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It was one of those weekends when Ridhima indulged herself into cleaning the closets. Her maid had called up early morning describing the same old reason for her absence from duty today. Her maid's mother in law was in arthritis pain and had to be rushed to the hospital. Ridhima wondered why maid's husband can't do it. It is the same story everywhere, whenever there's any emergency, it's the lady of the house who is expected to do everything. Luckily Ridhima was not a part of the league. Her parents and in laws were very supportive.
She was alone at home as her husband was out of city for a business trip and she tried to kill time by cleaning home. Sometimes it gives satisfaction by putting things in order. It was a stress buster for her at office too. She would spend half an hour per week at office too keeping her stuff in order. A habit inculcated by her mother since childhood.
She pulled a chair near the closet and sat. Here was a stack of her clothes, her husband's shirts, trousers, casuals, towels etc. Using her toe she brought the nearby stool adjacent to her chair, too lazy to get up. By now her body had formed cold welds with the plastic chair and she was not one of the persons who would be comfortable breaking any bond easily. She was a peculiar combination of hyperactivity and lethargy. She could spend hours at stretch working and running around, keeping everyone else too on toes. Other times, she would not budge a finger.
By this time, she had pulled all the clothes out of the middle shelf and turned to look for a newspaper to be put on the shelf. The old one was torn at places. This time she had to get up as the newspapers were lying in the other room. Holding the arm rests she bent a little forward to use newton's third law of motion -every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Her eyes went to the bottom most shelf. The corner of a photo album was peeping out. It was a three fold album her father had got with a cover of her favourite cartoon mickey mouse. This was compiled by her before marriage
First picture was wit her mother when she was just six months old. She flipped through the pictures and found a folded paper in one of the pockets. It was a letter she had written to her mother on her first birthday after marriage. Ridhima unfolded it and it read
This is my first birthday when I am not waking up to your voice. It's my first birthday when bhai has not conspired about what should be my gift. First birthday when papa has not got my favourite mithai rasgulla for me after offering it at the temple at the corner of the road.
I have new things lined up though. But I miss you. I miss the times when I would negotiate with bhai for fifteen minute bonus morning sleep so that he gets out of bed before me. Now, no one wakes me up. I do that on my own. How I would come all decked up before going to a party and ask you how I look. You would take my face in your hand and say "mera pyara bacha". Now that has reduced to selfies sent on bhai's cell phone. What has not changed is you praising me like always. I look at myself in the mirror and wonder if I can be half as beautiful as you. Do I look like your
Ridhima could not complete this letter as her husband had arrived and she shoved the incomplete letter in the album. Today is an opportunity to put her heart out. She continued...
Do I look like you? I would often think. I always wanted to be like you mom.
I remember our tines in kitchen when you would teach me how to cook. Your and bhai are my greatest fans. Whenever I cooked something and would proceed towards either of you, you would say " hamare pe hi ku experiment karti ha. Khud taste kar le". No matter how yuck it would be, you would always praise me.
Thanks for instilling that confidence in me mom. It is because of you I walk with my head raised up high.
I love you.
She proceeded to post the letter now.