“I like the way you say” I heard these words and woke up.
It was 2 am and my cell was ringing.I saw the first two digits “91” and my heart started beating faster.
A call from India this time.Hope everything is well at mom’s and inlaw’s place.
Before Adwait’s sleep was disturbed I said “Hello”
An very excited and a very loud voice at the other end said “Hey Shash ,I am coming to meet you on Friday after four long years.I will be in Boston for some project work………………………”The conversation went for an hour.
“Darling,See you .Just two day to go. Happy journey”I replied and ended the conversation.
It was Ranjana at the other end.Her voice made me so relax.
Excited and nervous I couldn’t sleep that night.
Friday arrived.Today was the day I was waiting for two people who were important part of my life-Aryan ,my husband who was into IT and has been traveling for his project after Adwait turned one and Ranjana ,my very very best friend during my engineering college days.Both of us were so similar excited and bindas in everything we did.
As we had decided that I would be having lunch with Ranjana at her hotel and then she will be moving to my home till her project ends,I made a wonderful lunch ,packed it up and made my 2 old toddler Adwait ready and drove to Ranjana’s Hotel.
Ranjana open the door “Shash………….how are you?”She pulled me in her arms.Ohh even Aryan doesn’t hold me so tight, a naughty thought flashed my mind.
A sweet voice popped up “Mom,Whoz Shash?”
I smiled “it’s me dear”
“But you are Sakshi right.Everyone calls you that even dad does”
Before I could say anything Ranjana rescued me by gifting him a guitar and he got busy playing his baby tunes.
My mind went a decade back.I was “Shash” the energetic student that’s what all called me.Brilliant and ambitious.My friends list was endless.Teachers loved me.Bhelpuri wala ,chaat wala near my college knew me well.
“Shash,this is for you.” Ranjana handed a book which was decorated with a beautiful ribbon. I opened the book and tears rolled my cheeks.It was filled with letter from all my dear friends in college.Many said how they missed me while others said they always idolize me and so on .
“Such a wonderful gift” I huged her.
I paused and looked at myself.I had changed a lot in last few years .Aryan absence had increased the work load on me.Life had been a routine with hardly time to get in touch with my lovely old friends.
“Hey Motu.”I looked up.”Shash these days it doesn’t seem you visit gym. it’s a surprise a gym alcoholic changed so much.”
“Things change after marriage.”I smiled.
“Let’s have lunch,Mom”.Adwait was eager to have the black forest cake that I had baked for dessert.
I arranged the plates.Rajana grabbed something from her bag and popped in the microwave.
“Shash ..”Ranjana came will a hot bowl”This is ready to eat Chicken tikka masala.-you adore it right.I know it’s ready to eat but that’s the only way I could get it from India ”
Ranjana loved the food and was eating till she was full.
“Ranj ,this chicken tikka is superb.” The pale gravy tasted so good to me.
“Are you joking ..No one can make better chicken tikka masala than you make.I am lucky to have a friend like you-An all rounder.”
Aryan is a vegetarian and I have never cooked this dish since I was married.It’s been a long time I had last tasted it.
“Ohh Black forest yummmmmmmy.” Both Ranjana and Adwait finished the cake in minutes.
I cleared the table while Ranjana packed her stuffs and we reached home.
Everyone loved the interior of my home done by me so did Ranjana.
My home filled with laughter.
I felt I was coming out of a shell that I had myself created.
Aryan arrived and we all had our dinner.
That night Ranjana was telling Aryan stories about our college life-how we all hanged around,how everyone would rely on me for notes etc.I too joined them.
It was 3 am and I was talking and laughing without even a thought that Adwait would be disturbed.Aryan stared at me with surprise and I noticed it.
Before going to bed,Aryan came close to me.
“You look so beautiful,fresh and happy just like you were in the initial days of marriage.”
“Ranjana’s presence has helped me rediscover myself.She brought back the hidden me.”
Within no time I was in Aryan's arms.Much closer ..This time I thought he holds me much tighter than Ranjana did..I smiled.
And the lights turned off.