A Stamped Love Story – Part 4
Hi, new to Anney’s A Stamped Love Story? Not yet read the previous chapters? No worries, here are the links Part 1 , Part 2 & Part 3
“It is! “ Joshua exclaimed as he slapped the shoulder of the gentleman in front of me. Grey piercing eyes studied my face as I looked for signs of familiarity. He looked unfamiliar and odd. His cream tailored suit and midnight blue shirt spoke of taste and class. I couldn’t take my eyes of him. He looked like an Indian but not completely. The dimple chin gave him a devilish charm. I blushed at his unwavering attention. I was sure Maggie would call him handsome.
“This is Ian George…my business partner.” Joshua said as he watched Maggie for signs of awe. I had to smile at his look. It showed a bit of insecurity and love.
Maggie smiled and showed no signs of noticing my blush or Joshua’s look.”Hi, Mr. George. I am Maggie and this is Jenny, my cousin. Did you like the cake?”
“Call me Ian. “ he said as he shook hands with her. His grey eyes glinted as he continued “ I loved the cake. I wondered on the secret that made it so special; it had an interesting mix of tastes. ”
Maggie nodded in agreement. “Jenny loves to try different things out. Don’t you Jenny?” she asked as she nudged me.
I felt hot as I nodded. This guy, Ian, was making me uncomfortable.
“We have more surprises for the upcoming events…” Maggie said as she began to sell our ideas.
I excused myself politely as I noticed Ganesh peeping out from the kitchen. There was more trouble from the looks of it. I had to get to the kitchen. I wanted to get away from Ian. His eyes made me feel like he saw everything about me.” I will just check on the food for a bit”. I nearly ran to the kitchen to get away. It was my comfort zone. Ganesh had mixed up the boxes of vegetarian and egg puffs. All I wanted to do was stay away from the party. I smiled as I took over to remedy the mix up; “Go and serve the guests. I will take care of this”.
The party was a great success. There were no more accidents. Maggie had charmed the guests and secured a few deals to keep us busy until January the next year. Joshua was a savy host. He was witty and knowledgeable on all aspects of his guests and their business. Maggie looked happy with him.
“Jenny, the party was a success!” Maggie said as she hugged me after the guests left. I felt her happiness. I laughed as I twirled her around in the kitchen. “Maggie, you goose, nothing can stop us when we are together!”
“Joshua says that Ian has a few high class exhibitions in town. He wanted us to cater for it. I think it is a great idea…what do you think?” Maggie asked as we began to stack the dishes for the boys to wash.
“Am not sure, Maggie. Are we up to doing fancy exhibitions?”
“Jenny, we will have less hassles. Besides, these are like collector items. Our menu will be fancy canapés and finger food.”
I thought for a bit. “Sounds interesting….how many of those do we have?”
“Well, seven in one week itself.”
“It’s worth a try…but we have to take advance…70%, ok?”
“Eh…ok, let me tell the guys. Am sure they would agree that it is fair.”
“Yes, Ian and Joshua! Ian was not sure if you would agree. Joshua says that it is a great idea; we will have a good exposure and a nice fat pay for it ….I told him that I needed to discuss this with you before I said yes.”
When did she get so friendly? I wondered. The Maggie I knew was weary of people helping her. Joshua was clearly helping her and yet, she didn’t seem to mind. It was interesting to see how he managed to get her to trust him. “Maggie, will he pay upfront?” the realist in me was always asking practical questions. I did not trust Ian. He looked like a charmer.
“Yes! Ian is great. He even volunteered to show us the places where the exhibition would be and promised to have the necessary arrangement as per our instruction. He loved the ideas I gave him for the interior and suggested I do the same for these too. So we are a package deal. Oh Jenny, I am so excited!”
I was not so sure. Ian looked like the snake oil salesman to me. I had no idea why he rubbed me the wrong way. Tomorrow, I would go to the exhibition to think.
We went to all the locations the next day. Ian was familiar with the city and Joshua was always sharing titbits on each location. Maggie was enthralled. Ian was successful in collecting items that people perceived of value. His exhibitions were on various items mostly antiques, paintings and old coins. The visitors to each one varied in style and taste. I was hooked the moment we got paid the advance. We spent our mornings for the next few days cooking various canapés and having sessions on shopping for the interior decoration. I suggested that Joshua drive Maggie around town for all the things she needed. It proved to be a success for Joshua. Maggie began to talk non-stop about him at night.
It was always Joshua said this and Joshua thought that. I could see that she was falling head over heels for him. Julian loved having Joshua around and hung on to his every word. Everything was coming together except for the fact that I was weary of Ian. Once the exhibitions started, I sensed that he was not who he claimed he was. According to Joshua, Ian was a ladies’ man. He was well travelled and hated to be tied down. He was also pretty good at getting people to do things his way. Joshua had benefited greatly from his persuasive skills.
I saw much more. Ian was amused by the attention women gave him. He flirted openly yet, it felt like he was waiting for someone. At the opening of each exhibition, he talked of passion and commitment that his collection evoked. He spoke of how valued the pieces were in terms of history and emotions. His speeches were never the same and I was drawn to those thoughts. It spoke volumes of what kind of a person he was. There was something so endearing and dangerous about him. It attributed to making his exhibitions truly moving.
