morning. Dejected, she proceeded to the waiting room.
In the waiting room, she was approached by a young twenty something tall, gentle, charismatic, smart Muslim man asking her for a favour. She was so bored that she came down to doing anything for him. She kissed the man's fingers and also planted a kiss on his cheek. Meanwhile, Mahesh started taking deep breaths and his expressions were washed away by flares of jealousy. He asked her how she could even attempt such a thing despite being the daughter of conservative parents.
It was only when Mahesh quizzed her about this did she actually reply. She did this to protect the Muslim man's five year old kid who was being lured to join a terrorist organization as the city was burning due to communal violence.