Sneaking Out

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It was past 2AM, Minie slowly crept out of the bed, quickly stuffed her bag, winked at herself one last time in the mirror and started climbing down the stairs. She had been planning this escape since two days so silently and quickly, she walked past the living room and turned towards the kitchen to jump out of the kitchen window.  She slowly opened the hatch and just as she climbed onto the kitchen counter, her dad quietly said, “Something tells me you are not sleep walking Minie!” She jumped up like a scared kitten and almost fell off the counter.

With no remorse but a goofy smile and mischief in her eyes, Minie turned around and faced her father, “ummm… well dad, I was practicing sneaking out of the house, like they show in the movies!!! I wanted to see if I can manage without waking you guys up. But clearly, I failed.”

Namit replied, “You want me to believe that you are not running away but just practicing. Come on Minie! I’m your dad, give me some credit for wisdom that comes from age, if not for brains.”

“Seriously dad, you can check my bag,” she opened and showed her bag pack, it was stuffed with crumpled newspaper.  Namit just couldn’t help but laugh at that. He pulled out an ice-cream tub from the fridge and father and daughter sat at the counter having ice-cream at 2AM.

“Please don’t tell this to Mom, she will freak out.”

Namit said, “you know that’s not the rule, we never hide anything from each other. In fact, if you were doing this experiment, you should have given us a heads up – ‘Hey mom-dad, I am going to do a movie-style experiment one of these days so please don’t freak out. Once it’s over I will give you the details.’

Minie nodded her head at her father’s logic and said, “Next time, definitely. By the way Paa, how did you wake up, I was extremely quiet, didn’t switch on a single light and nor did I jingle any of wind-chimes on my way down.”

Now it was Namit’s turn to look sheepish and goofy, “Well! I, umm, I modified your old baby monitor and made it into a security device which alerts me of smallest of movements in your room. I only activate it at night and it was meant only to alert us of any intruder in your room.” Minie’s mouth was wide open.

Namit closed it and continued, “So tonight it beeped for the first time and it took me sometime to realize that it’s the security device beeping. By the time I got out of my room, I saw your silhouette inching down the stairs. So I just followed you and waited for the right moment to surprise you!”

Minie couldn’t help but laugh and admire her father’s ingenuity. With the ice-cream polished away, they both went up to their rooms with the promise that they’ll tell the full-story (with all the theatrics) to Mom tomorrow.

Affording Vanity

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Jamie looked in the mirror for the tenth time – checked her necktie, her belt, turned around and checked her shirt, she wanted it to be neatly tucked, with just a small pleat falling over her belt. Then she turned back and practiced her smile as she wanted it to be just perfect, neither too forth coming nor too reserved. Finally, satisfied with her appearance, she went to work.

Day by day, the same routine followed. Jamie would get up and meticulously get dressed. She’d take great pains to look perfect, with a neatly ironed dress, elegantly coiffured hair, radiant make-up and of course, the perfectly practiced smile.

For a career receptionist with no other means to support herself, Jamie needed to check her necktie to see if she was modest and presentable. She needed to check her belt regularly to see if the scuffs were covered and she needed to tuck her shirt in perfectly so that the hole in the back wasn’t visible.

You see, vanity is only for those who can afford it.

Love at first sight!

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It wasn’t even 6.00 AM yet, Shrey was awake and lying in bed, just waiting for the alarm to go off so that he could get ready for his school trip to the Gir forest. He had his brand new camera by his side and one singular aim of capturing a real life lion on the camera. To distract himself from the staring contest with his clock, he turned around and looked outside the window, he saw a peacock perched outside. He immediately brought up his camera and snapped away few pictures. It was love at first sight! Love with the world and the colors his camera showed him.

It was 5.00AM, half a mintue before the alarm rang Rhea switched it off. Her small town at the edge of Gujarat was still asleep. She quickly got out of bed, tidied it and went to freshen up. After half an hour, she was at her study desk, with her head in her books. Rhea was an honest and hardworking girl, studying day and night to get good grades in school. She had only one goal in mind, to become a successful business woman and for that she didn’t just need good grades but a good stock of street smarts. And so she was studying hard to get out of her small town and get into a good college in Mumbai, the best place to know the crowds and push to its forefront. Six months later, with the added feather of school topper to her plume, she got onto the train. Her train was pulling into Mumbai and right from Vasai creek, she was at the train door soaking in the sights of her dream city. Half an hour later when the train pulled into the station and she stepped down clutching her prized possession, her admission papers to her dream college, it was love at first sight! Love with her dream city, love that comes with knowing that she’d embarked on her dream journey and her goal, though far, was very much within reach.