Each exhibition was unique. Maggie and I worked on giving each place a different ambience and a menu to match. The antiques got a combination of warm and moist food, while the paintings and coins got trendy and unique tasting treats. Every night after the closing, all of us would sit down to discuss the outcome for the day. Ian was always gracious in thanking us. I looked forward to just hearing him talk. Joshua would grab some wine and turn on the music to unwind with Maggie. She loved the attention he was giving her. I loved to watch them dance. My parents enjoyed dancing on some occasions and it was always a treat to watch them. It made me feel romantic. It also reminded me of Jac’s letters. I wondered if I would able to get over my fears or even have that special moment.
Ian loved dim lights and would always sit down next to me to enjoy the music. At first, it was very unnerving for me to have him just sit beside me. He never made any small talk or even tried to probe about my scar. His quite presence felt reassuring. After a few nights of the same ritual, I realized that I felt drawn to him. The silence between us and the music felt soothing. I found comfort in just sitting beside Ian with no questions and a glass of wine. Every night, I dreamt of a stranger declaring that he loved me. The closer I got to seeing him clearly, the farther he went from my dreams.
To be continued….
He tenderly brushed a wisp of hair from her cheek. And she brushed a tear from his eye. The message on the cake was – I am me because of you.
As they were cutting the cake, these tender moments caught my attention. She, mid-way through the function, proceeded to remind him of his BP medication. And he, in turn cooed in her ears, “Be careful. If you dance any more, your feet will hurt.” Touching! After twenty five years, they were so much in love. She was a softer beauty, deepened with age and he was a perfect combination of salt and pepper hair with astute business sense.
Several dainty feet were groaning under the agony of high heels, intricate silks and heavy jewelry, desperately searching for respite. It was the twenty fifth anniversary celebration of a relative. Since it was a silver jubilee function and most couples were…well beyond their prime, the ghost of L’Oreal was omnipresent.
I was wondering, how the gurgling, bubbling rivulet of romance at sixteen, transforms into deeper still waters after a few decades. And still waters run deep.
Sure, candle light dinners, roses, chocolates and sipping champagne at sixteen are all magical. Yet these images are spoon-fed by movies, serials and advertisements. And an over-dose of such illusions are scary.
At sixteen the world is both, vivid and hazy. If my hubby had given me a rose at sixteen, I would have preserved the petals in some mushy book, fluttering my eyelashes coyly. However, if today he returns home from the office with a red rose in hand, I would burst out laughing, doubting his sanity. In case it’s not a rose but an expensive bouquet of orchids and lilies, I would doubt ‘daal mein kuch kala hai’.
Now you are thinking, ‘Seriously, God only knows what women want…Poor guy…He is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t’.
Relax. At the risk of bristling like an old crow, I am trying to arrive at the point. Flowers and gifts on occasions are most welcome. Yet on other days a bed tea would be a better idea. Appreciation is desirable in actions, but poetry would be artificial. As romance matures and endures the test of time, it reaches another level where trust, faith and respect matter more than roses, chocolates and perfumes.
A mature romance is beyond looks, beyond bad hair days, beyond puffy eyes, beyond mood swings and much much beyond cellulite. It is non- judgmental. It is possessive, yet it gives you the space to flourish and to blossom. It just lets you be.
For me, the most touching act was when my husband donated blood for my dad’s operation. Flowers, roses and perfumes, none came within kissing distance.
I absolutely do not agree when Shobha De says that youth and all things youthful are overrated. No they are not. Youth is magical. If it is overrated, it deserves to be. However, romance is timeless. It only appears in another dress. And as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars. Stars which were invisible by the day.
The clock was ticking towards 2’o clock, and I was staring at the door, listening for footsteps or any sound of a car parking at our doorstep. My 8 year old son and 6 year old daughter were fast asleep. I considered waking them up, but what was the point. He had been late before, but not this late. I tried his number again… I heard the operator’s voice on the other side “The number you have dialled is currently switched off or out of range”… I cut the phone…
Earlier in the evening, I had called up his office; I was told he was attending a conference on behalf of the company in a 5 star hotel. When he didn’t come home till 9.00 in the evening, I picked out the hotel number from yellow pages and called in to enquire if the conference was over. It was over at 8pm itself… Where is he?
I started pacing. I tried not to panic, but try as I may, I could not keep out horrible thoughts from coming into my mind. Car crashes were so common…Some drunken driver…or unruly youths in fast cars… it may not even be his fault. Should I call the police and enquire, No, I am getting simply hyper. I should just be little more patient.
I am not usually this hyper. I am used to his work schedules. It has been 10 years since our marriage, and he has always been home, sharp at dinner time. He did not like being disturbed at work, I called only when he was not home by dinner time.
Ten years, sound like a really long time, but these years just passed in sheer bliss. Ours was a typical arranged marriage. I was 22, working and independent. During my youth, I wanted a love marriage, or at least marry some one I knew. How do you live with a person you met for few minutes? How do you decide who is the right? Does asking a few typical questions that came to mind at that insane second help you to judge?
I argued, day and night with my parents and the elders. The only reply I got ” You will know my child, when you meet the rite person” Yeah, Right!! … Kuch kuch hota hai version … typical….. So, I waited. And prayed for the Cupid to strike me and say here is THE ONE!!
After a zillion Proposals, fashion parades in saris and tea trays, his proposal came.
I still remember the day, coz it was so funny. I was at a good friends’ place, with plans to spend the day out till late evening. Her marriage was already on the cards and she wanted a spinster party. We decided on a Girls day out, I was excited. As we were about to step out of her place, my parents called up. They wanted me home immediately. A new proposal had come; the boy worked outside and was travelling today, his family wished him to see me before he went. They were already on their way. I tried to argue, but failed immediately. Irritated to the core at the inconvenience caused and postponed the party plans, I travelled back home on my scooty. I had to drop off another friend at her place. I was purposely riding slowly to delay my arrival. Who wanted to parade in front of another family, I was so sure that even this was not going to work. I had to comply with my family’s wishes.
