Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jar of Sunshine

The house was dead silent. The curtains still thickly drawn. The loud ring of the phone woke up Sumitra. Still groggy from sleep, she reached for her phone. She had never noticed how shrill her ringtone could be and made a mental note to change it today. The brightness of the screen dilated her pupils and she uneasily answered the phone.

"Sumitra, I m getting married today" said the excited voice on the other side.
"What? Anuya where are you?" she asked worried.
"Why, at home. You should come today at 9 to the Ganesh Temple near our house. Bring everyone ok."
"Which home?"
"Anuya nivas obviously. I have to get ready now. You come here ok."
She hung up on her. Sumitra climbed off her bed and searched for her telephone diary. There were some contacts she hadn't fed on her mobile phone. Some long forgotten contacts.
She heard her husband whining about the lights she had switched on. She did not bother to answer him and that alarmed him.
"Sumitra what are you searching for?" he asked perplexed.
"My telephone diary."
He rubbed his eyes and checked the time. It was 4 am. On a sunday morning.
"Whose contact?"
"Ishwar Narayan" she finally mouthed the name. A name she had not uttered in years.

At 5 am they set out in their car. Her sons were still in deep slumber when they had bolted the door behind them. She had left notes on the fridge and under their phones.  She hoped to return before they woke up at noon.

She glanced at her husband. He gave her another look as if asking her if she was sure. She nodded. He looked ahead and gained speed. They could make to Anuya nivas in about 2 hours or less. It was 100 kms away from her home.
She couldn't place her diary and Ram had made whatever contacts he had but couldn't trace the number. Looking at her desperation he had suggested they themselves go but regretted it the moment he saw the hurt on his wife's face. A few minutes later she had overcome her hurt and urged him to take her there. He had given in to her and they had quickly got dressed.

They crossed the bridge. It was getting brighter outside and she could see the still water of the river.
 Years back she had crossed this bridge. She had been just 14. It was the first time she had sat in a bus. Maybe it was the first time she remembered sitting in a bus. They said she was just an infant when she was brought to her grandparents. She must have been in a bus to reach her grandparents then.  When she was 14 she had dreams of a naive maiden. She dreamt  of a big house where she would work. She would get to wear better apparels than the hand-me-downs of her neighbors or cousins. She could have a diet of butter, eggs and cheese like the glossy pictures she saw in her old textbooks.

She had stretched her hand out of the bus and waived at the women carrying firewood. She let the wind ruffle her hair like a loving father that she never had. She ate the berries she had plucked in her grandparent's house and saw the ripples that the seeds created when she flung them in the water from the bus. It had been very early in the morning and the passengers in the bus had been dozing. When they had entered the town, the honks of buses and other vehicles had woken up others. She had never seen so many vehicles in her quaint village. They still used bullock carts there. She watched in awe the many cycles and scooters. When she looked besides her, Ishwar Narayan was still sleeping with his mouth wide open.

She heard a baby wail in the seat behind. The woman came to her seat. Ishwar Narayan too was woken up by the loud cries. The woman was his wife, Rukmini. She saw Sumitra, the wide moist eyes, the thick dark eyebrows, the luscious lips and her fair complexion and felt a stab of jealousy at her flowing raven tresses, silky and waist length. She handed her the baby and said, " Here, hold him for sometime. Wake me up when we reach."

Sumitra had never handled a baby. The baby was only 8 months old. He kept crying and Sumitra tried to make faces to keep him amused. She rocked him gently and sang a lullaby that she had heard her neighbor sing. It seemed to soothe the baby.
"Finally he is stopped!" she heard someone say. She looked up. She saw a small girl. Round faced with large nose and short statured girl in a frill frock. She was standing on the seat behind peeking into Sumitra's seat. She was fair and had curly hair which broke in ringlets at her forehead.  The hair was oiled and tied firmly into a pony but still seemed to be spread in all directions. The girl must have been 4. She seemed to take a liking for Sumitra and stealthily handed her a toffee.
"Give it back to her." growled Ishwar Narayan. Sumitra jolted at this sudden raised voice.
"Anuya I bought that toffee for you. Don't give it to anyone."
"Liar! You stole it from the jar in Chinku mama's shop" the girl answered.
Sumitra chuckled to herself. That was her first time she had seen Anuya.

(To be continued)

8 comments:

Soumya said...

Wowwwww... Waiting with bated breath :)

Anita Jeyan Sandeep said...

Me too!

TheGirlAtFirstAvenue said...

Interesting! Why do u always end with a 'to be continued..' I like finishing my stories in one go.. Grrr :P
So please post soon :D

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

+! Add me too. :D

maithili said...

Wait won't be long :)

maithili said...

Soon!

maithili said...

Haha I have been writing short stories for a while now.. I decided to start a series after long and there you are!
I will not test your patience :P The posts are all lined up

maithili said...

You wont have to wait long :)