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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Short Story - The Card

The air was a bit musty, but the cool draft made the evening pleasant. The chill also brought with it, the message of the ensuing rains that were to soak the parched landscape after almost a week of strong sunlight. Betsy had installed an amber lamp on top of her reading desk in her balcony a week ago. Amber was her favourite colour and she loved the glow it poured on her desk in the evenings, especially on Saturdays, when she read a book sipping cupfuls of coffee that she quickly whipped and stirred up on her kitchen counter with tiles of red, blue, pale-yellow and green.

Reading the whole evening till before and a little after dinner is a habit she has re-introduced herself to since the past 4 months or so, ever since she joined her new work which left her with more time on Saturday evenings. Tanu has left for Bangalore after she left Cagemeni for Accenture and with her departure, Saturday evenings have become less social. Betsy felt quite awkward to mingle with the rest of the group as they all came as couples and she was the only odd one out. But books, she decided, were good company, perhaps better than a few bottles of peach-flavoured breezer and some fleeting, empty twaddle.

She pulled out her drawer and picked up an envelope, some pencils and a pen and began writing on a card that she had stamped and made all by herself. The Pinterest App on her phone has inspired her to make greeting-cards since the last couple of months and she had picked up stamping pretty well and it had also been a fulfilling and creative indulgence, she thought.
He always liked pastel shades – once he had complimented her on a beige dupatta that she had worn to Logic and Philosophy tuitions when they both were in Class XII. Writing was his first passion, she remembered; He had spontaneously let go off this passion for the sake of livelihood, without the slightest comprehension or visible regret.

It is the 18th of September today and the evening felt restless and not like other Saturdays in solitude. She jotted down his address neatly on the envelope and put the card in. She found his office address from Google one late night, when she was looking up her old class-mates on Facebook and found his employment details on his profile. The last one-liner that came from him two years ago, was from a Deloitte mail ID. Her email to him had bounced back two weeks ago, as the ID was no longer functional.
Pinterest had inspired her to make greeting cards which she thought, was a fulfilling and creative indulgence.

“The Old Man and the Sea”.
Ernest Hemmingway.

He had introduced her to him. It was part of the novels he had to cover in his English Major Syllabus and she was too young to comprehend the story then. The last few pages are yet to be read - she reckoned she had to return the book on Monday to the Library.

She fiddled with the pen and the scissors and finally pulled the card out of the envelope and put it back inside the book on page no. 93 as a bookmark. The envelope, pencils and pen were stashed back into the drawer.

Far away, in a distant land, where the sea meets the mountains and beautiful bridges, Sameer was coring apples, chopping them on a board and putting them one by one into a small pressure cooker. The Sooji (Semolina) porridge was ready in the pan on the stove and the leaf-green lids of the seven,  little, purple, air-tight containers were open and ready for the cereal to be poured in for the next one week and put into the freezer.

 Asmita was deep asleep; Sleep had been priceless for a while now. As he poured the porridge, the pressure cooker suddenly blew three sharp whistles, moments after which, a shrill cry of a baby shattered the morning calm and silence. Sameer quickly turned off the burner and rushed towards the room, leaving a few of the containers uncapped and the cooker on the warm stove letting out a choke every now and then....