It was lunch time in the office. Many young people rushed to the canteen, the seniors usually had their tiffin packed from home, so gathered in the pantry for small talks while having lunch. Aarush also went to pantry but only to use the microwave. He preferred having his lunch alone in his cabin. A young trainee seemed to be late for lunch and was rushing towards the canteen, when suddenly Aarush came out from the Pantry with open tiffin boxes in his hand. And there it was….Aarush’s lunch and the trainee, both on the floor.
Aarush immediately leaned forward to pick up his tiffin, but as the daal had already spilt on the floor, there was no point of making the effort. So he moved towards the trainee to help him stand. Aarush could sense that the trainee got nervous. He calmed him down and asked him to proceed to have his lunch. Now that he dint have anything to do in his fixed 45 minutes of lunch time, he went back to his cabin, sitting on the chair he started examining his cabin…..there was dust on table corners and dustbin still carrying the waste papers from yesterday. He opened his drawer and found a picture of his wife and children. He remembered he had bought this picture couple of years back and placed it on his desk. But he did not realize since when did the picture move to the drawer from his desk.

Looking at his picture, Aarush started thinking about his old days. He was very happy to meet Priya 10 years ago and the marriage plans ahead took him to cloud nine. Happy had a different meaning at that time. He would rush to home after office hours to see his newly wed wife and plan the evening with her. Her perfume fragrance would do magic to him and he could sit the complete night holding her in his arms.
They often went out for dinners and shopping. When Aarush received his first bonus after marriage, both of them planned for a week trip to north India and did a lot of shopping together. Everyday Aarush returned home from office, he would see Priya all dressed up to receive him with hot tea and snacks. They would sit and talk until the dinner time.

Two years later their son, Piyush, was born and then three years later a daughter, Aarshi. Aarush and Priya were happy parents – happy changed its meaning to be around the babies…playing with them…shopping diapers for the daughter and toy cars for the son. The perfume fragrance got replaced by the baby talc and lotions.

A call from the manager brought Piyush back from his memories and he realized how the things have changed. He left office early that day to spend some time with his wife. Aarush had a smile on his face thinking that his wife will be glad to see him early. As soon as he reached out to ring the doorbell, he realized the door was already open and before he could even look up to his wife…..BAANNNGGGG…..he just came in between the SIX that his little Tendulkar had hit. Piyush and Aarshi were amused to see their father on the floor. Though in pain, Aarush was still looking for Priya and finally she came from the kitchen with a knife in her hand. Priya did not seem to be concerned about him lying on the floor or coming home early, she just asked him to take the kids to the park nearby so that she could finish her work. Her words seemed more that an order to him specially with the knife pointing towards him. He dint have a choice.

Later in the evening Aarush thought of talking to Priya before going to bed. Priya after winding up the kitchen work, put the children to sleep and then just fell on the bed as if her legs could no longer support her. Aarush was trying to come up with some loving words to Priya, which he had not said in years. After making up something when he turned towards Priya, she was deep in her sleep already. He lovingly looked at his pretty wife and could smell onion and ginger instead of perfume. Aarush smiled to himself thinking how time passes and priorities change.

The first thing he did next day was to book a table at his favorite restaurant for coming Sunday, and buy a perfume with sweet fragrance as a gift for Priya. This time he was determined to make her happy as 10 years back.

Author: Aakash Seth


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