“Why am I such a mess! Harshu… Please help me with my stuff….I cant find that sweater!”
After about 30 seconds of impatient cursing, she decided to call her new husband to help her with the stuff in the suitcase she packed haphazardly for their honeymoon.. They had decided on exploring the Western Ghats and as the first pitstop they went to Honey Valley at Coorg to breathe the fresh oxygen and bask in the glorious sunlight…
Coming back to the day of 13th Dec, 2015, Harsh or whom she fondly called Harshu helped her find the sweater and inadvertently a few other things.. They were an old music box, a letter and a dairy. Mahira looked at them and remembered receiving the music box from her mom.
“ Ohh Man! This was supposed to be left at home…Ugh Stop being so haphazard Mahi!”
She slapped her head! Harsh loved her silly dubious ways.. He just smiled and said “ You know what! Maybe you should read the letter and the diary while youre here. You will get bored of me anyhow!”
She just rolled her eyes and smiled..and played the music box. “ It works! Hahahaha Ohh man I love this tune! I think Granny and I have very similar tastes. In music, clothes and well.. Men. Granpa was a lot like you. Down to earth, Quiet but totally in love with granny. Who was.. well as crazy as me!
Next day she wakes up early with the thought of the letter and wonder of the beautiful life of her grandfather and grandma together. A smile couldn’t help but peek through all the possibilities. She decided she wanted to dedicate the morning to reading the diary. With the crazy dreams of a beautiful romance engraving their roots in her mind, she started with the first page. It read
It seems absurd to write at this point. But, I don’t wish to make these thoughts public. It will be beneath the honor of my family to even think of leaving him for the idea of a better life. I have lived my life till now on the terms that were taught to me and there has never been any idea or thought that comes close to what I experience right now. Maybe it’s a phase! Maybe he needs time..What if the time is beyond this lifetime. His letter has injured my soul.. I have no one to guide me.. No direction. . All the doors are shut… I am in despair and just want to … Actually I don’t know what to do either.
Please bear with me.
Mahi sat there in shock. She went numb..What had happened to make the first page so… disheartening! Then she remembered the letter! It was in the music box. She had to see it.. She went into the room rummaging through everything. Harsh got up and looked at her with dazed eyes. “ Mahi! Kya hua subah subah kyun gadar macha rahi ho( What happened? Why are you so restless right in the morning? )”.
“ Kuch nahi yaar! So jao! “ She screamed almost angrily.
Harsh got up and tried to help but she just brushed him aside. He knew what she wanted. “ Here, I think you wanted this.” He gave her the music box that was safely kept in the bag pocket by him.
“ Ahh Thank you! I needed this” She opened the box, then the Letter. It said:
I believe you know about my past. I was married to a lady named Savitri. Her beauty is unparallel, regal outlook and stunning taste. I was married to her for two years before she passed away. She looked gorgeous even in her days of sickness and moved on with a smile. She cooked wonderful food and was knowledgeable beyond compare.
Revathi, you must know that eventhough I am married to you now. I will never be able to forget her for as long as I am alive. You are married to me. But she was and will always be my Wife, my Ardhangini. I will never be able to give you the same status as her.
Please do not try to get close to me. You may stay in this house. But you will always be a guest for me.
Mahira sat there in the bundle of mess. Just shocked, speechless and angry. How could her grandfather be like that! That’s not how she remembered them. And who was Savitri! She never heard of her! Maybe they were a different set of people. Harsh enveloped Mahi in his arms and let her cry her heart out. He knew she wanted to just be…
“ Dear Diary,
I heard it on the radio. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! I will cook his favorite meals. Maaji tells me he loves Karela.. I am not surprised. He is as bitter as the Bitter gourd! If not more!!
I am smiling as a write you. I really like him. I hope he comes around…
“ Dear Diary,
He left the tiffin home again today. Its been 7 days since I have cooked packed lunch kept it on the table. Kept dinner all plated on the table. He just doesn’t eat what I cook. He cooks his own meals. Doesn’t speak to me!
I long for the sound of another soul in this house. I long for a flicker of smile in his eyes when he looks at me. He is just cold.”
After this page, there were smudges of ink all over the pages. Page 4 was illegible.
“ Oh There you are! Baby don’t be sad! Harshu thik kar dega!(Harshu will make things alright) Here… Have a fresh papaya!” Harshu came in with a big bowl of papaya, bananas and some weird looking plant.
“ papaya!! Really! Yuck! No way” Mahi twisted her nose in disgust!
“ Dear Diary,
I have taken up teaching at the nearby school. I get Rs. 100 for a month’s work
Its refreshing and liberating. I have made Rs. 10 worth donation at the Temple. Gave gifts to all relatives. I made a sweater for him. He doesn’t wear it.
Cooking everyday. Its been months now. He hasn’t even tasted the food that I cook.
I hope things get better. I really like him!
“ I love my job! Just hate the peanut portioned salary!” Mahi chuckled when Harsh admired Grandma for being so ahead of her times and teasing Mahi for being such a job hater.
“ Yes I am sure 50,000/- per month is minuscule for my wonderful princess!!” Harsh laughed and went out.
Mahi couldn’t help notice the paradox. She smiled and went back to reading the diary.
“ Dear Diary,
That woman! She knows that we aren’t even sleeping in the same room. She even knows about all the food that gets trashed! Why are women such idiots!
She told everyone in the neighbourhood and they are all after Abhi ji now. They called him characterless and a womanizer. Apparently all women feel less secure around him!!I gave them all a piece of my mind!
He was looking at the whole scene. He tried to talk but just looked at me with sadness. I feel bad for him. I really like him…
But these women! May god give them good sense..Else I will have to
“ What! What happened next!! “Asked Harsh.
“ That’s all for this page Harsh! Let me check further.”
“ Dear Diary,
Last evening.. I almost got caught with you in my hand. He came and looked at me. Thanked me and went away.. I went after him . He was looking at Savitri’s earrings. Thought shouldn’t disturb him and went into the kitchen. I was cooking and he came in. He cooked next to me. We didn’t speak.. I kept two plates at the verandah. He came and sat there! He was going to eat with me!
I took a spoon full of Dal in reluctantly placed it in a bowl for him. He took the bowl and started eating!! Yes, he ate the food that I cooked and looked at me and smiled…
I really like him!”
Mahi closed the diary and saw the photograph she took of them a few years ago. Grandpa and granny looking at each other. Tears welled up in her eyes. Harsh came in with a glass of cranberry juice and chocolate…She just smiled at her fortune…