The birthday.

The shrill ringing of the doorbell woke her up. She lay still, trying to ignore the madman outside but just as she had convinced herself he'd gone away, it started again.

If it was the doodhwala come to collect his payment a day early, she was going to kill him, she thought savagely. Wasnt a body entitled to a sleep-in on their birthday?

A young boy was standing on the doorstep grinning widely.

"For you, madam," he said, carrying two flower arrangements.

He seemed to think it a matter of congratulations that she had rated not one, but two, and his joy at bringing these excellent tidings was palpable. She sighed, no she really couldn't send him away with a flea in his ear. Instead she handed over a generous tip.

Both were orchid arrangements, that sensuous, elegant flower she loved. These could only have come from two men. Even the flowers they contained revealed something about the personalities of the senders. One had the most vivid selection of orange & yellow orchids, the colours clashing together in a harmony of exuberance and joy, while the orchids in the second arrangement were a pure stately white.

She pulled out the cards, laughed out loud at the first which had a sappy love poem and was signed flamboyantly - Akash, while the other one said simply 'Have a nice day, R'. Rajan, Rajan, she thought, mentally shaking her head at him. Private & reserved as usual.

After arranging them in the living room to her satisfaction, she wondered about the rest of the day. On a sudden impulse, she called the magazine and took the day off. When was the last time she'd treated herself on a birthday? She had a dinner date with Akash, but now was for her alone. Akash's gift this year was a package at the exclusive Kavya salon. She would go today, get pampered, get her hair done, so she would be glowing in the evening.

Thinking of Akash, in her eyes, he was perfect - intelligent, thoughtful, kind, generous, loving. She and Rajan had a standing date on their birthdays, this changed slightly after the divorce. When Akash found out he had been swift to continue the tradition. Rajan wasnt backward these days, but he wasnt in the city and she loved Akash for wanting to make it special for her. She wondered if she would tell him, Rajan had been giving out some very direct hints about getting back together and she kept putting the decision off.

Who would have thought at the time of their divorce that they would ever be at this point now? It had been particularly acrimonious, two strong controlling personalities determined to hurt the other person worse, but their little boy had been the saving grace. Both loved him dearly and their determination to shield him had caused them to bond again and they had grown into a very easy-going and honest friendship. They could talk to each other about anything under the sun, from career decisions, monetary matters, to discussing their various relationships.

Truth to tell, they were now even better friends since the divorce and this was one of the reasons why the decision was so difficult. Did she want to lose such a hard-earned friend? She hadnt married all these years, hadnt even came close.

But, this was Rajan, she had carried a torch for him over the years, they'd been through a trial by fire together .... and that their son was so well-balanced was proof of how well they did together. Her boy was perfect allright, she thought fiercely, wiping away the easy tears surreptitiously. The girl, Sarita, massaging her gave her a startled look, but she closed her eyes and allowed the repetitive massaging soothe her back into happy somnolence.

Driving home, she thought ruefully that Sarita must have had magic hands and had bewitched her. What else could explain the nail polish colour she currently sported, Purple Passion??? She gazed at her feet aghast anew, ever since the divorce she had been a Bashful Brown or a Pretty in Pink. Akash wouldnt notice, but Rajan would, he always noticed everything about her. Was her subconscious sending her signals ? She would think about it later, HAD to think about it later, for now she would concentrate on a pleasant evening.

She selected a deep purple, crushed silk saree with golden undertones to the rich colour, tinted her lips with a matching shade, delicately applied mascara and was just slipping her feet into a pair of particularly frivolous sandals when she heard the door open. Akash bounded up the stairs, handsome in a charcoal-gray suit with the special smile he reserved for her and enveloped her in a bear hug.

"Happy birthday, gorgeous!," he said, his eyes twinkling warmly as he bent to kiss her.

She laughed, delighted "So, where are we going?" as he ushered her out of the house.

"The Blue Dahlia. I know how you love sushi, Ma!"


couchpapaya said...

if anyone's getting that feeling of deja vu .... yes, u saw it on that other site. but, since this is probably the only (sub)original piece of writing i've ever done .... here it is again :S

avdi said...

HEY this is good.. Did you try getting it published ever? REally we girls - Smita, You and I should really try and write fiction.

Avionic Spanker said...

Oh good .. so you are who I was told you are

WhatsInAName said...

One of the most brilliant posts I have read!
Please try more of them .. and I wont be surprised to see books from some of you girls soon! :)

couchpapaya said...

avdi - no i didnt, i wldnt know where to start :( i'm game to try tho what wld i write about ? :D y dont u and smita start ??

spanker - hmm, why the doubt?

WIAN - ur sweet :) thanks!

avdi said...

I do start writing stories.. i never finish.. thts the problem hehe

Avionic Spanker said...

Because so far you had never explicitly pointed out the connection

Smita said...


U shud start writing. Period.

@ Ava..Me??? Am not at all creative :(

Mama - Mia said...

i get so J when i see you people have imagination to write fiction!!

but least i can read and enjoy it!! :)

great stuff!



couchpapaya said...

avdi - like u so wonderfully pointed out in ur other blog, the point is to just keep writing ! post them girl, maybe we should all find a topic and start ....

spanker - now u know :)

smita - dont i remember u keeping us hanging after part 1 of a story ... write girl, write!!

abha - believe u me, i'm j of how u write so effortlessly about ur life. dang, i think i just shot myself in the foot .... 'write about what u know' .. hmpf!!!!!

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