My Muse - Anand vs. Anand: Saritha comes of age

Subhash Mathur

Subhash Mathur was born and brought up in small towns in Rajasthan. During his school and college education at Jaipur, he was keenly involved in sports, journalism and public speaking. His civil services career has given him a platform for spreading his ideas about modernising tax administration to benefit the common man. Post retirement he is devoting his energies, along with his wife Tilak, to public and humane causes.

Saritha got over the jet leg after nearly five days. After all this was her first trip abroad and reaching American shores takes the wind out of the most seasoned travellers. Thus for Saritha it was being awake between sleeping bouts. Anytime, anywhere.

After all, Raman and Saritha were in San Jose only for three months. They had lot of catching up to do with relatives and friends. Besides the host ‘Bhuaji‘.

Long walks in Strickland Roth park in Milpitas helped a lot to regain momentum. Now clear headed, Saritha was free to reflect on the recent happenings. The uppermost thought running in her mind was: why was Kangana also in San Jose? Saritha had spotted her in the immigration line. She was wondering why her father Raman was so eager to leave the airport in a hurry. She had a sense that he too had spotted Kangana.

Frankly, Saritha was puzzled by Raman’s behaviour in the whole Kangana episode. Initially he brought Kangana home to meet her. Then just as the meeting was getting underway in an explosion of emotions and confusion besides shock and surprise, Raman signalled her to disengage and end the get-together. Very surprising. And very stupid too.

Saritha was sure that Raman was desperately trying to avoidany contact with Kananga. The duo had also spotted Kanganasnooping around their building Paritosh as well. But Raman ordered Saritha to lie low and wear her out. Apparently Raman didn’t want Kangana in his life or in the life of his daughter.

Saritha was perplexed. She wanted to unravel the Kangana syndrome. Frankly, Saritha was tired of this Tom and Jerry run around. Hide and seek. Why were they in hiding? And what was Kangana trying to establish? How could she have hoped to become part of this family? Puzzling questions but no answers.

Saritha had liked Kangana from their brief encounter. Kangana did resemble her mother Ratna in some ways. Saritha wanted to meet her and unravel mystery. She was intrigued by what Kangana represented. To Saritha the idea of karma, reincarnation and rebirth was exciting. And invigorating. Her research had confused her further. But she was determined.

On certain days she was in split personality. Daughter of Ratna during the day and Kangana in the evening. She now felt that it was time to take on Raman to end this merry go around. She wanted Kananga in her life. Period.

Saritha devised a double strategy. She would have a frank chat with Papa. And she took her cousin Karan into confidence. One evening in the Park she told Karan the entire story leaving nothing out. She asked Karan for his help to check out whether Kangana had joined a firm San Jose or she was just here for a short visit. Karan was quite taken aback by the entire Kangana story. He thought Saritha was just daydreaming. But Saritha held onto the story consistently under intense Karan grilling.

Karan then agreed to assist. Karan too was fascinated by this tale of karma, rebirth and reincarnation. Right in their own family. Obviously he sceptical about locating Kangana. After all it was like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. But he agreed to help. And tap into his resources.

Then one sunny but cool Saturday afternoon Saritha cornered Raman on the deck. In a languid mood. Karan had left for work and Bhuaji was on her annual medical check up.

‘Papa, I need to talk to you.’

Raman was surprised by her tone and straightforward approach.

‘Yes? Anything in particular?’

‘Yes, Papa. Why are you running away from Kangana?’

Raman was shocked at the directness of the question and the topic involved. He immediately ducked.

‘What do you mean? And who’s Kangana to even bother me.’

‘Oh dear! Papa don’t preach. I know you too well. I can read you like an open book. I know you saw Kangana in the Immigration line.’

‘What! Of course I didn’t see any Kangana Vangana.’

‘Then why were you in such a hurry to leave the airport. Even Bhuaji was taken aback.’

‘Look , I am not sure what you are bringing up here. Can we have a softy discussion from here on?’

‘Ok, Papa. Softy discussion but on hard issues. I am being troubled by your eccentric behaviour. Since that day you have changed a lot.’

