Salma: His First love – A Short Story
Salma had been married to Nadeem for 6 years. Theirs was a love marriage and they had been in love since class 8. They used to bunk school and run off to watch films and both of them were crazy for Hindi films.
After Nadeem completed his Hotel Management, he became a chef. Salma pursued a course on computers and graphic design but failed to get a job based on diploma courses. Nadeem asked her to chill and told her that she is his queen, so she need not work.
Both their parents were aware of their affair and as soon as Nadeem got his job, they were married off. Since Salma was the only child, her parents gifted her maximum things that filled her house with all the necessary comforts.
After 3 years of marriage, they started trying for a kid, but there were issues. The doctors told Salma about Nadeem’s impotence but Salma requested them to keep it hidden as that would hurt him a lot…although she knew that he was already aware of the reports but both pretended that things were fine! She took the blame on her and they continued living happily – much to the disappointment of Nadeem’s parents.
Together they were so happy that they did not need anyone else in their love nest….but that is what Salma thought.
After 6 years, Nadeem broke the news to Salma that he was seeing a girl – Rabia, for the past 4 months and that she was pregnant with his child!
Salma was taken aback!
Salma: Past 4 months? And you are telling me now? Who is she? Someone from your office?
Nadeem: No…she is actually a distant relative of my mother, they live in a village….mother introduced me to her…and things happened..
Salma: OMG – so it was all planned…..you betrayed me…my trust..
Nadeem: I have done nothing Salma – You will always be the 1st wife and the household will always be in your hands……
Salma: Is the child yours?
Nadeem: Of course….what a nonsense question!…I know you are feeling low right now – it is very sudden – but please try and understand – we will all live together like one big happy family…you will also have a companion plus a new born baby to take care of….coming of a new life changes everything honey…all your disappointments and grudges will evaporate in thin air…just let the baby arrive!
Salma: Oh! You seem to know a lot about the arrival of babies! Hope you are already not having another wife somewhere who has already given you the joy of fatherhood!
Nadeem: Are you crazy or what? Why are you reacting this way? Are you new to our religion? We are eligible to have four wives…and for 6 long years only you had my full attention – right – so what is your problem?
Salma: So how long has Rabia been pregnant?
Nadeem: 3 months now…
Salma: wow! She is lying by the way – the baby cannot be yours…
Nadeem: Again you have started the same nonsense! (this time Nadeem raised his voice)
Salma understood that showing him his impotency reports were not going to work now. She anyways was fuming with anger as she could not imagine that Nadeem had been two timing her and so smoothly that she did not even come to know! She suddenly became quiet and started thinking about her next plan of action.
Nadeem took a bath and came out. Salma was still sitting on the sofa.
Nadeem: What’s for dinner?
Salma: Order something.
Nadeem: Ok, What will you have?
Nadeem: Ok, I will also have Biriyani.
Salma: So when are you two getting married?
Nadeem: day after tomorrow and then we will come home straight. It will be a simple court marriage. Later we will arrange something.
Salma: Show me her picture.
Nadeem showed her the picture of Rabia – a barely 20 years old girl, very fair and pretty looking!
Salma: She looks very young!
Nadeem smiled and said that she was 19 years old.
Biriyani arrived and Salma and Nadeem finished their dinner. They hardly talked and Nadeem just let her be ..he knew it was a great shock to Salma so he thought of giving her space.
Next morning, after Nadeem left for office, Salma called her parents and told them everything. And then she told them that she had decided to leave him.
Salma’s mom: All the dowry we gave…..you will leave for the bi*ch?
Salma; Of course not Maa, but you will have to arrange for the vehicle, day after tomorrow, the as*hole will get his new bride…who is obviously duping him but I don’t care anymore…he was two timing me after all….his childhood lover cum wife!! All it took him to betray me was a teenager…..anyways, I cannot order for the vehicle in this locality because people know him and they might warn him of my motives – I just want to surprise that ba*tard! He thinks I am some subservient bi*ch who will cook and wash utensils and look after a new born baby and he will be honeymooning with his new bride!
