The Mountain and The Tea
The Mountain and the Tea | Flash Fiction
She was standing in the kitchen, lost in her thoughts. It was pouring outside and the darkness was bidding goodbye for the day. After moving to the Western Ghats she soon realised that the early morning downpours were a regular occurrence there.
The water was just about to come to boil for her early morning tea. She was staring into oblivion through the window that was just next to the stove. This was the bit of ‘me’ time that she would steal before the morning rush kicked in – gazing over the mountains and having her perfect morning tea in tranquil.
But there was still a sense of unease.
The last night’s chat with her 2 am buddy left her wondering –
‘Was he right about what all he said? How did my life come to this? What have I done wrong? Or was something wrong with me?’, she questioned herself.
She had everything that a person, a housewife could ask for – everything has been provided to her, a providing husband, two kids, in-laws to guide her in difficult times or at times being difficult themselves, a mom whose most prized possession apart from cribbing about everything was, her independence.
If she viewed her life from the perspective of the Indian-Mango-People-Society she didn’t find anything wrong with her life. But still, she craved for something real, something which would make her feel alive, something which she can hold close to her heart and call her own.
‘But then why does this looming feeling over my head that something is gravely wrong with my present state of life? It keeps growing into this huge dark cloud that will surely engulf me someday.’
The water was boiling vigorously and was anxiously waiting for her to add the tea leaves and milk.
Her thoughts kept racing without a break, ‘what about my existence? Is it only about being a wife, a daughter, a mother, a daughter-in-law and maybe soon a mother-in-law?’
She could see the cloud-kissed mountains from the window, the small waterfalls forming because of incessant rains and the free playful wind running wild over them and yet there was a sense of suffocation.
She was reminded of what he had said last night, “You come from a family where you have always seen an independent woman, then what was it that led you to lead such an unfulfilling life? What is it that you exactly seek?”
“I know you will always blame me but I was just done with that place. I would not have been alive had I not left that place. I simply wanted to run away from that place and the first suitor who came to ask for my hand from my mother, I replied in the affirmative”, she had replied.
“One hasty decision and see where it has brought you”, he teased. “But don’t worry it is all safe with me. You can always pour your heart out. I will always be there, whether in person or in spirit. Always.”
“I know, that is why I call you my Tijori, as I know that I can share anything with you and everything I say is safe with you”, she replied sheepishly.
The tea rose sharply and was about to escape the teapot before she turned the knob in time and it was enough to bring her out of her reverie. She poured the tea into her favourite cup and went under the shed on the terrace. The rain was still coming down hard.
The phone in her pocket buzzed. She blushed even before she checked whose message it was. The petrichor, the sound of the rain, a cup of tea and his messages were all she desired at that very moment.
The message was from Tijori, “Good Morning Betaal.”
“When do you sleep? Are you even human? How does your body cope with this?”, she asked him angrily.
“You know I hardly sleep. Waise bhi I am not real na. I am just a virtual 2 am buddy or maybe I am just a bot or some divine intervention to listen and listen to what all you want to say”, he replied playfully.
“Hahaha! Very funny.”
“Aur jada se jada kya hoga, heart attack. Ha ha ha.”
“Listen I gtg and will catch you at 2 am”, he said and went offline.
‘I don’t know whether you are real or not. I don’t even want to know. All I know is that I love chatting with you. You are the only piece of oasis in this desert of life. I don’t know what it is. I like sharing my angst, anguish, joy, feelings, emotions, or whatever you may call it, with you and never want it to stop. Ever’, She wanted to confess something but then erased the typed letters.
‘He is the only piece of sanity that I can claim I have in my otherwise messed up life’, she went back to her thoughts. ‘What happened to that wild fun loving girl who would go on bike rides and do treks and work in an MNC and now what has happened all of a sudden.’
‘Will he continue to be with me? Will he always listen to my crap? Will he also leave me or remain with me throughout even if it is only virtual? At Least he claims to be’, she thought and checked her watch. Sadly it was another twenty hours until 2 am.
Her life came to a standstill some years back and the only growth she could see was in her boys outdoing her in height.
‘Doesn’t he love me anymore?’, her mind toyed with her. ‘Or maybe he does. Is he cheating on me? Why can’t he simply cheat and make everything easy? Every time I didn’t give my consent will it be a rape or is it the same with every marriage? He doesn’t even know after being with me for so many years. Am I thinking too much? I am thinking too much’, she turned around to check if anyone was standing close. She forgot that it was just her thoughts but felt so real.
‘How could mom get down from the train and leave me, her six-year-old daughter? How could Papa leave me never to return? Did he never miss me? Did he never bother to check whether his only child was alive or not? Are all families this dysfunctional or was mine different? Or is it like how Tijori says that every Indian family is beautifully dysfunctional in its own way?
For a moment she felt as if her head would burst into pieces. Everything went pitch dark. She went numb – the sound of rain, the smell of petrichor, the aroma of the tea; everything just vanished.
Just then her younger one came and hugged her from behind and saved her.
She came back to her reality. Her everlasting truth.
The next morning, it was again raining cats and dogs. There was a nip in the air.
She put the tea pot on the stove and her thoughts raced again…
For all those who love the mountains
For all those who love tea
For all those who have a storm within
For all those who have that 2 am buddy
It’s not a goodbye,
But it’s a GOOD BYE
Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul
If you have reached till this point. I would love to know your views in comments on this piece of flash fiction and whether you want me to come up with more of such content.