Passing his fingers through his hairs , he looked at himself in the mirror. His hair was thinning and he had developed a slight paunch around the waist. Otherwise, he had a well built body , once muscular but now tending towards being flabby due to less exercise. One or two grey strands of hair were winking at the temples. His thirty eight year old face was looking puffed after a disturbed night’s sleep.
He did not have a good sleep through out the night. But only he was to blame for it. He shouldn’t have indulged so much with the whiskey at Shankar’s place . But then all his friends insisted on raising a toast each to his new life. The stag party ended after midnight and he could just remember Prakash dropping him at the doorstep and his aunt Maya opening the door , with a disapproving gesture of covering her nose with the pallu of her sari and muttering something. he had just dropped on his bed and passed out. Somewhere in between, he had woken, partly due to the urge to pee and partly due to the burning sensation of the acidic feeling in his stomach trying to climb up his throat. Coming back to the bed, he had just tossed and turned around relapsing into sporadic dazed states of immobility punctuated with intermittent dreams.
He could remember some of them, one where he saw the stern face of his late father admonishing him for his folly to marry again and reminding him of his duty towards his son, the other of his old Games teacher with a whistle in a chain around his neck but wearing only a lungi and bare chested, teaching him the need to be a celibate in life and not waste the semen , which was life itself. A smile creeped up along his lips as he remembered Sinha Sir and his beautiful young wife who was the cynosure of all students and cause of many a wet dreams.
But the worst one which still lingered with him after he woke up was the one about Sneha. He dreamt of touching her bare body , carressing her ,kissing her, making love to her on the sand beaches by a sea. They were both covered with sands and it was sunny. There were lots of people around them but nobody was looking. Both of them were oblivious about the crowd too . And then it happened, as he lunged forward in his last orgasmic spasm trying to reach her inner depths and kissed her lips, she just disintegrated into ash, black and grey. The crowd around also vanished and a crow called out ,loud . His sleep was truly broken now as he groped with the sudden jolt.
He did not lie down any further. Going to the washbasin, he splashed a lot of water on his face. The acidic burn still persisted in his throat. He needed to have lots of water, he thought. He was still wearing the trousers and shirt of yesterday evening and the belt was still on him . Coming out of his room , he went to the kitchen. Maya aunty was there. He asked for a glass of water and gulped it thirstily before asking for another.
“Rohit has left for school ? “he asked returning the glass, more of a statement than a question.
“Long back, its almost tiffin time for him”. She replied, not looking at him.
He felt guilty. Partly for the excesses of the last night and somewhat more for not being able to see off Rohit to school this morning .
“Why don’t you have some tea and then have an oil bath. And leave the clothes outside. They need to be washed properly.” Maya said.
Without replying her, Amar came to the drawing room and picked up the newspaper . He again went back to the bedroom in search of his specs and locating them came out to the balcony . It was a sunny morning and he liked the sun smiling on him on this late spring morning. Next week , it was Holi. By that time he would be married again. As he sipped the tea , brought by Maya aunty, his thoughts wandered, involuntarily to the last Holi that he spent with Sneha.