I reached my friends place, and we stood outside chatting. After few minutes a Red Maruti Suzuki stopped beside me, the tinted window by the driver’s side rolled down with a good looking chap looking perplexed.
“Excuse me ladies, could any of you tell me where the 37th street is?
“Sure”, my friend volunteered, “go straight, take the 2nd left, then the next right and then left… and then third right.”
The guy looked at her as though she had just spoken Latin, I giggled, and chided my friend,” You might as well have told him to go around entire colony till he finds the 37th street, stupid…” I could hear laughter from inside the car. The car was full of people; I caught a few faces looking out through the dark panes.
Deciding to be the Good Samaritan, I volunteered “Boss, I am headed in that direction, why you don’t just follow me.”
He smiled and nodded” Thanks, that would be really great!”
”Bye, see ya later, got to get ready for the moron who is coming to see my fashion parade” I said as my friend wished me luck. I zoomed off in my bike making sure that the car followed me. I rode carefully keeping them in sight. On the way, I waved to my neighbour aunty, called out to the kids playing cricket and responded to snide remarks from the local youths. When I reached the mouth the 37thstreet, I stopped. The car stopped beside me. ” The 37th street begins here” I said as I waved at a grandpa next door. The driver thanked me before I shrugged and moved on.
My house was the last one at the corner of the street, just before the beginning of the next street. My mom was waiting at the entrance, all red faced and fuming. I ignored her and casually parked my bike, humming a tune. “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA, HOW MUCH TRAUMA I WAS GOING THROUGH TILL NOW. DO YOU WANT ME TO GROUND YOU TILL YOUR WEDDING?!”. “ Sure, sure… if you want me stay single for the rest of my life” I responded.
“Go inside and get ready, FAST! They will be here any minute now!” She muttered as usual, under her breath, “This girl is becoming more and more unmanageable by the day; I don’t know what she will do in another house….”
Her qualms will never end, I sighed. When I was in diapers, she was worried how I will fare in school, when I was finishing school, she worried on how I will fare in college, then it was how I will do in my work and now this… her worries just got bigger and bigger.
So, I locked myself up in my room and relaxed in my bed. Barely a minute had passed, when my mom softly knocked on my door, “Are you done, they are already here”. I jumped up from the bed shocked,” What, already?!”
“Yes, come out fast” she hissed. I hurried through my lipstick. There was no point in changing. What they see, is what they get! In less than five minutes, she was rapping on the door again.” Coming mommmm!” I said taking deep breaths trying to calm myself.
As I entered the hall, I froze, and then nearly ran back to my room. Seated there was the Direction Guy with the same people who looked out of the car. I stared; I had called him “A Moron”. He looked surprised and then amused at my discomfort. A small smile was playing up at his lips and one of his eyebrows arched up. Why didn’t the earth just open up and swallow me alive!! I was surely a worth candidate for it!!
I stood rooted to the spot; I had gone red in face and could feel my heartbeat race. I looked around once and then stared firmly at the floor. His family looked amused. His younger brother, who looked like a school goer, was grinning from ear to ear. My dad was surprised at the sudden change in atmosphere. Something was amiss. Everyone was smiling, like they were sharing a secret that he was not in on. He slowly asked, “Err, are we missing something?”
His father, whom I had seen sitting next to him in the car replied, “No, it is just that, we had met your daughter on the way here. She had so generously showed us the way. Since we had not seen pictures of her, we didn’t recognise her”
My Mother looked like she would faint; I was wearing one of my most fashionable attires, tight jeans and a cute top with deep neck and body length that stayed above my waist. I was all dressed up to freak out with my friends in city hangouts. Decent for me, indecent for my family. The boy’s family had seen me in that! This proposal was already being disposed or written off already in her mind. Poor mother. I was waiting for her to swoon.
I continued to stare at the floor; unable to look at anyone in the face, there was going to be hell and more to pay for this after these people left. The dressing sense was surely considered moot by the old folks. Good bye freedom!
Small conversations continued between our families. I could feel heavy stares directed at me, but I continued to stare at the floor, still red at face. Nobody asked me anything, so I tried to calm myself instead. Its ok, it ok, relax, relax…I chanted in my mind. I was about to finally relax for a second before my father asked, “So if your son and my daughter would like to speak privately, they could move to another room”. NO!!! I screamed silently. I silently led the way to another room. My heart began to beat in double speed and my face was all red again. There was absolute silence for few minutes; I was again trying to calm myself. I could not look up to his face and I could feel him staring up at mine. He was probably waiting for me to speak; I didn’t know what to say. I was trying to think of someway to start a conversation. But I could not remember any questions that I had used on my suitors before.
Finally, I conjured up enough courage to look up at his face and ask something. His expression stopped me short, it was not amused. I was rewarded with an understanding smile, like that of a mature man who looked on at the attics of a mischievous child. He took a deep breath, “I am a person, whose career and ambition keeps him out of the house and on his toes all day. I love my family and love to spend every possible moment with them. It is difficult for my parents to understand my passion and it is difficult to live with me without understanding my freedom. But an independent person like you … would probably understand my life style. Do you think you can handle me… as a life partner??”
