Into the Unknown Lands
Into the Unknown Lands
Author: ChaiShank

Chapter-1 Life as it is

It was the normal morning rush for Tanisi. She got up quickly, washed her face and brushed her teeth and hurried to the kitchen. She had to prepare breakfast and lunch and pack it for Hubby and kids and send them off before heading to office. She had slept late last night as she was preparing batters and food items which her family can have in her absence. She was going on an outing along with her colleagues. The regular office outing was this time a trek to a lush green mountain and they were going to stay at the resort at its foothill for two nights and three days before an overnight journey back to the city.

She prepared everything deftly, when her husband Adarsh came out of their bedroom smiling at his beautiful wife who looked stunning with a serious expression making mental notes of what was still to be done. Looking at her handsome husband Tanisi forgot all her stress for a moment and a warm smile shone on her face. Adarsh came and hugged her. He was unwilling to stay away from her. But he knew she needed this break. Off late she was getting too stressed which had started to affect her health. Adarsh had insisted her to agree to this outing so that she for sometime can be away from the ever busy but stressful everyday routine of hers. But now he was in two minds. He knew he would miss her very badly. But didn't want to say it aloud as he was afraid Tanisi would cancel her trip.

Snuggling in his arms she looked up at his face with a smile on her lips. She looked so irrestibile, Adarsh couldn't help and kissed her passionately. Tanisi knew how Adarsh felt. She said " I don't have to go Adi. I can cancel it even now. I will say I am not well." Nodding a no Adi told "Honey you know you need this break. I cannot be selfish. I want you to relax and unwind. You need it. For your sake and for your health. Three days will move fast. I want my stressed, worned-out wife to come back fully relaxed and kicking. I want to miss you and also want you to miss me. You know distance fuels desire!!" Saying this he winked at her with a naughty smirk. She blushed when she was reminded what he had done when she went to bed the previous night exhausted. She said "That is what I am worried about. Even with me being around you are never satisfied. What would my monstrous husband do to me once I am back!!". Faking a frown Adi said " I will teach you a lesson so that you blush everytime you hear my name. But for now I wish you a happy and safe journey." She laughed and said "I will miss you hubby". Adi kissed her forehead. Before slowly moving all over her smooth, warm face. The alarm chimed just then and he reluctantly let her go. Quickly he woke their kids up and gave them bath by which time their breakfast was laid on the table by her. Tanisi also took a quick shower and got ready. She still had 20 minutes before the bus would be near their house. She quickly checked if she had missed or forgotten anything. Satisfied she applied some moisturiser on her face and she was good to go.

Kiddos came and hugged her and her daugther was about to cry when Adi diverted her attention. Smooching her once more Adi took the car keys from the wall behind Tanisi. She was stunned at his behavior and blushed furiously. "Adi!!" "I know kids are around but sorry not sorry" And he gave her a wicked smile and took the kids along with him to drop them off to school. Their son waved and said "Momma have a happy time" and left with his little sister.

Tanisi kept her luggage on the stairs outside and locked the door with the spare key she had. And turned around to see the bus arriving near her gate. She hurried down the pathway and reached the gate. Padma was waving frantically at her. Tanisi smiled at this woman who was almost a decade younger than her. Even though her junior, Padma clung to Tanisi the whole day. They both were almost inseparable. Tanisi went around the bus and boarded it. She saw Pradyumna beaming at her. She smiled and waved at him before keeping her luggage at the top compartment. And she sat down at the empty single seat near the window. Tanisi had developed travel sickness after her second pregnancy. Her colleagues who were aware of it always reserved a window seat in buses and in case of cars she always got the co-driver seat. She looked outside at the bright sunny morning. It was early spring, hence the weather even though bright was still cool. She was the last to be picked up and the bus made its way to the destination.

The ride to the Ratnagiri mountains was joyous with games, songs and mad-ads being played by her colleagues. They reached their destination at around 5pm in the evening. All of them alighted from the vehicle and reached their resort. Every one got a double bed accomodation. But since there were 11 ladies out of 30 people, Tanisi was given a whole room for her alone. This caught the attention of other ladies and Pradyumna teased Tanisi that she was being treated like a Queen. 

