It took only a few moments after Sena put the phone down on Neelanthi ending a long argument on the phone. They were on the phone for more than forty five minutes trying to justify each other about their feelings on an e-mail Neelanthi had received through Sena’s mail box as she did not have the email facility while she was on holiday in London.
Sena sat back on his comfortable leather arm-chair in his luxury flat in London and went into deep thought to try and understand the meaning of this unusual communication.
Sena considered himself as one of the unfortunate souls born to this world without his consent. The constant change of countenance on his face, from artificial smiles to melancholic expression, it was evident that Sena was an extremely sad man with a superficial exterior. Although Sena had been brought up in a most comfortable family environment in Sri Lanka, life had not been so kind to him London, especial with his love life.
A man who once had everything from a luxury life and all the comforts was now confined only to a lonely luxury flat in Mayfair in the heart of London.
Neelanthi came to Sena’s life in a most unexpected way on a London road while he was on a rebound from a broken love affair, which had lasted only a couple of years!
Sena had always been a victim in his self-created love arena. The gentle, sincere and romantic attitude Sena adopted towards women had always been run over by every female who came into his life so far, only to throw him more and more deep into a pit of anguish, he thought.
When Sena met Neelanthi in London it was just a casual encounter. Gradually from a platonic social intercourse they were drawn towards each other without their knowledge. Naturally the chemistry seemed to have worked gradually drawing them closer and closer to each other every day, both in mind and spirit.
Soon Sena’s dull and lonely life began to fill with romantic air and Neelanthi had now become almost part of his furniture in his Park Lane sitting room. They joked, laughed and chatted and chatted for long hours on various subjects from philosophy, family matters to general subjects.
Sena seemingly began to confide in Neelanthi every detail of his life story from the time he was a kid in Sri Lanka. Neelanthi similarly reciprocated her past including the special friend whose email seemed to have disturbed Sena suddenly.
“Today an American gentleman walked up to me in Oxford Street with full of compliments and asked me whether he could just walk with me”. She once told her experience to Sena, but it did not seem to worry Sena in the least or to be affected by it. But what made Sena go raving mad after glancing through a simple e-mail Neelanthi had received from this ‘ special’ friend made him go berserk this time?
It is true that Neelanthi had been discussing Saman (her buddy) with Sena from the time they became attracted to each other. Neelanthi told Sena that Saman was an unfortunate married man with kids but who was in dire straits in life and one who did not have anyone for help especially because of his arrogant attitude and bloated ego’. “ No one could understand Saman” was her defence all the while.
During her platonic friendship with Saman, she had been simply a ‘blotting paper’ to absorb all the sad stories Saman told Neelanthi about his wife. Saman, and seemed to have had a subtle approach towards Neelanthi , at times with pseudo-romantic overtures pouring on her which had made Neelanthi to become weak and get somewhat attracted to him physically but unconsciously.
In Sena mind he thought ‘may be there must have been some sort of a vacuum too in her life. Whatever the case may be, it was certain that Saman had been able to mesmerise Neelanthi to such an extent that she was completely going on a sympathetic road blind-folded to the extent that even Saman’s wife extravaganza had been absorbed by her on several occasions by redeeming her gold bangles that had been pawned to a bank.
Neelanthi putting up with ‘such nonsense’ sometimes amazed Sena but he knew that she only cared for the well being of the young children who otherwise had to suffer but other than that Saman being a married man with a family posed no danger to his own family. She emphatically swore and always maintained that her motives were purely platonic and humanitarian. Had Saman then misunderstood her kindness? Or was he being a tactful smooth performer using emotional blackmail on Neelanthi to his own gain? Sena began to think.
‘ How can such a strange friendship develop and sustain’? Sena questioned Neelanthi once. Her explanation was that during their student days Saman had been always very fond of her but she could not possibly become serious with him except that she developed a brotherly love and friendship and that has been carried forward which made her help him and treat him continuously.
It’s a long term friendship from childhood. Obviously something in Saman had attracted him to her in certain ways but not to the extent that she could fall in love with him or to marry and devote her entire life as his wife. That had made Saman get trapped into a kick-back marriage, she explained to Sena.
When Saman met Neelanthi in London after many moons they had begun to communicate via email. Once or twice several phrases and the undertones in Saman’s emails seemed to upset Sena, but after lengthy discussions and explanations Sena and Neelanthi managed to patch up things.
