Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Wife [fiction]

Twilight, the gradual descent. The exhausted light finally gives way to darkness. The firmament puts on a black mask, sprinkled with silver particles. Except for the taken for granted evening sounds of bikes, children shouting, doors banging, televisions playing louder than necessary and pressure cookers exhaling unending gusts of steam, it’s rather quiet. I’m out on the balcony for a smoke.

The alchemist street lights, lend a golden touch to the lane under my balcony. The wind blows carrying in its bowels the smells of masalas, bhajis, turmeric, fried chillies, and freshly baked chapattis. I suddenly see my wife nine years ago in the kitchen.

There she is in her perfectly draped virgin-white sari. Her slightly round shoulders, her slim arms, her firm round voluptuous breasts quietly lying in her tight bodice, her thin waist and curvy buttocks, her bronze hair tied in a bun- all that I had found beautiful in her. There is a slight parting near her forehead with a small red line running through, like a small stream in the midst of dense growth. Adorning her neck, a series of golden and black droplets.

She’s removed all her rings and her scarlet bracelets, and her small fair hands are frantically busy pulling, pushing, squeezing and cuddling. She seems inexperienced when it comes to the whole matter… But soon the dough for the rotis is ready. Lightning strikes in her eyes and her thin lips part slightly betraying the smile of satisfaction that she gives to herself.

“Jaan, dinner will be ready soon” she tells me. And I’m already drooling at the idea of the rotis and sabjis served on the new crème porcelain ware with candles being witness to such bliss.

“Oye bastard, I need your help!” I concentrate on my smoke and pretend not to hear.

“Oyyyy, u coming?”

I wish I could disappear, but I can’t, and it’s with a sigh of exasperation that I see her now as she is in the kitchen. With the army-green sari she is wearing she looks like a commander in her headquarters. She keeps running to and fro, carrying the burden of her corpulence around, from the sink, to the gas stove, to the cupboard, and to the sink again. The aluminum and steel clashes and clatters as she cuts and chops, and mixes the vegetables in the frying pan. I look at the ceiling and thank the Gods for the creation of those unbreakable precious metals: otherwise she would have ruined me more than she already did. I stand against our broken fridge, on which lies our broken micro-wave.

“What is it that you want now?”

“Go and get me palak, and come back fast!”

Go and get you palak. Go and do this. Go and do that. Yes Commander! Yes!

I leave looking at her… Her green saree… Her fiery red henna-dyed hair loose and falling all over her oily wrinkled face… How she reminds me of a bunch of half-dried palak that’s on fire!


Anonymous said...

nice prose again. good details. good hold over conversation...
so there are plenty of women in your writing. very interesting indeed.

murali said...

yes i am intrigued by your women...