An Innocuous Question

He pinged on WhatsApp, asking if I could meet him in Bombay next week. Only I don’t live there anymore. And neither does he. I reminded him. And then it hit him. It had been sent to the wrong recipient.

It was an innocuous question. One that I’ve asked people often myself. But here, even the intended recipient wasn’t in Bombay. It would have been a flight’s journey for both. And thanks to mistaken identities, I was now aware of this exchange.

I know both well. Happily married, as social media would inform me. With partners they had picked for themselves. In jobs, they I knew they had carefully chosen. In cities, they had wanted. And it was an innocuous question. But something about the exchange nagged me.

Would it be a clandestine rendezvous? Or was the spouse invited as well? Did the respective partners know? Was he going to be in Bombay specifically only to meet her or he had other business. None of the answers to any of these questions matter to me. Perhaps, they don’t to them, either. But I felt uncomfortable, having been privy to this exchange.

Today, I have no idea if the intended meeting took place at all. But each time, I see happy shiny family portraits on Facebook (of them or other folks); this innocuous question reinstates itself into my head.


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