The refreshing April morning brings with it a peculiar rainy coolness. The balmy breeze – a harbinger of spring. And then all of a sudden, the mirthful, upbeat notes plummet into a sad, melancholy tune. Bitter notes that bring with them the apparitions of loved ones – some dead, some estranged, some simply drifted.
I can’t deal with it anymore. In a span of thirty minutes I go from reading morsels of Nabokov to sipping bad coffee and watching an inconsequential family drama, all while fighting hot tears rolling down flushed cheeks. Don’t ask me why I sob. I will not tell you why. And even if I do, you’ll find my reason incredibly stupid.
So I head to the salon. Ideally, I should get a head massage to calm those thumping veins, or engage in a pedicure. Have you ever noticed how those aestheticians nip your dead skin with such focus? I prefer to watch them with glee rather than nonchalantly burying my face into a lifestyle magazine. Reading about tips to make The Big O stronger.
I opt for a full body wax to multiply the already-existing misery. Somehow, it soothes my senses. Everything. Exposing every inch of my body one after the other to this unknown woman in some underground cubicle, the way she applies the wax, as if carefully buttering a slice of toast, the warmth of the creamy liquid between my thighs, the unexpected tugging and the slathering of aloe vera lotion in the end; her healing touch, when I need it the most. No, this isn’t some girl-on-girl action I want you to imagine. I simply want you to know how a good touch elevates a damp spirit better than a cigarette drag or a tequila shot.
I return home and head to the kitchen. Did I tell you I’ve been cooking endlessly these days? An inevitable consequence of gobbling unhealthy takeaway food every alternate day and my mother’s absence. Whatever comes faster and lasts longer. Almost magically, the age-old spices come to me. This time, I don’t need a YouTube video or a measuring spoon. I steam the daal, burn the garlic, chop the chillies and cook an ambrosial meal with the perfect pinch of salt.
He likes it. The crazy pace at which he eats says it all. Later, he demands the gajar ka halwa that I cooked yesterday. There’s some left, and I feed him a spoonful. The sweet smell still lingers on my fingers. I hope its fleeting aroma stays. Maybe tomorrow is better?