The Missing Socks

What would anyone say if I told them that in a week’s time, not one but four pairs of my hubby’s socks have gone missing? Why I’m stressing on “a week”, is because for the past two months he was working from home, and he has resumed office since a week now, and hence the need for socks!

Well I know, a pair of socks is not something costly to waste anyone’s precious time pondering on it. However, here I’m talking about four pairs! And in my case it’s importance is equal, if not more than my favourite pair of shoes or dress.  You see, my hubby has this strange fascination of matching his socks with the trouser he wears, and he’s quite finicky about it. So the day he wears blue trousers, he would go for blue socks, and likewise. We have had numerous arguments on this topic, and seriously I have failed to understand why would someone take so much care to match the trouser with the socks instead of the shirt. I mean who on earth would even bother to peep inside our shoes to find out which colour socks we are wearing! However, this logic has gone completely tangent to his brain, everytime this topic came up in past. Over the years I have realised that to maintain the sanctity of marriage and one’s sanity, it’s always better to ignore some minor defects in the spouse.

Now coming back to the present situation, exactly four pairs of socks have gone missing and the husband has gone completely berserk since the time he discovered this, which is yesterday. Now let me tell you, his wardrobe has every coloured men’s socks available in the market, sans any design. And the number varies according to its importance, that is, he has more of black, blue, and grey than brown, cream and white.

Yesterday before leaving for office, he put forth this important conclusion that the darker shades of socks are missing, and he’s left with only lighter shades. I racked my brain for a minute and replied that either they are in the laundry basket or they are yet to dry. You see, it’s raining cats and dogs in Mumbai, and clothes don’t dry that easily here. Anyway, I forgot all about it until today morning when he was frantically searching for a blue pair of socks to match his blue trousers. And after failing to find a matching one, he grumpily wore the cream one and left for office. This sent a red signal to my brain, and I knew I had to do something about it, before the sun rises tomorrow. First I checked his wardrobe, and for sure only light coloured socks were left. Next I checked the half dried clothes, where only three pairs of socks in dark shades were there. And the laundry basket had only the last two days’s clothes, so where did the rest go?

Had it been a few years earlier, I could have easily concluded that they must have got misplaced in my father-in-law’s wardrobe. Those days, when my father-in-law was still working, both my mother-in-law and I would unabashedly mix up the socks and the handkerchiefs of the two men in our family, much to their chagrin. However my father-in-law is a retired person now, and doesn’t wear socks anymore, so the chances of my hubby’s socks landing there is unlikely. And the third male in the family, that is my son, is still too small to enter the league of missing clothing.

Now I was left with the only option of  imagining that the socks must have gotten bored staying at home for two months, and have grown wings and ventured out of the home without our knowledge, and much before his office started. As much as it sounded funny the situation wasn’t really funny. Though I’m saved for a couple of days with the socks drying outside, the inevitable question still remains, where are the rest?

I didn’t have the entire day to ponder on this, and had to take care of the daily chores. I decided to search for them again later in the afternoon. I finished my work and got ready for my daily noon walk. After a hiatus of almost two months,  I have resumed walking precisely at the same time my husband joined the office. I got ready, wore my fitness band and mask, took the earphones, phone, and sanitiser, and opened my wardrobe to take out my socks. I put my hands inside through the mess of undergarments. Actually I have been contemplating on arranging my wardrobe for sometime now, and specially the undergarments drawer that also contains my socks and handkerchiefs. I got hold of a pair of socks and pulled it out. I stared at the colour for sometime! It was black and I don’t have black socks. Then I pulled out another one, and it was dark blue, something which again I didn’t possess.  I couldn’t understand what was happening. In frustration I dumped the entire content of the drawer on the bed. I forgot all about walking and stared at the heap in astonishment. It  looked like my socks must have mated in the confinement of the drawer and given birth to their progeny, that didn’t even resemble them. Because now I had a total of eight socks, three in  attractive girly shades, and five more in boring blacks, greys and blues! It took me another minute to realise that those were my husband’s socks, that must have secretly entered my drawer to have some romantic moments with their counterparts.

Without wasting a minute, I texted my husband stating “Mystery of your missing socks solved.  Found your four pairs (black, grey and blue) in my drawer, and one extra too!”

Bang came his reply,  “There is nothing surprising about it!”.

Yes I am extremely forgetful, and I mix things up very conveniently, without even realising and then search for the same.

