As Sudha rummaged through heaps of clothing scattered around the export surplus store, her mind was on that one jacket she saw there a week back. With dogged determination she went through the clothes, piece by piece, looking for that military green jacket that Samrat would look so good in. Samrat, the love of her life, the one who makes her world go around. Even as she thought of him she smiled like a mad person, in the middle of the afternoon in that stupid store. “I better find it soon. I hope it hasn’t been bought already. Uff, I should’ve just bought it a week back when I first saw it.” Sudha initially thought that the jacket was a tad expensive plus she wasn’t too sure if it would fit Samrat. “Might be a bit tight on the shoulders,” she had thought. But then she couldn’t take her mind off from wondering how amazing it would look on him, the whole week. So she made the trek again to the store hoping for a little luck and lucky she got! There in the middle of all the rubble was that jacket, all crumpled as if it was hiding from everyone else but Sudha.
With one swift motion Sudha picked up the jacket, went to the counter and promptly paid up. Her habit of getting a good bargain didn’t hold much here as the shop owner had already traced her enthusiasm and therefore discount was out of the question.
As Sudha made her way to the car, she sent a message to Samrat.
Sudha: Bought a jacket for you
Samrat: Send a picture?
Sudha attached a picture and pressed the send button.
Samrat: Wow! Looks awesome. I’ll look nice, methinks.
Sudha: Cracct…. I love you!
Samrat: Mostest in the world, my princess..
With this Sudha allowed herself a big fat smile. That’s how she had been feeling for the past few months. Samrat had made her fall in love with herself once again. Their endless conversations, every day, always left her with the sweet taste of giddy love. The way your head turns upside down when you see a breathtakingly beautiful place for the first time, or watch a film that you know is going to be one of your favorites for a long time to come. The contours of her lips ached from the amount of smiling she’d done through the day. That feeling. That.
As she made her way home through the evening traffic, myriad other thoughts started flooding Sudha’s moony mind. “Veggies are over home, fruits have to be bought, carpenter has to be called to fix that hook in the kitchen, EMI of the LCD needs to paid, iron-walla’s bill…” Reality was banging hard on the surface of her La La land. Not that she wasn’t used to this, oscillating between reality and dreamland had become almost a habit for Sudha, each coexisting with another in a space they called home. Perfectly timed, never out of line.
On her way up to the apartment, Sudha checked her Whatsapp for the 50th time. It had almost become a default habit of hers’ in these past months. Checking Whatsapp every minute of the day. Hoping to see Samrat’s message. And there it was
Samrat: Heading home.
As she got into her apartment, Sudha switched on the light. It was evening now, almost dusk. “Windows must be shut before the mosquitoes get in!” It was a routine that she performed religiously every day.
She switched on her laptop and opened Facebook. Straight she went into Samrat’s Facebook page and went through his wall. She saw the post he had shared. Smiles all over. She went through the comments of people to that post and Samrat’s replies to those comments. She went to his photo gallery, through his photos. She knew each and every one of them by heart. She even knew their sequencing. The purple shirt photo, her favorite, came after the photo of Samrat’s rafting trip that he took last year. She looked at her favorite photo and paused for 30 seconds. Just then the doorbell rang. Sudha got up to fetch the door.
Sudha: How was your day?
Vatsal: Regular. Can you make me some tea?
As Vatsal, her husband, sat down on the sofa, Sudha went into the kitchen to prepare tea, with her phone by her side. As she put the pan with water on the stove, she opened Whatsapp and messaged Samrat.
Sudha: Reached home?
Samrat: Noooo…crazy traffic. Stuck for the past 30 mins.
Sudha poured the tea in a mug and gave it to Vatsal. He was already on his laptop firing away emails.
Sudha got herself busy with her laptop all over again. It was almost time for Vatsal’s shower. As he went into the shower, she took out the military green jacket from her bag and opened her cupboard. She placed the jacket behind her tops, neatly but discreetly. Soon they would meet, Sudha thought. She couldn’t wait. The contours of her lips were aching again.
Vatsal got out of the shower, readying himself for dinner. Sudha sent a message to Samrat, the last one for the day.
Sudha: Goodnite my love.
Samrat: Nitey S!
Sudha smiled. And the night followed as usual. Tomorrow was another day of many smiles.