Saman, though married with young children had a way of addressing Neelanthi, a style that no other married man would dare with another woman ! ‘May be still had feelings about her’, Sena thought. Saman’s amorous jargon at times began to worry Sena at first and several intimate phrases had an underling effort on the part of Saman to emotionally blackmail Neelanthi to maintain her sympathy in many a fold with the sole purpose of using her kindness for his financial gains which Sena detested.
He advised Neelanthi about his feelings about this unusual friendship in no uncertain terms. But the ‘ platonic bond she had managed to develop, especially when others around her had tried to put some sense into her stubborn mind had only made things worse and driven her emotionally more and more towards Saman which Saman tactfully used to his advantage.
“ It’s only a true friendship; I care for him all to it”, Neelanthi would swear and say. The very fact everyone else around her trying to persuade her not to fall into Saman ‘s subtle traps had made her become irritable to such an extent that should go into a rage when this particular subject was discussed and shut everyone up with an angry phrase, “ bloody hell” ! Sena worried a lot and thought it had gone too far and beyond repair ! But could he just keep mum about it? Sena loved Neelanthi so passionately now, and it was not possible for him to look away from the situation Neelanthi was in.
But the tiff over Saman’s last email was quite different. It had hurt Sena so much as he was certain of the kind of pranks Saman had been up and what he could be up to in his future designs through Neelanthi’s kindness and attachment towards him.
It was a moment when Sena was thrown into the dumps once again after a few months of momentary happiness with Neelanthi. Seated in his leather couch Sena could not think straight but only could recapture the first incident when he met Neelanthi in London. She was wearing a black Dorothy Perkin blouse and a long shaped red skirt. Her lips were lightly pained with lipstick and her hair cascading up to her waistline. Her voice was gentle and her smile mesmerised him. It was love at first sight for Sena.
Today the memory of such a scene was sufficient to push him even over the London Westminster Bridge into the River Thames. With tears pouring down over his masculine cheeks he realised that it was his final moment of defeat in life as Neelanthi did not leave any room to discuss or accept what Sena said about Saman, just like with Neelanthi’s many closed friends in the past. In a rather depressive mood Sena thought the moment of happiness he sought out of Neelanthi would never realise. He had thought that at long last he found the ideal woman in his life who seemed to love deeply and cared for him truly.
Sena was once again thrown into the dumps in his depressive thoughts considered himself a defeatist for a moment.” To have fallen into the same trap as before was the most foolish thing that I ever did’ he thought. But he could not help it. It was his nature to love. He was a man who needed love and caring constantly but no woman had been able to give that to him continuously for long. He has failed for the last time too, he thought.
Rose and Thorns
With benumbed feelings of pain he walked towards the garden. Walking amidst the rose bushes he could visualise one thing – The Rose was still prettier besides many thorns around its stem!
When Sena could not compose himself, he started walking along the main street and his first glimpse of a ‘ down and out’ drunkard made him think whether he too was one of the victims of women, like himself!
While strolling along the London streets Sena tried to rationalise his feelings. He thought Neelanthi would never hurt him to that extent. Her sharp words, “Youcan’t tell me with whom I should speak or not” seemed to have churned Sena upside down. But one thing war certain, that the last e-mail and her closed shop attitude about Saman’s behaviour had certainly managed to drive a sharp and a poisonous nail deep down throgh Sena’s sensitive heart.
‘ Is it part of the re-shaping characteristic of theMillenium Woman’ ? Sena paused for a few seconds. Looking back again he would not like to blame her for she had always confided everything in Sena. How many times had she told Sena that Saman was not a threat to Sena’s life and the romantic jargon Saman always used in his e-mails to her was his normal style.
“ Don’t worry Sena these don’t bother me at all and I just read them and throw them away. He is not a threat to you. You believe in me, don’t you”? When such words began to reverberate in his ear drums how could he blame her? ‘Have I been over sensitive and jumped the gun?’ Sena wondered.
It happened to be a somewhat cold day in London. The chilly wind was sufficient to make one freeze as it penetrated through the warm clothing into one’s bone marrow. Will that make any difference to Sena’s young heart that has become an inferno? When the pain became unbearable and he could not continue with his walk, Sena went home, stood in front of the picture of Jesus Christ in his room , closed his eyes and made one single prayer.
