Favorite Things

Favorite Things

Today was her birthday.

The kids had rushed to school, busy with their assignments. Her in-laws, courteous as ever, had retired to their rooms after a hearty breakfast. The spouse was halfway to the office.

She opened her almirah.

A black trunk with worn leather cover lay in the back.

She struggled with the rusty clasps for a while before they obliged and the musty smells and sights of her forlorn past hit with a startling potency.

Therein lay a comfortably faded poetry book, some pages underlined. A rose pressed in between the pages, an old ink pen with golden nib and then there was the scarf – not the cashmere like the ones in her almirah, but a worn cotton fabric in her favorite peacock blue shade preserved in a plastic Ziploc. She wrapped it around to her neck, desperate for a hug. 

Then she dialled the number.


Their old hunt smelled of ginger and freshly baked buns. The young owner looked delighted to see an old customer. “Baba passed away five years ago. I handle the business now.”

“Me and my friend used to visit this place all the time when we worked in that BPO.” She smiled at the memory.

He grinned through his yellowed teeth and handed her a butter biscuit with a jam filled center.

“Here. No charges.” 

Well, I count this as a birthday present.  She smiled and put it in her Dior purse.


He had sounded unsure on the call, she pondered as her legs carried her towards the Chowpatty beach. It had been her, who had rejected his love and married into money. Security and finances had seemed important then.

The beach looked deserted, but she felt safe with the police patrolling. The spicy bhelpuri brought tears in her eyes, yet her mouth watered as she went for the seconds. Then she sat with her feet buried in the sand, listening to the waves crash gently at her feet, waiting. 

Her cell phone trilled. 

He was not coming, he messaged.

She switched off the cell phone and walked further along the beach, soothed by the susurration of the waves and cacophony of seagulls. A small collection of shells tinkled inside her purse.


A lavish cake sat in the hall in the evening. Ah, they had checked their social media.

“Where have you been?” her spouse looked almost sincere as they posed for a perfect family photo.

An overly sweet cake was cut and the food from a seven-star Chinese restaurant was devoured.

Just before midnight, she opened the trunk and tucked in the memoirs of the day – the seashells and a battered copy of chick flick from her favorite author, that she brought at a roadside stall. A lonely tear rolled down her cheeks, that she dabbed with her worn scarf.

“Happy birthday”. She took out the butter biscuit from the purse and savoured its simplicity. Its wrapper joined the list of her favorite things in the trunk.

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