The Things we do for Love

It was plain bad luck that he was contemplating this barely a fortnight before Valentine’s Day, but come to think of it, he had felt it coming for a while.

He quickly glanced outside the window of the flat he had shared with his bride for six months now, and caught sight of their old, rather unfriendly neighbour staring suspiciously, a torch in his left hand and a cellphone in the other.

The only dustbin the flat had was in the kitchen and if truth be told, it was rather gruesome even by his own villainous standards, to visualise the chopping into tiny pieces; he was no accomplished criminal.

It wouldn’t be long before either the neighbour or the smell gave him away, and on second thoughts, the whole impulsive plan started to seem a bad idea.

Minutes later, he sat across the table from his cheerful wife, smilingly gulping down the horrible food that he had been unsuccessful in disposing of, and whose true character he hadn’t the heart to disclose.

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Five Sentence Fiction

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week, Lillie McFerrin posts a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate can write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in the five sentences, and is just for direction. This week: VILLAINOUS.

Now every Friday on Saddi Delhi.

Rituals at Lajpat Nagar

Central Market

*Picture from http://im.hunt.in/

It was a ritual of sorts. They couldn’t return from Lajpat Nagar without a chocolate ice-cream and a pair of earrings. “How many earrings does your shop now have?” Onlookers and neighbours who came to visit them would often ask, putting on mock-serious faces. That was when she decided to keep an inventory though nothing could tempt her to let her possessions out on rent.

Mom was always a swift shopper and would stack her bags with whatever she needed – items from a neatly prepared to-buy listbefore her companions had even got started. The crowded open-format market had stores to appeal to all sensibilities. However, the crowd was sometimes too much to accommodate dilly dallying from people like her aunt from Assam who took an hour to select a cushion cover for her drawing room. The aunt would finally decide to buy an umbrella instead.

Lajpat Nagar competed with Sarojini Nagar, Janpath and Chandni Chowk as a market for well, everything. They always ended up choosing it over the other, more romantic and oh-so-old-Delhi options. As far as she was concerned, the ice-cream had turned more delicious with time and the market offered her abundant stock for her earrings shop. There was little reason to look beyond Central Market, as Lajpat Nagar was also called by the more anglicised friends of hers.

They told her Mom could not go along to Lajpat Nagar as often anymore; she wasn’t in town. But when she wandered along the alleyways on her own, now grown up enough to go without company, Mom whispered into her ears unseeingly and gave her tips on the newest designs of earrings. She then went ahead with the ritual in record time. She had grown up to be as swift a shopper as Mom.

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Dilwaalon Ki Dilli

For all the badmouthing that Delhi receives, there lies herein undying charm. Every Wednesday, find on Saddi Delhi a fresh story from life in the capital. Right from delicious food in Delhi’s alleyways to dreamy winters that paint the skies white.

For a tour through Delhi, from then and now, click here.

Welcome, February

If I listen well, I can still hear the New Year countdown that brought in 2015. But if I look around, I see empty pizza boxes that have now, quite literally, gone to the dogs, and the carcasses of resolutions that are rotting in the faint winter sun. The calendar tells me we are already a month into this not-so-new year, and February, the herald of spring, is here with all its romantic charms.

This is the month of my wedding, that great Indian festival which all families, especially ones with daughters, anticipate with mixed emotions. While this is the moment that R and I have been talking about and planning for several years now, I will admit it is unnerving (and packed with frantic activity) that the day is close enough now to run a count on my fingers.

When I look around into the Delhi evening, the red sunset is simultaneously reminiscent of the carefree years of my childhood, and packed with the promise of new beginnings. It is a glorious sunset and I stand admiring it for many long moments, accompanied only by the breeze as carefree as my childhood.

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The Birdsong

It was an afternoon in June when the little child of six got her first Class Monitor badge. It was a proud moment for all parties concerned, but for some members of the extended family, the time of reckoning had arrived.

“What have you decided?” They questioned her mother over large sips of tea. “Will you choose your career or your daughter?” In their opinion, this was the ultimate choice and the home-truth all women needed to face. Eventually, the mother chose neither. She decided to grow up again with her daughter, while pursuing a very busy career as a teacher, dietician and health expert for the little one, all at once. It wasn’t a loss, or a compromise, to have given up her corporate career. She had decided to do so for greedy reasons. For the peace she felt singing her daughter a bedtime song. For the gratification she received in teaching her daughter the essential lessons of life.

The daughter grew up to be a child prodigy and an angel of sorts. (There are times when you absolutely need to trust your narrator.) Aside from her mother, the grandparents had a lot to do with it. The reality of the grandparents, however, lent to sections of society another interesting subject to talk about.

“I thought they were your husband’s parents!” The tea party conversation would begin. “He loves them like his own.” Her mother would smile.

The mother, the only child of aging parents, had chosen to live in the house she grew up, together with a husband who understood this perfectly. “Shouldn’t you live in a house of your own?” She had chosen not to. Though, true to tradition, she had moved to her husband’s place after marriage, he had eventually been transferred to her hometown. They saw this as a perfect opportunity to let their daughter grow up amidst the grand love that only grandparents can provide. 

With time, the mother and daughter grew to share the birdsong on monsoonal mornings, the chill in the first flush of winter. They walked with the sun to new places, to see new celebrations. She taught her daughter the importance of travelling. They read to broaden their perspective, and she jumped with glee when books arrived on Mothers’ Day. She didn’t choose between the colours of the rainbow which was sometimes visible from their terrace. It was a better proposition, she figured, to bring them all alive within people around her.

A couple of years ago, the mother had taken fiercely ill. Onlookers had expected her to choose between bedrest and misery. After all, there was only so much that the womankind, fragile and weak, could take. Instead, she had taken charge of her life and chosen to shower her family with the love of a lifetime. She shared with her daughter moments that can never be forgotten, and protected her husband from pain by promising she would never leave his heart.

We still hum the birdsong together, these winter mornings. The koel’s melody, the confidence of the crow – you name it. My mother and I then become the voice of the wind, the thought by the window, the aroma of a new day. To me, she is all that and more, receptive to the world but not affected by it, attuned only to her heart and the people in it. 

Mom

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This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus.

Matrimony

She had often sensed the extended family had a thing against her, though she could not pinpoint the reason behind their continued apathy towards her happiness.

Their cold-shouldering was endurable as long as the disregard pertained to her choice of career, style of dressing, and even her mental sanity, but when they started commenting on her relationship with her husband, it became unmanageable.

Her husband, bound to her by shyly enounced wedding vows many years ago, and love that had grown ever since, had always protected her from the woes of the world.

Although she knew her blessed matrimony aroused jealousy in some of the extended family, she thought it was unwarranted that they mask their true colours by looking at her suspiciously and proclaiming her marriage as dead.

Little did they know that every bedtime, when she had silenced the world’s judgment of normalcy and bereavement, he came to her in her dreams, rising from his funeral pyre to hold her close to his heart.

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Five Sentence Fiction

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week, Lillie McFerrin posts a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate can write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in the five sentences, and is just for direction. This week: BEDTIME.

Now every Friday on Saddi Delhi.