Sitting in the balcony, drinking in the view of the sky and beautifully patterned clouds was ultimate bliss but the sip of tea in this surrounding was the cherry on top, thought Adi.
The love for tea (or chai as they called at home) was in his genes. He was brought up in a joint family where guests would pop in and out all times of the day.
Since it was against the rules of hospitality in India, the guests would not be let go without having anything. The elderly matriarch would just say, chai piye bina to jaane nahin denge (We won’t let you go without having tea at least) and the guest would have to relent. The house was seeped in the aroma of tea with a slight hint of the spicy ginger.
Adi didn’t want to lose that aroma ever. This is how it had started. He was startled with the ringing doorbell. He smiled. It was time for another batch.
He got this idea when he read that since ancient times, tea leaves had been used in burial services by royalty and common people alike. People from ancient times believed that tea leaves served to cleanse and dehumidify the deceased. Tea leaves helped absorb odors in the tombs and ensured the preservation of the remains. Now, a room full of guests were forever embalmed in tea. The aroma of tea would not leave his house ever.
She was waiting for him to say those three words. She imagined that for all the humiliation she had faced, all the insinuations and accusations, maligning of her love, her intentions, those heart piercing mean words, she deserved atleast an apology. I am sorry. That’s all she asked for.
And once those words were uttered, she would forgive him. Things would be back to normal. Her heart would be free of the burden she was carrying.
She looked towards the sky and sighed. She spotted a movement on the road. It was the postman coming towards their house. She wondered who would have sent them a letter. In this digital era, no one even bought newspapers anymore.
The bell rang & she opened the door with hundreds of questions on her mind. The postman handed her an envelope. The address on it was handwritten and the writing was familiar.
She shut the door with a slam, hurrying to open the envelope. She removed the letter with trembling hands. It was him, she knew. He would not have had the courage to say those words. To accept he was wrong, to accept he was mean. To write would have been easy for him. She thought of how she would react to his words. She began reading the letter. Love, that’s how he addressed her, made her heart jump.
She could not believe the words that followed. Her heart stopped at those three words, “I forgive You”.
And she started laughing hysterically. She understood he never realised he hurt her. He would always remain what he was. A self-centred egoistical bastard. And this, was her closure.
He knew her from afar. She was a fair maiden. Delicate, fragile. To be handled with care. She was dainty, elegant. A sweet smile lingered on her face always. People’s faces brightened when they looked at her. She was always adorned with flowers. She would make a pretty decorative wife, he thought.
He knew her like one knows their own soul. She was dainty from outside but strong from within. She was heady, intoxicating. She was stimulating. To the eyes as well to the mind. When you wrapped your hands around her, she would give you warmth like a bearskin on a cold, wintry night. She would be a comfort to have in youth and she would grow better with age. Just like wine.
She was a teacup, one thought. She was wine, thought the other.
She looked out the window as she stirred the curry. The sound of the basketball hitting the ground was like music to her ears. Her son had inherited her love for the game and it was a bliss to watch father and son bond like this. Her efforts had paid off finally!
They were watching the NBA finals few months back and cheering on their favourite team. Her glance fell on the husband’s crestfallen face. She knew he was bothered about the growing distance between him and their son. She resolved she would do something about it. The ongoing game gave her an idea. When her husband was at work, she got the hoop installed in the verandah. A little nudge and a push was all it took and father and son started playing basketball regularly. They had started talking more and she could feel the happy vibes between them.
A loud thumping sound brought her back to the present. She watched the game and wish she could also play. She was a pretty good player in college, participating in national level tournaments. Marriage and a kid had changed everything for her though. With a wistful sigh, she continued with her cooking. The boys would be famished by now, she rightly thought.
He went to collect the ball which had fallen near the kitchen window. The aroma of the curry filled his nose. He looked at his wife and stared admiringly. She was lost in thoughts, unaware of someone staring at her.
Next Sunday after breakfast, husband announced: Today, I am going to cook lunch and you both will play basketball.
