A Toast of Love!
A Toast of Love!
Dinner was done and now Mili was busy preparing gujiyas in the kitchen. The sweet smell of the freshly fried gujiyas had filled the whole house with a delectable aroma, simply indicating that Holi is here! “Can I taste a teeny-tiny piece? I can’t resist it anymore Mili Beta!” pleaded her father-in-law, who was drawn into the kitchen automatically by his olfactory senses. Mili closed the gas and quickly fixed him a plate. “Sorry Papaji, forgot to give you a taste earlier. Hope you will like,” she expressed shyly. Papaji indulged himself in savouring the festive delicacy and then jokingly whispered, “Beta, they are delicious and taste better than what your sasu maa prepares!” And they both silently giggled!
Mili was married to Ishaan in December and it was a small wedding due to the pandemic restrictions. Ishaan was a man of few words and hardly expressed his love and feelings for Mili, Whereas, Mili was a diehard romanticist who grew up reading Mills and Boons! Her married life was simple but she was happy that Ishan was a successful lawyer, a wise and thorough gentleman and she had such a loving set of parents-in-law. The whole of January and February, she was at her maternal home appearing for her Master’s degree exams. She was glad to be back in this loving house which was now her home. “Mili, let me help you in finishing the rest of the gujiyas now that I am done watching my TV serial,” said her mother-in-law while washing her hands in the kitchen sink. They both wrapped up the kitchen work and called it a day.
Next morning, Mili woke up on her usual time. She was a bit quizzical when she did not find Ishan sleeping by her side. In fact, he was nowhere in the room or even the washroom. “He must have woken up early today as he had slept earlier than usual last night,” she thought. She got ready and headed straight into the kitchen. She desperately wanted her morning doze of hot ginger tea. She kept the pot of water to boil over the stove and went out in the living room to greet her in-laws like usual. Papaji must be busy scrolling the messages on his mobile phone and mummyji would be listening to her morning sermons on the TV. But to her surprise, they were not there. She looked around the whole house but could spot anyone. She paced outside to check the small front porch and side garden, but all in vain. She came back in and ran to her room to grab her mobile. She quickly and desperately called Ishaan’s number. She could hear the ring on the other end but was unanswered.
She then dialed her mother in law’s mobile and then Papaji’s. But both their mobiles were unreachable. Mili grew anxious and worried at this point. “Maybe they went out early for the Holi Milan program,” she wondered. She went back to the kitchen to find the water rolling and boiling. She turned off the stove and involuntarily started looking out of the kitchen window, lost and bemused in her perturbing thoughts. Just then she felt a warm hand resting on her shoulder. She shrieked in extreme terror! She turned around in bewilderment and saw Ishaan standing there with a cheeky smile. He held her hand and pulled her closer to him. Mili, was totally mystified and out of words. “Ishan, where were you? And where are mummyji and papaji?” she uttered.
Ishaan did not reply and slowly covered her eyes with his hands. He softly whispered in her ears, Happy Holi Mili,” Mili’s face turned vibrant and ruddy in sheer passion. Ishaan pulled out a packet of red gulal and smeared it gently all over her face and neck. He hugged her tight until Mili could feel his warm breath on her neck. Her heartbeat grew arrhythmic and she was sure Ishaan could feel her pounding heart. Mili had never seen this romantic side of Ishaan. Mili smiled and endearingly leaned her head on her shoulders. Ishaan softly hummed the evergreen Holi song #RangBarse and whirled her around the kitchen in an impromptu dance. When at last they stopped twirling, he made her sit and willfully expressed, “sorry for troubling you today on this festive morning. I know you never say anything about how plain and simple and unromantic I am. So today I stepped out of my comfort zone not just to make you feel special but to make myself happy by doing something different for the one I so immensely love.” And he bent down to plant a tender kiss on her forehead. Milli’s eyes were full of profound love and involuntary tears of passionate joy rolled down her cheeks. “Now let me make some hot ginger tea for you my love!” he stated while adding some water to the pot that was still resting on the gas stove.
Mili was simply staring in amusement at her new found husband Ishaan poured the tea in two cups and came and sat besides her. “Happy Holi Mili! I love you!” Ishaan murmured and toasted with his teacup. Mili smiled and said the three golden words out loud too! “But where are papaji and mummyji?” she enquired. “I sent them early to meet Mahesh Kaka’s family and from there they will all go for the Holi program,” Ishaan replied and winked at her. She gave a flattering smile as Ishaan gently wrapped his hand around her.