As she turned the street corner, Ritu stopped to check her profile in the shop window. For a fraction of a second, not more. Guess I look okay, she thought and walked on after giving a brisk downward tug to the form fitting dress that ended just above her knees. It was a pretty dress with a cheery print of yellow and pink roses on an olive green background. “Perfect for the summer!” the salesgirl had assured her with a bright smile.
Ritu hadn’t just bought that two hundred dollar dress. She had splurged– in a way very uncharacteristic of her. She had acted on impulse. The print had caught her eye and the color looked really good on her or so she’d thought at the time. But she hadn’t got around to wearing it. Ever since that day it had hung in her closet to be perused periodically then passed over for something more ordinary and comfortable. Such as the dozen or so pants and blouses that fit her identity of sensible but bland Ritu. But today was different. She wanted to look her best.
The cafe was called Coffee, Tea and Me. The name had evoked a distant memory. It was the title of a book she had read a long time ago. She didn’t recall much of it but the gist had remained with her like some stories have a way of doing. It had something to do with a young woman. Or two young women who were stewardesses and their adventures. She had associated with the book as a young woman; launching herself into an exciting new career, of a stewardess, traveling to new places, meeting people, maybe some romance even. It felt silly now but at the time it had been wonderful. A different life.
Kash she was from the get go. And so she was meant to be. Kash–short for Kashish.
We knew she was coming. The question was not if but when. She had announced her arrival in our dreams. Therefore, when she finally did, it was like homecoming. I thought I was prepared. I was wrong.
It was a surreal experience.. Like watching a movie—a beautiful play from which I was excluded for the most part or shall I say reduced to the role of a bit player.
I was immersed in wonderment. A change had come over my wife. There was a sweetness in her smile I hadn’t yet perceived, a brightness in her eyes, an extraordinary gentleness in her movements. And it was all because of Kash, our sweet little gift. Our baby girl. Our bundle of joy. She and her mom– they were a unit. When they were together time stopped and nothing else mattered.
A blood curdling shriek good enough to put the best horror movie to shame echoed from somewhere within the Sharma residence. Ahaan’s mother exchanged a perturbed glance with her sister-in-law whose pencil thin eyebrows vanished inside her elaborately coiffed hairdo. Her crimson lips cranked open but were forced shut by yet another ear-splitting rendition.
Meanwhile inside the said room, a broad palm clamped down hard over the source of the cacophony; “it’s me Mili! Please don’t make a habit of this. Shut up if you care in the least for your husband’s reputation!”
I watched the dense thicket of clouds slide over the giant luminous cookie in the sky. A pitch-black darkness descended over the neighborhood, and there was not a single streetlamp to mar it.
It appeared that All Saints Eve was going to live up to its reputation after all. I glanced at my companion. I could tell she was thinking the same.
“Should we start? The time looks right,” Myra said.
“Yeah, let’s go.” I smiled at my longtime friend and neighbor. She adjusted her lace-up corset and handed me her long and tattered train before gingerly stepping out of the alley that had been our hideout ever since the beginning of our ritual. Once again, I had to pause to admire her elaborate costume. She was very pleased with it, especially since she had put it together herself. The delicate tea-stained ivory lace and tulle dress accented with droopy brown roses gave her a wispy and forlorn look. The years and our adventures had supplied a precious aura of authenticity to the dress, as it had been tripped on and ripped several times.
My novels aren't available as audiobooks and I've had several requests for the same so maybe I should make one on my own. Why not?
Here I bring you the first couple of chapters of my very first novel Inconvenient Relations. It is a sassy, spicy tale of Ruhi and Shaan bound together in an arranged marriage. Enjoy!
Enjoying the lovely weather in beautiful Coonoor, in the Nilgiris (blue mountains), in the Western Ghats, sipping a nice cup of piping hot tea and getting inspired to write a book. What else could I want?
I need no excuses at all but for those who like some scientific data a long term health study (7 years) published online by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology which followed more than 100K Chinese adults and compared those who drank tea less than 3/week with those who drank more. Those who drank more were found to have a 20% lower risk of heart attack and 22% lower risk for dying of heart disease.The findings don’t prove that tea drinking was responsible for those benefits. But both green and black tea are rich in compounds called flavonoids that help dampen inflammation, a culprit in heart disease. Tea drinking has also been linked to lower cholesterol and improved blood vessel function. Source: Harvard Health Letter.
There was a lot of information to absorb. Information for new parents; do’s and don’ts and how tos. I was overwhelmed though really I wasn’t doing any of the hard work. I couldn’t imagine what Ruhi was going through. She wouldn’t talk about it but appeared to be handling it pretty well so far.
I had to learn how to strap the baby into her new car seat. I was trying to do it without pinching her with all the straps and buckles. She was so tiny and delicate that every little twist of her face threw me in a panic.
Ruhi was upset. “But I want to hold her in my arms.”
“Darling this is not India. It is the law here. Besides, the car seat is the safest place for her.” She agreed albeit reluctantly and insisted on sitting in the back next to the baby so she could comfort her.