waited for her at the cruise terminal.
was the first time he would be alone with her – just the two of them – for the
cruise ship would leave Mumbai on Friday evening – sail to Goa – and – after a
lovely Sunday in Goa – they would return to Mumbai on Monday morning.
was going to be a weekend of love and romance.
was especially looking forward to the three nights they would spend together –
in the cosy romantic cabin he had specially selected – an ideal seductive setting
to get intimate with her – yes – he was yearning to make passionate love to
they had been dating and seeing each other for quite some time – they hadn’t even
kissed – but she had given him tacit hints that she desired to take their relationship
to the next level.
– when he suggested that they go on a romantic getaway – she enthusiastically agreed
– and he selected the exquisite weekend cruise on the luxury liner – rather than
one of those archetypical “resorts” around Mumbai.
had booked a premium suite on the top deck – with a private balcony – for cosy
romance with a panoramic sunset view of the ocean – as a prelude to passionate
lovemaking at night.
was sure that it was going to happen – because she had given him profuse
signals via her eyes that she desired him – and he desperately yearned for her too.
thought of the diamond ring he had bought for her – and he wondered if he
should propose to her before they made love – or after making love to her for
the first time.
taxi stops near him and she gets out of the taxi.
looks at her – his heart thumping with the giddy glee of a man who sees his
lady love and finds her a thousand times more beautiful than when he had seen
flatters him by looking steadily into his eyes and giving him a loving smile.
– she looks into the taxi and signals.
boy steps out of the taxi – it is her son.
man is taken aback – surprised to see the boy – and he feels a deep sense of disillusionment.
taxi driver takes out the woman’s bag from the boot and keeps it beside her.
man walks to the taxi driver and pays him – and – the taxi drives off.
– the man looks at the woman with a question in his eyes – disappointment writ
on his face.
am sorry…” she says – contrite, “I had to bring him…” gesturing with her eyes
at her son.
he going to spend the weekend at his father’s place…?” the man asks her.
ditched me at the last moment – he called and said he had to suddenly go to Delhi
for an urgent meeting…” she says.
you didn’t tell me anything…” the man says to her – in a slightly accusing tone.
called me just half an hour ago – when I was on my way to his house – I was going
to drop my son at his place and come over here – so – I just diverted the taxi
and came straight over here…” the woman says, “there was not point calling you when
we were going to be meeting in a few minutes – I thought I would tell you over
was going to be just the both of us – for the first time…” the man says –
know – I was looking forward to being with you – all by ourselves – I can understand
your anger – but – what can I do…?” the woman says – looking penitent.
the man and woman are talking – the 6-year-old boy is engrossed in looking at
the cruise ship berthed on the jetty.
– is that the cruise ship on which we are going…?” the excited boy asks the
the man says to the boy – and then – he looks questioningly at the woman.
woman smiles at the man and speaks.
can take him with us – can’t we…? He is so excited…” the woman says to the man.
don’t know…” the man says, “the cruise may be fully booked…”
he is just a small boy – we can adjust him in our cabin…” she says.
Uncle – I want to go – I have never gone on a ship before…” the boy says – beseechingly.
the woman says, “you are in the Navy – I am sure you can do something…”
– I’ll try and do something – you two just sit over there in the waiting lounge…”
the man says – and he walks towards the cruise ship.
man returns after 15 minutes and smiles at the excited boy.
done – you are going on the cruise with your mother…” the man says to the boy.
the boy exclaims happily in excitement.
woman seems happy but she looks a bit confused.
– the three of us are going on the cruise…” she says to the man.
– you and your son are going on the cruise – he is going instead of me – I have
spoken to the Manager and the Captain – they’ll cancel our ticket and issue a
fresh one for you and your son – come quickly – there is a bit of paperwork to
be done…” the man says – and he leads the woman and her son towards the cruise
woman and her son stand on the deck as the cruise ship slowly casts off from
son – the 6-year-old boy – he is full of thrill and joy – looking excitedly at
woman looks at the jetty – her eyes search for the man – hoping he would be
there – waving to her.
– the man is not there.
feels an ache in her heart – and – a tear rolls down her cheek.
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