I open the entrance door, like I have been doing for the past 27 years of my life. Nothing new about it. I enter my house, sit on the chesterfield sofa to remove my shoes. I tuck the socks in my shoes and place it in the closet. I wear my flip flops , which I use only inside and sit on my section sofa in front of my 65 inch flat screen TV that I had bought few weeks ago. I live alone and yet I have a multi-section sofa that seats up to 5 people. I hardly have guests, such a waste. I stare at the big black screen.
I reminisce the time when not many households had television. I was proud to have one at home. It was small and displayed shows in black and white, color televisions were not out yet . On Sundays, my father would invite all the people from our small village. It was inhabited by a small population. Farming was most common profession in our village, few potters, basket weavers and few government officials. My dad was one of the government official. I don’t remember what he did, I just remember people paying him respects when we walked around by. He would humbly return their greetings.
“Mahabharata”, a very popular mythology then, would air every Sunday from 9 to 10 in the morning. People watched it with great enthusiasm, just as we watch the Superbowl now. Some people would bring home-made snacks and they would be passed around. It was fun, after the show, kids would play cricket, lovers would steal glances and exchange smiles during this time, without elder’s knowledge, ladies chattered and some men would hear my dad’s lectures about life. It was nice to have people around with so much life. It was during such occasion, I had met Nandini. A simple girl with hair braided in to two and beautiful jasmine flowers adorned her hair on the right side. We exchanged smiles and that was our simple love story. I asked her hand in marriage when I learnt about a proposal she had received from a guy outside our village. Her parents reluctantly accepted my proposal. They had consulted a scholar who predicted that our marriage would shorten Nandini’s life and may affect her motherhood.
I was ambitious. So after marriage, we left the village. Nandini did not like it but she was willing for me. I never looked back since then.I worked as a salesperson at fabric store. I later opened my own store started of slow and picked up later. During turbulent times at business, Nandini had her first miscarriage.She died in second child birth. The child died too.
I drowned myself in work to get rid of my guilt. I knew, somewhere, I was responsible for her death. She felt lonely at first but got used to the city life, I like to think so. I should have spent time with her, she needed me during her pregnancy times. At least, I should have taken care of her for her second pregnancy.I realized then that I wasn’t a good husband to her, all I could think was ways to improve my business. I wanted to take us to expensive restaurants, drive expensive cars and be treated with respect by my subordinates.
Now that I think, though I had spent time with her when I was happy from work, I used to speak only about myself.I don’t know when, but she had stopped adorning her hair with flowers. She was patient with me, never complained, always cheered me, but what were her dreams? I walk to the storage room and remove a box labelled Nandini. I don’t remember any of its contents. There was pink tiny dress, a blue bib, tiny socks and a woolen shawl. She made them on her own. I vaguely remember those times. It was only to buy the fabric that she had visited my store. I had promised to pick the best fabric for our child, but I had a meeting with an important client and broke the promise. I had gifted her many expensive things, not taking her considerations but gifting what I thought she would like. She took time to knit scarves and shawls for my gifts. She had a talent which I didn’t appreciate them then. The box also had her saree, bright red with gold border. She had worn it on our wedding day.