Wake up Arun!
9:00 am: “Arun, Pl wake up it is 9’o clock in the morning and I‘ve already re-heated your coffee for three times chellamma*. I have to get ready for the office re. You know the new broadband that our company has launched, is bringing so many “impatient” customers complain. I must reach early so that I can come back early. My day is going to be tight today, Honey”.
“Arun, honey are you listening me? [Giggles] No baby, not now…Oh god, why do this phone has to ring all the time and at all the wrong times”?
“Hello, hi Anuja nalla iriken, ning eppadi irikinga? [I am fine, how are you doing] Off course, I am fine, trying to wake Arun from his beauty sleeps. I am glad that you remember his birthday. What happened why you are distressful? Now do not start the same nonsense again Anuja, why? Arun is here only. For heaven sake, why are you crying? What forget Arun? What da, what are you talking? Listen I am in hurry and have to let the line go. See you later”.
[Hung up the line, walks down to Arun]
“That was Anuja with her usual… hey you still sleeping? Hmm ok my lazy baby; enjoy your beauty sleep. I have made some porridge for breakfast and kept it in microwave, pl reheat it before eating. The juice is in fridge. Do not forget. Shanta bai will come by 12:00 to cook lunch. Yes baby, I shall eat in office. Now, need not worry about me…Oh fish, this coffee is spoilt; shall I brew a fresh one? Ok baby take care. Do shave today; it was so hurting last night”.
[Door closes; Priya calls for a cab for the office]
“Driverji, how many times do I have to tell you to wash the upholstery? You know Arun has a dust allergy. What? Yes, Arun sir is there, sleeping inside. Now you just clean it in case if he wants to use car today. I will take a taxi, no issue. Oh God, I said na- “No issue-driverji”.
10:00 am: “Yup honey, I have reached office. Do eat your breakfast and take care. See ya”.
4:00 pm: “Oh these customers, why on the earth are they so ‘impatient’ all the time? Renuka you are lucky that you are handling the payment desk. Not that I am complaining, after all this is where I first met Arun. Arun oh! Gosh in all this mess, I forgot to call him. He is not well you see- later Renuka, let me first ring him and…stop talking rubbish about… Hey, baby, what are you up to? Why did you take so much time to pick the call? Had your breakfast on time? What shanta bai did not turn up today? Let me come back in the evening, I shall handle all her increased absenteeism these days. Oh, you have sent the car to pick me. How sweet of… Honey, let me disconnect now, Renuka is coming back and if she see me talking to you, she will once again start her lectures”.
“Oh Renuka, I do not understand what is wrong with all my friends? First Anuja, now you. Listen dear it is Arun’ birthday today and I must rush early. You know na what has happened last year; it was our Mehendi and Arun has to suddenly leave in midst for an urgent call of duty at Taj. I was so scared when we saw all those firings on the TV. With mom’s crying, me fainting, gosh it was such a dreadful evening. Thank God, that Arun came back next evening. These heartless terrorists, they have soiled all his uniform with blood. I still am struggling to wash off all those stains from his uniforms. First that damn hepatitis and then this attack. Wish we had not left Bangalore and come to Mumbai. Renuka…Oh fish, I need to rush, Arun would be waiting for me. You see, it is his birthday today. Bye”.
-On way back to home-
“Driverji, stop once at the Kormangla Signal, I need to buy some flowers and stuff. Come on stop giving me that puzzled look and hurry up; Arun Sahib will be waiting”.
-Back to home-
6:00 pm: “Sorry baby, this BTM traffic is gone to dogs and to top that this Renuka too has lost her marbles. Same old rubbish that stop thinking about Arun, Arun has left you and blah blah. She is crazy or what? I have even asked her to come with me and see from her own eyes that we are still together and happy too; people talk rubbish”.
“You won’t leave me na? Please do not leave me. No baby I will not cry again. I know that you are not like those men esp. the breed of my father. I know you will never abandon me. We shall build a home together and start our family soon. Let us have at least two children, a girl and a boy. Twins? Wow! We then will buy everything in pairs for them- two pair of pram, socks, feeders, rattle-tattle etc. Blue color for the boy and pink for the girl child”.
“Yes, we will have children. I want both of them to look like you, their father. Ok, the girl like me and the chap like you! Happy? If its girl, we will name her ‘Suhani’ and the boy ‘Sooraj’- Captain Sooraj Thapar, s/o Captain Arun Thapar”.
“Wow! Oh yes, I know am dreaming once again but it is a beautiful dream. Moreover, after ma’s demise, these dreams have become my family. Daddy was always away that I never knew what a father is until I met your dad. Your dad and mom have filled the gap of parents in my life. They have made me so much at home, with family that I could never ask for more. Sorry I am not going to cry again but I am missing them so much. Hope, they return soon from their trip to holy shrine. I could not join them as I do not want to leave you alone on your birthday”.
9:00pm: “I still remember our first meeting and our first ride. Oh Arun, I am so glad that you came to my life. A life where men had no place, no trust, you came as a fresh breeze, a blessing in my life. No pain seems visible, no problem appears difficult ever since you walked in, held my hands and we walked together. Let us celebrate this over the wine that I bought today and some nice pasta. Here, toast to our love, your long life and our unborn babies”. Cheers!
Next morning when shanta bai came inside the house, she saw Priya half-lying on table with an empty wine bottle and two glasses, half-empty. The silver candle stand was still holding the residue of the burnt candles. As Shanta bai leaned over the table to erect the stand and escort Priya to bed, she heard Priya whisper in half slumber- “Shanta Bai, why did you not come yesterday, Arun Sir had to eat outside. You know his present health does not allow him to eat out”. “Shanta bai I do not want to be awake now, I want to sleep for some time”.
Shanta bai nodded in approval with her one hand holding Priya and other hand wiping her tears.