The Seventh Floor Apartment

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“You see that 7th floor apartment, the one with the red curtain.” She points towards the window facing west as I follow her direction.  “Some day, it will be my apartment.”

She loves everything that faces the sea. There is something about the breeze, the sand, and the sunset that always makes her smile. And her smile, makes me smile.

“So, your apartment huh? What about me?” I ask obviously being felt left alone.

“Well, you have to earn your way in, mister.” She teases still looking at the apartment.

“Really? Earn it?” I pull her in my arms, lock her in and look straight in her glimmering eyes. “Now, what does a man have to do to be with the woman of his dreams?” I wonder.

“Impress her.” She answers, not winking once.

“Fine. Here goes. I promise to thy. You will never, ever, wake up alone in the morning. The first touch of the day will be our lips. The first three words you hear in the morning will be ‘I love you’. The first thing you eat will be the breakfast I make. Your favorite, French omelet with brown bread and loads of cheese, exactly the way you like. And when you are ready to leave for work, I will take you in my arms, hold you tightly and tell you that you, my dear, mean a world to me. And that being with you makes me feel like the luckiest man on the planet.

And when you return from work, tired and dazed, I will sit you on the couch and treat you to a slow, soft, and gentle foot massage, until you feel rejuvenated. Every dinner will be special, and when we are done with it, I will ask you for a dance. Hand in hand, one step at a time, we will move in rhythm to the soft beats of your favorite song playing in background. As the song comes to an end I will gently lift you up in my arms and walk towards the bedroom. And then….”

“And then we make love all night along.” She completes me. I smile nodding. “You just earned yourself the keys to our apartment.” She whispers checking my lips with her finger.

“Don’t ever keep me out of your life. Ever. Promise? .” I ask her never wanting to let her go.

Hold It Tightly

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“What?” I catch her staring at her fingers. One of those moments, when something goes on in her head and she waits till I take the initiative to ask her.

“Why do we have spaces between fingers?” She asks smiling back. I know what she is expecting.

I move close and hold her hand, filling up the space between her fingers with mine. “That is why.” I say smirking.

——————————————————————————————————————————

I am sitting in a cafeteria, my usual table in the corner of the world. I stare at my fingers; the space has been there for a long time. I stir my coffee with the spoon, a whirlpool forms, and gulps in the sugar. The same whirlpool that gulped me when you stormed out. I sit there in a corner, all by myself, with all the questions bouncing in the back of my mind. The moments have passed by and I have taken shelter under the dark clouds.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

“You are not holding it right,” She complains.

“There is a technique to hold a girl’s hand? How come I dint know?” I mock.

“Do you want to let me go?”

“No! Why would I want to let you go?”

“Well then hold it tightly.”

——————————————————————————————————————————

I pick up my cup; it slips and shatters to pieces. I should have held it tightly. That voice inside screams painfully. Too many things have broken. And the time’s run out to mend those things.

The chapter’s closed.

You had told me the last time we talked. Here I was building the castle of cards for you while you were busy blowing whistles. One card gave into the tunes of your whistle and then it came all crashing down. The chapter had closed.

I look at the spilled coffee, dispersing in all directions. Too many things scattered.

Made in Heaven

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After a busy day at office, I decided to get my feet down to the CCD and read Sidney Sheldon’s “Master Of The Game” over a coffee. At regular intervals I keep glancing at this couple sitting 2 tables across me and their obvious closeness is making me uncomfortable. So I decide to approach them and have a small talk.

“Hi!! I am not an avid believer of true love, but, I could not help notice you two. I was just curious, How old are you two?” The question should have caught them off guard, or thats what I thought, but the gentleman looked at his significant half and smiled.

“Well I am 65 and my wife here is 58. Why do you ask?” The gentleman said in a gentlest tone.

“65?? So how long have you known each other. At least 40 I guess.”

“38 to be more precise. Its our wedding anniversary today.” The lady said.