A huge smile spread on her face. This is what a perfect marriage was after all!
She stood in front of the falling abandoned house. Her daughter commented, “Such a shabby old house!” She turned towards her daughter and smiled. Holding her hand, she passed by the house.
Every day while crossing the house, she would stop and her daughter would make the same remark. After a decade, the daughter got tired of the routine and asked, “What fascinates you towards the ruin?”
She turned to her daughter, like she always did, held her hand and began to walk, when her daughter pulled her back and said, “I want an answer today, mom”
She took a deep breath and smiled. “This was the house your father brought me in after we got married. These ruins were once our dream.”
They said it is not news when a dog bites a man but it is news when man bites the dog!
They weren’t wrong but not right either. Dog biting a wealthy businessman’s wife had become news of the day! Everyone was wondering how a pet dog could bite his mistress? The dog was termed to be mad and put to sleep. The media went gaga over the story! There was a touch of romance! The companion of 10 years was sacrificed for love!
They were also keeping a tab on the wife’s health. Her face was so badly mutilated that she had to undergo plastic surgery! Money was not a problem anyway. But if everything went hunky dory, what would be life, eh? There was a terrible glitch in the operation & in the process the doctors gave an entire new face to the wife!
After the wounds of the wife were completely healed, the couple returned home. The husband had not left her side even for a day! They were tired of giving bytes to the media. Once home, they heaved a sigh of relief! The husband smiled at his wife and hugged her, whispering “Glad no one checked for your fingerprints”
Disclaimer: This story is based on a real life incident of a dog biting Raj Thakrey’s wife. Everything else is my imagination.
The queue was getting restless. They were getting bored and tired of waiting for their daily quota. The man inside the machine room was taking hell lot of time today. After a while he came out and everyone started asking him questions about the machine. Wasn’t it working properly? They were worried they would have to return home empty handed.
The man replied, No, instead of one word, I entered 50 words. I needed a longer story as I am going away for few days. The crowd heaved a sigh of relief and formed a queue again to collect their 140 words story. That’s what they got in lieu of entering a word in the Automatic Story Teller Machine.
She ordered for a Cappuccino just so that she could wait for some more time. It wasn’t unlike him to be late & she really needed to see him. She could see him rushing in through the door glancing around looking for her. He would give her one of his numerous excuses to be late, along with a bunch of roses. He knew that would always make her smile. He would hug her & say sorry in such a way that she couldn’t be angry at him anymore.
She glanced at her watch & called him up. His phone was switched off. It was getting late & she couldn’t wait any longer. She left the cafe feeling both sad & angry. Angry because he was not that interested in meeting her, sad for the same reason.
Only if she knew that was the last time she could hope to meet him, she would have never left the cafe. It was getting late & she couldn’t sit there any longer. She gave a deep sigh, caressed the bunch of roses she had left on his grave & walked towards the gate.
She cribbed about boss making her go out of town, that too during weekend. After she packed her bag with all the essentials, she handed over the list of instructions to her husband. Don’t let the kids watch too much TV, she said. She felt a twinge of guilt as she bade good bye to her family.
After travelling for an hour, she reached her destination. A luxurious room with a sea view was waiting for her. She unpacked her bag & reclined on the couch. This was the beginning of her two day vacation. 😉
It was easy for him to leave. After all he never made any promises. Why did his heart feel heavy? Why was he not able to sleep then?
He wanted to be carefree. Not to be entrusted with anyone’s hearts. Why couldn’t he break this one now?
He realised he was in love. He returned to the spot where he had left her. She loved him. She would be waiting. He knew that.
There was no sign of her. The rose bush had died. The trees were barren. There was snow all around. He kicked the snow in anger.
His foot hit something soft & the thing rolled gently. Curious & wanting to have something to do to forget about her, he started shoveling the snow with his bare hands. He was right. She was waiting. But her breath had left.