Tanisi rolled her eyes and said that she was willing to change her room with anybody if they wanted. But none of them wanted to look petty, hence they declined. Smiling Tanisi went to her room and was very happy to see she had a room with a very nice view of the mountains and the man-made pond of the resort. It looked very dreamy. She washed her hands, feet and face, quickly unpacked her luggage, and changed to lounge wear. Feeling refreshed she took out the novel she got with her to read. Lying down on the reading nook near the window, she had just read a page when there was a knock on her door. Almost angry at being disturbed she went to check who it was. The room service guy had brought her refreshments which she declined. Her delicate digestive system didn't allow her to eat fried, greasy food. She sighed and caught her reflection in the mirror nearby and for a moment stood there lost in her memories. She was very tall. She was so tall that she had never been able to hide herself in crowds. But she was skinny. Her tall gait didn't help and she looked skinnier. The only meaty part of her was her booty. She had a very nice, smooth skin with reddish-white complexion. She had wavy medium length hair which accentuated her skin tone. She was very beautiful to look at with expressive dark eyes. When she smiled her eyes twinkled against the light. But her teeth was crooked. Many a times her cousins had teased her that she was as thin as a toothpick. She had been very happy soon after pregnancy to see she had gained quite a lot of weight. Gaining weight was very difficult for her. Amongst volumptous women she had always felt she was inadequate. But she was very witty,  smart, jovial, and friendly. This always made her popular wherever she went. 

She sighed again. Two years after her daughter's birth she had developed harmonal issues. Her second pregnancy was unplanned. When Achintya, her son was still one and half year old, Tanisi had discovered that she was pregnant again. It was a tough time. Adarsh had become very busy with his work and they had moved to their new home. This put a lot of burden on Tanisi who had taken a break from work to become a full time mother. Her loneliness along with increased work load with her baby boy made her crazy. She had started fighting with Adarsh for silly reasons. Adarsh was hurt by her behavior. He was very busy and whatever little time they got to spend with each other was wasted in quarelling. He had started to resent being home. Unable to face Tanisi, he got himself even more busier. This took a toll on Tanisi. Gradually she grew quieter and started to keep things to herself. She developed anxiety issues. Her only saving grace was her cute and bubbly Achintya. Achintya was a sweet boy. Not the fussy baby. His smile used to bring Tanisi some cheer. Many a times Tanisi had wanted to end her life. But everytime Achintya's face used to remind here that she had to be there for him. It was a their anniversary. That month had been very hectic for Adarsh. And as usual he had forgotten their anniversary. He remembered it two days later and soon after getting home he told Tanisi "Hey, I just remembered its the month of April. We had our wedding anniversary and we have been married for 5 years now!." He had a smile on his face which looked like sarcasm to Tanisi. She said "Yeah and you must already be regretting it. Getting married to a dickhead like me". Saying this she turned around. Adarsh stood stunned and shocked by her response. He was trying to figure out what caused her to react like this? Was it because he forgot their anniversary. It slowly occurred to him that offlate she had grown silent. The woman who could bring smile on anybody's face was gloomy and lost. Adarsh's heart sank when he realised that something was wrong. He washed his hands, feet and face. Quickly changing to his pajamas he went to check what Tanisi was upto. She was sitting next to Achintya who was playing and blabbering something to her excitedly. She however, was not focused on the baby. She was lost. Again her expression was gloomy. She didn't even notice Adarsh, who went and sat next to her. Gently holding her shoulder he said "I am sorry, I forgot our anniversary. You know how bad I am with dates. I don't regret our marriage. I have you who handles everything for me. You have given me an adorable baby. Why do you consider yourself a dickhead? You are smart and capable. I have been busy for a while now. But this month I am going to close everything. I was planning for a surprise holiday with your parents. But seeing you this way I couldn't help but reveal it to you. I love you Tanisi". She was speechless for a moment. She turned around to look at him and he saw tears brimming in her eyes. She lowered her head to prevent herself from sobbing.  She said "Don't mind me. My periods are late this time, hence I am not my usual self. This is PMS". Adarsh knew she was trying to console him by taking the blame. That night he held her in his arms and made love to her. It had been a while and Adarsh was lost in passion and he didn't use protection. Tanisi gasped, but before she could say anything he sealed her mouth with a kiss. Afterwards she accusingly looked at Adarsh and said " We didn't use protection!! What if I get pregnant?". Adarsh was oblivious to Tanisi's health issues. She had never told him the problems she was facing with her health. He said "You said your periods are due. Nothing would happen. If it does result in pregnancy then its a token of my love for you. Everytime we look at the baby we would be reminded of our love" and smiled. Tanisi lost her cool, she said "Do you even know how much of a responsibility it is to bear another child? How am I going to manage? With Achintya still breast feeding I cannot handle another baby. You should have atleast discussed it once with me. You are never around. You don't even know what it is to keep running around babies." Exhausted by her emotional outburst and their previous love making, her breathing became heavy and she tried to control herself again. Adarsh was dumbfounded for a moment. But he became angry. "To her am I that unbearable? She now has problem with me making love to her as well? She doesn't want a baby with me anymore? Where is our marriage heading to?" He turned away from her and slept. She saw this and started to cry silently. A week later her fears came true when she found she indeed was pregnant. Their days of fighting started again. All this lead to her current problems. 