“ Oh Lord! Please , don’t make Neelanthi’s life any more miserable than what is now.” Soon Sena could visualise the good times he spent with Neelanthi like in moving film, but he realised by contemplating on the past was only trying to punish his mind, body and soul further.
“Neelanthi shall we go for a dance”? Sena thought of the days he invited her to go for a dance and how willingly and enthusiastically she accepted his invitation. The dance hall was full of participants, and from time to time the dim lights in the ball room turned into pitched darkness taking the young couples into their own world ! Oh.! That certainly was heaven……! That’s life surely !!! Sena tried to reminisce. Soon he withdrew into his shell once again and tried to compare the life he had with Neelanthi up to the moment this ominous e-mail arrived.
Sena drove up to Central London. Standing at the river bank of Thames he could see the colour of water all gone muddy and clusters of rubbish parting, reuniting and parting on its way along the current on the water. He would then try to compare the thoughts and feelings he was generating towards Neelanthi to that of those clusters of dirt in muddy water in the River Thames to that of his life’s experiences. That seems to be how the nature works surely, he thought.
“ I have told you Sena not to have such ideas. I will love you and you will always be in my heart and soul but I am not the marrying type, can you get that into your thick head”?
Sena could suddenly remember one of Neelanthi’s statements reverberating in his ears. Such thought waves naturally were hall marks for his continuing heart pains and burns. ‘ Neelanthi may have been treating me also like Saman, with the same kind of brotherly love, and friendship, I am the fool, real fool, how can I blame her” Sena tried to justify his feelings.
This was all because he was going to do something that was not accustomed to, thought Sena. But it fell into place quite by accident and in a strange sort of way. Sena could not give an explanation for his actions and reactions, may be he was getting too fond of her and he was becoming too possessive of Neelanthi without his knowledge! May be it was the first time Sena detected genuine love and caring from a woman and the world love meant so much for Sena for the first time.
Caring and Loving
Neelanthi on her part was sincere. She cared for Sena, worried about him all the time. She would telephone more than ten times a day to Sena just to find out how he was feeling as she had known how hurtful Sena had been, especially after his lat break up with Sonali.
She had promised under oath not to leave him mentally and in spirit whatever may happen between them. And she is sure to maintain that, yet how would Sena react? Will he be able to cope up with further e-mails of Saman in the future? Will such a friendship be a real threat to their bond, which they thought, was like concrete?
Finally Sena did a thorough analysis of Saman’s actions, reactions and attitudes according to the description Neelanthi told him. On her part, Neelanthi’s scale of affection had deflected towards Sena and she at long last found comfortable to open up her life story to Sena.
Soon Sena found ample instances and incidents to pinpoint to Neelanthi in a rational way that Saman was not sincere but was making a real use of her kindness and generosity to live a double life to fill his mental egoism and to his financial advantage on the pretext of being loving and caring only with words but certainly with no deeds.
Sena seemingly approached Neelanthi in a more loving, caring and understanding manner to get through to her and make her realise that she was only going after a tricky and meaningless mirage. Steadily but surely, he succeeded in demonstrating his undivided love which managed to thaw Neelanthi. Only then it became evident to her what a fool she had been and how maliciously she had been used emotionally and financially by Saman only to his own gain.
When she was able to think straight she knew to what extent she had been used by Saman even when she went out of her way to dig him out of deep financial holes by forgoing her own sentimental personal valuables. That was enough for her and as part of her nature she decided to sever the friendship with Saman forever, without any sympathy or forgiveness.
It was a moment that helped her to open her eyes wide and look at reality for which she was so grateful to Sena. It made her more and more close to him. She then repeated sending emails to Saman asking questions and explanations, one after the other.
Could Saman respond to any such email if he had a conscience? Obviously not. Sena on his part was happy that at long last he was able to put some sense into Neelanthi. The last thing Sena wanted was for Neelanthi to be unhappy and go through mental torture. Demonstration of Sena’s true love to Neelanthi by word, deed and action made her to reciprocate the same love and caring for Sena in a much more intensive manner.
Sena is now happy that he has found the right partner in life, after all the mishaps in the past. Neelanthi is ‘reborn’ and has become part of Sena’s life thanks to Sena.
Saman and his emails are only feint memories in a distant past for both of them and in a world of their own Sena and Neelanthi enjoy a true love and patiently counting the days when they can be legally together to share all the happiness in the world.
The only question mark that hangs in Sena mind still is, with his past experiences with the opposite sex, will the providence start playing tricks again in the future?