She looked outside her window with longing eyes. The moon was playing hide & seek with her since few days. The house was situated on a hill, isolated from the world. Moon was her only companion during sleepless night. Being tied to her bed for months was tiring & watching the various shapes & shades of moon was her favourite pastime.
Whenever the moon was bright & shiny, it reminded her of the one she truly loved & the moon’s beauty reflected on her face. Whenever the sky was bereft of the moon, it reminded her of the love she had lost. The night’s darkness reflected on her face & seeped down to her soul. This time the moon had vanished for days & her soul was sinking fast. Her paralysis affected body ensured she couldn’t even ask anyone about it. She wished then there would be someone who could make the moon appear by magic & then she could die peacefully.
Next morning, the nurse woke her up from the troubled sleep. After washing up the nurse placed the day’s newspaper on her table. She startled after reading the front page news. It said “Heavy torrential rain causes flood & wipes out the entire village. The only house that remains safe is the one situated on the hill. However, the house has slid down at an angle of 25%”
A familiar fragrance lingered in the elevator. The fragrance of fresh Jasmine flowers. Her face instantly popped in his head. He couldn’t believe it was 3 months since he had seen her. He shouldn’t have taken that decision in a hurry. The decision of getting transferred in another department just to avoid meeting her in the elevator. He had lost the few moments he had got to be around her, revel in her presence. Sighing, he got down in the lobby moving across the parking lot.
She was waiting for her boss to get his car. A compensation for working late hours was a free ride to home. Her eyes were gazing at the elevator longing for those happy moments where she could be with him even for a few moments. She had heard he had got transferred and never got to see him since. She never got the courage to cook up excuses & visit his department which was just couple of floors away.
Both were thinking of each other without knowing the other is thinking of them too. Their eyes met & were locked for few seconds. Their hearts did a happy jig & faces lit up with the brightest smile.
This time they will not lose their precious gift. A gift of love they will cherish. Let’s bless them & wait for their wedding cards 🙂
This is the sequel to http://www.mirchiladdoo.com/2014/01/25/lost-in-silence/
She looked at herself in the mirror for the last time before leaving home. She hoped that taking efforts in dressing up would yield result at least today. It had been a week since she last saw him. She missed standing next to him in the elevator. She missed the smell of his cologne. She missed his voice. She remembered how he had stopped the elevator once just so she could get in. She smiled. Maybe it was love.
He tightened the knot of his tie & smiled at the mirror. It was a week since he saw her pretty face. He missed her. Maybe it was love. He wondered if she missed him too. He would get to know today. He would see if her face lits up on seeing him.
She was waiting for the elevator to reach the lobby. The elevator door reflected the image of the one standing behind. A huge grin spread across her face, her heart beats grew a little faster. Confused at her own reaction, she hung her neck & tried to wipe the grin off her face.
They boarded the elevator. He was disappointed. She didn’t even notice him. Heart broken, he alighted on his floor, resolving to never think about her again.
The sun was shining on her face. Smiling at the sun through her window she opened her eyes slowly. There was music in her voice as she hummed, a spring in her step as she waltzed through the routine tasks for the day.
After finishing her chores she washed her mom & dressed her up. She transferred her carefully from the bed to the wheel chair & out she went for a stroll in the garden. Her cheerful morning greetings echoed & the grump on people’s faces turned into smiles.
The old florist observed her as she drove her mom away. She was not traditionally beautiful nor had the accomplishments like other girls but she did have something which not many people did. She was a giver & a cheerful giver at that. He prayed to the Lord to send more cheerful girls than pianists & harpists in the world.
Shall we say Amen?
PS: I had written this specially for @islejazz Thank you for inspiring me always.
Accusing Eyes. Questioning Eyes. She saw none of them. She kept staring at the ceiling above.
Accusing Voices. Questioning voices. She heard none of them. She was lost in her thoughts. Thoughts of the one she had liberated. Liberated from the fear of being molested. Liberated from the fear of being a burden on her parents. Liberated from the fear of being tortured for dowry. Liberated from the fear of being burnt to death.