Salma’s mother: okay, I will tell your father to arrange for the vehicle but what all are you getting home?
Salma: No mom, I will not be coming home, I have seen a paying guest accommodation here, I will be living in the town – I will apply for a job and work…
Mother: Will you get a job….you were only doing embroidery work on blouses and salwar suite….will it fetch you enough money..?
Salma: Don’t worry about that mom, I have some savings, I am just going to pay the rent and take over the PG room….
Mother : only yesterday you came to know and today you already have a PG room available?
Salma: Maa….this is the era of internet and I have many connections…though I have to be very secretive about it!
When Nadeem returned home that evening, he saw Salma taking down the curtains with the help of the domestic helper, Suman.
Nadeem: What are you doing?
Salma: Giving the curtains for dry cleaning…..she is pregnant after all – we have to keep the house clean and dust free!
Nadeem was very happy to see Salma already in the role of Badi Mummy! He ordered for Chinese food and Salma acted absolutely normal in front of Nadeem.
Salma: So when will you arrive tomorrow? You have taken leave from office?
Nadeem: We should arrive by 2pm…but am not sure, the marriage registrar gave us the time for 12pm for the registration…so guessing that it should finish maximum by 1pm and we will return home by 2pm. Will you accompany me?
Salma: Of course not! I will be at home to receive both of you…plus tomorrow I have asked Suman to come early – I need to wash the entire floor… tomorrow, you will have to wake up a bit early honey…because there will be some noise.
Nadeem: yeah, of course – in fact I will leave at 7am tomorrow, I will have to get them from their village – that will take time.
Salma: Hope you are hiring a car tomorrow….bring her home comfortably..
Nadeem: yes, yes, the driver is coming at the dot of 7am.
Salma messaged her mother to send the vehicle sharp by 7am but not to come near her house. He should just ping her about his arrival and park the vehicle at a distance.
Morning came and Salma gave Nadeem his morning tea at 6am. Nadeem was so happy to have broadminded, loving and concerned Salma as his wife…little did he know that she was more in a hurry to drive him out of the house. She had ironed out his kurti that she only had embroidered for him last Eid.
Nadeem left and Salma hurriedly took out all her clothes from the cupboard and tied it in a bed sheet. She called the vehicle driver and his assistant and they started taking out things one after the other. It was 7:15 only and hardly anyone was out so maintaining as much silence as possible Salma loaded the vehicle with – cupboard, wrought iron bed with mattress, microwave oven, Television, refrigerator, sofa set, a dinner set that she took out when guests visited them, showcase and some new utensils that were unopened. The paying guest room was 15 minutes away from her residence so after loading the mini-truck, she left with them. They unloaded at her new address, she somehow dumped everything, paid the vehicle owner and returned home by 10am!
As she entered the almost empty house, she felt happy imagining what a shock it will be for Nadeem! She ordered breakfast and when Suman arrived, she offered her some breakfast too. Salma asked Suman to clean the mess. She had kept one suitcase aside to take last minute things. She told couple of her neighbors about the fact that Nadeem was bringing home his new bride and appeared all sad and pensive to win their sympathy. She finished lunch, got ready to receive the nincompoop. She heard the car arrive and she stood outside the door, closing the door slightly. She stood with her suitcase.
Nadeem came with his bride and another fat lady – his new mother-in-law. He saw Salma standing with the suitcase.
Nadeem: Where to? Why the suitcase?
Salma: How can I stay and interfere in the private life of newly weds?
New Mother-in-law suddenly said: yes, this is the good decision you made…
Salma: really fatso? Just like the good upbringing you gave your daughter to undress and dive on bed before wedlock with as many as*holes as possible – at least one will be dumb enough to marry her!
Nadeem was dumbfounded! He could not imagine that Salma could say some such thing.
Nadeem: Why the hell are you creating a scene? We discussed all this already – you dare to insult an elderly lady…
Salma: Shut up! I have had enough of you and am leaving you for good…will send you the divorce papers soon.
