05. Never liked the man! | Ivory

August 16, 2020 Sujay Sarma

Satish saw on his phone that Spruti had blocked his number. He remembered seeing on her profile that she was working at a well known school. He knew where it was. “Maybe… just maybe…” He thought to himself. “If I go down there…” A coupe of days later, he made is way to the school.…

Satish saw on his phone that Spruti had blocked his number. He remembered seeing on her profile that she was working at a well known school. He knew where it was.

“Maybe… just maybe…” He thought to himself. “If I go down there…”

A coupe of days later, he made is way to the school.

“Who do you want to see, Sir?” The guard at the desk asked Satish.

“Spruti.” He said, confidently.

“I am sorry, Sir.” The guard replied. “But madam is on leave currently. Do you want to meet another teacher perhaps?”

“Leave?” Satish wondered aloud. “When is she back?”

“I cannot tell you that.”

“But I am her husband.” Satish tried a bluff.

The guard rose, placed a hand on his stick that lay on the tabletop and said firmly. “Sir, I really need you to leave.”

Satish backed off. “Alright! Alright! I am leaving.”

He tried to find and visit some of Spruti’s colleagues in an attempt to find her whereabouts. Her current home address. But to no avail. Everyone he met shut the doors firmly in his face. One of the teachers even threatened to call the police on him.

“Aha?… Oh?… Really!” Spruti mumbled into the phone. “That takes the cake!” She cried, slamming the phone down.

“What is it beta?” Her mother asked.

“You know, Satish has flown down to Bangalore!” She replied.

“What for?”

“I have no idea.” She confessed. “But he has been to the school and tried to meet people from the staff and the management.”


“Nothing. Everybody chased him away.” She was relieved, but worried.

“That is good news at least.”

“Yeah.” She mused. “Maybe I will call mata-ji in the evening and find out what is going on.”

“I don’t think you should.” Her mother sighed. “But I doubt you will heed that advice.”

Plink! Her cellphone went.

She looked at the screen.

You have been super-liked on Tinder! It read.

She would look at it later that night. She swiped the notification away and threw the phone into her purse.

Examining her phone that night, she saw that someone named Abhishek had super-liked her profile. She browsed through his photographs and read what he had to say on his bio.

“Impressive.” She mumbled to herself, swiping right on Abhishek.

Pling! You have a match!

“Hello Spruti.” He messaged.

He was online!

“Hey.” She messaged back.

“Are you actually in this city?”

“Yes. You?”

“I am. But I am not from here. I am based out of Hyderabad. Travelling at the moment.”

“Ok. I live here.”

“Would you like to catch up for coffee tomorrow?” He asked. “I am flying back in the evening.”

“Sorry.” She replied, biting her lip. “Busy with a wedding.”

“Tough luck.” He replied.

“Keep talking.” She smiled to herself. “Who knows!”


And so they stayed up all night chatting. Not one word about each other though. It was just casual impersonal banter.

Five months passed. Spruti became close to to Abhishek. He flew to Bangalore a few times and they spent time together. Going on lunches and dinners, or simply sitting on a bench in the gardens and parks. So far, it had all been easy. Organic.

“Do you like me?” Abhishek asked one day as they finished up a big shared bowl of biryani. “Even a little bit?”

She laughed and mock-threw a glass of water on his face. “You know I do. A lot.” Her cheeks glowed a deep scarlet.

“I would like to meet your mumma.” He said.


Arre!” He cried, “To ask for you, formally. What else?”

“You haven’t asked me.” She scowled. Her face clouded up. “Maybe I don’t want to marry you.”

She watched him closely as he grew silent and stared down at the table and the rubble of their lunch.

“Okay! Okay!” She laughed. “I was joking.”

“No.” He said. “I want to do this correctly. Come on, let’s go.”

A few weeks later, on his next trip to the city, he proposed to Spruti at her home, in full presence of her mother and daughter.

That was the first time Naina had laid eyes on the man. For some reason, she was not impressed. After eating her slice of cake, she asked to be excused and went to her room and locked herself in.

“Naina? Naina? Open up beta.”

“No. Go away Nani!”

“But what happened? Tell me.”

“I don’t want him for a father.” Naina said. “I don’t know what you saw in him, mumma!”. She refused to talk any further.

Some days later, Spruti was traveling with some senior members of her school’s management and her family friend and mentor.

“Video call?” Abhishek messaged Spruti.

“Why? Am traveling.” She typed back.

“Miss you. Need to see you.” He begged.

“Okay.” She gave in.

At first, the call progressed normally. Then he asked to see where they were traveling through. She started to show him the scenery outside and then panned her phone through the van showing him the people seated around her.

“All.. men?” He asked, eyebrows raised.

Finally, she stopped to her side.

“Who is that?” He jumped.

“He is my family friend and mentor.” She reminded him. “I have told you about him before. He is the reason I got this job.”

“Do you really need to travel with all these men?” He chided her.

“What do you mean!” She cried. “They are my colleagues and seniors.”

“Still, I don’t think you should be traveling with a group of men!”

Spruti was thankful that the rest of the people could not hear his bigotry. She had her earphones on.

“Shut up!” She said.

“And you never asked me if you could go…” He accused her.

“Why would I even…!” She started to say. “I am not married to you or even engaged to you. In either case, you have no business telling me who I can or cannot associate with.”

She did not have the patience to deal with it. And she did not want to get into a shouting match with Abhishek in the van with so many people from work. So she simply disconnected the call and put it on silent mode.

Abhishek called back.

And again.

And again…


Forty-three times.

But she did not pick up.

When she returned from her trip, they had a proper fight on the telephone. Accusations and counter-accusations flew thick and fast. If they had been speaking on landlines, they would have each slammed their phones down, but they were speaking on their mobile phones. So the end was a non-climactic ‘click’ of a button.

Naina had been watching her mother and listening to her conversation with Abhishek with two-and-a-half ears. She hated the guy.

“So the engagement is off?” Naina asked her mother.

“Yes.” She replied sadly.

“Yes!” Cried Naina happily jumping up and down. She ran to her mother and hugged her happily.

“You are happy?”

“I never liked the man.” Naina confessed, smiling.

Spruti hugged her daughter. “I am sorry then for keeping him around so long. I will do better next time. I promise.”

“I doubt you will, but alright.” Naina smiled happily.

“What do you mean, beta?”

“You have horrible choices in men.” She made a face.

About the author:

Sujay Sarma is an IT industry veteran, about 43 years of age. He has spent 25 years in the IT industry and has done it all, and seen it all. Now, his passion is writing [blogs, stories, novels] and music. He has his own YouTube channel called "Sujay Sarma's Musical Adventures" where he posts his covers and originals, and a Podcast named "Interesting People Interesting Stories".