‘Ok, ok. Let’s discuss. Does Karan know what we are going to have such a discussion?’

‘No. But I have taken him into confidence on the developments since the day Kangana came to our house. Karan has agreed to help me out. He’s trying to find out if Kangana has taken up a job here in San Jose.’

‘Ok. Fire away but let me state a few things for clarity. I loved my wife Ratna. That I really want the best for my children. Entry of Kangana in our lives has upset and disturbed me hugely. And it’s a very difficult situation I am in. Karma, rebirth and reincarnations are tales of fables and not real life.’

‘Alright. Your positions are acceptable but we have to deal with these developments as grown-ups. Merely running away will only push us into becoming afraid of our own shadows.’

‘Ok. I will hear you out.’

‘Papa, this is not a monologue. Please answer my questions honestly. No hiding behind generalities.’

‘Ok, ok, let’s get on with it.’

‘When Kangana met you in the park did you notice the resemblance with Ratna?’

‘Yes. Mildly.’

‘Ok. Why did you signal me to end the meeting that day?’

‘Oh that! I suddenly became confused and scared of what could happen.’

‘Ok. Then why were we denial when Kangana was prowling around our house. It was a virtual house arrest.’

‘Look, I was wary. Any further contacts could have taken our happy family into the nether world. The society would have boycotted us and laughed at us. We could have become pariahs in next to time.’

‘But why not meet her and check out all the angles?’

‘Because that would be like walking into a dungeon with no visible exit.’

‘And why did you run from San Jose airport?’

‘To tell you the truth, I didn’t want any contact with her. Why did she follow us to San Jose as well?’

‘We don’t know that. She could be just visiting or here for a job. But your behaviour was erratic. How long do you plan to keep on running?’

‘Frankly I am as perplexed. I want to meet Kangana but at the same time I don’t want to.’

‘Alright, Papa. I have my answers. Thank you for being honest. But now I am imposing a few restrictions on you.’

‘What? I am the Boss around here.’

‘True. Let’s forget that for the time being. You are not to discuss this matter with Karan. Let him do his research in peace. Should we locate Kangana and get access to her you and I will set up a meeting with her. I have a venue spotted out too. Tirupati Bhima, the south Indian joint. And now that it’s out in the open enjoy your stay in San Jose. Let me do all the thinking and talking.’

The confrontation had a catharsis transformation. Both felt like free birds once again. Nothing to hide. But as Sheldon has always told us that the ‘best laid plans‘ can go awry. Very badly.

Karan was trying hard but time was slipping by. But with just week away from their return Karan got lucky. His John le Carrie style mole told Karan that one Kangana had indeed come to San Jose for a job. And she was working with The Grand Canyon. The mole had even gave a phone number to Karan. Saritha was suddenly excited.

Wow! In her wildest of dreams she didn’t expect a break like this. On Monday morning she called. The call went to HR instead of Kangana. HR was as usual very wary about giving away any information on an employee without employee consent. But Saritha was up to the challenge. She introduced herself as Kangana’s daughter. HR relented just a bit and informed her that Kangana was on site supervisory tour and was expected 8 days later.

Shit. They were leaving in six days. Saritha was disappointed but not dejected.

A week later Raman and Kangana were back in Jaipur just as confused and bewildered when they had left. But Saritha was clutching that phone number close to her chest.

That was her hope.

Or was she chasing a Chimera!


Very engrossing and a possible real life situation, good read,I am sure we'll get a second part.

Interesting but ended, may be there's a sequel, sir

Very rivetting but the end leaves the reader hugely disappointed.

Engrossing story. Should have part 2. Will wait if you plan.

Waiting for the next installment

Beautifully worded; intensely captivating...didn't want it to end and waiting for the next episode!

Wonderful. It draws you and urges you to read more. Hope to read more.

Fairy tale ! Ended it in a hurry

It's getting curiouser and more perplexing ! The story ends suddenly. It is like a serial... Why keep the readers in the lurch ?

It is an engrossing tale but like a dark tunnel, without any ray of hope. Ab chhodo bhi yaar ! Khatam karo yeh suspense !
End it now ! The readers are getting impatient and angry !

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