#FICTION: SHORT STORY# 1- Rain brings pain
By Neel Anil Panicker
Nostalgia has a very bad habit of coming and knocking you out when you least expect it and especially when you are at your most vulnerable.
And just as well, Nature was playing games with her right now.
Perched on a low stool and staring upwards from outside her third floor street-facing
corner flat window, Shefali was feeling bad, very bad.
Bad and angry at herself. Bad at having fought with Aman and angry because she had allowed it affect her to such an extent that it had now triggered within her thoughts of Rishi.
Oh! Rishi, why does he have to be such a pain, a pain in the heart? And why does he keep coming back, he and his thoughts? And that too now, and more so, especially now… in such a weather? Dammit!
She caressed the Gobbarada mara. She felt slightly better, or was it worse?
Gobbarada mara… what a name for such a small flowering tree.
‘Madam, take this. Keep it near your window. It will definitely lift your spirits’, was the sales spiel.
She had carried it home__ pot and all__and placed the tiny deciduous ornamental tree outside the window sill, and just before watering it checked its tag.
The rather fanciful name that stared back into her eyes was Gliricidia sepiumas.
An entire season had passed and she had seen the leafless tree bear fruits and the tiniest of flowers.
Yes, the florist had been right. It was sure a great feast for the eyes but now she was having doubts.
Looking at the fast changing contours of the nimbus clouds that blanketed
the thick evening sky, she felt a stab in her heart.
The pupils of her limpid brown eyes constricted further and a wave of cold swept through her face, sending a sliver of shiver down her spine.
Her slender frame shuddered forcing her to shift her eyes away. It fell again on the pale pink flowers that held on gingerly to the tender green stem.
What’s that he had said?
‘It will definitely lift your spirits.’
Lift your spirits, my foot! It was beginning to sag, all the way down.
As if in conformation, a slap of thunder growled in the distant horizon.
‘Let’s meet,’ he had said.
‘No, I am another man’s wife,’ she had countered.
‘You are meant for me, mine and mine only,’ he countered.
‘I don’t know what you are saying,’ was her retort.
‘You know very well. Your voice tells me so.’
His charm was deadly, she knew that.
That was two weeks ago. And now he as back, with a bang, invading into her thoughts and dreams with the potent intoxicating sound of his voice__ its rich timbre threatening to render asunder the little peace that she desired for herself.
One more clap of thunder and she looked up. The sky had turned a dark grey. A clear signal it was a precursor to a long night of near endless rains.
She took one last look at the fast changing contours of the ever darkening clouds, shut the window, and ambled into the bedroom.
Her eyes fell on the square silver clock in the mantelpiece. The hour hand had just crossed six.
Five hours to go. Shefali had five tortuous hours to kill before Aman came back.
Oh! she remembered. She had promised to prepare him his favourite Hyderabadi Biryani today.
That was early in the morning. Before they had fought.
Oh! how much he loves that. The biryani__ her specialty, the one that she makes, for him, only him.
Gosh! how he licks his fingers off every single grain every single time she prepares the dish at home.
And what would he say just after that? What was that.. wait let me recall…
Yeah, I go it.
‘Oh, Shaifu, you must go for that food show on television TV. You will win hands down,’.
He, Aman, could be generous with his praise; he usually was; especially if he sighted his biryani on the dinner table; biryani cooked by his wife.
As she recollected a smile slowly began creep out from the corners of her red, luscious lips. She allowed it to travel its full length.
It was then that the phone rang. She glanced at her sparkling blue Oppo smartphone. On its screen flashed a name: Rashi.
Her code word.
A smart juggling of letters.
She was good with letters anyway, before her life turned into a sentence.
She picked up the phone, and retreated into the corner. She knew what she was doing, what had to be done.
She had no choice.
Life had left her with very little options.