The clock struck 2 am, waking me up from my reverie. I went to window looking down at the empty street below. Few cars passed at this hour. I tried his number again, no response.
It is good thing tomorrow is a weekend, at least I don’t have to go for work, else I would be yawning away in office. He never encouraged me to stay awake like this. He would always say “Please don’t play typical orthodox wife. Eat when you are hungry and sleep on time. My work spoils my health; I don’t want your health also to be spoiled. So whenever I am late, I will manage my own dinner and will sleep when I am done. You don’t have to stay awake for me”.
If only he could call and tell me how late he is going to be, I would have relaxed a bit. Initial days of marriage had been as difficult as he had warned me on the day he came to see me. We had shifted to the place where he worked. He tried his level best to reach home on time and spend some quality time with me. Everyday was a new revelation for both of us. Each day we learnt something new about each other. Some good things and then some bad. After all, no one is perfect. I found myself a job thereafter, and then it became easier. I spent majority of the time in office and when I reached home, I would finish off housework, before he reached home. And when he came, we would sit chatting away, for hours till midnight, relating each other’s office experience and problems. He was a person with whom I could share anything, and I found his experiences fascinating.
I have heard of friends becoming life partners, but for me my life partner became my best friend.
We were gifted with a son and then a daughter. Life was perfect, with a few fights and arguments over the order in the house and cleanliness. Some days were even more difficult than others. I had good job and money was getting good. Days became shorter to get all the work done and chores got bigger and worse. I would return after a tough day at work to find broken vases, dirty clothes strewn on the floor and a relieved maid hurrying to leave the house. I wouldn’t have enough time to finish the children’s homework and cook a special dinner before he reached home. By the time he was home, he would be even more tired than me and finding our house in a mess would initiate cribbing, “Is this house a garbage dump or what?” “What is all of THIS?” he would bellow. His temper was really explosive.
He would then throw whatever he would find into the nearest garbage bin, while we would be running around to pick and save valuables from under the sofa or behind the curtains. If spotted during the cleaning parade, they would be lost forever. When the temper had ridden its course, he would inevitably retreat into the bedroom. We would noiselessly retrieve all valuables from the dustbin and arrange it neatly in proper places.
Dinner was always on time. Two things that I learnt foremost about him were that he wanted a clean house and a hot dinner ready when he reached home. Absence of any would ensure a lost temper. When he was fully fed and satisfied, he would be his good jolly self. Best friend for the children and a romantic partner for me. It was always fun to watch him playing with our children, he was closer to them than me. They would sit and relate all school stories for the umpteenth time and he will listen patiently. Some days, when I am exhausted with work, I would doze off in the living room itself only to find out that he had put the children to sleep and carried me to off to bed.
I missed him when he was not there. Our home felt empty when he went for his business trips? Even the kids would be gloomy when dada was not home. He tried not to be away from us for long. I couldn’t understand what was keeping him today. Was he hurt? Should I call the police? Did I miss a call? I debated mentally
The phone rang…I jumped to pick it up…”Hello? ” a male voice spoke on the other side.” Hello, Madam, I am calling in from the traffic Police. Is Car kl-4-25368 your husband’s car? “.. My heart stopped beating” Yes”, I whispered. “Your husband had an accident…..”.”Nooooooo”
I woke up with a start…. It was 2.30am. I had dozed off on the sofa; it was only a dream… I was sweating.
I heard the door close behind me. I turned slowly. My husband was standing at the door, with his coat and tie and suitcase in his hand. One minute we stood staring at each other and then I ran to him headlong nearly knocking him on the floor. “YOU MORON….WHY IS YOUR PHONE SWITCHED OFF…WHY DIDN’T YOU CALL ME IF YOU WERE GOING TO BE LATE…WHY ARE YOU SO LATE?! YOU DON’T EVEN CARE !! SOMEONE LIKE ME IS WAITING FOR YOU AT HOME…”I rated as relief set in and tears poured out.
“Shh…shhh…sorry, sorry…My phone went dead in the afternoon, no battery, I forgot my charger in office when I went for the conference and on my way back, my car broke down….at a deserted place…..no place where I could call you… had to wait for 3 hours before I found someone for me lift…. so sorry… I didn’t realise you would be waiting for me….sorry love….” He pacified me….I was crying heavily into his shirt, but we stood there like that for few minutes…till we heard my son call out…” Dada…Mom…Where are you…” all my screaming had woken up the kids …
“Rite here baby” their dad called back…and he pulled me slowly into the room with him into the little perfect part of our wonderful Life…
I & Her
‘I’ entered the 11th standard A section class room of his new school and looked around with contempt. I adored his previous school, he didn’t want to leave it and come here but he had to. He went inside and silently sat on an empty seat besides a guy in third row. He didn’t have friends in this class; he looked around hopefully for friendly faces.
“No one is friendly, I’ll show them in exams” he thought in his childish prejudice.
Then ‘her’ entered the room. I saw her. “Man, she is beautiful!!” I thought.
Her went on to sit next to a girl two rows from I. He kept looking at her. Enter the physics teacher and I’s day dream ended. Classes continued one after another and I kept taking notes religiously. But in between he’d steal a glance or two towards her. Finally after the last class of the day as he stuffed his books inside the bag, I remembered about her. He turned to look at her but she was gone. Little disappointed, he went home.
