“Will you stop screaming? I’m almost done!”
“You say that every single time! Why can’t you just get it all ready the previous night?”
“I had a conference call if you hadn’t realised.”
“Yeah, obviously. And I’m the jobless one out here aren’t I?” Ishna retorted back.
“For heaven’s sake Ishu, please. Stop losing your mind on small things like this.” Avyukth yelled back.
Ishna glared at him and walked out of their house with her portion of the luggage.
Avyukth hurriedly ran across the hall searching for his sunglasses, unable to find it, cursed at the ceiling and gave up as he walked out with his backpack.
Soon they had locked their house and were travelling in their car through the busy roads of Bangalore.
“If we had left a bit early, maybe we could have avoided traffic?”
Avyukth turned to Ishna momentarily and scowled.
“How much longer are you going to blame me?”
“No I’m just-“
“No, no tell me. Atleast I’ll prepare my mind to not burst out until then.”
“You know what, never mind.”
They were soon driving on NH- 75, leaving the noisy state capital behind and heading towards the much calmer hours on the highway.
It was a sunny day and Ishna covered her head with her red bandhani dupatta. They hadn’t spoken much after the argument, probably only when they had to fill gas.
“Is that the one Ritu Aunty gave you?”
Concluding that any efforts made right now will turn out futile, he gave up and continued to just concentrate on the road ahead.
They stopped midway at the small vendors beside the highway.
Ishna sat down on the stone bench overlooking the vast green that lay on both sides of the wide road, while Avyukth walked ahead to get two glasses of tea.
He soon came back and sat next to her. As they sipped on their drinks while looking at the picturesque view of the green grass and the yellow paddy fields surrounded by the coconut groves in the distance, Avyukth couldn’t help remember his time back in the village. All the fun memories with his childhood friends and the delicious dishes that his grandmother used to make. And Ishna, the girl in the opposite house.
From waving at him everyday when they were kids, to going on walks to the village lake as teenagers and then finally mustering the courage to ask each other’s family members for their marriage, he had loved every bit of their story.
When did we lose what we had, he wondered.
Just then, he felt Ishna’s hand on his. He looked up and he could see her giving a small hint of a smile. He smiled back and put his arms around her shoulder and they watched the same green lands and blue skies they had seen years ago.
Someone sent me that “behind the wheels” photo and I stole it for this story.