“I want to thank my parents for encouraging me.” Cheryl’s eyes scanned the nooks and corners as she spoke what she had memorized before the concert. “A special thanks to my music teacher…” Aunt Thelma was huddled in a corner, her eyes shining. She had taken Cheryl to her piano lessons every alternate day, learned piano for her and practiced with her. But, there was no mention of her in the speech prepared by her dad and supervised by her mom. “Thank you, Aunt Thelma” whispered Cheryl. Thelma could not hide her tear-streaked cheeks and a subtle, victorious smile.
Vimmi felt the caressing breeze and inhaled the scent of pine trees. “What does the Kumaon Valley look like?” she asked. “Fabulous.” He replied, guiltily. She had always wanted to come to Nainital for their honeymoon, but Vikas had refused marriage for 7 years, citing his career. Vimmi backtracked after her accident, but Vikas refused to go away. He had not realized her love for nature and her fervent desire to visit Nainital until now. “Why don’t you take a walk while I wait here?” she smiled. “I am scared.” He replied, helping her up. “You lead the way.”
Fali looked out of his cabin window. He recalled his dad’s toothy smile, their old boat, and his simple childhood as a fisherman’s son. He still heard his dad’s wild laughter, echoing in the sea. Now nobody around him laughed loudly and neither did Fali. They smiled out of necessity. However, one thing did not change. The waters had ruled his father’s life and now they ruled his. “Sir, the Captain’s cocktail party begins in 10 minutes.” A young officer stood there. Captain Fali Dastur nodded his head without bothering to smile. He followed the officer to the deck.
Sid looked at the threatening blue water as he stood at the edge of a swimming pool. He remembered the day 60 years ago when his coach pushed him inside the pool. Sid had told his disappointed mother that he would never go anywhere near a pool, a beach or even a pond. He had kept his word till now. His granddaughter looked at him with determination and tenacity. “Grandpa, don’t you want to get rid of your arthritis? You can do it. Get in.” He felt some of her courage entering him as he stepped inside the water.
Roy smelled something foul as he sat in his desk. Was Mrs. D’Souza roasting almonds? Rosy and Roland bounced into the room, “Dad, we are off to the Halloween party.” They jumped and down; their black costumes and weird make-up irritated him. “Hurry up then.” He had wanted to send them to a boarding school after Lizzy’s death, but a shred of humanity in the corner of his heart prevented him from doing so. Roy choked as the odor spread through the room. Now he recognized it as cyanide; the one he had administered to Lizzy 5 years ago.
David’s memory was put up in the living room. After the birth of the triplets, he was moved into their dad’s study. As the children grew, he was relegated to the cupboard deep inside. He heard the kids coo, crawl, walk and then speak their first words. David wanted to see his sisters and brother play. He wished to hear his mother’s voice. No one had said his name for the past 3 years. Though he wanted it to be this way, he still felt a sense of loss. Had he survived, he would have been 5 years old.
As soon as Clara and Nick took their seats, he sighed loudly and stretched, causing a grandpa next to him to frown. After the chick flick started, he kicked a coke can below his legs. “I am thirsty.” he declared.
had spilled popcorn all over the front seats.
To think we came to this theater,” said Nick who never cleaned his room.
at some teenagers cuddling, “The current generation is indecent.” he told grandpa.
grateful for the interval. “Shall we go?”
He did not belong to anyone. He used and threw them. Now he was sick from a terminal illness, lying alone. His housekeeper of 10 years walked to him and changed his clothes without emotion. “Thank you,” he told her. Had he spoken to her? She looked at him, stunned. He could detect some deep feeling behind her eyes for the first time. He had never known her eyes were intelligent and kind. Why had he not seen her before? The way she looked at him! He held her hands, gratified that he had found true love at last.
Tough-looking muscled men chopped the trees, cutting nature’s artwork to make way for furniture. Loud women worked with them, chatting and laughing. The little one hid behind the trees, glad that she had no legs. She was scared that they would find her out. She nibbled on the cakes and fruits they had left in the corner. It was the same every year; she longed for new cream cakes and pastries. She paused, startled. A man came quite close to her. If the little one had a heart, it would have thudded. But, she had died 5 years ago.
It was cloudy when Macie returned home. She had been little more than a machine for the past 2 years. Her husband sighed, reaching out to take her hat and coat. All of a sudden, a fierce gust of wind shook their living room. The wind blew through his study, scattering his papers and bringing down a doll, which he had hidden from her. He did not hear the doll fall, but Macie did. She rushed over and picked it up, her eyes watering. She looked at his stunned face and sobbed for the first time in 2 years.