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Guldasta

‘Hey, where are you?’ Sid asked anxiously, holding his phone between his ear and shoulder. ‘Hello?’ His hands searched his pant pockets for his car keys. ‘Hello… Hello…?!?’


‘Sid… I can’t hear you… hello?’ Prachi replied, pressing the phone to her ear. 


‘Why is this happening to me when I desperately need to speak with my wife!’ Sid grumbled as he found his car keys. He quickly picked up his office bag, headed straight to the elevators, and hopped inside. ‘I have to prepare her; otherwise, she’s going to kill me.’ Sid redialed Prachi’s number. It was beeping. And then unreachable. He let out a long sigh as he impatiently waited for the elevator to arrive at B2. 


After what seemed like an eternity, the elevator door finally opened. Sid rushed out and made his way to his car, which was parked on the other side of the basement. He walked as fast as his daddy long legs could take him and simultaneously tried to call Prachi again. 


‘Call me!’ He desperately left a voice note and got into the car. Since it was peak evening hours, the traffic was maddening. Luckily, home was not too far off. As the car slowly inched along the way, Sid sent several texts to Prachi explaining the current situation. ‘I just hope she reads them.’


In due time, Sid let himself through the front door. The house was empty. There was no sign of his wife. His five-year-old son, Tushar, didn’t come running toward the front door like every other evening. He called out for Prachi as he took his shoes off. 

‘That’s odd. Where could she be? Prachi…Tushar?’


He then noticed her home slippers kept near the shoe rack. ‘She isn’t home. Maybe she’s taken Tushar to the park. I’ll try calling her again. Oh my God! I should tidy up, too! The house is like a hurricane has hit it.’


Just then, the doorbell rang. 


‘Ms Prachi,’ smiled the delivery man. He was holding a big, beautiful bouquet of flowers. 

Sid stood there with a confused look on his face and nodded slowly. 


‘Ms. Prachi Kapoor?’ the man repeated eagerly. 


‘Yes!’ Sid said impatiently. 


‘These are for her,’ the delivery man grinned ear to ear, handing over the bouquet and heading off. 


Sid held the bouquet and shut the front door. He had all sorts of thoughts running through his mind. He walked up to the dining table and placed the bouquet. And then it struck him that there must be some kind of small envelope or card. He searched the bouquet, gently moved the leaves and flowers, but there was nothing.’


‘What am I missing? It’s not her birthday, that’s for sure. I’m not that absent-minded. Who has the audacity to send my wife flowers?’ Sid looked at the date on his phone. ‘It’s not our anniversary either. Wait… is my wife having an affair. Does she have a secret lover? Or a secret admirer? Is she seeing someone? Have I done something wrong? Oh, god! Where is my wife? What if they are together now? That’s why her phone isn’t reachable.’


Just then, the doorbell rang again. 


Sid jumped up from the chair and rushed toward the door. It was the same delivery man.


‘I’m so sorry. I forgot to place the card in the bouquet,’ he smiled sheepishly, handing over a small stapled envelope. 


Sid looked even more annoyed than usual. He took the envelope and placed it in the bouquet even though his hands were itching to open it. But he knew better than that and respected his wife’s privacy. 


Sid tried calling his wife for the hundredth time. Unfortunately, her phone was still unreachable. He scampered across the doorway, heading to the neighbor's house. Nobody answered the door. He then called Prachi’s best friend. She hadn’t heard from her since the previous night. 


‘Where could she be?’ Left with no choice, he tidied up the house and organized things. The clock was ticking, and time was running out. Sid’s mind kept trying to solve the mystery. He then made that dreaded phone call to his mother-in-law, hoping she just might know where her daughter was. But that was a dead end, too. Sid was soon reaching the point of pulling his hair out. He had even tried getting in touch with their common friends, her work friends, and other close family members. He was even tempted to leave a message in the colony WhatsApp group. ‘Has anyone seen my wife?’


