Thursday, September 16, 2010


Jaya wanted a set of gold bangles for her birthday. Sumit thought that was too extravagant.

All day she complained about his lack of consideration. Never once to him, but to her friends at work. "I mean, come on," she said in tones of deep frustration. "I get him whatever he wants before he even says the word. Can't he do this much for me?"

"Men, men," one of them said in a commiserating voice, but the girl quickly flashed a look, part gleeful, part gloating, at another woman in the circle.

"So anyway, nothing for me this birthday," Jaya sniffed. She looked balefully at the sabzi in her lunch box, then said, "Anyway he'll just forget the day. I'm not reminding him again this year."

So in a disturbed state of mind a full three weeks before her birthday, Jaya persuaded herself that her thirty third would be the worst birthday ever. In the history of birthdays. In the history of history, as Po would say.

On the morning of her birthday, Sumit was nowhere to be seen. She called his cellphone, but it rang in their bedroom. Wondering if he'd suddenly decided to get back to his exercise regimen, she glared at herself in the mirror as she brushed her teeth. If her mouth hadn't been so full of toothpaste, she might have screwed up her mouth and howled. My birthday and he's not even home.

Then he returned. In his work clothes. With a bouquet of red roses in one hand and a box of chocolates in the other. And as he took her in his arms and she laughed as he twirled her around the living room in a practiced dance, she closed her eyes and thought, "He really didn't get me bangles."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A story.

I think nobody knows how it started. They say that no partnership is ever equal, especially when one (or both) has dreams and ambitions separate from the other.

How awful, though. One morning he recounted a long anecdote about somebody eyeing his promotion at the end of the month, and not once, not for a second, did he realise that she kept her face hidden behind the newspaper. Not because she was reading it, but because she couldn't let the tears show. She kept saying, "Hmm," and "Really?" at really interesting points in his narrative, a habit born of years of listening on autopilot, and he did not notice even once the inflection in her voice.

What was more awful? That lately he does not even notice that she falls asleep in a second, sometimes too quickly. That she reaches out for a book the moment he sails into the bedroom, that sometimes she's holding the book upside down in what could have been a really funny situation had it not been for the tremble in her hands. That she does the dishes with increased violence each day, that she has less and less to say to him as each week passes on the calender.

He has his grievances, too. But he says not a word.

He does not notice. She does not see a thing. Love blinds.