I opened my eyes with a dream vividly imprinted on my consciousness. I was going to set my faltering blog on fire with this coming of age love story. But fate intervened, as it does with all love stories.
My wife hollered from the kitchen. I was about to key in the first word, when I realized I must monosyllable my way out of her morning drill.
The idea escaped my bubble of consciousness. The story that was going to bag me my first Pulitzer nomination lay surreptitiously hidden, in a crevice of my befuddled brain.
I shrugged my head, like a goose after a swim.
“Shaking your head does not count as exercise!” My wife of thirty years waved as she left for work.
I strayed beyond the usual perimeter of my evening walk, still sore over my elusive story.
I failed to notice the overcast sky. In a few minutes, rain was lashing onto the crowded pavement. My paunch took a few elbow jabs, as soaking wet folks hurried, in a bid to outrun the rain.
I got into the front-seat of an Uber cab. The passenger at the back seemed engrossed on her phone. Carpooling was a lot easier now.
My mind raced to a rainy evening back in September, 1989.
Hailing an auto-rickshaw for a walkable distance was a crime I had not committed then. I stood pouting in contemplation, when a husky voice called out.
“Do you want to join? We could share the fare.”
The dusky lady slid across the seat, making space for me.
“Alankrita Das.” She had an enchanting smile. Our Bong connection was the elephant in the already crammed autorickshaw.
A month later, we bumped into each other at several Durga Puja Pandals, as if by divine intervention.
“Do your friends really call you Ankle?”
“Yes. And I will call you Wrist. Because I keep a watch on you.” She narrowed her kohl rimmed eyes to slits.
I never reacted to her jokes.
The cab halted. The lady alighted. I continued typing on my phone, lest the thoughts went Poof!
“I’ll pay for both.”
I stared open-mouthed at the lady.
“You definitely do not have a roving eye!” My wife laughed aloud, punching me in the ribs.
The photographs in our drawing room spoke of our adventures around the world. Did you miss a child in the frames? Well, we did not.
I could now anticipate what she would say during a heated argument. She still won every argument.
“Seriously? A poem for me?”
“The last time I wrote an ode, you laughed hysterically.”
“The day you proposed!” Ankle grinned.
“This time, I intend to make you laugh. Satire is your thing.”
And laugh she did, in fits. Midway I heard a sob. I stared open-mouthed, again. Wordlessly she rested her head on my shoulder.
Well, I did not anticipate that.
I typed out my story, in one go -‘Serendipity’.
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