In turn, she had also liberated herself. Liberated from the fear of being tortured for giving birth to another baby girl.
Years later she was still staring at the ceiling. The delayed shock of strangling her baby had driven her crazy. Nothing had changed for her though except the setting – from the Maternity Ward to the Mental Asylum.
It had been two years since he was working in this roadside eatery. His dream of becoming an international chef was dimming day by day but seeing smiling faces of his humble customers did give him a sense of satisfaction.. As he stood there mulling, he saw a man all drenched running towards the dhaba…he started rolling rotis for him.
It was raining cats & dogs. On top of it his car broke down in the middle of the highway.
Famished & tired, he looked around & saw a light some distance away. He ran towards it hoping for food & shelter. He sat on one of the benches & was promptly served hot rotis & subzi. As he put the first morsel in his mouth, he was astonished! Was the food really tasty or was it the hunger? After eating to his heart’s satisfaction, he went inside for a light & enquired about the cook.
The cook, he came to know, had run away from home because of his passion for food. He had got shelter & a job here.
He went up to the cook & asked him if he would like to work alongside him in his restaurant in Delhi.
The cook’s eyes lighted up… a reflection of rekindled hope in his heart!
She was seething with anger. Anger towards her life & her helplessness. Anger fuelled her pace. She was unaware of leering glances of strangers. She had only her destination in mind – the sea. The one which had calmed her all her life, was going to give her the ultimate peace. She was taken aback by the Beach Patrol driving around the beach. Hesitatingly she decided to wait for them to go away.
Suddenly a constable came & started scolding her for being at such a dangerous place at midnight. A woman staying under the bridge had sensed her purpose & called the constable from the nearby police chowky. “What would be the result if some goons kidnapped you & sold you to a brothel?” he asked? Petrified, she started crying & poured her life story.
This mellowed the constable. He tried to calm her by offering water & the best piece of advice anyone had given her. He said, “God has given purpose to every life. Think of the unfortunate who are thirsting for love. Look at the orphanages, the old age home, the street urchins. Find your purpose in them”
Now, 25 years later, she looked back at that incident with happy tears. She was now the principal of the school run by the orphanage & always surrounded by lovely children. The End had turned into a Beautiful Beginning!!!
She was a die-hard romantic, looking for signs which would lead her to her soul mate. He was a lonely man, looking for love. One day, she got a friend request from him. She checked his profile. There were no mutual friends but there were some mutual page likes. In one of the mutually liked page, the recent activity was, liking a post “Single & Ready to Mingle”.
He liked the post “Single & Ready to Mingle” on one of the Facebook page. Out of curiosity, he checked who else had liked the post. His eyes stopped at one pic. He just couldn’t wait to know more about her. He sent her Friend Request.
She accepted it. This was the beginning of a new fairy tale.
His Facebook status update showed he was in her city. That city which had seen their friendship blossoming into love. That city which had also seen betrayal killing their love. That city which had been the graveyard of memories, broken promises & tears. Time had passed but healed nothing. She was still carrying the shards of her broken dreams. But this news made her eyes glint & put a spring in her step. She would see him. Surely he wouldn’t deny. After all he was the one who wanted to remain “friends”.
She called him up. After some small talk, with apprehension, she invited him for dinner. He wanted to take her out but she insisted on cooking for him. It did not take much insistence as he always was fan of her cooking skills. And the day arrived. The table was laid with all his favourite dishes. The dinner was peppered with conversations & reminiscences. It was an evening to remember! Finally she got his favourite dish out, Butterscotch Icecream, topped with loads of chocolate sauce. It was a joy to see him relish the ice cream. This is how she wanted him to remember. This is how she wanted them to stay forever.
Next day, the local newspaper lay at her doorstep. The headlines screamed. A couple found dead in a flat. Half eaten ice cream dishes found on the dining table. Police are investigating whether it is a case of Suicide or Murder.