It was past midnight, she was sleepy but was fighting sleep with everything she had. Roshni was a bubbly 6 year old, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new baby. She was sitting on the dingy hospital sofa, waiting for the miracle to happen. Right from the beginning she had explained to everyone in the family that even if its in the middle of the night and she was fast asleep, she wanted to be woken up when the baby came. So sometime at 2.00 AM her father woke her up from the corner of the sofa where she was huddled into oblivion. With groggy eyes she climbed down from the sofa and went to her mother’s bed. Her father lifted her onto the bed next to her mother where her mother was holding a tiny, chubby, girl in her arms. All of Roshni’s sleep vanished, she carefully and reverently took her baby sister onto her lap and planted a huge sloppy kiss on her cheeks, declaring to everyone who cared to hear her: I LOVE HER! I’LL NEVER LEAVE HER!

She was running with 3 heavy bags on her arms but she couldn’t think about the weight because she was late. She was supposed to be at the client’s place half an hour ago, delivering her first batch of outfits. Rutva was an aspiring fashion designer, trying to run a boutique from her home (ofcourse with the dream of having a chain of haute couture boutiques across the country). After struggling for about a year, she’d managed to gather her first big order: wedding trousseau for a school friend. She had just collected all the clothes from her tailor and was running to deliver them to her friend’s apartment. Tired of waiting for the lift, she turned around to take the stairs and at the first landing only bumped into a handsome stranger. It was sparks at first sight as they both bent down to pick up the scattered packets. The handsome stranger turned out to be her friend’s cousin and from there on, the sparks went on to become dates and love and finally a blissful marriage.

Sameer was sitting by the window gazing outside while reflecting on the inside. He’d led a very happy life of 70 years with a big happy family to show for it. He’d married Sneha, his college sweetheart and built a small world for themselves. While he worked on providing for the family, Sneha endeavored to keep  their lives running smoothly. After marriage, Sameer’s world revolved around her. With little road bumps and lots of cloud sevens, their life progressed from one milestone to another. Four years after marriage, Sneha gave birth to twins and before they realized, the twins had grown up and each had two children of their own. Just last year, a heart attack in her sleep had claimed Sneha’s life. Today as he was reliving his life and its highlights, he had a premonition that today was the time to embrace death. He slowly walked to his bed, took out the small framed picture of his wedding day from his bedside. Sneha had her arm around his neck and had an ear-to-ear smile. It was the best day of his life and he wanted that image as he closed his eyes. It was the love of last sight. A sight and love that he wished to carry with him to his death bed and beyond.

Cracked!

It was past midnight and after her nightly ritual of book-reading she turned around to switch off the bedside lamp when she saw a huge crack in the drawer in her night stand. She switched off the light with a resolve that she’ll check it out in the morning.

Next day she got up and in the course of her routine, she forgot about the crack. Again at night when she switched off the light she resolved to check it out and forgot the next day. This continued till the drawer had to be replaced.

He came from office at his usual 9.00 PM, all tired and irritated. He took out his wallet to place on his night stand and saw a slight tear at the corner. He thought over the weekend he’ll go and buy a new one, it doesn’t suit a manager level guy to carry a torn wallet. But weekends came and went and he only replaced it when the tear turned into a hole and change fell through it.

He came home from office and saw the dining table was dusty and the sofa cushions were awry. He didn’t say anything, thinking,”she’ll manage the house and its chores in her own way, I shouldn’t impose.” The next day he came from office, the table was still dirty and the cushions were no better. It continued, until one day he walked into the house and lost his temper and they fought from dusk till dawn, bringing up incidents from the last 10 years of their marriage. And all over what, a dusty table and awry cushions.

She was telling him about a tragic incident in her friend’s life and how they should try to visit her in the next month or so but he was so tired that he didn’t listen. She thought, “I’ll let it be today and will try tomorrow”. The next day, again she tried to tell him about how her day was and he was busy watching the news. She thought, “he needs to relax, I’ll talk later.” The tomorrow didn’t come and while she forgot that she needed to tell him the incident again, she remembered that he didn’t listen to her.

They were both seeing the cracks in their relationships but not doing anything to fix them. However, unlike a night stand and a wallet, its not easy to live with cracked relationships and nor is it easy to replace a cracked relationship with a new one.