However, this is the first time that I have mixed up his clothes with mine, and I really dread the day when my son finally grows up!

A Sailor

The ship slowly passes the coast of Kanyakumari, where the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean merge with each other in a blissful union. The sailors look out longingly towards the land they call their home.

It has been months they are sailing, away from their friends and families. The three different shades of blue remind them of how varied they all are, with their different cultures and traditions. Yet how seamlessly they unite towards a common goal; the goal to keep the supply chain running in a world struck with a pandemic.

An Unique Love Story

You don’t know about falling off cliffs, Prep­pie,’ she said. ‘You never fell off one in your god­damn life.’

‘Yeah,’ I said, re­cov­er­ing the power of speech. ‘When I met you.’

This is one of the many famous lines from the book “Love Story” by Erich Segal. I can vouch that I haven’t read a love story that is so real.

Every love story is unique in its own way, but then when you realise that the story resembles a personal one, it becomes all the more special.

Like the characters of the book, the characters of my love story met when they were in the University. Barely of twenty-one, they were opposite in every way possible. While he was jovial and outspoken, she was shy and timid. Where he could act childish and pick up fights, she could handle every situation with a maturity beyond her age. His average looks were complimented by her ethereal beauty, and while his receding hairline became a cause of concern, she boasted of long black tresses that almost touched her waistline. No doubt they fitted perfectly and completed each other in every possible way.

On the one hand while the differences were what brought them together, it was the differences again that became a source of problem for them. While the boy belonged to an upper caste, the girl was from a lower caste. They belonged to a time when the caste system was profound and love marriages were not common. Convincing their respective families became a task. It is said that the girl’s father was so upset with her for falling in love with someone out of her caste, he didn’t speak to her for an entire month.

While she was enduring ill treatment at home, he was having a war of entirely a different level. Being a topper his entire life in school, college and university he didn’t have much trouble in securing a well paid job. However, there began his actual problem. He started getting marriage proposals through family friends and relatives.

Those days they didn’t have phones, and they communicated with each other through letters. In one such letter, he made his intentions clear to her. And as  promised, he took along his best friend and visited her house on a Saturday evening. He met the girl’s father and asked for her hand in marriage. As the saying goes “True love always wins at the end”,  by the blessings of their families, they got married on a wintry day of January with pomp and splendour.

“Love is not about how many days, months or years you have been together. Love is how much you love each other every single day.” – by anonymous
As the couple made plans for a blissful married life, God made his own plans. Exactly five years after their marriage, she suddenly passed away in her sleep due to a heart attack, leaving behind an inconsolable young man and a six month old baby girl.

“What can you say about a twenty-five-year old girl who died?

That she was beautiful. And Brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And Beatles. And me.”

These are the beginning lines of the book “Love Story”. How stark a similarity can a story have to someone’s life? When I read the book for the first time, I felt like I was reading their story. The only difference is that the girl in my story was thirty when she died. And if you ask me how can this be a personal story? The six month old baby she left behind was me. This is the  story of my parents; a story I have heard innumerable times from my aunts; a story I have read in the letters so carefully tucked away in the corner of his almirah; a story that didn’t ever end with her life. This is the story of love, between two perfectly imperfect individuals who never gave up on each other. And I’m blessed to have witnessed this love much after she was gone.

My long forgotten shoes !!

I wonder if my shoes have forgotten me,
Or are they wondering whether I’m dead!
I fear that when I finally get to wear them,
Will they recognize me,
Or will they defy to fit in my feet!

What if they think I’m their new owner,
And throw tantrums all over again.
Giving shoe bites and blisters,
And making my feet’s life a hell!

Hey Mom!

Motherhood is an amazing journey that teaches you so much, and unlike any other journey there’s no end to it.  When a woman embarks on the journey of motherhood,  she experiences a myriad of emotions. 

She experiences joy, excitement,  surprise,  sadness, anger, fear, shame and guilt. Isn’t it astounding to know how a little being can infuse so much feelings in her. Just like the variety of emotions,  even Mothers are of different types.  So are you ready to know what type of a mother you are?

1. The Ever worrying Mom – She worries about every thing. A change in the colour of baby’s poop, a small boil on the baby’s stomach, too much phone calls to friends,  partying late, not answering the phone.   You just name it,  and she’ll start worrying. 

