V-day was over days ago but the mood in our home was still gloomy. V-day gloomy, you may ask?. Yes gloomy. I always get gloomy before and after ‘that’ day. First of all I see all the celebrations going around, a celebration which has never been celebrated by me and maybe never in the future too. Sigh…
In my younger days I never knew that there was even a day for love. Guys would give gals a rose, a gift whenever they could afford it. And the girls would write lovey-dovey notes whenever they could (which was more often by the way).
Married to a CA who was always lost in the world of figures this day was lost to him not because he did not love me but because V-day always came before the Union Budget and the end of the financial year. Why could not this day be shifted to some day later in the year, I often thought.
But this year the V-day woes had new shades. My niece Kriti was staying with us. She had come over on some industrial training for 15 days to our town. This was her first week here and instead of being charged about her trip, the V-day, etc, I found her gloomy. You can imagine how the home looked like to my 7-year-old daughter with a gloomy mom, a gloomy sis and a ‘lost’ father’. Err lost means lost in work, come on people don’t take me so literally. And yesterday Shriya had told me that if I did not improve the situation at home, she herself would take admission into a boarding school.
I had to do something but how? Talking to Kriti was like talking to a wall. I have heard that walls have ears but Kriti…. I doubt if she even hears me. I suspect that there is a guy involved in her misery and so I called her mother, my sister. And then my sis tells me that maybe she is upset because of her boyfriend.
‘Boyfriend’, I ask, ‘but she is still a child’, I say.
My sis chuckles and says, ‘Kriti is 21 now my dear and has been steady with a guy senior to her by a year in her engineering college.’
‘Really’, I say.
‘But to tell you frankly I do not approve of him.’
‘That is understandable, she is your daughter and I doubt if you will approve of anybody.’ I say. My sis is like that, fiercely protective of whom she loves. I remember when my parents were looking out guys for my marriage even before my approval she had scanned each one of the proposals . .
‘Not like that rey, she said,’ but you know Kriti, she is a sensitive person and this guy is very ummm, how to put it,….very practical. Like there are no candlelight dinner, no romantic gifts, no long rides etc. His idea of life is a stable career, good marks in exams… you know that kind. And our Kriti is not like that. I know he is a sensible guy but Kriti has to be handled with affection.’
‘Sounds like a rehash of my story’, I murmured and disconnected the line.
Now Kriti is the first of the third generation in our family. I still remember standing outside the nursery of the neonatal ward trying to have a look at the red faced baby. The nurse had pitied me and called me inside. I had peeped in at her and she had opened her eyes. Aww, I will never forget that moment.
Now I could understand a bit of her gloom. But a dull ache in the head had put its fangs on me and by evening it had become a roar.
I called up Kriti, ‘ I was supposed to go to see a play. A friend has penned the story and today is the first day of the show. can you accompany your uncle and Shriya. I have a splitting headache darling and just want to sleep. And when you return can you get some pizzas. I know you might have some pending work to be done at home but please for today, I need the house to myself.’
Kriti agreed and from her tone I could understand that she was hurt but what could I do?
When they returned home and opened the door, the lights were off, a table for four had been laid with candles, soft music played in the background. And then I moved forward, bent down on a knee gave her a rose and asked, ‘ will you be my valentine?’. She nodded a yes with tears in her eyes. And then we all became kids, we blew trumpets, we danced, we sang, we made merry until the neighbor banged our door. And then we attacked the food. There wasn’t anything fancy, all my energy had been spent in the arrangements. And so we had cake and crackers, chips and pizza and of course some cold drinks.
And then she asked, ‘Why all this?’
‘You were gloomy and then me and your mom had a talk’, I gave her a knowing look and then continued,’ so talked to your uncle and we made this plan’. Yes my Accountant husband has this streaks in him where in he can do anything for the people that he loves, maybe that is why my sister approved of him.
I had a tough time making the girls sleep that day and while I was switching off the lights in their room, Kriti murmured, ‘Mausi, this has been the best day of my life’. ‘So far’, I said for at the age of 21, she had lots of magical evenings yet to see.
Disclaimer- This story is entirely fictional and has no resemblance to any person living or dead