Nadeem: You are making a mountain out of a mole……this is not the first time that a man has married the second time…
Salma: Really – so in this 1BHK you intend to bring in 4 wives? With your salary, you can barely even manage a single wife…..I was dumbly in love that’s why I compromised with poverty……but not anymore – get lost!
Salma walked away and got into the Ola she had booked as soon as Nadeem had arrived. She knew Nadeem was very conscious of his reputation and he was insulted right in front of the neighbors and screamed at by his ‘once doted wife’! He was in for more shock! As he entered, he saw the old torn curtains hanging by the window, no sofa, no fridge, no TV, and in the room, no bed! Nadeem understood that Salma had taken away everything that her parents had given to them on their wedding. The life of true struggle started for Nadeem!
Salma had taken Suman with her to her PG room. Both of them then cleaned the house and arranged the room. Salma knew all local cable and Internet service provider in that locality, so it took her just two days to sort out things and settle in her new house. She applied for jobs with the help of her friends. She got the job of a guide cum accountant at a heritage palace and made new friends. She started a new life. Her new colleagues admired her for her courage to leave her husband after 6 years of marriage plus courtship years!
Priya, her colleague asked: Don’t you miss your old life…you had everything going for you after all and yours was a love marriage – how could you leave it all behind so easily?
Salma: My anger overpowered me actually! My anger towards his betrayal was so great that I had no time to lament or be sad and brood! Here I took care of his impotency reports and did not ever bring it up to him so that he is not hurt and there he goes behind my back and happily has an affair with a teenager! Anyway…thank God that it all happened while I was still young….imagine if I had got this shock at 50 or 60….I would have had to gulp down tears of remorse and betrayal and continued to tolerate that beep!
Priya: really! Hats off to you for your decision! You are one brave woman.
Salma fitted well in her new life and was enjoying her life – she became conscious of her food intake and started including healthy habits in her lifestyle – thanks to Priya – who was a health freak….. but life for Nadeem had become miserable!
Since Salma left, his mother-in-law(MIL) started to live with them. Initially Nadeem had thought that Salma would take care of cooking, cleaning, groceries etc. plus baby sitting once the baby arrived – but with Salma gone, Rabia was too unconfident to handle anything alone. Rabia was mostly unwell and sleeping or watching TV….she hardly let Nadeem even touch her and his bedroom was taken over by mother and daughter. Nadeem had again filled his house with bare necessities by taking loan from office. Every month his salary was getting cut but the demands of his MIL were not lessening at all! To top it all, Salma had sent the photocopy of his Impotency report to his office address. Nadeem thought that she had forged the report…but he was in for more shock!
A baby boy was born…extremely fair, golden hair and blue eyes! The hospital staff were already giggling and whispering about the father of the baby! MIL quickly made up the story that her great grand father had blue eyes so probably the baby got that genetically.
3 months later, Nadeem came home sooner and heard the mother-daughter conversation that shook him up completely!
MIL: Don’t show your attitude and you better start a relationship with Nadeem – during pregnancy you could make an excuse of not letting him come close to you but now you have no excuse – if you continue with your high handed attitude he’ll start being suspicious…as it is I had to quickly make up the story of your great grandfather being blue eyed…or else he would have left both of us to rot in the small village..
Rabia: FINE – that would have been much better than to be with this middle aged ugly pig!
MIL: Shut up and thank your lucky stars that he came on time and we could put that illegitimate baby on his head!
Rabia: Who are you calling illegitimate? I was a consenting adult and I have no regrets about what I did…
MIL: really!? You were trying to get married in a Nawab’s house? Do you think it is even possible? And who is the father by the way? You were sleeping with all four of the friends of the Nawaab’s grandson! And then you had the audacity to ask for your rights! Had we not come to town, we both would have been dead by now!
Rabia: Shut up – you and your age old beliefs…there is the Police, law and order – I can still conduct a DNA test and reach the Women’s cell for justice but you were in a haste to get me wed off to that ugly pig.
