Not Really A Short Story: 20 Years Later

This should fall in the category of valentine’s day posts. But not quite Matru-Pitru posts.

 Anita’s Journal Entry, October 18, 2011. 11:30PM

Dear K,

Have you ever received a gift box, which is this big shiny box that opens up to reveal a smaller shiny box. When you open the second box with great anticipation, what you see is another box, almost as shiny, but a little smaller. Your curiosity gets the better of you. You open that one too. You see another. The process goes on for a while. You start tiring. But there is still that one more box left. Now, if you’re really the never tiring, always positive, and infinitely patient person, then you’d open this box with the same excitement as the previous one. But most people are spent by now. They just want to be done with the ordeal. Usually, they lose their excitement for this gift. The gift seems like a joke which has long since stopped being funny.

This marriage seems a lot like that. A promise that I don’t see being fulfilled. For tonight, we sleep, to wake another day.





October 23, 2011: 7:30AM, Somewhere on Mumbai-Pune Expressway


“Can’t you drive any faster?”

Anita had always felt that the driver, Surinder, preferred driving at speeds befitting bicycles on a highway. Slow to the point of being illegal. Surinder, however, looked at the dashboard, reconfirmed that he was driving at 80, the mentioned speed limit on that signpost he’d just crossed, and continued to ignore madamji.

“I am telling you. Someday, I am going to ask him to stop and get down right in the middle of this highway, and drive myself. It will solve two problems at the same time.”

“Do it.”, Kishore knew he had made the wrong move.


“Do it…”

“Do what?”

“Ask him to stop and get down. Then you can drive us to Pune.”

“You think I’m joking?”

“Naah. Never. My submission though is that it will help us reach at 12:30 instead of 12:45.”

“You go back to doing whatever you were doing. Tweeting. Facebooking. Whatever. Just go to hell.”



The song on radio at that time – Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai


“Saahab. Rukna hai? Cow-fee Day aane wala hai.”, crooned Surinder. Ah, that endearing stress on cow, the sweet smell of the cow-belt accent.


“Nahi. No Need. We are already late. And you should cut down on coffee. Tumhara weight mere marne ke baad hi kam hoga.”, madamji, oops, Anita was on a roll here.

(Nopes. No Need. We are already late. And you should cut down on coffee. You’re going to lose weight only after my death I suppose!)

“Ya shayad tab bhi nahi”. She added as an afterthought. The amusement on her face was irritating Kishore.

( Not even then, maybe.)

“Theek hai Manoj. Pune mein hi dhoondh lenge.” (Its OK Manoj, we will find something in Pune itself)


“By the way, what did you think of my Sari? Am I looking nice? Proper?”


“What hmmm?”

“Sari – good. Loking nice – yes. What do you mean by proper?”

“Arrey.. You know how it is. Riya’s in-laws are so nit-picking. They will keep discussing how I was looking long after we’ve left Pune. And this, when Riya is not even a family member.”



“So what?”

“Is it proper?”

“Ya ya. It is..”

“You don’t give me any compliments anymore?”

“You have never given me any compliment!”

“You don’t do anything worthwhile. You’re useless.”


I had gone back to tweeting about the traffic on the highway, the quality of the road, the ghats, the comparison between this expressway and the Yamuna expressway, and the latest political debate around the prime ministerial candidates.


The road signs had been announcing the latest property coming up in Lonavla, Aundh, Hinjewadi, Kalyani Nagar, Viman Nagar, Magarpatta, and what not. The colors and the words and the names changed. The message barely so. World-class townships or premium apartments or holiday homes.


“You know what? I think we should meet Anjali and her husband too”, Anjali’s said in a thoughtfully lost voice.


You think we will have time?

“I guess..”

“Should I call them?”

“Do you want to finalize it now? Or after we know whether we have the time to meet them or not?”

“See, this is what exactly happens? Now, we won’t commit to a plan. Then we won’t have a plan!”

“Arrey meri maa… All that I am saying is.. “

“I know what you are saying. No need to repeat. This has always been my problem. You just won’t plan anything.”

“… “

“Neither will you plan anything. And you won’t let me plan anything!”


“My life sucks.”


“I want a vacation.”

“Sure. But where did that come from?”

“You won’t let me plan a vacation.”

“No… That’s not true.”

“So can I plan one for November?”

“November? Hmmm.. Let’s do it in the second half. I have a few important meetings in the first half of the month.”

“What dates?”

“Not sure. Will let you know?”

“See?? Again.. You won’t tell me the exact details. We will keep waiting. By then, the flights will be too expensive, or the hotel will be sold out or something or their mother will happen.”

“Calm down yaar”

“What calm down? Tell me. When was the last time we had a planned vacation?”

“3 months back?”

“That wasn’t a planned one. That was a break – yes. But not a planned vacation.”

“So what is a planned vacation?”

“At least one week, and with the plans firmly in place about what all we want to do”


“I know what you’re going to say. But even if you don’t want to do anything, it’s still a part of the plan. The plan is that on day 1 we won’t do anything. We will lie down.”


“And this is exactly what you’d do. Not let me plan a vacation.”




Kishore’s Journal, October 18, 2011,  11:00PM

Dear A,


I wonder where our relationship is headed. It’s like that box we often talk about. Twenty years of marriage, and I still fall in these traps. I hate these arguments.

We have long suspended our own plans to keep up with Zinger’s plans. Now that he is in a hostel, these traps are becoming more frequent. I know I should have seen today’s discussion going in this direction. My mind often switches off when you go in these ten minute ranting modes, the ones you call justified anger. Any attempt to revisit the discussion at a future stage would lead to further ranting (expressing disappointment) about how useless I am, and how this marriage was such a bad idea. So, let’s bury this one too.

I think we are at that point in our marriage. The fatigue seems too high and both of us don’t care about the apparently amazing choice we had made back then – of getting married. Ah. I just read all this again. Profoundness. I have found myself to be profound this time. Profound tumblr is just around the corner.





October 23, 8:15 AM


“Acha suno. Khurana had called.”, Kishore broke the silence

“Who? That… “

“Tarneja Vs. Khurana”

“Tarneja Vs. Khurana”

We both completed the same thought and laughed heartily about that private joke which no one else found funny. Specially, Mr. TV Khurana or Mr. Luv Khurana, as his parents had named him.


“He’d be coming over tomorrow night.”


“Something he wants to discuss. “


“Not sure. I think he just wants a break from his screwed up office life. Last three weeks have been a little nerve wrecking you know”

“Then why don’t you two go out. I don’t want to meet Mrs Khurana who knows the answer to every question”.

“She’s not so bad!”

“She’s worse! You go and meet them. Spare me the trouble.”

“Cmon yaar. They’ve been a lot of help.”

“I know. But I just can’t get to like them.”

“Ok. We will figure out something.”


Another five minutes of silence.


“Say something nice to me”.

“Like what?” Kishore dreaded this question. Like most men do. 

“I don’t know. Something? Anything?”

“Are… but like what?”

“See? Pehle to tum kuch dhoondh hi lete the.” (Earlier, you were always able to find something nice to say)

“Haan.. but purana repeat bhi to nahi kar sakte?” (True, but can’t even repeat the older ones, right?)

“To kuch naya socho. Something new.” (Then find something new!)


“Ditch it.”



“By the way, the sari is actually looking very nice.”

“Thanks. I know.”



By then, both them had started feeling a little sleepy. The eyelids were happy, and the decision to not pick a cup of coffee on the highway was adding salt to the injury. Kishore hated getting up early.


Her head was already looking for a comfortable resting position so that she could sleep. It can be called an old habit, but it probably was also the most comfortable position.



She had put her head on Kishore’s shoulder by then. And was getting somewhat curled up in the back seat of the car.

“I love you.”

“Hmm.. Me too.”

His head was resting lazily on her head by then.


The song had changed by then – Thoda hai thode ki jaroorat hai




Anita’s Journal Entry, October 24, 2013, 11:00PM


Dear K,

Did I tell you this?


The tiny box might just be worth it. So, hang in there.




About Amit
Conventional, boring, believer, poet, Shayar (to be precise), lover of music, musical instruments, and all that can be called music (theoretically or metaphorically), jack of all master of none, more of a reader less of a writer, arbit philosopher, foolish debater.. and many more such things.. like so many people!

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