Discovery

As on any other day, she got up at the sound of her phone’s shriek alarm. 6:45. But unlike other days, instead of jumping out of bed, examining her window for new flowers, loading the washing machine, and packing lunch for herself and the husband, she decided to sleep in for an extra few minutes. An unexplained fatigue swept over her in spite of getting a good night’s sleep, and she dozed off again.

She got up just in time to have a quick shower and dash off to catch the 7:50. She reached a few seconds later than usual, and there were no seats left the in small, newly painted first class compartment in the middle of the train. She leaned against the wall dividing her elite fellow-commuters from the bhajan-singing, general compartment. The strong smell of the sonchafa in a middle-aged co-operative banker woman’s hair made her stomach turn. She turned her face away and looked out at the passing platform and raised her head skyward, anticipating the freshness of the blue and white after the dull station ceiling. As the train gathered speed, the smell of cheap, fresh oil paint drifted in her direction, and weirdly, it soothed her senses. One hand hanging on to the swinging handle from the train’s ceiling, she pressed the center of her iPod with the other, and closed her eyes.

Thirty minutes later, she switched on her computer at work and went to the pantry to make tea, knowing fully well that she felt too sick to have any. But, she made it anyway. She came back to her desk and scanned through the sea of e-mails. “Should remember to tell IT to check the spam filters—I’m getting more Viagra mails than real ones,” she made a mental note. As she was flagging the important mails and checking her calendar, she realized how acrid her mouth felt. She tried to remember what she’d eaten for dinner the previous night, but was blank. By lunch time, she was ravenously hungry—she ordered a Sub and devoured it in no time. She skipped her customary afternoon filter coffee, though, leaving the freshly brewed liquid in the steel filter for colleagues to enjoy. Maybe it was because she hadn’t had a drop of caffeine in her body since morning, but she felt incredibly drowsy again. She put her head down on the desk, and felt a strange sinking feeling. Shocked at the strange feeling, she got up with a start. But her eyelids felt heavy again, and she decided to ignore the sinking and just rest for a while. By 4:30, she was too tired to do constructive work, and the sinking feeling wasn’t showing signs of going away. She decided to call it a day.

The walk to the station, a mere two minutes away, and the climb up the stairs to the platform seemed to take ages today. She usually enjoyed this short walk, happily feeling part of a zealously working people, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of a routine Mumbai life—inspirations for stories that she instantly formed in her head and never wrote. Today, all she could think of was a window seat she could sink in. When she climbed on to the waiting train, her favorite window seat on the left was taken by an eager college-going girl, excitedly talking over her cell phone. As luck would have it, just before the train pushed itself into motion, the college girl jumped out and ran toward a scrawny boy about her age—a boyfriend surprising her with a sudden appearance, perhaps. When the train pulled out of the station, how she hailed an auto rickshaw and got home, she doesn’t remember even today.

At home, she turned on the T.V. just to have a few voices fill the house, threw open the curtains and windows, and poured herself a glass of water. The rose and jasmine buds she’d not scrutinized in the morning were now blooming. She let out a sigh of quiet happiness. Changing into her kaaftan, she sank on the sofa, blankly watching the mindless movements on the T.V. And then, she suddenly remembered—she was three days late. Should she take it again? But it was always unfaithful—always marking another failure.

She decided to take it after all—not because she was hopeful, but because she thought she’d rather waste the last kit and get it over with, never to buy one again. On a normal day, she would have sat right next to it, waiting eagerly for the two minutes to be up. Today, she simply walked back to the sofa and fell asleep, confident that the test would be negative again. She got up fifteen minutes later, awoken by the discomfort of her position. She’d forgotten all about the test by now. She discovered it as she bent over the side table of her bedroom to pick up the book she was reading these days. She saw it and was taken aback. For a second, she thought she was still asleep. Then, she realized she wasn’t wearing her glasses. She dashed back to the sofa where they’d dropped off, and barely placing them on her nose, she sprinted back to the bedroom. She wasn’t asleep, and this time she had her glasses on—and the result was the same as it had been merely seconds ago. Two sticks. Could this be for real? F***, f***, f***! It was! She jumped once, and then stopped herself laughing at the thought that she probably shouldn’t be jumping now. She ran to the dark, neglected shrine in the house, mumbled a thank you, and began putting on her jeans—halfway through, she went to the study to write a note. She scribbled a few words on a Chimanlal’s card, her hand trembling from excitement. Stuffing it in her pocket with loose change, she zipped up and pulled over a tee shirt hung out to dry, still warm from the afternoon sun. She forgot to switch off the lights and the T.V. She forgot to carry the house keys; she almost forgot to wear her sandals.