I could not help smiling and said, “Oh Happy wedding anniversary. So its 8 in the evening and you are in CCD, should not you be with your relatives celebrating the occasion. Dont mind me being so candid but I really curious.”

“Oh no not at all son. Why dont you make yourself comfortable first?” So I did, and ordered for a cappuccino.

“I am Mr. Mehta, I am a Parsi while my wife here is a Christian. We are celebrating our anniversary over a latte and black forest as you can see. Just the two of us. We do that every year as we dont have any close relatives.” Mr. Mehta said.

“Dont you have kids?” I questioned quiet surprised.

“Of course we do” Mr. Mehta said with a hint of smile questioning my stupid question.”Actually we have 3 sons and 2 daughters.”

“Thats a big family, so why arent they here? Family problems?”

“Not at all. They are very good kids. They are all settled abroad and visit us whenever they can. In fact, our youngest son just visited us two weeks back.”

“Wow. So you live alone? In Mumbai?”

“You dint notice. I have a beautiful wife by my side. I am not alone son.” He said holding her hand more tightly this time. I could see Mrs Mehta giggling again from the corner of my eye.”

“So you dont have any relatives in Mumbai.”

“We do have relatives but we are not on good terms with them.” Mrs Mehta Said.

“Why is that so?” I asked sitting upright.

“You see, we are not from the same caste. So our parents never agreed upon our marriage. After 2 years of trying to convince our parents, we decided to run away, which we did.” Mrs Mehta said, dropping her smile.

“Oh I know that one. Typical Indian parents forcing their kids to marrying into so called same caste rich family. But that doesnt explain distant relatives.”

“I was getting to that. It so happened that, 6 months after we got married, my father died of the trauma of a runaway daughter. According to my mother, he was continuously humiliated in the society and being a respected man that he was, he could not bear the pain and died of a heart attack. Everyone in and out of the family accused us for his death, we were banished from the family, I never even got to see my fathers dead body.” Mrs Mehta said, her eyes making way for tears now.

“I am sorry I asked this. You must feel very bad.”

“Well the only thing that I feel bad about is that I never got to see him.”

“So you dont regret he died because you two took a drastic step.”

“For next few years, yes, I did regret. But then, when I looked back at it, we been together for 38 years. Yes we lost relatives, but then, you need someone to be by your side all your life and not someone you talk to once in a while on phone. My husband is very supportive and he supported me well. We had our share of problems and we stood for each other. What we did was wrong, and our families suffered because of our mistakes. But we were at a point where we could not turn back. We accepted being social outcast and took the humiliation in our stride.”

“Stop me if I am being too candid. How does it feel to wake up every morning and find the same woman in the bed for 38 years.” I asked hoping I wont get kicked out of my chair.

“Well, I dint see just a woman in my bed. I saw a woman who left her family for me. I saw a woman who knows I am half responsible for her fathers death, and yet she stands with me. Sometimes, you have to change the way you look at people, if you want to keep them in your life.” I dint completely agree with what Mr. Mehta said. So I decided to shoot another one.

“You been together for 38 years. I am sure you two know each other inside out. How did deal with flaws.”

“Its simple. We ignore them.”

“That doesnt convince me.”

“Ok, let me try. My wife had nasal deviated septum for over 10 years. It was annoying watching her bleeding nose amongst people and snoring at night and visiting doctor every now and then. But then, I also knew that, she had done something for me, that no woman consider doing.”

“Really. Like what?”

“After 6 years 0f marriage, we found ourselves in a financial crisis. We had a son, 4 year old and a daughter 7 months old. During this crisis, I found a job that required me to work for 18 months overseas. The pay was very good, exactly what we needed to get through this crisis. But I refused to take the job as it was literally impossible for a woman to handle two kids with her husband not around. But my wife convinced me into taking up the job, as it was the only option for our survival.”

“So you are telling me that you stayed in an alien land without your wife and kids. I am just curious. How did you get your wife into trusting you that you wont be unfaithful to her?”