Adarsh thought she being at home all along was causing all this. He spoke to Tanisi's dad and together they thought she should join work back. Together they convinced Tanisi's mom to take care of the kids allowing Tanisi to go back to work. When Adarsh's parents had opposed this, the ever obedient Adarsh put his foot down and said Tanisi will be working. With Adarsh being adamant, they reluctantly agreed. Tanisi got a job quite easily even when she had been off work for 4 years. Her smartness and technical knowledge was surpising to her employer and she resumed work within two months of starting her job hunt. Once in office she became famous for her quick learning and deft handling of the S-module which was given to her. Within months she had ensured her module had been stabilised and was one of the most dependable piece of software. She became everyone's apple-of-the-eye. Seniors respected her and juniors adored her. It was at that time that she took Padma under her wings and trained her. Tanisi also grew close to her Senior Pradyumna who was stunned at the pace of her deliverables and appreciated her deliveries which were always on time and with great quality. For long he had wanted a dependable person to handle the S-module which was a very complex and important module but was in complete disarray. 

They became inseparable trio. Padma loved being treated like a kid by Tanisi and Pradyumna, and Tanisi loved bossing around Pradyumna who smilingly tolerated the two ladies. Tanisi's health condition didn't improve with the new stress getting added, but she was a lot happier. She once spoke to Pradyumna of her ordeals at home. To her horror she realised even though Pradyumna was of Adarsh's age, he wasn't married. But she also found out that he was fond of Padma but was hesitant due to the 13 years age gap between them. She used to tease him with Padma whenever she wasn't around and Pradyumna hated himself for letting Tanisi know of this secret.

But their friendship had become an eyesore to Vikas. He was senior to Pradyumna and hated him. His control-freak nature was resisted by Pradyumna, and to his disgust others in office too had stared to follow Pradyumna's style to counter Vikas. Vikas was an unbearable, narcissist who was very manipulative. He had taken a fancy for Tanisi knowing very well that she was married and a mother of two kids. Tanisi always felt uncomfortable in his presence. Even though he was very friendly towards her, she for some unexplained reasons wanted to avoid him as much as possible. Her avoidance of Vikas and growing closeness with Pradyumna made Vikas hate Pradyumna. He had started his games of subtly and carefully spreading rumours about the two. He knew spoiling Tanisi's reputation would hurt their friendship and also make them both vulnerable. The cheerful trio were unaware of his sinister designs and were in their own fun world when this trip was organized by their organization Saweiruba Networks.

Back in the resort room, Tanisi was looking at her reflection in the mirror and saw a tired face looking back at her. She had dark circles under her eyes. Losing her pregnancy weight suddenly, had caused wrinkles around her mouth and eyes. Due to her motherhood her jawline had become more pronounced and her she had lost her cheeks.  But yet her eyes were still captivating and she smiled thinking that in another five years she would be 40 years old. Yet most of the times people mistook her to be in her early twenties. She sighed and said aloud " I wish I had a little more meat around my body. Nice fine set of teeth instead of these crooked ones and more strength in my fragile body. How wonderful it was to be in twenties when I had so much energy and luscious locks. Tanisi, keep wishing. May be you would get a beautiful curvy figure in your next birth and then you can seduce any man you want. But will you do it? You are too proud to do that. Hope you hold your head high and become the mighty. May be a warrior or a powerful Queen or an Empress loved by everyone of her subjects. Hail the mighty Empress Tanisi!!" And laughed to herself. She thought she was behaving more kiddish than Padma today and shook her head smiling.

She was about to go back to reading when there was another knock on her room door. Rolling her eyes and super annoyed she went and opened the door. There stood Atul, her once ex colleague who she had referred to Saweiruba Networks and who was her colleague again albeit in a different team. She asked with a forced smile "How may I help you?" Atul noticed she was slightly angry with him and saw the book in her hand. He said "Hello beautiful, I came to give you this intinery for the rest of the trip. Here have a look." And he handed her a paper which had the details of the rest of their stay. She thanked him and was about to close the door when he asked "are you really going to help me?" The naughty smirk on his face told Tanisi he was brazenly flirting with her and she said "Yes, but not in a way you might want to be helped!" and with her thumb drew an imaginary line across her neck indicating she would kill him. Atul laughed heartily and said " Sure.. my pleasure.. Dying at your hands would be nirvana for me!". She put her tongue out to which he said "Heck even your tongue is perfectly beautiful. I envy Adarsh so much !! " Saying this he bid her goodbye and left. In a low voice she said "Scoundrel!" and almost slammed the door half amused and half annoyed. 

The rest of the evening went by peacfully with Tanisi munching on the rice crisps she had prepared for herself and reading the book she had brought with her. She was sad that she had already completed reading the book and there were two more days of her stay.

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