Lena ben glanced at the clock: its neon hands glowed 4.30. “Oh dear,” she thought, “another two hours to get up.” She shut her eyes and rolled to her side facing the wall and was about to nod off again when the curtain moved to reveal Coco padding furtively on the window sill. “Scat cat,” she whispered, “go back into the street,” but Coco refused to listen and continued his way into the room, defiantly, daring her to get up and shoo him. The soft pad pad of his paws disturbed the stillness of the night as he came forward slowly and walked onto her bedside table, put his paw on her diary and slowly arched his back. Looking at the graceful curve of his spine , Lena ben was transported into a time machine.
She was sitting nervously on the blue sofa in the Upper drawing room waiting for ‘the boy’ to come. Pupul, one of the many stray toms that had adopted their home, was sitting on the window sill, looking down at the drive way. Her mother and sisters were waiting with her and Motli, her youngest sister was actually giggling and blushing like the silly 10-year-old she was. Lena, herself only 16 years old tried to still the thumping in her heart as she waited for Sureshchand Lalbhai and his father Seth Gopichandbhai to come visit her grandfather, the patriarch of their family . Seth Gopichand Bhai, her father’s tennis partner at the Club, was a familiar figure in their house as he was one of the merchants who accompanied her father to the market every day. Occasionally, she had spotted Sureshchand tagging along with them – a tall, lanky lad of 20, dressed in white like the rest of the merchants but sporting a rather stylish hair style like the young men of his generation.
“He’s a good boy,” said her mother, looking at Lena, “don’t worry, I’m sure your grandfather will approve of him.”
There was a scrunch of tyres on the gravel in the driveway and the sound of doors shutting as the men walked into the house. The ladies upstairs could hear the faint sounds of conversation as the men sat down to discuss the business at hand – to ask for Lena ben‘s hand in marriage. Pupul got up and arched his back, then gave the ladies a pitying look and gracefully lept onto the branch of the Gulmohar tree outside.
“He looks handsome,” said her mother, peeping through the glass window in the floor of the Upper drawing room – which no outsider knew of – the secret look out to the Lower drawing room so that the women could have a sneak peek at the strangers who walked in through their door.
“I know, ” said Lena blushing, “I’ve seen him many times waiting in the car for Papaji to join them.
“Let me see, let me see,” whispered the girls jostling one another to get a good look at the potential groom.
Crash! The cat moved and tipped over the Waterford vase that had stood by her bedside for so many years. ‘Oh No!” thought Lena ben rudely awakened from her reverie. Shards of glass glistened on the floor and a darkening patch of water spread all over the soggy diary holding memories of a lifetime now gone.
I’m also linking this to Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge.