It must have been early morning. My henna clad hands rested on my abdomen and my eyes stared at the unfamiliar roof. Soon I will be expected to grace the kitchen, hopefully before anyone else, especially before the father and the mother-in-law. I will be expected to be seen in clothes suitable for a day old Indian bride and serve breakfast to everyone. I will be expected to smile and speak slowly and wait for everyone at the table. Even if the smell of freshly made tea tempts my senses and my half-awake mind craves for a cup, I will have to serve it to the elders first.
I glanced at the clock sitting aloof in the side table. 6: 10, it read. I brushed my teeth and changed into a pink cotton salwar kameez, wondering, if this place and the people are going to welcome the writer in me, just the way they welcomed the new bride.
As I unlocked the door of the bedroom, I saw a dim light coming out of the kitchen.
Oh no! I am late.
Adjusting the dupatta above my head, I hurriedly entered the kitchen. Interestingly, the person standing in front of the stove looked more afraid than I was. We smiled that awkward smile when one doesn’t know what to do next.
“You are awake quite early?”
“Yes. I couldn’t sleep.” Sheepishly I smiled.
“Of course, of course. This is a new place. In fact, everything is new for you.”
I stood there, still not knowing what to do. He strained the tea in two porcelain cups and handed me one.
“Have you seen the view from the terrace?” There was a childlike curiosity in his eyes. Still confused, I followed him to the terrace. The small town of Cuttack was slowly waking up to the orange glow. From here, we could see the streets curving as if laid down on a whim a few centuries ago before anyone had conceived of a grid pattern idea.
“This is my favorite place.” He spoke, sipping the extra sweet tea from his cup. I spotted a small closet, quaint and alluring, filled with books, some of them older than I myself. Involuntarily my fingers ran over them and felt the fineness of the dust that had settled over. I touched the wall of the closet where someone must have carved out a few familier lines of poetry.
“To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wildflower. Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.” As I finished reading, I knew I had found a friend in this new house, in the most unlikely of relationships perhaps.
“You can use this place to write.” Said my father-in law as he too knew that we are two of a kind.
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