Asmi ‘s fingers trembled as she deliberated if she should click the button on not. Her best friend Payal’s voice rung in her head ” Just do it yaar! Its not a sin. Everyone deserves some fun in life. Its ok to be selfish for a change, think of yourself instead of hiding behind that veil of sacrifice everytime. As a mother, wife, daughter, daughter in law- you have always done your best but what about you? Your desires, your dreams, fantasies?
Her desires, her fantasises- it had been a long time she had thought of them.
Her marriage to Amit 7 years ago and the blissful one year they spent is something she would always fondly look back upon. Their honeymoon to Bali had lasted exactly 7 days but the next 15 months, 7 days were bliss. Apart from a great sex life Amit and she shared a deep camaraderie. She felt that they were lucky to have each other. All around her marriages were crumbling, her friends were having extra marital affairs but their bond stood rock solid.
Rishabh and Rhea were born one after another and life took a new turn. Amit and Asmi struggled but they stood by each other in this bumpy ride. 2 years ago Amit got a fantastic opportunity at work. One of the youngest VP’s to head their new sales office in Germany. He couldn’t say no and Asmi couldn’t move as she had her career too and the chances of doing well in Germany were slim. The kids were well settled in India and she had both sets of grandparents to help. It was decided Amit will go alone.
It had been 2 years and he came home once in 4 months spent 2 weeks with the family and returned. Asmi and the kids had visited twice. A long distance marriage is not easy but it was a conscious decision they had taken together. Asmi was busy with her job, the kids, looking after the needs of both sets of parents and whenever time permitted catching up with her friends. At night when she lay alone in bed, she longed for Amit, his touch, she yearned to be cuddled and kissed.
They were going to complete 7 years of marriage in a month and Amit was coming home. Asmi wasnt excited though she put up a happy face. Off late Amit had been very busy and their conversations had almost stopped. Perhaps this happens with every marriage she thought.
She had been brooding one day over wine to her best friend Payal who suggested something which made her almost choke at first.
“Have you tried ‘Second chance at love’- its a discreet website for married couples to meet interesting people and date. Dont’ look so horrified. All these things are very much happening all around. The best thing is its very professionally managed and thats why the membership fee is a bit high. Many professionals and famous people are registered. Its just like Tinder – though in this case you don’t have to share your picture publicly . You can put a mystery pic which only shows your “best feature” like your eyes or lips or some women have a silhouette of their sexy figure. Once someone expresses interest in you and you are interested in taking it forward you two can then chat and share your pics. You can meet, date and take it a step forward if you want- that’s entirely upto the 2 of you. I have met quite a few interesting men here and as you know we had a great time in fact Rahul and I also went to Goa over the weekend.”
“I am not looking for sex Payal . I mean I am interested in sex but not with any random man. I am just looking for someone to talk to but this site is not for me. People have different intentions here, I am not looking at hooking up. Amit and I are happy. Our marriage has been going through some rocky waters since he moved to Germany but that happens with every marriage. This would be a betrayal” Asmi said.
“Well you are young and attractive Asmi. When was the last time someone tried to seduce you? Someone lusted for you? When was the last time you felt an adrenaline rush when talking to a man? See its your call. You need not take the next step unless you want to. It can just be harmless flirting you know, a dinner date, watch a play together thats it. If you don’t want to have sex, you need not. Just tell the guy you need time and call it off in case he doesn’t get the message. Simple.
And about Amit. Well you don’t need to tell him everything. Just like he surely doesn’t tell you everything about his life. A few secrets between a husband and wife is ok. In fact some fun to spice up your life is what will make your marriage more interesting ”
Asmi jolted back to reality. She was alone tonight as the kids were with their grandparents. She had drunk some extra wine and had logged into the website to create her account. She carefully read the terms and conditions, and googled about the website to be absolutely sure about what she was getting into. Finally she made up her mind “Take a chance baby, think about yourself”, with that she hit the ‘submit’ button.
Her profile was ready and loaded on the site.She was also sleepy. She had no inclination to hunt for men tonight. She dozed off.
The next morning she eagerly started the laptop and logged into her account. She had 6 new requests. She started clicking on the profiles to find out more. Hardly had she started looking at a doctor’s profile when the site froze. She refreshed it , shut down her laptop and started it again but it wouldn’t work. She tried on the iPad but no success. Finally when she had given up, a pop up appeared “This site has been hacked and we will release the names of all the site members on social media tonight. Let your spouses, kids and parents know your fantasies and fetish. You can be spared if you follow the instructions sent to you by email. Make the transfer by 7 pm else be ready to be screwed.”
She re read the message again- the site had been hacked. Was this some kind of a phishing expedition? Beads of sweat started appearing on her forehead. She hadn’t done anything wrong but her name was there. How would she prove her innocence? She called up Payal frantically. Payal was hysterical and could hardly speak “My husband will kill me, I need to pledge my jewellery to arrange for money” she spoke through muffled sobs.
“Why sell your jewellery? Do you need some money? I can try and help” said Asmi
“I have to pay them $10,000″
Asmi gulped as she knew she couldn’t afford to arrange for that money at such a short notice.
With trembling hands Asmi opened her email and saw there was an email from a unknown address. She had been asked to transfer $1000. That was still far lesser than Payal and she had the money readily available in her account.”
By now the news was all over media. The website which was well known for providing a platform to married couples to cheat on their spouses had now been subject to a ransom attack. The modus operandi was asking members to pay based on how many people they have dated. It was rumoured that some people were being asked to pay as much as $50,000 to save their face.
Asmi understood why her payment was so less and her mind started doing the math about Payal – it surely is more than a “few men.”
Asmi transferred the money as instructed as the news was confirmed now and she wanted to ensure her details were not leaked.
She had intended to buy platinum earrings with that money and now she had paid it for something she had not even used. She was angry, I wish I would have at least gone on a date with someone- it would have been worthwhile paying the money. She mused.
She soon put the incident behind as she realised it was a big risk. She couldn’t take this chance and ruin her married life. Good riddance she thought. Payal hadn’t contacted her since 2 weeks.
She was planning the details of their grand anniversary party and needed some funds. She logged into the joint account that Amit and she maintained. They hardly used the money as they both had their individual accounts. It was used for some big spends like the family vacations or big ticket purchases.
The balance in the account was stable but something dint look right.There were a few abnormal transactions – one was a debit of $35,000 and then there were a number of credits in the next few days. Looked like someone was trying to cover up the debit and restore the balance to normal.
All these transactions had been made by Amit as she had not logged into the account for months and only both of them operated it. She clicked on the debit with shaky hands, a sense of foreboding prevailed. There was a debit on 27 August to an account in Cayman Islands. The same date and the same account she had transferred money to.
She looked at the screen, her eyes blazing with fire, tears streaming down her cheeks.
I am participating in the Bar-a-thon Edition 3 and the prompt for today is “Seven year itch”
Image source- http://www.learn.eventosaur.com