Letter mirrors


A few years ago, when my Dad passed away, and my mom was clearing out some old stuff, she chanced upon a bundle of letters that I had written to my parents, when I was in my twenties and  working in London.

She had preserved them carefully, organized by date; each letter safely tucked in its original envelope. The envelopes had frayed edges, where my parents would have opened or torn them to get to my letters.

image

          Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

A few days later, when I visited my mom, she asked me if I wanted to keep the letters, because they were filled with my everyday observations of London (one of my favourite cities), to my dreams and aspirations, and lots of photos and humourous observations. Of course, every letter was an outpouring of love to my parents, my aunt, my sisters and to my adorable niece, who was 2 months old then.

I took the letters with me, and sat down to read them. I must have had lots of time, especially in winter, for no letter was shorter than 14 pages!

Through those letters, I relived my life in its twenties. I could see that young woman, with so many dreams and aspirations, looking at her future and its immense possibilities.

I loved reliving London, with its tube stations, and the weather, and the long walks I often took. I remembered the scones and jacket potatoes. I remember how many books I read on my trips in the tube. I learnt so many, many things. I travelled, I walked and I read.

I fast forward to the now. How have I changed? Lots of things are still the same, but I have mellowed. I am a wife now, a mom now. My priorities are quite different.

Many of those dreams are still inside, waiting to be realized, maybe after the kids go to university.

Life was independence, fun, young and filled with lots of possibilities ‘then’.

Life is dependence, love, ageing and filled with dreams and possibilities for the family ‘now’.

Different phases, both beautiful. Wouldn’t trade either.

Marriage in a Coffee Mug


image

In the early days of our marriage, my husband and I went out one evening to a home exhibition and sale, as we were setting up our new home, and wanted to buy stuff for the house.

There was a sale on,  for porcelain kitchenware. I was drawn like a magnet to a set of coffee mugs, that looked like pieces of tree trunks, with gnarled knobs and ring patterns. They looked unique, and so inviting.

My husband did not like these mugs at all. He wanted something simple. We argued (must have been one of the first arguments, me thinks).  Finally, we agreed to disagree; and the coffee mugs came home. All six mugs are still intact and have lasted us many, many years. My husband has grown to like them over the years.

While the lasting love, commitment and promises are the foundation of a marriage, it is these simple things and moments that form the bricks of any marriage.

Be it about making up after an agreement, or letting go ‘for’ your spouse without allowing ego to walk-in to a situation.

It is about his choice versus yours many a time, and having the wisdom to disagree without malice. It is about the small joys of reading a book together or shopping for grocery. It is about egging each others’ fitness goals, and then also indulging in a huge dollop of icecream together.

It is about seeing yourselves in your children, and also realizing that your children are not you. It is about being able to laugh at yourselves and being able to cry together. It is about doing everything together, and then doing nothing together.

It is about watching movies and munching popcorn together, as much as it is about who will clear up afterwards.

It is this and that. It is black and white and all colours. It is about being a team, as much as it is about being two individuals.

It is also definitely about having strong filter coffee from coffee mugs that have witnessed all these moments in your marriage.

Exchanging Notes – A Short Story


Ted covered his ears with the blanket, as the clanking of pots and pans from the kitchen started. According to the WMS (Wife Mood Scale), the clanking pans indicated that she was very angry. The verbal assault would start soon.

He pulled his tired body out from the warm bed, and ambled to the bathroom to shower in peace, before he faced the tirade.

Breakfast was just two slices of bread with some cheese thrown in. They were struggling to make ends meet and his lassitude was not helping any.

His wife worked as a part time nanny and part time domestic help in a few houses, but with both of them in their sixties and no savings, things were not looking great.

He had arthritis and struggled with knee pain. So, he did not last too long in any job.

Today was Friday, and the local supermarket received goods from all its suppliers on Fridays, so extra hands to unload were always required. Ted usually managed to get there early and earn a few hours of pay from the unloading and wheeling.

His knees hurt as he walked to the supermarket. It took him a good twenty minutes to get there, but he was in good time and signed up for the day.

Around 11 a.m. they were given a tea break. As he went to the wash room and ambled to the vending machine, he saw someone waving in his direction. He walked over. The man was tall and thin, wearing faded jeans and a black t-shirt.

“What?” asked Ted.

“Need a quick favour. I am one of the truck drivers who’s brought in supplies. I need small change to buy cigarettes, could you get me change for $50 from the cashier. I will give you a pack of cigarettes in return. I would go myself, but I need to be here to supervise the unloading. Company rules, you know?” he said.

Ted hadn’t smoked in a long time. He suddenly ached for a smoke. The old woman had taken away all these simple pleasures from his life by keeping track of every single penny.

The truck driver gave him the $50. Ted nodded and walked towards the cash counter. He knew Jenny very well and winked at her as he joined the short queue. When he reached the counter, he asked her for change. She asked after his health and gave him five ten dollar notes.

He went back and gave it to the truck driver, who came back in a few minutes, thrust a cigarette pack in Ted’s hand and walked away.

Ted was very happy as he imagined how it would feel to smoke after such a long time.

In the evenings, usually peace reigned in Ted’s home, as the day’s tensions ebbed away and both husband and wife sat down in companionable silence, to watch the news and a couple of other programs that were available for free.

As they watched the local news, Ted’s heart nearly stopped, when he heard that the police had traced some counterfeit notes circulating in the town, and that they had hit upon the gang’s modus operandi –  they exchanged counterfeit notes for smaller change. The supermarket where Ted worked was mentioned. The report said that the police would soon start finger-printing workers at all these locations, to help them with the case.

Ted’s blood ran cold as he suddenly remembered that he had touched the note. There was another thing that had struck him as odd, when the driver had given him the $50 – he had been wearing a pair of gloves. Now it made complete sense.

Ted decided to be sick with unbearable knee pain for the next few days. Metal pots clanking in the kitchen and facing a 100 on the WMS was an infinitely better choice than spending time behind metal bars.

He braced himself.

Expectations – A Short Story


It was our first wedding anniversary and my husband & I had made plans for a romantic dinner at one of our favourite restaurants. For weeks I had agonized over what gift to give him & I fervently hoped that he was doing the same.

Stepping into his shoes, I concluded that it would be fairly easy for him to buy me a gift, as I love bags, shoes, perfumes and jewelry. Chocolates & roses accompanying any of these gifts would be an added bonanza, because my husband is not a roses or cards kind of guy.  But I could wish, couldn’t I? I was and still am an incurable romantic after all.

I finally burnt a CD with all his favourite tracks, bought a leather wallet and a few cards that conveyed everything that I wanted to say, that I had not managed to this last year.

We met directly at the restaurant, after work. The ambience was wonderful and we spent time talking about  the year that had just flown past and how we first met; things millions of couples would do on their first anniversary, I presume.

All through dinner I looked for  bags, small jewel cases, chocolates and roses . There was nothing I could see. I was a little disappointed, but consoled myself with the thought that he would give it to me on the drive back home, in the car.

After dessert, I happily gave him my gift and cards. He was very touched. He said, “Oh! I’ve got something for you as well.”

He pulled out his wallet. I was really curious now. What kind of gift would fit into this small wallet?

He took out something that was concealed in his palm and said, “Happy anniversary. Here’s the key to your new car.”