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Monday, October 12, 2015


Tired as a log Rajiv contemplated to ask the auto-rickshaw driver to take him to his house... The meter read 83.90 Rs.....that would cost another 20 Rs and with half return it would mean an extra expense of Rs 30. If he were to walk that would mean a saving of Rs 30.

He left the auto on the main road itself and decided to walk the rest of the distance. Every pore of his body ached from the three hundred kilometer long sales trip. His feet were freezing, in the cold chilly winter night and his stomach grumbled as the food at the motel was a little too expensive...

It wasn't that his earning was poor, it was decent but recent unexpected and unavoidable expenditure and medical bills had left him in huge debt. He calculated to himself... another four month and then it would be all fine. Jia is so adjusting,.... the least he could do is take a little extra pain so that he could gift her the shoes that she was looking in the mall. It pained him to see her move on after seeing the damn price tag... She should have everything that she sets her fingers on. 

Lost in his thoughts, he saw his small rented one room Flat. As he neared his home, he sighed someone again had dumped their garbage near their window. Damn, the stupid flat on the ground floor sucked. He would find a new flat once his economic condition improved.

He knocked at the main door and on his very first knock he saw the lights turned on. She had been awake! She was waiting for him!

Upon entering, he dropped his bag at the door itself and took support of the kitchen Door that was just right of the main door. Leaning on the kitchen Door he dislodged his shoes - the uncomfortable formal shoes that he had been wearing all day. He then lifted his right leg to form the figure "4" between his legs to remove his stinking sweating socks. In the little light that came from the bedroom through the ventilator his eyes fell on the stone in the kitchen.

The Damn "body builder rat" -as Jia used to call it had been creating havoc these days. It would enter through the drain after the filter that was cemented on it had come off. He switched on the kitchen light and walked to the kitchen drain still wearing the sock on his left leg.

Even the heavy stone would not be able to stop the "body-builder rat" if it would not be placed exactly above the drainage. He adjusted the stone, to its proper position  before taking of his socks.

He turned off the kitchen light and walked to the Bathroom on the opposite end barely eight feet away. He flinched at seeing the water. He knew it would be ice cold. It was 3 degree Celsius in the city and water would be colder. There wasn't any Geyser in the house -only immersion rod and that would take time to heat water.

He will have to buy a Geyser for Jia. Funny, he thought to himself, these things now mattered to him. He never would have bothered to wash his feet after being so exhausted, but with Jia in equation everything changed.

He never bothered to heat up the water, as it would both save time and electricity bill - the latter being more important. What the hell, it is only the first mug that shocks you, He held his breath as he dropped the first mug of the ice-cold water on his feet. It was freezing but he followed it up with another and another....By the time he was finished lathering his feet he was shivering...

"Rajiv .... why don't you heat up the water first?"

"Don't bother ... I am almost done here", shouted Rajiv from the bathroom.

He quickly washed his feet, then he proceeded to wash his hand and face. By the time Rajiv was done, it was almost a half bath.

"I'll cook something for you!" said Jia as she handed him the Towel.

Rajiv was famished and Jia knew it, she could understand him so well. He was about to thank her, when he had a look at her face. She looked so pale, so fragile. Her eyes had sunken in and she had developed dark circles around it. She had barely recovered yet she was waiting for him. It was quite late in the night and he couldn't possibly ask her to cook for her. She needed rest.

"I had my dinner", he lied.

"No you didn't! You are lying!"

I have to do something to stop her from cooking. "May be tea! I am shivering"


"But before that I need something...", said Rajiv as he closed the distance between them and gave her a hug.

"The bone-crushing hug", as Jia called it. He always hugged her tight. Every time he hugged her, he wanted to keep her in his arms, to hide her from the world. She was his. She was exquisite. She was so precious that he wanted o shield her from every pain in this world. Rajiv lost track of time.

"Rajiv....Rajiv...I have to make tea.."

"Tea... oh she should take rest..but she would not listen..."


"Uh huh"

" Rajiv ... I have to make tea!"

He spoke in her ears as he smelled the fragrance of her hair... "Tea won't do! I need body heat!" he was just buying time to stop her from going to the kitchen...and he got a reason...Thank God for his old bachelor habit... In those eight feet between kitchen to the washroom,  had four pieces of his clothing - his socks and his shoes"

With Great reluctance he released her from his hug and went to pick his socks. "Ok you go and make tea but I am not going to wash my hands after these, as he showed her his socks."

"Yuck! are you going to drink tea from those dirty hands!" exclaimed Jia.

"Sure if you don't listen to me, why should I listen to you?" asked Rajiv. "Go to bed I'll come after washing my hands"

Jia said nothing and went to bedroom.

Rajiv chuckled to himself as his mind smiled at the fact "No girl in the world would ever risk a guy touching her crockery after touching his dirty socks. And  with a feet that stinks like his, not even a pig would allow that.."

Rajiv picked his shoes and socks and kept it on the shoe rack. He then washed his hands again in the cold water and then checked for the stone in he kitchen to prevent unauthorized entry of the "body-builder rat" He then picked up the empty bottles on the kitchen slab and filled them up for Jia. Then he checked the Gas-stove and cylinder switches, before turning the kitchen lights off again.

