The Search – A Short Story


It was raining heavily, as she opened the door to the flat. The rain had started without notice, and she was thoroughly drenched. Rivulets of water poured down her body, as she struggled with the many plastic bags, containing grocery and other mundanities that their home seemed to need every week.

As she entered, she heard the landline ringing. She clucked in exasperation, as she realized that the clothes that she had hung out to dry in the morning, were all swaying merrily in the rain. She ran to pick up the landline.

It was her husband, Jay.

“Hi!” she said.

“Hi! I need you to do something. I’ve forgotten an important paper that I worked on over the weekend. It should be in my chest of drawers, in one of the racks. It is a handwritten design drawing, A4 size. Take a photo of the paper on your phone and send it to me. It is quite urgent”, he said.

She said ok and hung up.

She changed into dry clothes quickly and went to the study. The table was in absolute chaos, but she had strict instructions not to clean it.

She sighed at the mess and got started. All kinds of papers were strewn around.

She started sorting through them. Lots of server designs, hardware architecture, proposals to customers; but no sign of the ‘paper’.

She moved from the table to the first of  three drawers. More papers, more chaos.

She continued to search. Second drawer, same story. She only had one more drawer, hopefully it had to be there. The third drawer seemed to be better organized than the others. Sheafs of paper had been bundled with rubber bands.

As she processed the second bundle, a smile lit her face, as she saw the bill for the gift Jay had given her for their wedding anniversary earlier that year. She had asked him many times, how much it had cost, but he had refused to reveal the amount. Now she knew. Her eyes widened in shock as she saw the amount, $10000! But wait, the quantity was for 2 bangles. Jay had given her just one of them.

She felt a violent shiver ripple through her body as she tried to understand what that meant. Had Jay not realized that the shop had billed him for 2 bangles and given him only one? But he was very very careful about anything to do with money.

Ice cold fingers clutched at her heart as she felt a deep pain, when realization dawned – maybe he was cheating on her.

Her senses were on high alert as she sent off a text to Jay that she could not find the paper. Then with a sense of purpose, she sorted through the documents again, looking for something, anything. Actually, she was not even sure what she was looking for.
There were only more papers of technical drawings.

When Jay called to say he would be working late and not to stay up for him, her heart thudded with cold fear, as she hugged herself.

She decided to call his landline number after an hour or so, just a wifely call to check and reassure herself.

When she called, he picked up on the second ring. She felt a wave of relief.

But the niggling worry started all over again. Should she confront him, or let it go. Why had he not giving her the other bangle. Whom had ge given it to?

She paced up and down. She waited up for him. She couldn’t survive the night without knowing about the mysterious second bangle.

He looked tired as he sat down to have his dinner.

She was too upset to talk and he was too tired to notice that she was not herself.

When the pressure inside her head reached bursting point, it rushed out as a powerful torrent of words.

“While I looked for that paper you wanted this morning, I found this”, she said, thrusting the bill under his nose.

He laughed and said, “So, now you know its value eh?”

She said, “But you gave me just one, but the bill amount is for two bangles, where is the second bangle?”

“Oh! that. You know, Mihir, my roommate from University? We bumped into each other at the jewelry shop. He was looking at buying something for his wife, just like I was. He liked the design too…so both of us bought it, he paid me in cash, as I was a member and would get more points added if we billed it together”, he said.

“So, why didn’t you tell me?” she asked.

“Hmmm, must have slipped my mind. Can you pass some of that yummy chutney here, please?” he said as he continued to eat.

Totally unaware that a typhoon had just tried to uproot what they had built over the last few years.

She sighed with relief.

Handing down love


My son turned 13 today and in keeping with our family tradition, I asked him to meet me in my room after dinner.

Curiosity was evident in his eyes,  but he merely nodded. My wife and I had gifted him a course in kayaking. There was also a glint of excitement in his eyes, as he probably expected another surprise birthday present.

He walked into my room, with me,  after dinner. With great ceremony, I opened the drawer on my table. I took out a small gift wrapped package and gave it to him.

He opened it with a lot of excitement. I could see his face falling, when he saw that it was an old, battered geometry box. There was a letter taped to the bottom of the box.

He looked at me, quite puzzled, waiting for an explanation.

I told him, “Open the letter.”

The letter ran into many pages. I told him to start reading from the last letter, dated 24th August, 1919, written by my great great grandfather to his son, on his thirteenth birthday.

My son quietly read all the letters, letters written by many fathers to many sons, to their sons. Nearly a century of family love there. Some letters were humourous, some were filled with love, some with dos and don’ts.  But a great archive of our family’s history, its shared love, and a wonderful tradition. He finally came to my letter and read it.

He looked up, and asked, “But why the geometry box?”

“Oh, the geometry box was probably handy, when my great great grandpa wanted to get this going,  what he also did was inscribe his name at the bottom of the box, with the date”, I said.

My son flipped the box and saw the metal engravings of his ancestors and laughed when he saw my name.

I also added, “The instruments in the set can be used even now. They are of excellent quality. After you are done with it, inscribe your name and pass it on to your son.”

He took his gift and walked out of the room. I know for a fact that 25 years from now, his throat will catch the way mine is now, when he writes a letter to his son, and wishes him well.