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But love was a two way street, it needs two people. And may be , he loved her in his own way, but his too much was not even enough. It was a catch 22.
“But love was a two way street, it needs two people. And may be , he loved her in his own way, but his too much was not even enough. It was a catch 22.”
As the flowers fell from the tree, one by one, beautiful even as they faded into oblivion, a nameless faceless death of white beauty.
Ria knew, it had to be done, may be not now, but certainly not never. Maybe sooner than later.
She had pondered over this decision every night for twenty years now.
The road ahead was not easy, but then, it had never been easy before also, pretense was tough, the truth could set her free.
And she had tried to make it work, for many days, many nights.
She could not do it alone anymore But, marriage is not just two people
It’s families and children .
It’s too many lives entwined.
So she waited, she went on for others, for people, for family.
She put his clothes and his shoes and packed his lunch.
Everyday, as she crossed the Champa tree, she stopped for five minutes and thought.
Everyday, She sent the children to school and picked them up. She Watched the tree as it blossomed and bloomed and she waited
People often thought , what a perfect family, what a nice looking and fun couple as they walked in to glittering parties laughing and smiling.
But there was always a numbness , a hollow pain deep inside her heart.
So, she waited
She Counted the days, months and years .
And she waited
She watched the Champa tree each day, every night, the flowers fell with lifelessness
Yet every morning, the tree stood there strong and beautiful.
Laden with fresh flowers and pristine beauty. She knew, that was her soulmate .
Time went by, months turned into years
And then one day after twenty years, the land where the beautiful Champa tree grew, was sold to a rich and ambitious builder. Ria heard from the neighbors, a well known builder was planning to create a lavish shopping mall right in front of her home, just where the tree stood, blissfully unaware of its fate.
Tears welled up in her eyes at the same time, her lips curled up in a smile.
The time had come , her wait was finally over.
She could now fly away from her gilded cage, In a day or two, the Champa tree would be dead and she needed to break away the ties too . The tree would be uprooted just its roots would not know what to hold onto anymore and eventually give away.
It was finally the right time, though ,there is never a right time to do a wrong thing
It was wrong, harsh may be
But so were the tears and nights she had spent in silence waiting for the right moment to break away from her roots.
She waited and waited as she cried herself to sleep night after night
She had waited
The children had to grow up
To be old enough to take the brunt without the fear of permanent damage
To be old enough to understand yet not feel broken and disoriented
Just then, The timing was right, the children were now far away, starting their new lives. She did not need to wait anymore, she knew, this was a sign for her.
In any case, for them, He would always be their father
But, he could not be her husband anymore , or had been for years now. He was just a man she shared the room with, a man whose children she had borne, whose dreams she had lived as she died inside . Everyday bit by bit.
Lately, Her body cringed at his touch.
Her heart ached with his voice.
Her mind revolted but she had just waited for this day.
Strangely, a few years ago, she used to laugh with abandon at his jokes, her hear sang with his voice and her eyes sparkled at his touch and but things change, people evolve. Situations are different and priorities vary.
He did, what had to be done to achieve his ambitions and provide to all their needs. She did her part of the deal, laughed with friends, hosted parties with colleagues.
But, all the success and money in the world ,can’t fix a broken heart or a charred soul.
Something had snapped deep inside Ria.
And something had broken.
No one and nothing could fix it
In fact, it was no longer anyone’s fault, it was just there. As clear as day, as sure as the champa tree .
Everything had been said, there was no words left .
So when the people came the next day to fell the tree,
Ria started planning, packing , she started putting her two decades of her life and memories into a big box and that night as akash snored, Ria picked up all that she knew was hers alone and left.
Without a note, as there was nothing to be said.
And the next morning, when Akash sat down in the balcony ,for his daily morning routine, with his cigarette, his coffee and the newspaper.
The help came running and said” Madam has go…,ne , her clothes are also not there. Her books too.., Sir….”
Akash looked up at the help flummoxed and then he looked up ahead and saw the barren land and a heap of mud, where the Champa tree used to be. Akash knew, the Champa tree had gone and so had his wife, of twenty years, he sighed deeply and told the help, to pack his lunch, as usual.
Picture credit- Pasja1000
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Mostly Normal is a book of innocence, longing, filial love, angst and acceptance, encapsulating a gamut of human emotions within its lightweight edifice. The book touches the human heart and will stay with you.
Some books enthral you till the last page, and then there are those that you stop reading after turning a few pages. Some books are a one-time read, while you carry some books with you long after you have read them. Then, once in a while, a book hits you so close to home that you find it difficult to slot into any category.
I will put Priyadeep Kaur’s Mostly Normal (BookSoul Reads, 2022) in this last bracket.
At a little less than hundred pages, Mostly Normal is a testimony of the power of words to inspire, irrespective of their length.
Most women do not get to live their lives the way they want, on their own terms. So why should they be tied down in their old age?
Every morning, while dropping the kids at the bus stop, I find a grandfather waiting with his granddaughter. I see him again when I fetch the kids. This has been the pattern for the last few years.
He is seen actively participating in his granddaughter’s activities, from morning and evening walks to attending her parent-teachers meeting, sending her for extracurricular activities to even planning her birthday party. He is admired by all. He is appreciated for making himself useful in his old age. People rave that the doting grandfather is doing his duty towards his children and grandchildren. The much-admired grandfather is also a widower, having lost his wife years ago to chronic disease. It’s also to be noted that both his son and daughter-in-law are working parents.
Every day, the onlookers appreciate his sense of duty and dedication. They say that this is how the elderly should keep themselves occupied. They should bring up their grandchildren while their children go off to work.
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