2. The super chilled Mom – She’s just opposite to the above kind.  She takes everything in a light and matured way and doesn’t worry unnecessarily. Even in difficult situations, she knows how to keep herself calm and composed. 

3. The perfectionist Mom – You’ll probably find her with a check list in hand.  She’s the type who keeps everything ready from before hand. She’s also the one who’ll go out of the way to ensure her child’s  school projects are done up to the mark.

4. The socially active Mom – She loves posting photos of her child on facebook and instagram. You find her keeping you updated on her child’s new hobby class, school outings, family picnic, some achievements. Anything and everything,  you’ll find her child’s latest photo with a caption on social media. 

5. The Masterchef Mom – From cakes to laddoos, to Kababs and Jams, she knows how to cook everything under the sun. She loves to cook and spoil her little one with a variety of delights. She’s the kind who’s most disliked by the daughter-in-laws.

6. The shopaholic Mom – She’s the one who loves to shop for the latest trends for her child. In any party, her child will probably be the most well dressed kid. She keeps a check on all the online shopping platforms for new arrivals. You’ll find her more in shopping malls than at home.  

7. The Studious Mom – She’s the one who herself was a near topper in school,  and now runs after her kids to make them one.  You’ll find her always standing with a ruler behind her child’s study table.  She’s a no nonsense mother.  She’ll not take any excuses when it comes to studies.

8. The fun loving Mom – She’s a child herself, who’s relieving her childhood days with her kid again.  She enthusiastically takes part in all her child’s activities.  You’ll probably find her going down the roller coaster or jumping in the pool with her kid. 

9. The traveller Mom – She loves to travel and she’ll carry her child wherever she goes. By the time the child has reached 10, he or she has probably seen half the world. 

So did you find out what type of a Mom you are? I can tell you I’m a combination of 3 and 8, with a bit of 7. I would love to know about you now.  Please hit the like button if you enjoyed reading my blog.

Life’s Second Chances

I got married at the age of twenty, just after finishing college and without even knowing how my husband looked. Those days, matrimonial ties were decided mostly by the parents.  I was told that the groom gave his nod after seeing my photograph. Well, I was beautiful to say the least. He worked well, was of good character and had a decent place to live. What else would a girl want? Yes, they were right! I really didn’t want anything more.

On our wedding day I saw him for the first time; tall, slender with a wheatish complexion. Our eyes met during the exchange of garlands. Did I see a tinge of smile in them, I cannot say! However, they were the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. In the initial days of our marriage I wished to tell him many times how beautiful his eyes were, but felt shy every time I thought of it. Women were not supposed to be vocal, and those who dared to express were condemned as a product of western culture. It was the early seventies, and the influence of western culture was visible in our cinemas, yet the women from the middle class families were expected to act demurely. In a year’s time we welcomed our first born, a girl and in another couple of years later, my second child was born; a boy this time. Our family was deemed complete.  

My husband was a caring, responsible and a complete family man. Among the two of us, I was the one who would talk most of the time. He was a man of few words and would love to listen everything to the minutest of details. Occasionally he would give his opinion or advice to something that he thought was of importance. He never really imposed any restrictions on me, yet there was an invisible line which I dared not cross. We lived our lives as per the societal norms, and were a typical Indian family and a happy one too. 

Years passed by, both our children were well educated and were working. We thought it the right time to get our daughter married. She was already twenty-six and was working in the US as an IT professional. Before we could vouch the subject, she called up one day to announce that she was getting married to an American boy.  She said he worked in her company and loved her a lot. We were invited to Los Angeles to give our blessings. To be frank, we were shocked beyond words. Our middle class mentality, conservatism and the society rule book came in the way to accept this alliance whole heartedly.

As we were coping with this bit of news, my husband passed away just like that in his sleep. With my daughter in a faraway land and my husband gone forever, my life seemed meaningless. Yet I had to carry on for the sake of my son. When my son got married, I felt my responsibilities were over. I could rest and enjoy my old-age in the company of my grandchildren. However, I soon realised how wrong I was. In the pretext of living near the office, my son shifted to a single bedroom flat within a few months of his marriage.   I was left lonely and broken-hearted. I couldn’t believe that my son, whom I took care of all my life, would desert me in that manner when I needed him the most.