Next day as I got ready for school, the only thing he was looking forward to was meeting ‘her’. He reached school and in the assembly line for prayer, he was searching her. But I was the tallest in the class and her was one of the shortest in the class- he couldn’t find her there. After prayer, as he entered class, he saw her- sitting there, where she sat the day before. He looked at her- she was a typical small town girl from UP, nothing special about her. She had a triangular face. Her sharp pointed nose parted those big beautiful black eyes with a hint of surma. Her long black hair was tied in a pony at her back. I fell in love. It was not the first time that I had encountered such effortless elegance, but it sure was the first time that I had acknowledged it. I was floored.
I wanted to know her’s name but he didn’t dare ask her directly. Who else to ask, he had no friends- you can’t go a stranger and directly ask him “excuse me, can you tell me the name of that wonderful lady sitting over there?” No you don’t do that. So I inferred – first he’ll have to make friends. And by the end of the day he was friends with the guy sitting next to him- S. As luck would have it, even S was a new admission and didn’t know her’s name. Another day had passed- I’s insides ached- I wanted to talk to her but he didn’t know where to start.
The next day same routine continued only that the last two classes were lab classes. The class was divided in groups and each group had been assigned an experiment. I went towards his experimental setup and waited for the other group mates to arrive. Just as I was about to study the experimental setup, he saw her coming towards him- walking, with all the divine grace that divinity could probably muster. Her came and stood besides I, silently.
“Have you too been given this group?” I asked.
“idiot!! Isn’t it obvious, why else would she be here?” he cursed himself mentally immediately after asking this.
Her nodded in agreement and I’s heart leapt.
“Hi I’m I” he introduced himself.
“Hi, I’m her” she introduced herself and the friendship began. I came to know her was Muslim. I was a Hindu. “Who cares anyway” I thought hovering in the completely alien cloud of emotions.
Classes continued, 11th standard got over and 12th standard arrived- friendship grew from lab sessions to class room and from class room to after school long chats and I’s feelings for her only kept getting stronger. I could still not tell her. “Man, she’ll say no” he’d think.
School days were about to end. I still didn’t have the courage.
It was the farewell party of 12th standard and overcome by emotions and with a sudden surge of inspiration- I got up and went to her. He took her to a quieter corner and told her all the feelings that he had for her.
Her listened and no, she didn’t say no. “I too like you I. But you are a Hindu and I’m a Muslim. We can’t do this. This is not to be. We can get into this now but it will only bring tears l for us both later. Let us please don’t get in this than regret later…”
Beyond that I couldn’t listen he lost the track of what her was saying. I took it as a No. He couldn’t fathom how the hell did that matter? He couldn’t understand why on earth did she care this much for the society? I couldn’t see the obvious but her did. The typical sensibility of the small town UP girl prevailed above I’s typical recklessness.
Eight years after, I opens TV and watches a debate going on the topic whether there should a Mandir or a Masjid at a particular place and he thinks “if only… her, you had shown a little more courage, we would have shown these morons!!”
But then suddenly I understands. Her did the right thing- in favor of her and his families. I feels proud of her- she had been both bold and sensible. Then suddenly, I feels pity on himself. Then he feels even more pity for his society “Unfortunate people- still held in petty issues of religion. Blissfully ignorant of the larger picture- love!!”
Golden Rules of Marriage
Everyone must know certain rules to keep one’s sanity from running away. Here are a few rules I learned along with my husband.
Rule 1: Avoid getting married in the first place. Divorce is an expensive affair. There are other ways to test endurance! Try Survivor!!!
Rule 2: Accept it….you are in for good! (You broke rule #1 didn’t you. Well these are just for people like you.)
Rule 3: Men- Don’t ask your wife to cut down her weight and volunteer to get her into a weight loss programme. Those who broke this rule are still paying for the gems, the gym, the dieting programs and workout outfits that will never be used in this lifetime.
Rule 4: Women – Unless you want your husband to get you the lawn mower for your birthday, please specify the gift that you will accept and the price tag that is approved by you.
Rule 5: Men – Always jot down her birthday, your wedding day, your first kiss and the fateful day that you met your “Other Half”. These will be useful to pass the pop quiz that you will have to take on any given day. Pass mark-’Aww so sweet!’ Fail –‘You don’t love me anymore…. (Accompanied by tears and more expensive jewelry)’
Rule 6: Women – Always jot down the numbers to the takeaways within two kilometer radius along with your mother-in-laws recipes. They will be handy when you want to hear “Just like Mummy’s cooking!” “Tastes like home!”
Rule 7: Men – when the wife says shopping, she does mean minimum two hours! It isn’t an easy affair either on your wallet or on your simple mind. Disappear if you don’t want to wait on her hand and foot, with statements like’ Call me when you are done/ Got some work to do/ Car needs servicing’
Rule 8: Women – Time and money are never calculated on the same terms. Time is minutes for men and hours for women; Money is less when they spend it and more when you do.
Rule 9: There is no such thing as a joint decision. One argues and the other dictates.
Rule 10: Messy days are over, get a maid if you want your sanity to be maintained.
Rule 11: Men – Do not criticize your wife on the household chore left undone. It is best to keep that opinion to yourself. Those who have violated this rule have found themselves stuck for life without parole, with all types of chores!
Rule 12: Women – Never ask a man to save you when the house is on fire and sports / global news repeat is on TV. The chances are you will burn to steak and he will come around ad time to see if the popcorn is done. It’s every woman to her-self. Violation of this rule has known to cause baldness in women. Most women were found pulling their hair out.