“I dint have to. We both knew this was the biggest test of our lives. If we could get through these 18 months, we had a beautiful life waiting for us. Our love for each other, faith in each other, was mutual and unspoken. A relation is a thin thread held by two souls at each end. It takes just a scissor of misunderstanding to cut this thread. And relation is not about how good you know each other, its about how good you are at avoiding these misunderstandings. If we keep babbling about each others flaws all the time, then it would not live any room for us to appreciate what we have done for each other and what we been through. We have 4 servants at our disposal, but I only eat food cooked by my wife.” Mr Mehta said.

“While I never eat alone. Because he wont eat until I feed him some.” Mrs Mehta added.

“Well, thats a deep thought you said their. So how was it when you returned from overseas.” I asked.

“We had 3 kids in next 2 years. So you can imagine.” Mrs Mehta said with a mischievous smile. I could not help laughing.

“I dont know what to say, but I wish to see you again, on your 50th anniversary.”

“I bet you will. Good night dear.” They said in unison.

I walked towards the counter to pay my check, with a big smile on my face. A lady answered my call.

“Hi, check please.”

“That would be 90, sir.” She said, handling me the receipt.

“Listen, can you do me a favor. I want a chocolate cake served on that table over there, with the old couple. Add it to my bill, please.”

“And what would be the occasion, sir?” she asked. I thought for a minute and said.

“Its their 38th wedding anniversary. But I want you to add something to it.”

“And that would be?”

“Made in HEAVEN.”

I Love You Because…

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“Sit here, right in front of me.” I hold her hand and push her gently into the chair.

“How come this table is never occupied in a café this crowded?” She questions.

I glance at the waiter standing at the counter who is busy counting the bribed money. I can’t help but smile.

“You ask too many questions. Just sit quietly for 5 minutes and let me have a good look at you.” I reply trying to change the topic.

“You missed me so much?” she questions again.

“You were gone for months. Could I miss you anymore? Now hush, will you?”

30 seconds later, she breaks into a laugh.

“Oh come on. What’s so funny about it? I just cannot get enough of you. For days, you are there with me and then suddenly, I see you after months. It’s not fair you know,” I complain.

“Why do you love me so much?” she shoots another one.

“That is a stupid question. I can’t answer that.” I sense trap.

“Ok here’s the deal. You answer my question and I will sit quietly for full 30 minutes and you can stare as much as you want.”

“Really?” I ask her surprised, “and I don’t stare.” I add realizing I have been mocked at.


“Yes really.” She promises. “Sometimes it’s good to know you are hot and wanted.” She mocks again.

“Well, I will answer your question, firstly, for the 30 minutes I get, and secondly to clear a few misconceptions in your head.” I wink teasingly.

“Are you telling me I am not hot?” She hits playfully on my head.  “So there are other reasons, is it? Tell me all.”

Clearing my voice, I bend slightly forward and reach out for her hand, looking right into her hazel eyes, I whisper,

“You hold my hand and tell me how scared you are of your father seeing us together. And then, you hold my hand even tighter.

I love you for the fact that you are not scared of being seen with me.

You pull your hair to one side, rest you chin on your palm and listen to me for hours without blinking.

I love you for the fact that you can put up with my boring talks and yet smile back without complaining.

You say your favorite color is purple, and yet you wear grey when with me, just because I said it looks better on you.

I love you for the fact that you dress up for me.

You call me every night to wish me sweet dreams and threaten to dream only about you.

I love you for the fact that you cant sleep without thinking about me.

You never start any argument without knowing the reason why.

I love you for the fact that you are always willing to hear me out.

You already decided how many children you want to have in future and what will be their names.

I love you for the fact that you want us to grow old together.

You know there are better men out there and yet you stand by my side.

I love you for the fact that you make me the best person around.

But mostly,

I love you for the fact that you love me back, even more than I do.

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