The Kitchen-Rekha

via Daily Prompt: Territory

The pungent aroma of her achars (pickles), Mrs. Barua sniffed the jar and gave it a swirl. Yes, its coming along nicely, they always do. Just a few more days in the sun and it will be ready to devour. She is smiling, oh and humming a tune, well today is a special day after all. Mrs. Barua is going to show the colleagues of Mr. Ankush Barua what a great cook she is. The promotion party of her man starts in just a few hours. Tut-tut, no time to waste.

The meat has been nicely marinating, now to put them in the oven. Probably the cakes have cooled down too, frosting is in order. Oh Mrs. Barua loves doing this! She is like a magician with her piping bag and nozzles. Three hours of constant labour, the attention to detail and voila! Everyone is sure to admire her work of art. Moving on, she whisks and stirs, bakes and grills, meanwhile, time decides to run marathons. The dessert needs to chill a while, Mrs. Barua puts the panna cotta in the freezer and then buzz goes the bell.

Mr. Ankush Barua looks disapprovingly at his wife. The house is in a mess, “My God woman! What have you been doing all day? The guests will start arriving any moment now. Is this your way of humiliating me? (Naak katwana chahti hain mera logo ke samne?)”

Oh no time to loose! Mrs. Barua zooms around the house sweeping like a pro, the dishes have been completed in record time. “Chai!”, Mr. Ankush Barua commanded while flicking through the channels. She lays the food out on the dining table and makes the tea.

Setting the tea on the table, Mrs. Barua now decides to clean herself up. She takes a few steps when the bell rings again. “Oh Lord! The guests have already arrived. No time to freshen up now, I have to attend them.”

Mrs. Barua was a good host. They all ate to their hearts content and before leaving congratulated Mr. Ankush Barua again on his promotion. Shutting the door he looks at his wife and says, “The party was a success, they all admired the house and genuinely seemed to be happy about my promotion. It has certainly been a long day. I think I deserve a good long sleep. You can fetch me a glass of milk.”

Mr. Ankush Barua heads for the bedroom and Mrs. Barua to the kitchen. Its almost midnight and a lot of dishes to be scrubbed. The MBA topper of her university, Mrs. Barua warms the milk and sighs as she resigns to her territory.


The Failed Love Affair


“Hey Darling!”

“Hi Sweetheart! What are you doing up at this time of the night?”

“What are you saying baby, it’s just 12.30 a.m. The night is still young.”

“Oh is that so now. Well guess what, my mehandi still hasn’t dried off and I’m messing my phone all up with the stains.”

“Aww! I’m sorry to cause this trouble baby.”

“Well I have the phone stick to type with so that’s half the trouble less. Anyway, I’m so tensed about tomorrow. Marriage is not an easy thing, everyone says so”

“Hey! I will always have your back every step of the way. You know I love you right”

“Of course I do and I love you more. I was thinking about our cute dates in school and it makes me want to freeze the time there. Sigh, I wish we hadn’t grown up.”

“Baby, we all grow up and no matter how we desire time cannot be turned. But at least we had those days to reminiscence over when we grow old and possibly senile 😉 .”

“Today was, I guess, our last coffee date as a single.”

“Yes, baby, that it was. From tomorrow you will have a new get up. Sindoor, Mekhala-sadar, the works eh?”

“That’s true and I hope I look good in it. Darling, will you always love me like this no matter what?”

“Hey, haven’t I always. You are the meaning of my life and have been ever since I first laid my eyes on you. Oh you looked so cute with that ponytail and our school uniform! I loved you then and I will love you just the same always.”

“I know that. I may have made many mistakes but you never stopped loving me. Your love has what brought me to this day. I would never have had the guts to get married if it wasn’t for your encouragement and love. The days of our sweet past slipped right through our fingers like sand and I’m holding on to the last few grains now. Tomorrow will be a different chapter in our lives. I am so happy we had those wonderful times in our lives. And even though we never even kissed our love was fulfilled to last several lifetimes, don’t you think?”

“I agree darling. True love does not need lust to be fulfilled; it is just sweet nectar along an already sweet road. I can just look into your eyes and spend an entire lifetime without ever even touching your hand.”

“You have given me all that I desired and more my love. I know marriage is a big step and I will be true to it and I am ready now to face it.”

“I know you will darling, I know. You are a wonderful human being and you will prove to the world that you will make a good wife and when time comes mother as well. But now I think its time for you to go to bed. You definitely don’t want puffy eyes with that bridal look do you?”

“Oh no, I definitely don’t. Well I think its time to say goodnight then.”

“Goodbye baby. I love you.”

“Goodbye darling. I love you too.”

Anisha turned off her phone and looked at herself in the mirror. Her face was tearstained. She has said her last goodbye to the one person she has ever loved and tomorrow when she marries Abhinash she will have washed away the last few grains of their love from her hands but just like her Mehandi the colour it left behind in her life will forever give her a reason to smile.

 Kushal looked at her Wattsapp DP for a long time before deleting the contact from his mobile. A few hours and his Anisha will be Mrs. Abhinash. Yes, he was happy for her and yes, he was also sad for their dying relationship. He knew that their lives were always headed towards different directions and there was nothing he could do about it. He closed his eyes and a single tear fell from his cheek as he asked, ”Why oh Lord, did you give me something I loved so much only to never really give it to me?” He then got onto bed looked at his sleeping wife, kissed her on the forehead and closed his eyes.