Rule 13: Children are for people who can take care of pets and don’t mind 4 am feeding time. For others, there are easy activities – bonsai, Farmville and Twitter. Caution: People who ignored the warning in this rule are often seen at a playground with defeated expressions on their faces and patiently watching the little tyke go through Jungle Bungle for the umpteenth time saying ’ Mommy, Mommy, Look at me, ….See me climb, Daddy’.
Rule 14: Men – Children, freedom and order don’t go together. Period.
Rule 15: The next door neighbour has everything that is perfect, no matter which corner of the earth you live in. Deal with it!
Rule 16: All arguments must be settled by Dawn next day. Men – Admit it, you can’t take care of the kids single handed while cooking, cleaning and working. Women – Enjoy the chaos with a cup of tea. Do the disappearing act if the apology is not in on time. Deadline is important.
Rule 17: Men – Nothing gets you more work than looking comfortable on a couch.
Rule 18: Women- It’s true; the way to a Man’s heart is through his stomach. It is a well kept public secret. There is no point fighting it. Check Rule #6 for more tips.
Rule 19: If you can’t convince them on the goodness of your diabolical plan….confuse them and then scare them. For best results, try this rule on the kids. It works wonders on confusing the Know-It-All and scaring the Dare Devil. There is nothing like a little confusion and fear to lick them to shape.
Rule 20: Do sit down for a cup of coffee everyday and say I love you to each other. It is a must since you broke Rule
# 1. Just kidding! It is a must since love really does make life worth living.
He woke up with a start on hearing the scream,
Wishing and praying for it to be just a bad dream.
He was just a little kid, but the fact wasn’t hidden from him, “Dad beats up mom and I can do nothing to stop him.”
The screams continued but he stayed put on his bed. After a while he heard the door shut, knew dad was out, so went to his mom and saw blood oozing out of her head.
“Why does he beat you so much mom, you don’t even protest or say a word?”
But deep down in his heart, he knew mom was nothing more than a caged bird.
He tended her wounds and gave her a glass of water, but her pain was more than he could see,
she held his hand and said,” son, never resort to violence, be it any situation, promise me.”
Weeks turned to months and months to years. His father stopped the violence, suppressing his worst fears.
He had grown up to be a strong man, in no ways timid, but the childhood memories of his mother’s screams still resided in his mind, oh the memories were so vivid.
One day she turned to him and said, “Walk with me to the store, son. I have many bags to bring back, not just one.”
On the way to the store, a thief snatched her purse and ran, her son didn’t wait, he ran and caught up with the man. He beat him up and thrashed until the thief bled. His mom stopped him,” are you going to hit him till he is dead?”
He looked at her and at that moment she remembered her husband’s eyes,
eyes where the beast lay spitting fire,
she saw the same fire in her son’s eyes.
And then she knew all the good things she had taught him were now in vain, the beast in their family was awake again.
p.s I Love You – Part 3
Missed the story so far? No worries, read it here Part 1 & Part 2
I was happy to put distance between the folks and me, but Xander was a whole new ball game. I was really going to miss him. I hadn’t worked up my courage to tell him how I felt. I didn’t have words to explain how dear he was to me. I was afraid to think of what would happen if he said that he was not interested in a relationship. On the eve of my birthday, I went to bed as usual after waving a goodnight from my window. My mind was full of the party and the people I would meet.
A knock on my window woke me up from my reverie. Xander smiled and waved. I was really surprised. It was midnight.
“What are you doing? What happened?” I asked in a whisper as I opened my window.
Taking my hand he pulled me outside and on to the rooftop. It was a clear night. I shivered. My sleeveless cotton nightgown stopped a little below my knees. I could feel a breeze on my bare feet. Xander was still tall and it was difficult for me to make out the expression on his face. We sat down on the parapet and enjoyed the moonlight night.
“I will miss you.” He said as he looked at the sky.
I had goose bumps listening to him. My hair flew in the gentle breeze and a strand touched his face. He looked so handsome and so solemn. I could not decipher what was going through his mind.
“I won’t be far, I will email everyday….” I said trying to console myself more than him. He gently touched the strand that caressed his face. I felt a shot of awareness shoot through me. It was nothing like what I felt before.
“Will you miss me?” he asked.
His hand softly touched my hair. I had left it open without any pins or bands. My hair was my pride. It fell like a soft sheen covering my shoulders and stopping at my elbows. I loved the way it felt when I twirled my head. But when Xander touched it…it felt like electricity was passing through it. Some thing had changed between us.
“You know, I will” I replied.
I raised my hand to tie my hair in a bun as I usually do. His hands stopped me. His finger locked through mine.
“Leave it as it is. It looks beautiful” he said as he came closer.
My heart stopped. I looked at him with questions in my eyes ‘what did he want to say?’ He held my hand for a while and then making up his mind, he took out a book which looked like a diary and handed it over to me.
“What is it?” I asked.
Was he going to show me a picture of someone he loved? Lately he had begun to quiz me on what a girl my age would love and what would be an ideal date and so on. With a heavy heart I would answer his every query with total honesty while wishing all that planning was for me.
With a smile he replied “A gift for you to remember me.”
‘If it’s a collection of poems on some babe….I will knock him off the roof’ I thought as I open the clasp and turned to the first page. Within it laid a picture of Xander and Me playing. I looked at him. His eyes searched my face. I smiled.
“Who took a picture of us?” I asked curiously.
“My mum” he confessed
“I didn’t want you to know, but I really valued our game every evening. I felt like I was looked on as a person. Not as someone who was grieving. You made me forget everything else when I am with you”.
He rubbed my hands. I shivered.
