–Prize Winning Entry in Snapdeal’s #DilKiDealOnSnapdeal activity–
I was absolutely uninterested in the day ahead. Outside the window, the world was silent as the grave, still as the mountains you could see from some localities in Pune. All I wanted to do was snuggle up in bed and stare into the distance, except that this can be particularly hard when you have a growling stomach. More so, when the stomach refuses to welcome instant noodles.
Mom and Dad had come over to visit a fortnight ago and we had spent a delightful weekend shopping, hogging and talking into the night. Mom had also packed in a vigorous round of spring-cleaning everything she could lay her hands on: clothes, the windows, my hair. “Is this your idea of spending a Sunday?” “I think it’s brilliant exercise.” The empty flat still resounded with our chatter, the words and songs echoing as they collided with the rather bare walls.
Presently, I dialled the landline in Delhi. I could hear the phone ringing – with intermittent static – itself to silence. While my grandparents could be snoozing, it was uncharacteristic of Mom to not pick up the phone. Ever since I had moved to Pune, she made it a point to keep me posted each time she stepped out of the house. “This way, you can tell me if you need anything from the market. I can store it and hand it over to you when you are home for Durga Puja.” Four months prior to Puja, my clothes-shopping had already been initiated. “We will get a smaller size.” She had frowned as I fitted my jeans with a belt, and rolled her eyes.
I sat by the window and decided I needed some food to feel alive. I lazily sifted through the few home delivery menus I had stacked in a corner. Back home, Mom would have quickly listed out Chinese and Italian options and also brought out her purse, ready to pay before the order could be placed. She would then set the table with two sets of spoons and forks, tissues and beverages. On dull afternoons such as these, she would plan for us to spend the evening in the large bookshop that had newly opened in our locality.
I chucked the menus away; none had caught my fancy. The doorbell rang just then – two shrill hoots, my roommate’s quintessential style. A heady aroma of chicken, onions and capsicum poured in through the door. Outside, stood my beaming roommate with a large bottle of Coke. Beside her, holding a large tiffin box I recognized from home, stood my Mom. In the pink salwar-suit I had bought her with my salary. She smiled when I stared at her.
“You wouldn’t believe I have been thinking of you all morning!”
“Precisely why I am here.”
“But you came only a fortnight ago! Did you win free airline tickets or what?”
“Nope. But I did win some free spirit and decided to surprise you. I was missing you very much.”
We sat at the table minutes later, greedily eating the world’s most delicious chicken. The room had been magically wiped clean of the morning’s despondency and longing. I had wished for Mom and here she was. Here only because she had listened to her heart and allowed it to overrule all else. This was surely among the finest magic that exists in the otherwise drab world we live in.
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