Prabha wanted to change everything in her house after she experienced widowhood. Who could have thought it would happen all over again? Getting into such a blank and vacuous frame of mind at forty was hardly what she had wanted. However, getting down to renewing and renovating seemed an exercise that required too much energy, right now. She had always imagined that she was strong and that she could manage alone and that she hadn’t really belonged to her husband’s household. But she could no longer think that. She suddenly began to feel that this was her place and her husband was just the man she had needed. Why had she not realised that when Ravi was still there, she wondered.
That night he came in her dream, and stood somewhere, not showing much concern for her. He looked very much alive, though he seemed to have lost some weight. He looked changed, she thought. She wanted to go close to him but he disappeared into a corner. She woke up and walked out to her balcony for fresh air. Ashish stood on his own balcony, waiting for her.
‘I’ve waited for you since the last three days! And you’ve come now? What’s wrong with you?’
‘I don’t know what’s wrong. But now I have a strange feeling that we didn’t do the right thing,’ she replied.
‘Come off it. It is now almost ten days since that happened. All your mourning-guests have left. Now you can’t make me wait for ever!’
‘Don’t talk so loudly. He’ll hear you!’
‘Who’ll hear me?’
‘Your dead husband?’
‘I think he’s somewhere here.’
‘Where?’ asked Ashish feeling uneasy.
‘Here, in my house, in my dreams, in my life.’
‘How stupidly you talk. Why did you make me do that if this is what you had to do?’
‘I really don’t know why, I always feel this way after my husband dies. When Ravi killed Dinesh and I married him I had felt exactly the same as I do now when Ravi has been killed.’
Ashish had a sudden sense of insecurity. He left his balcony and walked into his room, leaving Prabha alone with that empty feeling.