On the street below, people were trying to hail gas station-bound auto rickshaws. She knew there was no point in waiting. She began walking toward her husband’s office—half-running in excitement, and then reminding herself to slow down. Finally, she got one to stop and hopped in. It took her a second to remember where she really wanted to go. When the rickshaw driver turned the meter, she pulled out the card she’d scribbled and read it again, imagining the look on her husband’s face as he read it.

Baba, I’m on my way,” it said.

Comments (22)

  1. Nandita November 19, 2009 at 4:54 am

    Dear Saee,
    Apart from Baba and Aai, lots of folks are waiting for this little one to show up 🙂
    Nandita Maushi

  2. SJ November 19, 2009 at 9:37 am

    SAEE!!!! If the "she" in the story is you, congrats!!!! Take care! ((((HUGS)))))

  3. Shilpa November 19, 2009 at 9:52 am

    OMG! Congratulations…

  4. Saee Koranne-Khandekar November 19, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Thanks, SJ! This probably explains the absence from the "food" element of this blog–I've been way too nauseous and way too exhausted! 🙂

  5. evolvingtastes November 19, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Lovely post of excitement. Congratulation.

  6. Anjali November 19, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Saee Congratulation! Maast news to get. Take care dearie.

  7. TheCooker November 19, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Congratulations!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your kind words.

  8. Moturam's Ahalya November 19, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Oh sweetheart! It's so moving to read this. Had goosebumps. All the best my dear, may you have all the strength you need to have a great, absolutely easy and happy time! For ever!!! Congratulations to you and 'Baba'. Will be thrilled to keep reading more, if you up to it 😉

    Love, love, love,
    Ahalya

  9. Parita November 19, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Congratulations Saee!! No wonder you were away from food posts 🙂
    The story was very well written 🙂

  10. Jui November 23, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    hey thats awesome………just donthave words to express!!!congrats once again to aai and baba!!
    love
    jui

  11. Prachi December 2, 2009 at 4:45 am

    Hi Saee!

    Every once in a while I stop by here to check out your latest recipes and their scrumptious photos…I'm neither much of a foodie nor into cooking, as such, but your posts always cheer me up and sort of feed my eyes, if you know what I mean. Haven't commented so far because I don't know if you even remember me.

    But this post made me grin from ear to ear. 😀 And even if you don't remember me, CONGRATS to both of you! Take care of thyself and the lil one!

    *HUG*

    Prachi

    (ex-editing team (Noesis), Cactus Vashi)

  12. Saee Koranne-Khandekar December 2, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Of course, I remember you, Prachi Kamath! I think we bumped into each other at Max the last time we met–you were with Mrs. Arun 🙂

    Thanks so much for stopping by.Do comment more often–I have very few fans :p

    How've you been, girl?

  13. Mints! December 13, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Oh Congratulations Saee! Take care of yourself and be happy 🙂

  14. kabhilan December 14, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Heyy Saee, I just dropped in now, like Prachi did… and I pretty much had the same expression on my face 🙂 Very happy for you, and that was so awesomely written.

  15. Sonia January 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Oh wow – Congratulations !!! Very sweetly written post !!!

  16. Cynthia Rodrigues Manchekar April 10, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    What a lovely post! I read it nearly 2 years late. How thrilled little Avanee will be when she grows up and comes to know of the fabulous manner in which her super-talented mother announced her impending arrival to the world. Great writing style, Saee. And a nice, warm touching post indeed. Hugs to you.

  17. Anagha April 22, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Awww….Saee..heartiest congrats.And this is so beautifully written.

  18. Disha Khurana April 22, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Aah what a beautiful cute post this one is saee, one that brings a big broad smile specially towards the last 2 passages…perhaps I am two years late in reading it but nevertheless congratulations….i can only imagine what the look must be like when he read tht card….hugs to you & kisses to your kiddo 🙂

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