It was still raining and she was tired of wiping the mud footprints from the carpet. Sonia kept yelling at the children to either stay out or stay in. Her rattled behaviour was much avoided by the children who kept running in the garden.
Mahi was lost; she knew this day would be coming and had practiced what all she would say but at this stage it all looked bizzarre. Mahi was motionless and was seeing the flashes of scenes that took her two years back.
Yash’s sister was giggling and not letting them enter the home while negotiating for a good neg for her new bhabhi. Mahi was tired and sore of wearing heavy wedding trousseau and could feel the flowers turning soggy in her hair. The cold morning was indifferent and she waited for a moment of silence.
Several seasons had passed since both of them talked. The words were said but without substance, the pleasantries were exchanged but without warmth, the emotions were transformed from being affected to being aloof. The relationship was going on a track too straight with no exciting corners to look forward to or any romantic tunnels to cozy up to. The lock that binded them became more of a communal sect one adheres to.
Sonia came into their life when they were almost unaware of their existence under the same roof. Sonia had discovered the illness that prevailed in the house, she felt the emptiness that was not hiding well behind the décor of the house nor the heavy picture frames that hung on the otherwise white walls. She talked to Yash and tried diving in his heart and check if any feelings were left in the otherwise happy guy she knew earlier. He couldn’t say much and stuck to monosyllables for the rest of the seemingly pointless conversation. She didn’t give up and told him to talk to her whenever he wanted. She hugged him and let him feel some emotional warmth he had been missing all the while.
Mahi was even difficult to approach. If Yash was stuck on his monosyllables, she was stuck with her stone cold appearance that shooked Sonia. Sonia blabbered for hours and hours while Mahi sat motionless as if the two shared different languages.
Sonia knew she had no place in that house and prepared to make a move. The sound was coming from outside, a sound which was not heard in the house for years. She went out to check. They were laughing, Mahi was making fun of Yash’s dance steps and giggled and tears rolled down her eyes. They both looked like young people who had first time fallen in love. Her smile was captivating and Yash just looked at her cherubic face and thanked god million times inside his heart for gifting him Mahi. Mahi was happy with the five balloons he had bought for her on the beach and felt happy and prayed to god to freeze the moment as she never wanted more. Sonia looked at Mahi and Yash who were watching the recording of their honeymoon video which the children had found in the big rimu finished CD rack next to the LCD screen.
The house was big and everything whatever Mahi and Yash had dreamt of their dream home. It was large and in the posh suburbs right next to the golf course Yash went every Saturday morning. The house was inhabited in two rooms by them and the other spare space was adorned with pieces of everything glorious Mahi could figure out from the bulk of Interior magazines she had subscribed since last five years.
TV news, newspapers, radio, internet all the media made them aware of the first recession they had seen in their lives. The pressure was overgrowing at the workplace and both were coping with it and gasping at the monthly installments they were paying for their dream. His pressure was rising at the mention of relocating to Qatar where there was still hope for Mechanical Engineers like him while Mahi relented to the demand of extra shifts in her troubled KPO. They both knew they were paying the installments with their relationship and its bond.
The time difference and the stress and the loneliness ensured they spoke perfectly to each other on the web chats. They both told how their day was, what did they eat and how was the weather. The chat ended with their stoic yawns and banalities of love you’s and an obvious distance that was separating them now even virtually.
GDP was progressing and the economy was finally “out” of recession. The economic cycle was moving to another state and so was Yash. Two years had passed when they had started as newly weds to a couple who celebrated their anniversaries in different worlds. They were like strangers who lived together and paid the bills together to keep the dream home running. The void looked irreparable and enough damage was done when the phone call came. Sonia was back in Yash’s life.
The recording finished with Mahi proclaming on a mountain ‘I Love you’ and Yash smiled at the echo when Mahi giggled at her echo. All they could hear now was the noise of the rain while Sonia yelled at the children to either stay out or stay in.
Just of two of them were there. So much to be said and heard. The words were just not coming right in the mind at the very moment when they felt a sudden urge to wipe the distance. She knew this day would be coming and had practiced what all she would say but at this stage it all looked bizzarre. They hugged and now all looked better and worth paying for.
They held hands while Sonia and the children looked for the correct gate number at the airport. She hugged them and asked Yash for a good neg for her new bhabhi.
neg = customary gifts that sisters ask during a wedding; bhabhi = sister in law