Beyond pink lips

March 6th. That evening Abhilash was returning from office normally walking down the market.

And again he gave a look towards the Dentist’s clinic. And since last days he was feeling a sensation in one of tooth, he thought to go inside and get it checked. He waited outside doctor’s chamber. There was no other patient that time. From the seat he sat, he was able to see a fair lady sitting in plain sky color salwar suit – talking with some person.

“A Nurse – she may be.. “, he thought .

After the patient came out, the so the seemingly nurse followed. Abhilash asked her , “Is Doctor inside ?”.

“Yes please come in.” She said and Abhilash followed her.

She sat on the doctor’s chair. Abhilash was surprised to see the simplicity of the doctor. To whom he thought as a nurse.

Round face, encapsulating perfectly pink lips, fair color. hairs well tied behind, height may be around 5′ 2″. Hard to believe her as a doctor – still looked liked some medical college passout – straight from the class. Her age can be hardly 25, he guessed.

“Name ?” She asked with cool voice.

“Abhilash Trivedi.”


“29. Next month, I will be 30.”- he smiled.

At first she wrote 29 and did overwriting and made it 30. She too smiled, keeping her head still low.

She asked about his problem.

“Take out your tongue” she said politely. He was surprised on it otherwise all the grey haired doctors say with a command.”TAKE OUT YOUR TONGUE”

She asked about his dental history and at the same time she was writing on the prescription. Abhilash was looking at her thin fingers holding the pen. Hundreds of girl he might have seen. And she was different altogether, even in her simplicity. And his sixth sense was not wrong, he was sure.

She made an instant impression on his mind. He had a look on her forehead – any vermillion marks? No. Mangal sutra – No. Okey, may be she is married – as being a south Indian its difficult to mark it out sometimes. But he without any clue, after seeing her innocent face and her peaceful smile – Abhilash can guarantee that she was unmarried.

“Why don’t you get your teeth’s scaling done, it has accumulated tartar ” , she suggested after writing the medicines and mouth wash name.

“How much it will cost ?” He asked back, as it was another chance to come back and see that innocent smile.

“800 (Rs). for two or three sessions” , she said.

“Is 800 (Rs.) for each session?” Abhilash wanted to confirm. Even though he was ready for 800 Rs. per session just to meet her.

“Nah ! ” She smiled, ” Don’t worry ! 800 for all two or three session. After one session it can be said how many more sessions you may need. ”

“When can I came?” he asked hiding his impatience.

“You have to get a prior appointment” “Where do you stay ? ” she asked.

“Behind Natraj Building, Nirvana Apartments” He said. Natraj building was at walkable distance from there.

“Then you can come in evening too. Is not it ? Is evening time fine for you ?” She said and took out her diary. “Is this Friday ok for you, 6:30 pm”

“How long one session takes ?” he asked as if he didn’t want long sessions !

“Approx. half an hour.”

“Then okay, Friday is fine for me, I will come straight from office. I will confirm you before I come. May I have your number?”

‘Its written on prescription, my personal cell no. Yeah you may give me a call.”

The smile, glowing face, simplicity and the small touch on his cheek during the check up was different. Night spent sleepless. On the prescription, he read her name Vandana Rao. Yeah she was a south Indian, “unmarried” – thinking he smiled. Sleeping on bed, in the darkness, his face was glowing when he was saving her number in his mobile.
He put a cute girl icon with her name.

Tuesday….. Thursday……. and Friday came. In office, he was feeling the air around fragrant as it seemed his first love. He was happy and everyone can read that. Lunch
was over and he put alarm in his mobile at 5.00. He will leave early from office – not in the office cab. He will hire an auto and go to Vandana’s clinic. He had to leave, the office by 5:15 at any cost.

He reached there by 6:10. But the seat from where he can see the doctor was occupied by a fat lady, holding her swollen cheek. The talks inside was coming out. He wanted her to see. She seemed to be busy with other patient and the scaling machine seemed to be running. It was 6:45 now.

Suddenly she came out. She smiled, pulling her face mask down. Today in doctor’s apron she was looking like a doctor, not a girl.

Though she seemed tired but still the face was radiating energy.

Seeing Abhilash sitting, she smiled and said “Wait please, just one more patient then I will call you.”

“No problem, I will wait” – He smiled with a great satisfaction.

The fat woman went inside and her equally fat husband accompanied her. After 5 mins, the couple came out and Doctor called “Abhilash.”

“Take out specs and lie down there”

She prepared the next set of instruments and made the dental chair flat. She started scaling with small needles type instruments. At first it was painful for Abhilash. He was uncomfortable.

Her two palms were occasionally resting on his clean shaven cheeks. “Did you ever get your teeth’s scaling done?” and like this she was talking and simultaneously moving swiftly her fingers inside mouth.