MIL: And what if the child did not belong to the Nawaab’s grandson…but to one of his foreigner friends?
Rabia: so I would have gone abroad at least….with the father of my son…
MIL: If only you were left alive…..I guess you have forgotten about the attack on both of us…
Just then Nadeem entered the room. Nadeem understood that the Impotency report was true after all and in fact cursed Salma for hiding the fact from him!
Nadeem: Both of you pack your bags right now and leave……NOW.
MIL fell at his feet and he literally kicked her away. He immediately called his sub-inspector friend and asked him how to get rid of them – both mother and daughter who had been eating up his life for past one year! The sub-inspector warned him to not touch their bodies or hit them otherwise they will blame him for domestic violence and suggested that he should call his neighbors to his house till the cops arrive. He opened all doors and requested 2 of his neighborhood ladies to enter his house and help them pack their stuff. He openly blurted out how he was cheated and started to cry bitterly for having lost the love of his life! The two ladies gladly came in and guarded on them lest the conniving beeps make up stories and further mess up Nadeem’s life. The cops came in and they were sent to the women’s shelter as Nadeem refused to keep them for another minute!
Being called an ‘ugly pig’ repeatedly started to haunt Nadeem. He decided to bring back Salma….but it was too late!
Salma was always a bit slow in catching customers and most of her colleagues literally dived on guests as soon as the gates to the heritage palace were opened. Since Salma was also helping with the accounts, so her job was secured just that she missed on incentives based on rating of the guides. Salma saw a small child playing alone and refusing to have food that his Aayah was trying to feed him.
Salma was very good at telling stories and got along very well with children. She started telling him stories and the child finished his lunch without even realizing it. The child, Hasan, was actually the son of the owner of the Heritage chain of Hotels. The Aayah reported to her boss that Hasan finished his lunch as the lady helped her to cleverly engage him in stories! Hasan had lost his mother 2 years ago and so his father was looking for an educated governess to take care of son. As soon as he heard of Salma, he asked for her and without even Salma’s knowledge, she was interviewed regarding child management and healthy upbringing. Salma replied all queries very naturally and spontaneously and she got the job. Overnight her salary increased triple fold and she was asked to shift to the main palace where they all lived. Her food and accommodation were taken care of. Salma told her parents and gave them the great news. Salma shifted to the palace and as her luck would have it….along with winning Hasan’s heart…she also won his father’s heart, mind and soul as well!
The Nawab proposed to her and she almost fell from the sky! She agreed to marry him and her life took another turn – from cheap cotton salwar suits that she used to haggle at local markets she was now taken to high end boutiques to select her dresses!
Nadeem called her and started howling on the phone also blaming her for not telling him about his impotency reports!
Salma was in a very good mood. Nothing could bring her spirits down. She replied calmly to Nadeem.
Salam: Nothing was hidden from you – both our reports were lying on the table for one whole week – you never bothered to even open it up and see…maybe you were too afraid to face reality …so I did not rub it in too much in you..remember I was too deeply in love with you and could not imagine hurting you..
Nadeem : Deep love never subsides…please come back.
Salma: In my case it subsided Nadeem – you were sleeping with a pretty teenager behind my back – I could not take the insult and betrayal…ours was a love marriage remember?
Nadeem: Please forgive me and come back…please – I went to your house but it was locked ..I want to meet you!
Salma: I have moved on Nadeem, don’t bother calling me up ever again. I pray that you will get someone to love you. Goodbye.
Salma blocked Nadeem’s number and asked her parents to not tell anything to him about her getting married to the Nawab. Salma had not only forgiven Nadeem but even Rabia…after she was the reason that Salma was now going to be the wife of a Nawaab!!
As Nadeem was still planning to win Salma back, he read the headlines about the fairy tale come true for a governess…..and saw Salma’s beautiful picture as the bride of the Nawaab.
Nadeem then got busy in his work and at night, he began visiting the night club and bar to get drunk and forget Salma – his first love.