–THAT SINGLE DAY–

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While Jumping from the bed by the grumpy alarm, Mr. Ranjan Joshi screamed to himself ,“ Godddd ! Its already 8 and she wil be ready in just few more minutes ! ” He panicked and rushed to the bathroom. Sharpened the frenchbeard. Wore the leather jacket. Coloured the front stripe of his hairs to Red. Put the blue contact lenses. Sprayed the Jovan musk. And kept the ring in his jeans pocket.

The Joshis’ hut, a sweet home.  Ranjan was at his best to get ready as early as possible, in his bedroom. At the dining, of the same home, Mrs. Joshi was waiting being veiled with the gorgeous pink saree. And a red rose clipped to the shining white hairs. She is 62. Stil as gorgeous as ever.

He flew out of his room and ran to the dining. Saw the watch. 9.15. He was 15 minutes late. He was ready, as ever. Sprinkled a king-style to his gait. Rolled the moustache. Wore the glasses. And entered the dining. Gave a royal smile to the beautiful old lady. She Stood up. Blushed. Poised like a shy bride. Hid behind her wrinkled palm. And waited.

The 30 years young Ranjan, went down to his knees. Removed the ring and said, “ Wil you marry me, Shefali? ”
The biggest and happiest day of her life. She waited from years to listen those words. Tears rolled. Smile shined. The wet lashes said ,“ Yes ! I wil …” She took the ring and shied away from the dining,  dancing from room to room. Smile curve refused to be a line.  Decorated the home. Ate chocolates. Lightened the candles. Sang the melodies. She started living the day as if there was no tomorrow.

Two dreamy eyes, filled with tears, were witnessing her happiness behind the screen.

She has Alzheimer’s.
Lost all her memories  except for the SINGLE day when Mr.Joshi had proposed to her, 35 years back. She lives the same day, daily.

11 Am.

Ranjan washed the red stripes off his hair. Removed the jacket. Kept the lenses. Wore his office formals and told to the teary eyed old man who was lost in enjoying his wife’s joy behind the screen, “Dad ! Am leaving for office. Take care of Mom. Am sure, She wil be this happy the whole day.” Mr.Joshi hugged Ranjan and said,“ Ranjan ! What you do in daily morning for your mom, hardly any other can even think of. Am so proud of you” Ranjan tightened the hug and said, “Dad! Am the luckiest to have the best parents in this world. And  you, please stop being so dramatic. ” Both smiled.

Ranjan took the box from Preethi, his wife. Was about to leave, But Mr.Joshi’s  curious eyes queried,“ But am afraid for the day when you wil start aging and stop mimicking the young look of me! She wil fail to recognise you the way she did to me. She just remembers that SINGLE day of our life and my youth look of that day. What will happen when you wil loose hairs… start greying… get a tummy…. like i did ??”

While taking his car keys from the hook, Ranjan smiled and mocked, “ Pray for a grandson, soon ! ”

    – Dr. Rajkumar Patra
          16/july/2016.

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–PASSING THROUGH–

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“ Oh God ! Already 8 .30 ! Today again i have to face the humiliating harsh words of the stupid manager ” murmured Mrs. Kalpana while lifting the cooker whistle to fasten her speed. Breakfast is cooked. Lunch is half way. Sharp at 9 am, The inconsiderate manager wants all his employees to appear in bank. Kalpana is the only working person to income for her family. Never wants to risk this bank job, keeping the future of her two daughters in mind and the dreams, she has dreamt for them.

Preethi in class 7th and Keerthi in 6th.

The cooker blows out 3 loud whistles. Being irritated by the pitchy sound, her husband drags up the blanket and shouts, “ kalpana ! Please keep closing the kitchen door  when you cook.” And tries hard to nap back to already 10 hours long sleep.

Ignoring the voice as  if she has listened none, Kalpana kept increasing the cooking bowl’s  hubbub sounds and yelled, “ sweethearts ! Its 9. Your boxes are done. Are you both ready? School bus wil horn in a while.” Racing between kitchen and hall, She continued, “ Hurry up gals ! Do fast with your uniforms and rush out  !” Bringing out their school bags to table, she shouted again, “Keerthi Have you worn your socks? ”

Struggling with her socks the little demon growls, “ Mom ! You know i cant wear socks  and you stil roar at me.” Ordering Preethi to help Keerthi with her socks, the swamping mother smiles and says, “ If You had once asked your Dad to help you out, then today this simple deed would not have bothered you this much.” Both the girls frown and scowl at a time, “ Mom ! Are you serious ? Do you really think Dad wil help ?”

Now, the made silent mom leaves to kitchen. the girls to school. And unbothered by all these disagreeable situations, the Dad peeps out of the blanket and rests on the sofa. Pretending to be unaffected by his kids comments, he looks through the window and mumbles, “ What’s my mistake? Why do my kids percept me wrong ! Unlike Kalpana.”

Kalpana comes out hurriedly  being ready for the bank and says, “ Tiffin and lunch. Both are on table, Sameer. ” while taking the scooty keys, She ties up her white saree to be away from mud spill, takes her boxes and repeats,“ wil be back soon honey.”  She leaves. Stepping down the stairs, she stops half way. Returns back. Locks the door from outside and races back.

5 pm.

Exhausted Kalpana returns home . Unlocks the door. Gives a smile to Sameer. keeps her vanity on table. Dumps the uneaten breakfast and lunch lying on table into the bin. Makes hot coffee. Keeps a cup near Sameer. And takes a sip herself.

Bell rang. Jumped in, the two little girls. Threw the school bags. While removing her socks, Keerthi repeated her daily question, “Mom. Did Dad come out of his photo and eat your food ? Then why do you keep for him, daily ?”

While lighting the Incense sticks (Agarbatti),Kalpana smiles and says, “ Yes baby. Your Daddy eats daily.  You just need to feel it. ” She cleaned the photo. Put the sticks infront. Repeated,“ He PROMISED me. He wil be there with Me Forever… til I die. And i TRUST his PROMISE.”

Confused kids grin.

Sameer smiles. Gets up from the chair. Gives Kalpana a tight and long hug. As usual, She ignores and passes THROUGH him to the kitchen to prepare dinner for Four.

The spirit disappears and reappears in Kitchen, to hug her again.

– Dr. Rajkumar Patra
7/july/2016.