The sea breeze ruffled her hair and she inhaled the scent of damp seaweed and boiled peanuts. The flaming red sari fluttered about her ankles and she tightened her hold on his hand. This was all that she had ever wanted, Ravi’s hand clasped in hers and his presence by her side. Prabha and Ravi were the least romantic couple you could find, but February 9th was special. This was the day she had agreed to marry him, and he always insisted that they come to the beach. She insisted on wearing the red sari. Red was his favourite colour and not hers. The beach was her favourite place and not his. But on this day, both of them insisted on doing something that the other enjoyed.
Today was about all the things they loved to do together. The trip to the animal shelter, a visit to his best friend’s house, lunch at Annapoorna, a quiet hour at the library, a long drive with the voices of Lata and Rafi to keep them company, ending with time at the beach. The routine never varied but they didn’t want it to. It held the charm of familiarity that both of them craved.
Prabha woke up with a start. She was at home curled up in the armchair by the window. Wearily she got up and got ready for bed. In the bathroom mirror she noticed that the greys in her hair and the smudges under her eyes were more pronounced than ever. Today she just couldn’t look at the photograph on the wall. It had been keeping her company for ten years, ever since he left. She took out his shirt, which nestled among her saris. As she closed her eyes, willing the tears away, the heavy loneliness almost crushing her, she hugged his shirt closer. As always the scent of cuticura powder that still clung to it soothed her mind like nothing else could. Slowly she slid into sleep hoping to meet him in her dreams.
(Love is strange. It appears in different forms. The most placid lives may hold the most turbulent passions. This series of stories is about Love as experienced by people like you and me who have so many stories within us, yet think of ourselves as ordinary.)