I cursed my daughter-in-law and brooded for days to come. As I sat retrospecting on my life, I was transported back to my twenty-year-old self. I remembered how I was told that my marriage was fixed, and nobody even asked me if I wanted anything else. I was not given any choice to lead my own life. But now that my responsibilities were over, and I was all alone again, is it true that I didn’t have anything better to do with my life? I realised that for the first time I could choose what I wanted to do with the remaining days of my life. Along with it came the realisation that all these years  I had lived only for others, and this was the first time I was about to live for myself. 

The very first thing I did was to enrol myself in our society’s yoga class. I was surprised to see so many ladies of my age. I formed a circle of like-minded people, and we started spending quality time with each other. This took out the bitterness that I was nurturing in my heart, and slowly but eventually I forgave my son and daughter-in-law. In fact, I started seeing everything from an entirely new perspective. I realised how the choices they made were not related to me, but to them. They were both working, had a hectic life which was quite different from mine. Yearning for some privacy was nothing wrong after all! I knew that even though my son was staying separately, he was just a call away. This newly found wisdom renewed my relationship with them. I started seeing everything from a different angle and was in awe to see the equal partnership that my son and daughter-in-law shared; something that was missing in our times.

The second thing I did was something that I always dreamt of; I took up writing. I always had a flair for writing stories and poems but was shy enough to put my thoughts out into the world. When my daughter-in-law came to know about it, she helped me publish my first story in a local magazine. Since then I have never looked back.  I published my first book when I was sixty-one years and earned quite a bit of recognition in my writer’s community.

They say life gives us a second chance. I would say that it’s not life, but it’s us who should snatch a second chance from life. Sometimes we wait for the right opportunities without realising that the opportunity had come and left. We stop ourselves thinking about the people, who only exist in our minds. If we are not doing anything that would harm ourselves or any other person, and are morally correct, then there’s no age to start anything new. Learning is a constant process, and it ends only when we die. The choices we make shape our lives. When my son left me, I had the choice to brood over, curse my daughter-in-law and be an agony aunt, or I had the choice to do what I did.  

This story is inspired by all the women I have known or got to know till date. It amazes me how they sacrifice their wishes and desires for the sake of their family. They walk on the path that has been decided by this society. Yet, once in a blue moon, there’s someone who rises differently. They give life a second chance at an age when everyone expects them to take rest, as their responsibilities as a wife and a mother are over. I wish every woman get or snatches this second chance in life, that they truly deserve.

Image Credit – Pixabay

The Lost Promise

My grandmother was an active lady who loved and lived for her family. Her life revolved around her husband, children and grandchildren. As a little girl, I remember her always busy, attending the endless relatives who used to visit our home. She had great culinary skills and she loved to feed people. She always made sure that who ever visited our home, should never leave in an empty stomach.  

It was during one such day, when I met Durga. I was fourteen years old and she was around eighteen. She used to work in one of our relatives house,  and had hence accompanied her to our home.  Durga sat in one corner oblivion to all the noise and chattering.  She looked very quiet and shy.

My grandmother, who had by that time served all the guests,  looked at Durga and called her to the kitchen. I was curious to know why my grandmother had called her. In the kitchen, I saw my grandmother put a plate for Durga, filled with all the delicacies she had cooked that day. It was obvious that Durga was not used to such attention.  She stood still looking at the plate. My grandmother then took her by the hand and made her sit on a small chair. Then she handed over the plate to her and very politely asked her to eat. 

At night,  when all the guests had left, I saw my grandmother sitting pensively near the window. She was quieter than usual.  At first, I thought that she was tired, but after a minute or so I realized that there were tears in her eyes. That was the first time in my entire fourteen years life that I saw her crying. I asked her very gently what was the reason for her sudden grief. She hesitated a bit and then started narrating a story – a story about a girl called Durga.

As a young girl of around eight years,  my grandmother used to live in Rajshahi, which is now a part of Bangladesh. This was before our country got independence from the British rule. My grandmother had a very dear friend named Durga. They were like soul sisters. They spent the entire day playing with dolls, running on the fields,  climbing trees, and swimming in the pond.

Since Durga belonged to a much poorer family, she used to have her lunch and dinner at my grandmother’s place almost all the days. This friendship continued like this for almost a decade until the time my grandmother got married and shifted to Calcutta, now called Kolkata.  Before the final goodbye,  my grandmother promised her friend that she’ll come to her wedding whenever that happens.  