As Rajiv entered his bedroom he found Jia was sitting in the bed with a blanket over her.

"I washed my hand with soap thrice!", he spoke as he gave Jia the bottle.

Jia smiled feebly, as Rajiv stared at her. "She was the most wonderful thing that happened to him.."

"Go change!", said Jia shaking the staring Rajiv from his thoughts...

Rajiv changed into a T-shirt and a pair of shorts in the room itself and sneaked into the blanket beside Jia.

"I am bored! Entertain me." complained Jia.

Rajiv laughed, "It's over one in night, what do you want me to do? Strip tease!"

Jia laughed with him, "May be!"

He laughed and so did she.

"Tell me a story Na!", she said with a typical girlish sing-song style 'Na'

He laughed and dropped himself beside Jia and in the process bumped his head on the bedpost.

As he massaged his bump. Jia turned to his side and held his head and with a concerned look on her face asked, "Did you get hurt?"

"Nah", lied Rajiv.

She laid back to the Rajiv's right and covered him with the blanket. "You are so clumsy! you can't even lay down without getting  hurt yourself".

Like a complete idiot as most idiots are - when in love, Rajiv laughed still rubbing his head.

He let out a heavy breath. For some odd reason he just loved the "concerned look" of Jia.

"I love you", he said as he laid straight, his eyes looking at the white ceiling. he thought to himself, " I am really blessed to have Jia in my life. What have I ever done to get so much happiness ..."

"Rajiv ... Rajiv", called Jia and Rajiv's train of thoughts was broken again by Jia's nudge. He turned his head towards her and smiled.

"Rajiv, why do you love me?", asked Jia in an excited yet innocent voice.

"So, you want to hear your praise?", replied Rajiv.

"Noooo! Seriously, why do you love me, Rajiv?"

Rajiv laughed and spoke, " I love you because you are so hot & sexy."

"Common Rajiv, seriously"

" I love you because you are my wife", as he moved to hug her.

"Get away from me! Seriously",  as she pushed Rajiv away.

Rajiv was again on his back, he sighed, "I love you because...."

The ceiling fan in the bedroom made more noise than the air it gave. Rajiv looked at the stupid brown fan and the white ceiling behind it and then stared at the pale yellow wall. He was still searching for the right answer. He thought hard about it hard, while the fan creaked in the yellow bedroom wall.

He recalled Jia's personality, her laugh, her affection, her anger...everthing. He actually adored her laughing, her innocent face... but these were still likes  - NOT LOVE.

To say the truth, he never liked her mother - but that was never asked and a truth none should dare to mention to their wife.

To be honest with himself there were actually many things he did not appreciate in Jia. Yes, there were many things he "DID NOT APPRECIATE", "dislike" being too strong a word for comfort. 

And there were even more things like her nose rings which he had started to appreciate after being with Jia. 

However, again these were "LIKES", and not  "LOVE".  Somehow Jia made his world complete. He found peace and solace in her arms.With Jia laughter came to him naturally. With Jia, the world was beautiful place to live in. The "bone -crushing hug", was the reason to look forward to every "tomorrow" but inspite of all, these were not the reason why he 'loved'  her.

Actually, he didn't have a reason to love her. 

"Rajiv... are you asleep?"

"Huh... I love you because I love you Jia".

"Story...Rajiv", whined Jia.

Rajiv smiled, "Once upon a time there was a tiger in a jungle....."

Rajiv was never a good storyteller but at that moment he was still trying to find an answer to the Jia's question. His below par narration skills were accentuated with him being at two minds.

"...And so the tiger died and the calf and his mothers lived happily..." spoke Rajiv as he finished his story.

"Don't you dare to tell stories to mu children", threatened Jia smilingly. "You were horrible."

Rajiv chuckled and Jia laughed.

"I am sleepy.... sing me a lullaby" demanded Jia as an innocent child, while she snuggled on the Rajiv's outstretched arm.

Rajiv smiled and tried to sing;

" Rock a my baby
   On the tree top
   When the wind blows
   the cradle will rock"

And somewhere down the street a dog joined the chorus...

Jia laughed hysterically at the sheer coincidence. Or perhaps it was the God's appreciation of Rajiv's vocals. Rajiv laughed too and went to hug the snuggled Jia.

Their eyes met,and she became serious.

"Promise me one thing, no matter what comes between us...Promise will always hug me this way."

Rajiv looked back to her moistened eyes and said, "I will .... I will"  as he switched off the lights.

"I will ... I swear to God..." spoke Rajiv as continued to caress Jia's tresses with his left hand.


In the errie silence of the night, a man woke up to find his fingers intertwined in the folds of his cold bedsheet.  The Clock displayed 2:32AM, the air conditioning was set to 18 C. Now graying, Mr. Saxsena forehead was drenched in sweat  as he looked at the young Rajiv in the mirror.

"Certain things are beyond human reasons", spoke Rajiv smilingly to Mr. Saxsena.