 And somewhere an Angel smiled for It knew that a lifetime was too short for Anisha and Kushal. They had a paradise of everafter waiting for them.


His Dream Woman

“You look breathtakingly pretty tonight baba!” Abhishek almost whispered when he looked at Neha that night.

“Thank you Abhi. “ Neha almost blushed as she sat down and shut the door of her car. “So where are you taking me? Are we going to the highway again?”

“Hmm, if you don’t want to go there than we can just go to a restaurant, but that way, all that we would be doing is eating dinner and rushing out soon after. I would rather collect Chinese takeout and have it in the car with the privacy of only us two baba.” Abhishek suggested while fondly stroking her head.

“We do it everyday”, Neha complained “and I dress up for nothing. Why do I take the trouble of doing it anyway if no one ever even gets to see me?”

“You do it so that I fall in love with you a little more each day.” Abhishek took her hands and kissed them. “So the highway then, my lady?”

“Yes, if we must.” surrendered Neha.

Abhishek started his Hyundai and they drove off into the night. All through the way he held Neha’s hand, letting go only to change his gear. There was no doubt that even after 7years of courting Neha he was still as smitten by her, as he was when he saw her for the first time in school. They had definitely come a long way since then, Abhishek was an Engineer now and he had a steady government job. He had hoped to ask Neha’s parents for her hand in marriage any day now but before that, he had to ask her if she was ready for the big step and he was going to do so today. They crossed a few popular hangouts and Abhishek stopped the car near a dhaba called Relaxy Inn. Immediately the sounds of insects filled his ears. Somewhere in the distance dogs were barking, the rumble of trucks zooming away like angry rhinos on the run, the crickets, frogs and insects, croaking, creaking and warbling and some hungry owls hooting in the distance; nature was alive that night.

A look of pain crossed Abhishek’s face. He looked transfixed at a big mango tree in the distance; its dark outline looked ghostly by the light of the moon and it looked slightly dented as though its big trunk was axed away a little. Neha touched Abhishek lightly on the shoulder and said,”Abhi, you look sad! This place is a little creepy don’t you think? We should stop coming here. I think its dangerous to hang out at a place that is so deserted. Anything could be out on the prowl at a place and time like this.”

“Baba, just listen to the night. There is nothing to be frightened of the dark, not when I’m with you at least. This is where I feel most connected to you for nothing can distract me from you at this place. I want a few uninterrupted moments to gaze upon your beauty. I mean just look at you; your pretty brown eyes are sparkling, your cute little nose looks almost edible, your smell is intoxicating and your lips; oh your lips make my mouth go dry.” Abhishek said with his voice getting huskier with every word, and he clutched her long hair with his left hand and passionately kissed her on the mouth.

“This is amazing”, he said as he paused in between his kisses, “I can never have enough of your lips. I love you so much Baba.” They broke apart when a motorbike crossed their car, lighting the semi-dark area with its headlight.

Neha took Abhishek’s cellphone from the dashboard and checking the time groaned, “Abhi its almost 8 and if we are to eat anything tonight than we’d better order the food. You know I can’t stay after that time.”

“I know about your deadlines Baba, but I just want a few more moments with you. I am not ready to let you go yet. And I had something really important to ask you.”

The moment had come, Abhishek took out a solitare from his pockets and looking steadfastly into Neha’s eyes he asked her, “Will you brighten my life a bit more and give me the honor of waking up to your pretty face everyday, Neha? Be the sunshine of my life Baba!” Abhishek held his breath waiting for an answer.

At that very moment, someone tapped the window of his car and Abhishek was shaken out of his reverie. He opened the window to see the familiar face of Inspector Baruah looking kindly down at him. “So here again eh, Bhaity? Even the scar on your forehead has healed but your heart hasn’t, has it? It’s become a ritual for me now to cross the highway, find you here and chase you home. I suppose almost 2 years have passed now but you will never stop looking for her will you? Go home Bhaity, your mother will be worried if you don’t reach home soon. Chalo, off with you!” Inspector Baruah admonished.

Abhishek started his car and left without another word but not without one last look at the mango tree, the place where he lost Neha 2years ago in that horrible accident. He had proposed to her that day, Neha’s face had lightened up and she had hugged Abhishek, slid the ring in her finger and was admiring it in the moonlight when a truck smashed into their car. The car slid sideways and hit the mango tree at the side where Neha was sitting. Both of them were perilously injured that day, Abhishek needed three major operations to live and Neha was in a coma for four days before she finally succumbed to her wounds. He never got to see her after the accident for Abhishek himself was in a semi-conscious state, and when he finally did recover from his physical wounds, Neha’s last rites were over.

The doctor’s termed it as a disease of the head that he saw Neha everyday but Abhishek knew that even Neha was not ready to let go of him yet. No matter what people said, his Neha was still around somehow and she did come to visit him just so that he could feel her touch and smell her presence everyday. She was helping him heal and survive in a life that stood stagnant ever since that fateful day.

Abhishek closed his eyes and whispered, “I love you Baba”, while tightly clutching the ring on his palms.

“I love you more”, Neha replied with much intensity from the seat beside Abhishek, which was empty for the rest of the world.