Hello friends, I bring to you the final installment of Mahira’ s story. As you have learnt in the second part how she came to know about the mistreatment of her husband and sister in law by their step mothet. She decided, she must try her best to rectify the circumstances.
That night during the dinner, she found her husband looking at fresh flower in a vase at the centre of dining table but said nothing. At the end of the meal, she served ‘gazar ka halwa’ a sweet dish made of freshly dessicated carrots, fried in butter, then boiled in condensed milk and sugar with powdered cardamom sprinkled at the end.
Mahira smiled inwardly when she saw his eyes widened in surprise after tasting the delicacy. She knew she had outdone herself in preparing her husband’s most preferred dessert. The information of which, was duely passed on to her from her sister in law. There was no compliment forthcoming, yet he looked mightily pleased with the special treat.
Next day, while getting ready for office, she stood silently behind him instead of running away from his vision, to escape his wrath.. In an indifferent voice he asked, ” Do you have to say something?”
She gently nodded and spoke in low but firm voice,” I want the curtains changed.”
” What’s wrong with the existing curtains?” he asked, looking at the mirror to tuck his shirt.
“Their colors have faded”, she replied. He said nothing and went away.
That afternoon two person came, took the measurements of the windows and doors , showed her catalogue to select the fabric and colour of the curtains. She selected the design of the drapes also. By the next evening the new curtains were installed and she was very much satisfied with outcome. There were infusing a warmth and vibrance in the environment. At the dinner she conveyed her thanks, without any acknowledgement from him.
But she didn’t relent at that, collecting all her courage she began compelling him to draw into conversation with her, during the dinner times. The subjects were mainly regarding the household like the quality of veggies he brought, the accounts settled to milkman or the leave taken by the house maid. His replies were mostly in monosyllables , yet she took it on her stride. Any start is better than nothing.
Next day, she again stood her ground after depositing his lunch box . Finding her still there, he asked while putting on his shoes, “Now, what?”
” I want some flower pots”.
“And some season flower saplings”.
Again he didn’t reply, whether he aquisced to her request or not. But ten flower pots with season flower planted on them duely arrived at her doorstep by the afternoon. She asked the delivery person to place them in the terrace. The colourful flowers swaying under the bright sun, felt like smiling at her, just like long lost friends. She felt really good.
During the dinner, finding her unusually silent, he looked up and found her lost in some thoughts, a smile hovering on her lips. He paused eating and asked, “What happened “?
She shook her head, a little shy and said, “Today I forgot to put the lid over the vessel of milk and went out of the kitchen. When I remembered I ran, only to find a small kitten stooping over the pot to reache the milk. Seeing me, the kitten got so flustered that she lost her balance and fell right into the milk.” She started giggling oblivious that he was watching her.
“Then?” He asked.
“Thankfully the milk was not hot, I held the terrorized kitten by the neck and brought her out.”
“And, what about the milk?”he inquired.
“I made her and other cats drink the entire milk,” she added apologetically, expecting some kind of angry response from him.
“You should have been more careful”, with that succint remark, he went to drawing room to watch some television.
Later on Mahira took a hot cup of powder milk , as he used to have a cup of milk after dinner. She was fearing another scolding from him for her earlier indiscretion. She found him lying at the sofa, eyes closed and TV was running without an audience. She quietly switched it off and put the cup down on the table. Her movement made him stir. On her asking whether he was alright, he replied that his head was hurting.
She paused for some moment, then volunteered to give him a head message. He said nothing, just raised his head, indicating to take it’s place. Debating inwardly about what to do, she eventually sat and he put his head on her lap. When she began rubbing his forehead with tentative fingers, she found his eyes closed and face slowly relaxed. With baited breath, her supple fingers pressed his temples deftly.
It was for the first time Mahira properly looked at her husband’s face without any fear. His face appeared serene without any strain of anger or displeasure. A strange kind of warmth flooded through her heart, seeing him sleeping peacefully like a baby. Almost spontaneously, her head slightly stooped and placed a soft kiss on his forehead.
Suddenly his eyes opened, wide, directly staring at her visibly flushed face, her cheeks blushing profusely with embarrassment. The next instant he swiftly folded her into his arms. There was no trace of crudity in his gesture, only tenderness and heart swelling emotion of love for his bride.
For the first time in her life, Mahira felt, she was home, truly home!!
Hope, you liked the story of Mahira as I did, so many years ago. Stay happy and healthy.
Adieu for now.