section and everything up till
*/ ?> Shamim Merchant Archives - Shabdoni Sangathe

A Storm in my Heart – Lekhanotsav

“Oh Lord! How will Nitin come home in such a stormy weather?”

Standing by the closed window, frightened Naisha’s gaze was cemented on the road outside. The windows couldn’t be opened, otherwise the candle would be put off by the strong winds. Darkness had engulfed the entire surrounding, only the light of the candle in the house was giving some relief. But outside, every minute a lightning flashed through the sky, hurting the eyes and escalating the heartbeat.

 

It was a predicted cyclone, but no one had expected it to be of this magnitude. The walls of the buildings nearby had collapsed and many trees were uprooted. As if the clouds had burst and the torrential rain didn’t look like it was going to stop any time soon. Repeatedly, Naisha kept trying to call Nitin, but his mobile was completely out of coverage area. Naisha’s restlessness was growing by the minute. Out of the blue, her mobile vibrated in her hand. She quickly took the call and babbled immediately,

“Nitin, are you alright? You’re not stuck anywhere, are you? When will you come home?”

“Naisha, relax and listen to me. I’m out of the office, but it’s flooded everywhere. There’s not a single bus or a rickshaw in view.”

It was ten o’clock at night and hearing Nitin’s words, Naisha broke out in a cold sweat. Otherwise also, it took him two hours to reach home.

“So how will you come home now?”

“Naisha, I just remembered, Mansi’s house is somewhere around here, I’ll go to her place and once the weather is tolerable, I’ll come back in the morning.”

As soon as Mansi’s name came to her ears, Naisha became numb. The line went dead before she could respond.

 

Mansi …the most stunning and famous girl of their college. There was not a boy on the campus, who wasn’t attracted to her. Nonetheless Mansi was after Nitin. Although heart of hearts, Naisha loved Nitin, she always felt that she did not deserve him. Anyway, what chance did she stand in comparison to the beautiful and confident Mansi? That’s exactly why when Nitin proposed to Naisha, she was astounded.

“Naisha, I detest people who are fake and superficial. I’m actually floored by your simplicity.”

 

This was four years ago and since then, Naisha’s life has been nothing but heavenly. Howbeit today, she was dumbfounded when she heard Mansi’s name on Nitin’s lips. Nitin was going to stay at her house all through night. Was Mansi still a single, or was she married? Did she still love Nitin? Will she take advantage of this situation? Will she try to seduce her husband? The whirlpool of all these questions was creating a cyclone in Naisha’s heart and mind. Moreover, her internal storm was more terrifying than the storm outside.

 

Naisha couldn’t sleep a wink and with an agitated heart stomping in her chest, she only kept tossing and turning until the wee hours of the night. It wasn’t that she didn’t have faith in Nitin, but circumstances were bad and she had no control over them.

 

The doorbell rang at six o’clock in the morning. It was still raining, but the weather was quite peaceful now. She flung the door open and clung to Nitin like a koala bear. She didn’t even bother that his clothes were wet. Nitin smiled as he enveloped her in his arms and understood. Very gently he whispered in her ears,

“Has the storm in your heart calmed down?”

Naisha was shocked to hear his words and Nitin explained,

“I know, hearing Mansi’s name must have left you agonising to the hilt. But then, due to network issues, I couldn’t call you back. I met Rajesh on the way and he took me with him to his house.”

A ton of bricks slipped away from her shoulders. Nitin’s clarification swelled Naisha’s heart with happiness which she’d never experienced before, and it was reflecting in the huge smile that covered her entire face.

Shamim Merchant

Badminton Match

“Amrita, think twice before refusing. It’s a golden opportunity.”
“I know Ma’am.”
“Stop calling me Ma’am! You know I don’t like it.”
“Okay Mansi, yes it’s a wonderful chance.”
“And yet you don’t want to grab it? I wanted you to go on this trip with me. This project will take you leaps ahead of others. Don’t you realise that?”

For the fifth time they were having this discussion ever since the assignment had come in. Mansi was her senior and both friends worked in an ad agency. Amrita kept quiet, when her boss was tired of convincing her, she slowly opened her mouth to voice out her reasons.
“Mansi you’re aware I’m not someone to shy away from work. If my daughter’s badminton finals wasn’t during the same time, I would have surely come with you to Australia.”

Mansi was seething with rage and passed a sarcastic remark,
“This is not the first and the last finals of her life.”
Amrita gave back
“And this is not the last project for our company.”
“Amrita you’re unnecessarily making a big deal about this badminton match of your daughter. As if you are sure that she will win.”
This comment irritated Amrita, nonetheless she kept her anger in check and said firmly,
“That’s not the point. Whether she wins or loses, I want to be there by her side. I don’t want to miss out on the important events in her growing up years. Please try to understand.”

Six hours later, at home…….

“How did she take it?”
Anurag was on the bed with his legs stretched out. He was eyeing Amrita keenly as she applied lotion on her arms. He was eager to know since he came home, but they followed certain rules and didn’t discuss such things in front of their daughter Arundhati. Amrita smirked at her husband from the mirror, turned around and huffed.
“Not very kindly of course.”

She came and sat beside him and he had more to say,
“But Amrita, she knew about your decision all along, didn’t she?”
“Yes. But today it was like a final no. So obviously I killed her previous hopes and she was angry.”

Anurag took his wife’s hand in his and said,
“I understand this project is important. I’d hate to see you spoil your tuning with Mansi. She’s not only your friend but your boss as well. I’m there for Arundhati. If you still want to take up this assignment, it’s fine by me.”

Amrita smiled and shook her head.
“No Anu, I’ve made my decision. This is what I want. I wish to be there for our daughter, see her playing. Sitting in the audience, I want to cheer her, scream her name and enjoy the memorable moments.”

Anurag pulled her in his arms.
“You’re a wonderful mother and I’m so proud of you.”
“I’m only trying. I wish to inculcate the best values in Arundhati. But all cannot be lectured about. Some need to be experienced first handed.”
Anurag grinned and embraced her again.

Standing outside their closed bedroom door, Arundhati wiped her tears and was filled with renewed love and respect for her parents.

🖊️Shamim Merchant

The Swing

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are!”
Sitting on a large, open swing in their varenda, Kaveri was putting her little girl to sleep.
“Bhabhi, I’ll look after Kinjal. Could you please serve me lunch, I’m running late.”
Kaveri became hesitant. How will her thirteen years old brother-in-law, Mohan handle a six-month-old Kinjal?
“I’m yet to make chapattis. Let your brother come, then I’ll go into the kitchen.”
“Bhabhi, it’s time for my class. Please.”
Reluctantly Kaveri gave Kinjal in Mohan’s hands and said gently,
“Please be careful.”

Ten minutes later when she came out of the kitchen, her scream died in her chest and the plate of food fell from her hands. Mohan was laughing and chit-chatting on the phone, his back turned towards the empty swing.

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are!”
Today, five years later, Kaveri’s eyes are still cemented on the hooks, which don’t hold the swing anymore. Ceaselessly, she continues to sing the poem with tears streaming down her face.

🖊️Shamim Merchant