The next page was a typical scene at my house. My brother was playing on the sofa while I looked comical trying to focus on something which looked like algebra. Xander was standing behind me with a grin on his face while he was looking at me.
“Your mum took this pic. She wanted to capture the essence of a day when you and your brother were engrossed in things that didn’t involve broken furniture, loud words and brawls” He said.
“ So why are you in the picture?” I asked poking him in the chest.
“The looking good factor!”
I gave him a solid elbow on his rib. “Oww!!” he cried and retaliated by pulling my hair. We laughed for a few minutes before browsing.
The next couple of pics were taken in from various places, parties, games, etc. One particular picture caught my attention. It was the last picture in the book. It was taken after a game between us. Both of us were sweating and smiling at each other. Our profiles were beautifully captured against the backdrop of the wild green grass that was not mowed down. The picture suggested energy, attraction and affection.
There was a question written below:
When I close my eyes…I see your face and once again I am reminded of the fact I can’t help missing you …could there be more to this friendship?
I was at a loss for words….I felt shy. I looked at him and blushed. How did he guess? does he feel the same? my heart pounded. His look said everything. The shy smile, the sigh of relief and the soft touch to smoothen my flying hair…
He took out a pen from his pocket and wrote below the question
P.S. I Love You.
- Story written by Anney Thomas. She has a streak of funny genes that could make you forget day’s tension. She has reinvented her writing passion and is here to spread smiles through her writing. For her other articles click HERE
Do you love writing? Contact us to be part of GingerChai
Pages from the Diary of an Unknown Teenager
Anindita and Valentine’s day = Cool. Her boyfriend is taking her on a cruise.
Indrani and Valentines day = Boring. She has been on the phone chat stages since ages and will be for God knows how long.
Swasthi and valentines day = regular stuff – Dinner and dance.
Boski and valentines day = so sweet! He is cooking dinner for her and has composed a song for her! I am happy for her.
Me and Valentines Day =???
Sigh! Its Valentines Day again. There is a flutter all around me- Much ado about nothing like some star-studded Bollywood movies I say…
Since the day before yesterday, I have been subjected to demonstration of all sort of mush which has continued today to its full potent form. Not that I have any objection to anyone’s private preferences but at a point of time all these gets to you – especially if you are single and with only a diary as a companion. So there is no other option but to escape to my safe heaven in the building terrace with my diary, sit out for a few hours doing nothing particular…
Hmm! The sky is a beautiful blue with the white clouds making lovely pattern. The building to my left is a beehive of activity with some sort of construction going on but I guess it is lunch hour now. And there is a…Whoa! Now I will be darned…
Hey! Hey! Hey! No matter how voyeuristic it may sound but I am kind of liking what is going on there over at an inconspicuous corner…and so let me give you a word by word account of what’s happening there.
Well actually there are a couple there- labourers. No they aren’t exactly making out…but I saw the guy suddenly pull the female, towards him and she pushed him away smiling shyly… sweet! Real sweet! Ok from the looks, I think they are newly married, and she is not a worker but has come to visit him…
Wait a minute! Now what are they up to? why are they sitting down?
Oh! Ok! They are about to have lunch. She is fanning away the flies I guess… while he has his lunch in peace… how sweet! Wow! He does care for her… he is feeding her too in between bites… My God! The man really has love written all over him for her (no it’s not lust, at least not yet). He just now, lovingly pulled back a hair from her face which was bothering her… all the while chatting away gaily. (I wonder what they are chatting away so animatedly. Do they know it is Valentines Day today?)
Ok lunch is over… finally… But she has to leave now… and gosh! she looks really forlorn but she still manages to smile a sweet expectant smile. Her fingers entwined in his. Slowly parting his hand… but where is he rushing off to suddenly? Ok… he is searching something in his shirt pockets near by…Hell! Don’t tell me it is a packet of condom…I…I think…Owoww! It’s a pack of bindi… for her… Just look at her eyes light up after she changed her existing one for the new one…
But she is going away now while he watches from his post…And he is still watching… while she is moving further away from him. And he is…still watching…but the contractor has called him I think…for after a one last longing look, he moves away… shoulders hunched… chin in the chest….
And I too retreat for the day to my den… with a new entry in diary:
Me and Valentines Day = Hope for true love… Hope in the power of Love.
- Article written by Mani Padma. She is a Doctor by profession, working in Delhi. She is the chief-co brewer of GingerChai and has to her credit some of the interesting categories you see in GingerChai. Want to read more of her articles ? Click HERE.
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p.s I Love You – Part 2
If you have missed the story so far… click here
A noisy neighbour came to our house for tea one evening. It was from her that we learned that Xander had lost his elder brother in an accident and had not gotten over the loss. He was killed in an air crash the previous year and the family moved to our neighbourhood to help him. Being a gifted mathematician, Xander has joined a college nearby. His family gave him the space he needed to grieve while they coped with the loss. Rumour had it that his mother was also injured by the accident and needed home care. I barely slept that night. I could not believe that this was the Xander who played with me every evening for a year. I realised that he would always have me talk of myself, and rarely volunteer any info on his life. I made up my mind to ask him the next evening.
At school, I was totally lost. I could barely concentrate and had no patience to listen to anything anyone said. All the girls were busy discussing the upcoming birthday party of the most popular girl in class. Not only was she pretty, she had a good looking beau from college to her credit. Not everyone was as lucky as her. The invites for the party was being discussed and I had not received one. Another day, this would have bothered me but today, I could care less. I could not wait till evening. I ran home after school, changed to a summer frock and ran up to Xander’s house to talk to him. This was my first visit to his house.
