Leila placed tea on the table and sat next to Ravi on the wrought iron garden swing.
Leila crooned, ‘Aaj Kal Paaon Zamin Par Nahi Padte Mere.’
Ravi said, “I missed your singing. Now, it’ll be just you and me. Let’s plan a second honeymoon.”
Leila blushed and smiled, “Aww! You charmer.”
Ravi reminisced the day Leila had stepped into his home, “You were the prettiest bride that had ever come to our family, and you’re still breathtakingly beautiful, dear. “I love you, Leila.”
“I love you too.” Misty-eyed Leila kissed Ravi.
Ravi sipped the tea and marvelled at flowers in his garden, “Remember, we clinched the first prize in the competition?”
“Oh! Yes, Mrs Rastogi was jealous. She was too proud to believe it,” Leila laughed.
Ravi chuckled, “When you invited her home, she was awestruck to observe home decor and your paintings.”
“And when everyone appreciated the food, I could see her twisted face.” Leila sniggered, “Few ladies keep wondering but never learn.”
Anshu, their daughter-in-law, overheard Romeo and Juliet’s conversation.
She was exasperated with this daily show of affection. She found them lovingly adulating each other and disdaining others.
She thought, ‘Oof! Self-praise is the best praise for them. How can someone be so blind?’
“Malai-kofta is delicious, well-done beta,” Ravi delightedly licked his fingers, appreciating Anshu’s culinary skills.
“Anshu, don’t serve such oily meals. It’s unhealthy.” Leila muttered, “It’s the taste of desi-ghee that he loved.”
“Leila darling! Nothing can beat the exotic dishes you make. Perfect! Both in taste and health,” Ravi declared. He whispered to Leila, “A little praise, even if it’s false, is good for motivation. It cheers up people.”
“My brother and I were so naughty, Ma had a harrowing time raising us,” Anshu narrated a hilarious incident.
“Our children never troubled us in waking them up or studying. I don’t remember if they ever embarrassed us. Both brought laurels at school, didn’t they, dear?” Leila proudly looked at her husband for confirmation.
“Yeah, darling, parenting is an art and you’re an epitome of perfection. Anshu, you’re fortunate to marry Prashant. You must seek guidance from Leila,” Ravi remarked.
Anshu flustered and wriggled from inside.
“Ma, why don’t you go shopping, join a kitty? Even Mom goes,” Suggested Anshu.
“No, I’m happy, enjoying our retirement together. These kitty parties and clubs are for gossip mongers who’re not at peace at home.”
“But Ma, why? You’ve no social life.”
“I feel people have some inferiority complex. They’re uncomfortable digesting our perfect blissful life.”
Anshu was desolate, ‘How long will it take to get a visa to join Prashant? I wish to run away from this I, Me and My Home Queen.’
Ravi called, “Leila, where are you?”
“Ravi revived me from ashes after my face was completely disfigured in an accident during our honeymoon.” Leila explained, “Ravi taught me to love thyself to live life.”
Leila hummed, “Piya Tosse Naina Laage re, Jaane Kya ho, ab Aage re.”
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