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Monday, September 08, 2008

When tomorrow comes: chapter 3

This is the third installment of the series.

It was years ago, but it felt like it had happened yesterday. The smell, the sight, the colors were so well etched in her mind- she could almost live them again. Suddenly, she was glad to be going home. Even if it meant that a lot of things would have changed over the years, and the snapshots from her memory would have hardly any semblance to what she would see. She knew of the possibility- but it didn't disappoint her anymore.

Truly enough, a lot of things had changed. The airport of the small town had expanded and gnawed into the surrounding forest. She didn't remember seeing so many flights taking off or landing either. It was the mark of progress -or that is what some would have liked to believe.

She met her parents at the airport lounge. Her father brought her a bouquet of her favorite flowers and her mother smiled and hugged her quietly. She had always been a silent woman- appearing almost stoic. It took Pri years to realize that she was conditioned to be so. Expressing emotions openly was considered vulgar in the family her mother was wed to.

Pri loved the way her mother smelled. She had a unique fruity fragrance- her body esters. As a kid, she missed her when she went out to work and Pri would cling to her clothes and go to sleep in the afternoon.

She walked out with her parents. The luggage was taken care of. She greeted Dinesh Kaku who had been driving for them since she could even remember. She sat in the back seat between her parents. The usual questions followed. Dad asked if the flight was ok and the food was good. Mom kept smiling and looking at her with a smile that only a mother knew how to flash.

They crossed their old school on the way and she promised herself to find some time to visit it and the teachers who had taught her. She saw a yellow bus with her school's name on it. She looked at her father questioningly. He said: It's a State Government regulation now- all school buses and other forms of public transport are to be painted yellow -has been almost years since they have implemented it.

She sighed and thought of the bright colors the buses had when she was in school. Each one was painted in a different color- red, green, yellow, fawn. And each one had a name- after the sisters of the missionary school. The standardization made them look all alike and soulless. They lost their individuality.

Individuality. Identity. Those had been the mantras of her life. Her parents had made it very clear to her as a child that the only way a middle-class family kid could make a mark was by excelling in something. She look the advice seriously, and all her life till then, she had tried to raise herself to the next datum plane of existence - in every possible way.

Her father had gifted her the book ,'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' on her 16th birthday. And she believed truly that Jonathan lives each one of us. Now, she looked back and felt maybe it wasn't enough. She had done everything possible to be a perfect woman- and yet she wasn't happy. Something was missing. Something she couldn't put her finger on.

And then she knew..

(to be continued)

12 comments:

Mampi said...

Aparna, I somehow felt that the first part was complete in itself. I must confess though that I have enjoyed the second and now the third part of the story. You are the master of the story, so you know better of course.

passer by said...

thats a clever one..picking up a seemingly unimportant strand....knitting that on to the next yarn..the plot flow of thoughts move on seamlessly.. but were you hit by the "writer's block" , do not haste..take your time..

for once i wanted to keep on reading and the "to be continued " was a klpd in delhi jargon..

Homer said...

cant wait for the next part!!.. Post soon pleaaseee..

Anamika said...

I see a lot of you in the characterization of Pri, it is interesting how much of ourselves we weave into our imagined stories!
I love the part about liking the smell of her mother - lot of people seem to do that. Also, the part about colorful school buses, I think I know exactly what you mean. But I am hoping you won't say what was missing from her life was home. I would much rather see that the missing part is say family, or friends who know her, or well it is your story, so make it a starship if you want. Happy writing! - TD

sejuti said...

good ending..jus like hindi soaps :p, to keep people hooked on, is it? well, no kidding i loved reading it and will truly look forward to the continuation

Aparna Kar said...

@sejuti
Lol. I can almost hear the background score too. The typical Balaji telefilms' ending :D

Aparna Kar said...

@Anamika
Even I don't what is gonna happen until I pen it down :) Let's see what transpires.

Aparna Kar said...

@Homer
:) Thanks for anticipating. Hope I don't disappoint

Aparna Kar said...

@passer by
Lol. You reminded me of my undergrad days. I'm sure there were a couple of gcpd as well. But like I always say- jindagi hai, hota hai :P

Aparna Kar said...

@Mampi
But you are entitled to an opinion- isn't it? I agree that the first part was complete in itself- but I couldn't resist weaving a mesh from the tassels. For better or for worse. Keep a watch :)

Sam said...

ah!! now the 2nd part is making sense to me... nicely rounding it off!! as usul the flow binds the reader to teh story...

Dr Nash said...

good one