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The Arabian Sea was in a good mood. It was November, just about the only month in the year when the climate of Mumbai was bearable, pleasant even.

Sunil was watching the waves go swish-swish in all their evening glory at the Marine Drive. It was a truly beautiful sight and yet it was ironic.

Ironic because the Marine Drive Promenade is a very crowded place at all times – be it night or day and yet people came there to be alone, get lost.

It is said that many a songs were written by Bollywood lyricists sitting on the promenade of the Arabian sea.

It was a typical evening scene. There were tea vendors, groups of teens clicking a  billion selfies , middle aged couples just looking at the sea, hand in hand and there were younger couples groping and kissing their way to glorious orgasms with a sly lookout for the odd constable who could have reprimanded them for not taking it somewhere private.

Some people were taking a walk with their pet dogs while the fitness conscious types were jogging with the latest electronic devices strapped to their shoulders and wrists.

Sunil was sitting alone, having a cup of tea sold by the all-time available tea vendors on the promenade and staring at the vast expanse of the sea.

Sunil heard sniffling noises and noticed that they were coming from a young girl who was sitting near him. The young girl was crying and seemed to be very sad.

He did not know what to say. He did not have a girlfriend and usually found himself getting awkward talking to girls.

The sniffling noises grew louder, the girl was sobbing by now and it was very clear that she was on the verge of a breakdown.

A break up gone wrong, perhaps? Breakups and makeups were equally common in maximum city and many young boys and girls have found solace here.

Deciding that it was the decent thing to do, Sunil decided to talk to her and comfort her.

“Excuse me, Miss..” Sunil said with his innate awkwardness.

The girl did not reply, she was sobbing a bit quietly now.

“Miss, may I know why you are crying?” Sunil finally asked.

“I want to die. This life is not really worth living. Tell me, why I should live?” the girl asked.

“But, why do you want to die, Miss..”

“Kavita. My name is Kavita” the girl said in between tears.

“So, Miss Kavita, why do you want to die?” asked Sunil.

“My husband and my in-laws beat me up for dowry and make my life hell” Kavita then narrated her entire life-story about how she was forced to marry against her wishes and so on and so forth. She tried to complain to the police as well, but her complaint was not paid heed to by a corrupt police inspector.

“Shall I give you an unsolicited advice, Miss Kavita?” Sunil asked.

“Go on” Kavita said.

“Run away from your house, run away from it all and then file for divorce. Start your life anew, someplace else – away from this mad city” Sunil proffered.

“It is very easy to say that, Sunil but it is difficult to implement in real life. Where will I go? My father will not support me. It is against his honour”

“There are a lot of NGOs who support such women. I know of a friend who has such an NGO”

Kavita said nothing. In fact she stayed quiet for a while. Sunil could hear only the waves of the sea. In the horizon he spotted a ship. He continued staring at it, and started thinking of the Kishore Kumar song,” O maajhi re…”

“Thanks, Sunil, maybe I will think about it” Kavita said with a smile on her face.

Sunil was awakened from his reverie.

“I will think about it Sunil” Kavita said.

Sunil smiled and nodded – that was the end of the conversation, just like that. The conversation held a promise, though. A promise of a new friendship, perhaps?

Kavita departed shortly and agreed to keep in touch with Sunil and took his number.

Sunil started going to go through the happenings of the day. He had lost his mother last week and had lost his job today. He was suffering from terrible depression through and considered taking his life.

He removed the sleeping pills from his pocket and threw them in the sea. There were people who were sadder and needed help in this life.

After all, isn’t life worth living if we help our fellow human beings? Sunil ordered a Chai from the chai waaala. The Chai waala’s  radio was playing the old song…” Jeena isi ka naam hai”


About the author

Aniket is a Business Consultant by profession – however his love of books led him to this website, where he posts book reviews and also gets together with new Indian Authors. He can be reached on aniketsitm@gmail.com.

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Short Stories – Casual Conversations
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