After shifting to Calcutta, my grandmother became busy with her new life.  They did exchange letters,  but slowly that decreased in number, until one day, when it finally stopped. My grandmother waited for a reply from Durga, but that never came. In the mean time, India got her much deserved independence. There were riots everywhere.  Rajshahi became a part of East Pakistan. Fearing the loss of life, many people fled their homes and ran away to Calcutta and adjoining places. 

My grandmother who was by that time had become a mother, asked her relatives about Durga’s whereabouts, but it was not known.  Some said that they were killed in the riots and some said they fled to Calcutta. She became busy with kids, family and responsibilities and slowly forgot her promise, until today when she remembered it again seeing another Durga. She shed tears not only for her lost friendship, but also for the unfulfilled promise. She felt guilty for not trying hard to find her friend.

Hearing this story as a child I cried for the friendship and the promise that was not kept. Today as a woman myself,  I feel lucky that we have the technology to keep in touch with our friends and families across the world.  But what about those women, who didn’t have such technology during their times?  Their desires, wishes and promises got sacrificed in the name of duties and responsibilities.  I wonder, did they ever live for themselves? Nobody knows the answer! 

Image Credit – Pixabay

The Story Of The Missing White Rose

Julia kept down the phone and adjusted the sofa cushions. The summer sun was streaming into the living room through the white honeycomb window of her duplex house. It was her seventieth birthday and her close friends and family were calling her to know how she was doing. Just five months back she had lost her husband, after battling with cancer for a long time. It was the first time in forty-five years that she was all alone on her birthday. She looked out into the garden and inevitably her eyes fell on the rose plant that had a beautiful white rose till yesterday. However, today morning when she woke up and went to the garden to water the plants, she was shocked to see it gone. She couldn’t understand who would do such a lowly thing as stealing a rose from someone’s garden. She knew that if George would have been alive, he wouldn’t have let that rose go missing. In this world, if she loved anything more after her husband, it was those white roses.

There was not a single birthday when George hadn’t gifted his beautiful wife, her favourite white roses. Along with the roses there would always be a handmade card with a lovely message for her. Those roses were not just flowers, but they were the witnesses of her entire life’s story. They were the symbol of the everlasting love that she had experienced with her husband of forty-five years. Today on her birthday, she missed the presence of them both.

She sighed at the thought of how carefully she had nurtured the rose plant, after George left for his heavenly abode. Two days ago, when the rose bud had finally blossomed, she was sure it was George’s gift for her on her birthday. But now everything was gone. She wiped the tears and turned away from the window, when the doorbell rang. She was surprised as she wasn’t expecting anyone. When she opened the door, there was nobody outside. She was about to close the door when her eyes fell on the white rose that lay on the doormat. Along with it, there was a handmade card. Her heart skipped a beat when she slowly opened the card. Tears trickled down her cheeks again as she read the message.

“To my bestie, my love, my wife,
Happy Birthday to you. I had made so many plans for your seventieth birthday, but God had
already made his own plans. I love you and will always do. Never think that you are alone,
as I’ll be by your side forever. Remember, wherever I may be, I can always see you.
Whenever you miss me, look at the white rose in the garden and know that I’m also looking at you.
Yours always,

Julia couldn’t believe her eyes. The handwriting was that of George’s. She couldn’t understand who had left the card and the rose at her doorstep. That entire day she thought about George, the missing white rose, and George’s writing on the card. The next day, when she was watering the rose plant, behind the brown coloured pot, she discovered a note on a small yellow paper, which read “Please check your mailbox”.

A bit surprised, she opened the mail box and found a letter inside it.
It read,

“Dear Julia,
I’m sorry that yesterday morning I had plucked that beautiful white rose from your
garden. You see, during the last stages of his illness, George had visited me one day. He
gave me a card which he had made for you. He was so certain he wouldn’t make it till your
birthday, that his conviction brought tears to my eyes. It was his last wish, that I should keep
the card along with a bunch of white roses outside your door on your birthday. He was sure
that your first birthday without him would be miserable, and he wanted to make it happy for
you. But I couldn’t find a single white rose yesterday because of this lockdown. I saw from
my window, how you were staring at the rose plant when you came to water it. Please
forgive me for the misery that I had caused you. Hope the card brought a smile on your
face. Stay strong

Next door neighbour”

Julia looked around at the windows of the adjacent houses. She hoped to have a glance of her kind neighbour, but all the windows were barren. She smiled to herself and thanked this person for keeping George’s last wish and making her birthday bearable.

Image Credit – Pixabay