Gargi checks the whatsapp message again: “Your silken curls, cascading like a river, are giving me sleepless nights! When do I get to bury my face in that garden of fragrance?”
She rubs her eyes and looks again at her greying old phone. The beep had woken her up from a rather deep sleep.
The message reads the same.
She checks the sender information.
There is no display picture. No pompous one liner or any other detail. Just an unknown number sending her this romantic stuff at one in the night.
‘Well, well,” she mutters to herself, “if it is any of my old admirers, I would like to shake him up for not sending this to me fifty years before! Could have given the Urdu poetry quoting Colonel a run for his money!”
She does not reply.
But when she goes to bed again, she cannot help smiling to herself. There is a song in her heart.
“Keshav should get that river side plot. He is struggling in his business now… This plot might help.” She thinks fondly of her younger son. He reminded her most of her late husband, the Colonel.
She caresses her long, thick, white curls, as she drifts off to a happy sleep.
Lakshmy giggles as she reads the message. Trust Krishnan to send her this syrupy sweet nothing at one in the night. Did he get drunk by any chance after doing all that Maths?
How did he get her number?
She caresses her silken black hair, cascading like a river, and imagines him hiding his face in that garden of fragrance.
Trust him to look all serious, the quintessential Maths teacher, and trying poetry to charm her at night! And except for looking deeply into her eyes in the staff room, he has till now never dared to express any emotion.
Was this his number? Ever since he had joined their school last month, she had been desperately trying to get it. Sheena , her friend, had mercilessly teased her about her crush!
Well, she will not respond now! But tomorrow, during the tea break, she will ask him whether he liked rivers and gardens!
She dreamily stares at the moon outside and is filled with inexplicable joy.
If only tomorrow arrived now!
Dr. Alice reads the message and wipes away the sudden tears.
When was the last time her husband sent something so nice?
And especially after a big fight? When she has almost decided to call it quits.
But this was not his normal number.
When he stomped out at ten in the night, she had thought it had ended.
Memories came flooding back: their college romance, their youthful days when George tried to create his business, the birth of their daughter…the recent fights over his drinking bouts, the extravagance…
‘ We will pull through… will go for a vacation together…a place somewhere far away, with rivers and gardens…He still praises my long hair! Lord, how I remember his courtship in college, quoting his favourite poets!’
Alice dials her husband’s number.
He picks up. A disappointed, frustrated man.
‘ Honey, come home. You know I love you,’ she says. Her sincerity makes her voice wobble.
There is a gasp from the other end. As if someone could not believe his ears.
‘ Alice, is that you for real? What..I mean…I love you too darling… I am reaching in ten minutes time!’
The man, nursing his drink and contemplating various ways of ending it all, feels as if the Lord has given him a wake up call.
He shakes his head and laughs at none in particular.
‘ You forwarded it to three numbers unknowingly? What do you mean, you idiot? The first thing you do in my brand new phone is to whatsapp lines of my new song to our grandmother, the family doctor and my English teacher? Arrghhhhhh….’
‘Shut up children! It is night one o’ clock. Get into bed!’ An extremely irritated mother calls from her bedroom.
A fifteen year old’s attempt to create a song for impressing his girl friend, fades off slowly, to the tunes of a screaming younger brother who is getting his ears mercilessly boxed.
Of course, the mysterious cascading effect of his creativity was slowly rippling through the neighbourhood even then.