I ran the doorbell. Soft chimes were heard in the house. I looked around. The house seemed to be tastefully done. A small white kitten purred at my feet. I picked it up and ran my hand over the soft fur while I waited. Xander opened the door with just a towel on his waist. The term Greek God suddenly popped up in my head. He looked awesome in wet hair, muscles toned like a statue and a dimple smile. I never thought I would be so appreciative at the male body…since I did have a smelly brother at home.
“Are you done gawking?” he asked as he smiled.
I blushed. I was doing it again. Damn him. I nodded.
He invited me in and went to change into something that didn’t make me ‘gawk.’ I forgot what I had come around for until I saw a picture of his family. They were a lovely lot. His mother was a pretty woman with straight hair and she sat in the centre surrounded by three men in wavy brown hair. Xander’s father looked handsome and it was easy to see where the dimples came from. His brother looked like his mother with a shy smile and kind eyes. Picking up the picture, I looked at it wondering how hard it was to lose someone we love.
The kitten purred again. I turned to pick it up and met a frail lady sitting on a wheelchair. She looked at me and smiled. She looked like tired and the vitality in the family picture was all gone. “ Misha” she called out to the kitten. I suddenly felt sad for my friend. Was this why he didn’t tell me….because he could not bear it? My mother told me that some people grieve silently. Was that Xander and his family were doing? “Come here...” she urged the cat. The kitten ran over to the wheelchair and darted up her knees.
“Hi….I am Xander’s friend.” I said as I introduced myself.
“Oh, Xander talks of you all the time….he loves basketball” she said as she smiled.
“I didn’t know about Xander…..I mean…of your loss” I tried to sound like a grown up. I felt lost. I placed the picture back carefully.
Xander walked in with sleeveless Tshirt carrying a tray with three tall glasses of juice.
“Mum, you know who this is, right?….my basketball partner. You saw her from my room the other day.”
I smiled shyly. I was at a loss. She nodded. Each of us picked a glass and sipped quietly.
“I have never seen you outside. Don’t you go out often?” I asked, knowing it to be a stupid question as she looked tired. She smiled. I liked her face. It was so sweet and kind.
“I go out usually when Xander comes back from college. I prefer the beach. Xander loves to play and hence we both have a clash of timing when he has to play with you. He wouldn’t miss it for the world and I end up going out when he is free”.
I could feel a hot blush creeping up. Did Xander care so much to make his mother wait?
“Mum, You are embarrassing her!” Xander exclaimed when I blushed.
“ Sorry, Xander, I didn’t mean to” she said as she squeezed my hot hands.
“Anyway, I am tired. Take me to my room.” Xander nodded and wheeled his mother out. I watched her leave not knowing what to say. I heard him push the chair into a room and heard his tuck his mother to bed.
When he came back, I was at a loss for words. “I am sorry…” I said… ” about your brother. I didn’t know earlier”.
Xander sat down next to me without a word. “I should have told you earlier…..I couldn’t. I didn’t want pity.”
“ He was my best friend, so mature and honest. It is so unfair that he got taken so quickly…”
I didn’t know how to console him. I cautiously put a hand over his and squeezed. We sat there for some time. He talked of how Brian, his brother, was planning to surprise him and how their mum caught a connecting flight so that they could travel together. The accident changed their lives forever. We sat quietly until the sun set and I left for home.
Something changed that evening. I felt like I was a grown up already at 16. We never discussed the topic again as I understood Xander’s need to be left alone with his grief. Our friendship gave each out a shoulder to lean on. Playing basketball managed to get me fit and I felt more confident dealing with my peers. The inferiority I felt before was replaced with a quite acceptance. It was nice to have one person not expect anything other than my presence. My appearance changed in two years and ‘blossoming into a young pretty woman’ as my dad put it was something I didn’t expect. I personally called myself a pig.
It was time for college. I was going the next week. A grand get together to celebrate my 18th birthday and going off to college.
To be continued… The concluding part will be published coming Wednesday.
- Story written by Anney Thomas. She has a streak of funny genes that could make you forget day’s tension. She has reinvented her writing passion and is here to spread smiles through her writing. For her other articles click HERE
Do you love writing? Contact us to be part of GingerChai
A lot Unsaid
“Why do you have to come home so late? Whenever I ask you, you never
answer me straight“, she asked as he entered the house.
“Can’t you at least welcome me with a smile or say something nice. You
question my hard work and think of it as some vice” he replied to what she commented,
feeling quite offended.
“Oh so now I can’t even ask you about such little things in your life,
treat me with respect after all I am your wife!” tears rolled down her eyes, he looked at her and thought ‘there she goes! One word I say and she cries“.
Her temper flared, he glared.
She wailed, he acted like he never cared.
He said, “I don’t want any food today, had my fill, I’ll just complete
some work now as unlike you I don’t have any time to kill“.
He went to the room to change, his hand reached his pocket. Ah, the
anniversary gift he had got for her today – a picture of them together , enclosed in a golden locket.
She wiped her tears, sitting in the room alone. She had recorded a
song for him as an anniversary gift on her phone.
Two fools in love, foolish enough to not see the love they have for
each other all this while.
Had either of them behaved in a saner way, the end of this story
would’ve brought a smile.
- Written by Gayatri. She is a freelance graphic designer who also loves writing and sketching. Want to read more of her articles ? Click HERE.
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