The smell of the stuffed oil aubergine, ghee, dal and keerai gently waft in from the kitchen and filled the room. The cutlery in blue and white is carefully juxtaposed and kept along the few candle stands. The Dinner table is set like always, with a milk jug, a pot with orange juice and a small wooden tray with sliced pine apple and papaya.
He was on his reading chair, lost in the world of J M Coetzee. She was in the kitchen with music plugged in, doing odd little things here and there, checking the pan in the stove and peeping into the dining room, now and then.
What brought them together in life is the unknown. Like the every other in a fairy tale, he at one point of time believed in a happily ever after life. But life had other plans, just to mock at them. Yet they journeyed together to where they are now.
From the corner of his eyes, he would look at her, his woman of two decades. He could only wonder, at what age had done to her. And still there is a child-like aura about her.
Like always, Kenny G was playing in the background. He always had it playing in his head on and off, while she was deeply immersed in the magic of Yanni, unmindful to the melancholy of life.
From the corner of her eyes, she sees a photograph in the frame. A picture of them from many, many years ago and surrounding them were a kaleidoscope of different images from his and her life and then their life. Those were their precious memories, a few, which she cherished so much, for they were the missing pieces of the life she had only imagined about him. And then there was this one photograph of his, in his late teens, tall and lanky with his easy smile.
Perhaps sometime later, she told herself, she would have another one made, a ten by twelve that would sit on her nightstand. Each photograph was from a different time of their lives. Most of them were from the times when we they were young and together, really troubled by feelings of many kinds. And yet when you look at the pictures, you look at two people who were so much completely in love.
The dishes are set on the tables. He is there filling their glasses just the way he has been doing it for all those years together. For no particular reason, and yet for too many; for one precisely down, she smiles in her mind. He grins, reflecting on her smile. She catches him gazing at her reflection in the mirror and looks back.
The young twenty something girl scribbles these thoughts in her mind, and takes out her note pad from her bag to jot them down. On a second thought, she decides not to, and looks at him sitting opposite in the table with a stupid grin. There is warmth in the day and winter is set to leave, and people are no more clad in their sweaters.
She could see the maze of words hanging, dancing to the divine music in her mind, most of them were his words. She could not comprehend them for what they mean. All she did was try to concentrate on the drizzle outside the window, listeningly intently to the rain drops falling on the window-sill and weave a story in her mind. Still she found herself incapable to string them together to make complete sentences.
Jolting out of her pensieve mood, she awoke herself to the innocent blush on his cheeks, the music in her head and the people hustling outside the café.
This was the feeling they shared. A feeling of uncertainty at their first meet; she took a sip of her iced tea and washed down her restless thoughts with his re-assuring smile. She cupped her fingers over her ears, careful not to let any earthly sound disturb the divine music playing inside her. She let the music play.
Hmm, if I were to rip this page off my scribbling pad and give it to you, if I told you that you were the guy in there and this is the sum of things I really want and say all it matters to me is, making that meal for you from twenty years of now, would you give it to me? Huh?