The thrust of wind disturbed the white curtains. She lay in her bed, ready to welcome another morning with dullness. She took her glasses from the side table with her wrinkled hands and slowly put them on. With trembling hands, she took the framed picture from her side table. It had been ten years since he died. Promising to be by her side always, he had betrayed half way and left. Neither tears nor words could describe the emptiness in her life now.

She put on her slippers and walked towards the door. Hiru tweeted from a distance in his cage. “Alright, I am coming. You don’t like your cage do you?” She set the bird free. Hiru flew around the whole room, spanned the courtyard and came back to his cage. She put some food for him in his cage and filled his small cup with water. Hiru was the only one who managed to bring a smile to her face!

The door bell rang. It must be the gardener, she thought. “Newspaper bill Madam.” “Why have you come so early today? Where is today’s paper?” “Here you go.” “Oh, is it 1st June already”. She smiled sheepishly. She gave him the money and rushed in. Quickly, she grabbed the phone and speed dialed to 1. “Hello, beta it’s me! Call my grandson, I want to wish him.” “Ma, I am getting late for office. Have to take him to school and also distribute sweets to his friends. Can you please call later.” “Ok” Her voice saddened. “Why don’t you all come here in the evening? I will bake a cake for him and make fresh pudding. He loves that.” “Let’s see. I really have to go now. Bye.”

And the phone line clicked shut. The gardener had arrived, she instructed him to pluck out fresh mangoes. Meanwhile, she went to the kitchen window from where she could observe him working. He had often slipped a few mangoes in his bag, but she had never said anything to him. When he had been going out, she had smiled and said, “Ramesh, take some more mangoes for your children.” He had just shied away and smiled. She had always kept some mangoes aside for him ever since.

She took out the dough and heated the oven. She took the eggs and beat them. She stopped short gasping for breath. It felt a bit drowsy and heavy. She opened the windows and tried to take in some fresh oxygen.

When the cake was ready, she laid it out at the table. Fresh mango pudding by its side, and little candles for her grandson. She had slaved the whole afternoon, forgetting to eat anything herself. Second time in the day, she felt dizzy again. She went and opened all the doors and windows to allow some ventilation. She picked up the phone again. “Hello beta. Is Abhinav around? I want to wish him.” She could hear sounds of children singing Happy Birthday. “It’s ok. I am waiting here. Do come over for some time when his party is over.” “Ma, I can’t really promise.” “At least can I speak to him once?” “I will call you later Ma.”

She started looking for her diary where the address was written. She put on her spectacles and tried to read the small handwriting. It was almost a two hour drive. But she craved for the sight of him, the way he sat on her lap and pulled her cheeks, and how he loved when she fed him the fresh pudding. She had to see him, hug him and be there. Carefully, she packed the cake and pudding in a box. She dressed up in her brown silk sari and put on her pearls. She closed all the windows and locked the door.

As she got out in the courtyard, her head started swimming. She could no longer feel anything beneath her, as she gasped for breath. The cake fell down and sloshed on the grass. The yellow colour of the pudding spread itself on the green grass. She lay there, waiting for breath, waiting to see her grandson, waiting for life to revive. Hiru tweeted from a distance. She could see him through the glass of the window, trying hard to break out.  She remembered her husband, who had bought her the sari, how he liked playing with the pearls. She remembered her grandson’s smile, how he screamed and hugged her.

She looked up at the vastness of the sky. She could see the blue being slowly covered by the darkness of heavy clouds. A silent prayer left her lips.



05/25/2010 6:57pm

I think this could have been better.. when i started reading it..i could aniticipate wat was in the end.. I think u could have given a twist to it..It could have been a happy ending..or something different..
But i must agree..its a good attempt!! keep it up!! :)

Malind Bajaj
07/12/2010 2:34pm

Now that the mango season is almost over, can we get some more of your writing to satiate our appetites? :-)

07/14/2010 6:47pm

Sure...coming soon....

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