She actually had blue eyes. Saba had inherited them from her Iranian mother. A mother who had moved away when the child was a year old. Saba was brought up by her paternal aunt and grandmother. Of course her dad was around but he had his own demons to deal with. Fifteen year old saba aware of her gorgeous looks and her ability to have her way. She was bright and great at academics and sports. She also wrote poetry and pretty profound stuff. I have read some of it and was impressed. I had heard about saba before I met her. She was friends with the man I had just began dating, a couple of years ago. At 40, he was about twenty five years older than her, but being her father’s friend and living across the road they met often. She refused to call Kunal uncle and he indulged her by calling her dost.
The first time we met she gave me icy cold vibes and I couldn’t understand what was wrong with the kid. I suspected she had a crush on Kunal, who had a natural infectious charm and most of us had the hots for older men in our growing up years. I let it pass and forgot all about it. Being an ad filmmaker Kunal had no fixed hours or schedule so Saba could drop in whenever she felt like. That was the way it had been ever since she was a kid. His home was where she could watch as much tv as she liked and order pizzas and he would foot the bill. Once when I dropped in and saw an ash tray full of cigarette butts I was surprised, knowing that he had given up smoking recently. He casually mentioned that Saba was over and she had taken to smoking, I was taken aback but knowing Kunal he was too bohemian to ask her to stop. I found it odd and mentioned it to him and the fact that she obviously had a crush on him and he was encouraging it. He laughed and I knew he genuinely was amused and said I was being foolish. How could I even consider the kid competition to myself? He had known her since she was born.
Men can be blind about these things and while I totally trusted the guy, I was feeling sad for Saba who clearly was dealing with emotions she didn’t know how to handle. I observed her even when we met in company and how she got all giggly and loud around Kunal. Tried to ignore me and to make sure the attention was always on her. At a picnic by the beach she ventured deep into the water knowing very well that Kunal would come to rescue her. What she hadn’t bargained for was the fact that I am a good swimmer and instinctively I went in to save her. She sulked all day. On the way back even Kunal commented that she was behaving strangely ever since I had come on the scene. Yet he was protective about the kid which I could well understand.
It was a tricky situation. She was being possessive about Kunal and didn’t like an outsider coming into the equation and getting attention. A kid sister, a close friend would do that, I can plead guilty of having been jealous on occasion but that was a passing phase. I hoped this would also be the same. She was taking a lot of mind space and I couldn’t quite get it. Of course I wasn’t jealous of the kid, but I certainly did not want her playing games and creating misunderstandings between kunal and me. Actually, more than that I actually felt sorry for the girl and didn’t want her getting warped ideas of grownups and relationships.
I tried to make an effort and when she did well in her exams I sent her a lovely gift from both of us. She apparently threw a fit and stormed into kunal’s home. She demanded to know how dare he give me the right to buy her a gift. She hated pink and I had got her a pink jamevar stole. She then threw a tantrum and while Kunal was trying to get her to smile she got so close that he sensed where this was leading. He panicked and literally fled from his home. We met up and later went to his place together. This was difficult and we both thought it was unfair to involve the family. Kunal called her over. She came looking gorgeous and sensual, she saw me and made her displeasure obvious. She had been drinking and seemed out to spite me. She was trying my patience and it took a lot for me to see this young girl try so hard to make me feel small. Kunal was being as neutral as possible and when he put his arm around me, it sent out the required signal. She broke down and said she loved kunal since she was five years old. She was sure he liked her too and I was the evil woman who had come and ruined it. I don’t know what came over me but I spoke to her in my calmest voice and explained how it was not about me, it was about her. How she deserved better. Kunal took the cue and told her point blank how she deserved a much better guy, younger, hipper and more likely to stay faithful. She looked at him disbelieving.
It was an evening that was actually being guided by a force above us. None of us was wrong or wanted to hurt the other. Yet this was coming out all wrong. kunal was hurt when i told saba he could not be trusted. Saba was suspicious when kunal told her he wanted to stay single all his life. I was shocked when saba said I was too dull to hold kunal’s attention. Kunal turned on the music and the silence was deafening. Suddenly she started talking about someone in college who had the hots for her. She lashed out at kunal and vented about she had lost so much time because of him.
Saba was a child crying for attention. When she realised she could get it from us without having to get into a rigmarole of labelling relationships she was feeling a lot better. We promised to be there for her.
Kunal and I split in a couple of months. Saba and I continue to be in touch and am so happy to see her happy in university in America. In love with
a wonderful guy...