Story Collection - Chaalbaaz


It takes more than love to sustain a relationship. Shashank and Sameera were realising this as they had started living together. Only three months had passed but the charms of living alone had become clear to them.

“Shashank. I don’t think this works like this.” Sameera said as Shashank tried to put the bed together, for the second time this month. Sameera couldn’t sleep on the bed if it was even slightly tilted. She had gotten the bed built when they had shifted. However, Shashank opened it last month because he wanted to change the orientation of the bed. This meant that either they had to call the company which Shashank didn’t want to spend money on or Shashank had to fix it right, which he had failed at till now.

“You sure, it wasn’t like this before. I think it was like this only.” Shashank said a little irritated.

“It isn’t level. It would be like before once it’s level.” Sameera said coldly. She wasn’t inflexible with most things. She didn’t care if Shashank threw a towel here or there or if Shashank wanted to eat something one day that she didn’t like much. But she couldn’t handle an uneven bed. While part of it was in her mind, part of it was the back injury that she had a few years earlier. After that, doctor had suggested her to sleep on the ground for a long time. It was only in the past year or so that she had started sleeping on the bed. But she had to insure that it was completely stable and level.

Shashank screwed the last nut and as soon as he sat, the bed tilted to one side visibly.

“Chuck it. I’ll do it tomorrow.” Shashank said throwing the pillow. Sameera bit her lip before she could say something. She had been saying one thing or the other for the past few weeks and she was tired. It wouldn’t do anything but start a fight.

The two lay down on the bed and within a few minutes, Shashank was snoring. Sameera picked her pillow and a blanket, put it on the floor and went to sleep. She had been doing this for the past few days. Shashank was a deep sleeper and usually woke up after her. This meant that as far as she knew, he didn’t have a clue that she was sleeping on the floor.

Until the bed was made right, she thought that this was the best option as whenever she brought the topic of getting the bed fixed by the company, Shashank would say it’s a waste of money.

Money! Something that was almost as important in a relationship as money. This was brand new information that living together had brought to them. Somehow, their combined expenses were higher than there individual expenses. Both were living in PGs that were extremely cheap whereas now they were living in a 1 BHK that was costlier that the PGs and buying other stuff had been really costly.

Adding other expenses and she had started to regret the decision of living together. She wished she could say something to Shashank about it but he was so excited about them together that she didn’t want to say anything. He even contributed more to the combined expenses than her despite having less savings because of that.

Shashank woke up in the middle of the night to a terrible nightmare. He gulped down the water even before he could open his eyes properly. He touched on Sameera’s side and found that she wasn’t there. He had expected that. The first time Shashank had found out Sameera sleeping on the floor, he had felt immense sadness. He had gone to the shop to get the bed alignment corrected. They had told him that Shashank had accidentally broken something and it would require a complete change of the bed. The cost was too much and while Shashank had been trying to get the money to replace the bed, he didn’t want Sameera to know the truth.

Thus, he had been hiding behind his zeal to fix the unfixable bed.

“A few more days love.” Shashank said softly and kept looking at Sameera. He was longing for Sameera. His nightmares had become frequent and he knew they would only stop once Sameera was beside him sleeping comfortably.

Sameera stirred and Shashank quickly moved back to his place. He checked the watch and it was almost morning. Sameera would be waking soon. He closed his eyes to get a couple of hours of shut-eye.

He wished they could again go back to dating while living in their separate PGs, at least until they could earn more. He felt he had hurried in with excitement but now this living together was becoming a burden on their relationship. However, he knew he couldn’t back out now. He didn’t want Sameera to think that he has second thoughts about the relationship.

Shashank closed his eyes as he felt Sameera coming close to him. She put her hand on Shashank and kissed him softly.

“I love you Shashank.” Sameera said softly and left the room.

“I love you Sameera.” Shashank whispered and wiped a tear from his eye.