About an hour later, Prachi let herself through the front door. She slipped off her slip-ons and hung on to her shopping bags. Sid appeared from the bedroom, looking relieved and furious. 


‘Where the hell have you been? Do you know how many times I have tried to contact you?’ 


‘Oh, sweetheart, didn’t you get my note?’ Prachi said, placing the shopping bags on the counter. 


‘I didn’t see any note. Okay! And I’ve been worried sick about you. You have no idea how many people I have called to find out where you are. And why is the house such a mess?’


‘Oh, God!’ Prachi rolled her eyes and took her husband by the hand. First of all, it’s not a house. It’s a home. It’s bound to be messy. We live with a five-year-old.’ She rambled as she led him to the kitchen. ‘Secondly, what is the first thing you usually do when you come home from work?’


‘I… I… go to the…’ he mumbled.


‘You open the fridge! And look. Here is the note stuck on the fridge. Going to the supermarket to buy stuff for dinner. I have got your message about Steve. I’ll be home soon. Tushar is at his friend’s place. My phone is not working properly. See you in a bit. (PS -I’ve made you a sandwich.)’ 


Prachi waved her hands in the air, widening her eyes, expecting her husband to say something. She began to unpack the items from the shopping bags at the counter. Sid walked around her in circles, trying to get his mind to function. 


‘What time is Mr. Boss coming?’ she asked. 


‘Steve is coming by eight. I’m so sorry. This is all so last minute. I just want to get some time alone with him away from work so I can pitch my idea. He’s always surrounded by so many people all the time. And oh… his wife is coming too.’ 


‘No. It’s totally fine. And I’ve got everything under control. So I was thinking I’ll keep dinner simple and light. I will make a nice salad, roast chicken, mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables. What do you think? The last thing I want is for him to eat something that would upset his tummy.’ 


‘Okay… I was thinking we could just order dinner.’


‘Well… That’s even more risky, isn’t it? And I’ve already marinated the chicken. The potatoes are boiled. There’s very little left to do. You order the starters from that fancy restaurant if you want. But not too much; otherwise, no one will eat what I’ve cooked.’


‘Okay…’


‘Is something wrong? Are you okay?’ Prachi asked as she headed toward the dining table and halted. ‘Ohhh…. Will you look at that? The bouquet looks so pretty. It’s so beautiful.’ 


Sid’s body stiffened as he slowly approached the table. He tried to look over Prachi’s shoulder as she took out the envelope from the bouquet. He cleared his throat and stood beside her. 


‘Aren’t they beautiful, Sid?’


He gave her a modest nod. 


‘Are you okay? You seem a little off. Are you nervous because Steve is coming? You have been acting really weird since I’ve come home.’


‘Who are the flowers from?’ he asked slowly, with a serious expression. 


‘I’m sorry… What? I don’t know what you’re talking about.’


‘Who sent you these flowers, Prachi?’


Prachi burst out laughing. ‘Who you think, Sid?’


‘Am I missing something here? Please, this evening has been so, so crazy. I think I’m losing my mind. Please enlighten me! I can’t take it any longer. Who has sent you the flowers?’


‘Oh, Sid. You are too cute. I ordered the flowers.’


‘Wait. What? You bought yourself flowers? Show me the note,’ Sid answered back, opening the envelope. ‘To Prachi. Love Prachi. Wow! Are you serious?’


Prachi started laughing. ‘What? You have to write a note.’


‘You’re crazy, you know.’


‘I thought our house would look nice with this beauty. And with Mr. Boss coming over.’


‘You mean our home,’ Sid smiled, wrapping his arms around his better half and letting out a long sigh.

Prachi kissed his neck and looked at him. ‘Did you really think someone else sent me those flowers?’


Sid closed his eyes gently and shook his head. ‘Don’t ask. I’m just happy you’re home.’


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2 Comments


Awesome ending.. never saw it coming.. very nicely written

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Aditi
Aditi
May 29
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Thank you so much

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