Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Eternal Cup of Bliss
Raindrops were hitting hard on the window panes of Aarti's house atop the quiet hills of Chikmagalur. Aarti sat at her favorite bay window watching the beautiful rain drops trickling down the window pane. She loved to read her favourite books when it rained, cuddled in her rocking chair. Chikmagalur was a hill station and it was almost cold most of the times. Today she held her books, her best friends, but her mind was not letting her imbibe anything from the books. Not a single letter entered her mind through her eyes. Her thoughts were racing fast and she knew not where it was heading.
Aarti’s husband Dr. Vikram Hegde was a doctor by profession. He had been posted in Chikmagalur as a Government doctor. He had gained so much popularity among the people here that he never left this place. He also had fallen in love with this place. The hills, the serenity and peace around were always an interesting topic of conversation with Aarti.
Another love of his was coffee. He would often tell Aarti that his life would have been an utter waste had he never tasted this enchanted drink. He loved to pour the decoction into his favourite white ceramic glass with a floral print on it. He would add an extra spoon of sugar and sip it away making a *sluuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrp* sound. He seemed to enter a transcended state, whenever he sipped from that cup. It looked like he was sipping from an eternal cup of bliss. That would irritate Aarti. Aarti hated coffee. She was more of a tea person. She disliked the bitter after taste left by coffee. She wondered how Vikram enjoyed this drink. Whenever she had fought with Vikram over something, she would think of breaking his favourite cup. She thought that was the best way she could get some real revenge. Now, these thoughts bought a smile on to her lips.
Aarti loved books. Vikram just did not understand how she could read those novels? He would sleep off while he read the very first paragraph of any book. Aarti often ridiculed Vikram that he was a fake doctor. She would ask him, how he ever managed to read those big books of medicine and how on earth he cleared those examinations. Vikram would smile and say those are different. Aarti said he had faked it big time and somehow acquired those certificates and the poor villagers were fools to believe him. Aarti said she would never risk taking a medicine from Vikram, even for a mild fever. They had a hearty laugh on this several times.
While she recollected all these incidents, she remembered the day when Vikram was requesting her for a cup of coffee. Vikram was 49 and he had been diabetic for some time. He asked Aarti for a cup of coffee at 10 in the morning and Aarti refused since he had already had two cups from the morning with two extra spoons of sugar. Vikram had pleaded with her. She just said a blunt no and walked out of the house for getting some necessities for the house. After a while, Vikram left for work as usual. When Aarti returned, she found the house locked. As she was searching for the spare keys in her big bag, she heard the phone ring. Her fingers searched frantically for the keys. She found it and her clumsy fingers dropped the keys. Then she quickly picked it up and opened the door. All the while the phone bell rang like an unattended child. She finally left her shopping bags down and she reached out for the phone. She said hello into the receiver and she heard somebody tell something about Vikram’s accident. She could not recollect anything after that. She had fainted and fallen on the ground. She had recovered in sometime and all her relatives were slowly trickling into her house. Vikram had had a severe heart attack on the way to his hospital and had met with an accident following that. He had passed away. Aarti’s world seemed to have met its doomsday. She shook as she recalled the conversation she had last had on the phone. She was too shocked to even cry. Her son was still young and studying and Vikram had left them alone; alone in this big bad world. She had lost her love, her reason to live. Today was the day he had left her forever, a few years back.
She had come a long way from there. She tried to recollect all the details that occurred in her life after that incident. She was so lost in the chain of thoughts that emerged from her past. Suddenly a shrill note shook her - “Ajjjiiiiiiiiiii”. Aarti awoke as if from a deep sleep. She turned to see her grandson, son and daughter in law standing there. They were smiling at her. Aarti was so happy to see them all. They had come here from the US to spend some time with her.
While she was still reeling from the pleasant surprise, her son Arun, asked her, “How are you drinking that stupid thing? The smell of it makes me feel sick and it leaves a bitter after taste.”
Aarti took a look at the white ceramic cup with a floral print she was holding in her hand. She was sipping her dear love’s intoxicating drink.&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
Ajji is a Kannada word for Grandmother.