In the process, his mouth became full of medicated water and saliva.

“Spit it out and rinse mouth with water”

He did so.

The tingling sensation of scaling machine seemed to be unbearable. The doctor was standing and carefully doing the scaling, He understood that even a small miss of doctor will make a wound in tongue or cheek.

He felt on his head something soft touched. The tingling sensation flowed from teeth to head. She was careful for him, but careless for herself. Her body was touching his head. Now he could feel it clearly.

Scaling was going on. He was said to spit it out again. Again the process started. She stood close to him. He thought – may psychologically doctor wants to keep the pain out with her touch.

“Stupid thoughts for a doctor”- he scolded himself. But after a while there was no pain while scaling was being done.

“Is its paining now” she asked.

“Very little” and true he was. It was a motherly touch, he guessed. But there was a different kind of feeling for the lady – he was sure.

Half an hour passed off. Not a single time he pondered to think, what’s program is going on the TV kept in front.

He was said to come after 15 days. May be two more session required.

After 15 days, he called him before coming to clinic. She said – not to come – as she had some personal urgent work.

Personal work – what can be ! “May be… May be ….”

Anyway he was happy that next day she called him in morning being holiday for him

Next morning he took a fast breakfast and was ready to lie down on dental chair for the scaling by 11 in the morning.

There was no patient in the clinic at the time. And as he reached there, he found, she was waiting for him.

“Come Abhilash, how are you feeling now.” “Did you brush twice as I said?” she asked treating him like a kid.

He like it! Her smile was contagious.

Suddenly a tall good looking person in formal dress came inside and went outside without saying anything. May be some patient in waiting..

That day she seemed to be relaxed and gave more attention to him. He had absoultely no pain that day. As she was really smooth in her scaling process.

She suggested for one tooth filling done afterwards. Scaling seemed near to completion,

“Abhilash, I think you need not do the third session. I have cleaned all the tarter. Your enamel is thin. Third session may affect that.”

Abhilash thought there would be three sessions, and he would get more chance to talk with her. As she too asked about him, his family his job etc.

Abhilash was now in a mess ! He had hoped for a third session. He wanted to come more frequently there. To make the situation worst, he had paid only Rs 300 in first session. And he realized he had left in purse in home and there may be maximum of Rs. 200 in his jean’s pocket. He was still lying on chair, unable to check his back jean’s pocket with a touch.

She did his tooth polishing. He washed his mouth. There was still soothing feeling in him with her treatment. But now his problem was he did not carry Rs. 500/- with him.

He sat down. Tried to cool him self internally. He gathered his smile and thought to make himself normal. Doctor was in her chair. He put his hand his pocket, took out money. It was not even Rs. 200. There was total 188 Rs. there ! Rs. 12 – he bought the bread packet in morning.

“I have forgetten my purse in home today, I have 150/- now, can I bring the rest money in 20 min.” He said feeling guilt.

“No need to go now for bringing your purse, whatever you have now, you can give. Rest you may give later.” She said calmly.

Abhilash didn’t wanted to leave early after giving her money, as already there will not be 3rd session. He wanted to talk more, if possible. Though a mechanical engineer by profession, he had an inclination towards the medical science, so do for the doctor clearly.

There were medical books on the table. He guessed out she may be preparing for masters degree as she holds a bachelor’s degree only. He thought to start a talk on the title of the book kept on table – “Autism”

“Are you preparing for M.S. or M.D.? ” he asked

“No why ?” she smiled.

“Nah I thought so,” He continued “But this book is related to mental health. And you are dentist. Do you have some interest in mental health.”

“I am reading for myself .”

“Yourself !”

“Yeah myself, this book I have brought from US. This is good book.”

“But have you any specific interest in mental health studies?”

“I read it for my two year’s old son.”

Darkness surrounded him. She was married and have a son too, who was born like that. It happens 1 in 250 children. He became bloodless. Hands cold. How this lady keeps her smile intact always, looking so innocent.

Abhilash knew very well – “What is Autism ?”

He was looking at her. She was telling about herself. From day one to him, she was like a friend. Yeah like a friend – as some persons spread the aura of friendly attitude for everyone. She was telling him about her son more. There was a soothing touch in her voice, a pain hidden inside.

Suddenly she realized something and said ,” Abhilash, my husband is waiting outside. I have to leave now.”

“How she knew her husband had come. No phone call ! ” Abhilash thought,” Oh the tall man who came inside was his husband for sure. A gentleman indeed. ” Abhilash wished for her son’s well being and praised the lady’s courage. He came out assuring her to meet again with the rest money.

That night too Abhilash was lying on bed, but he was relaxed recalling her face.

Her smiling ever face was revolving in his eyes, and her words were reverberating in his ears – ” I was a doctor, but never thought my child will have autism. Though my husband was knowing of the child’s symptoms, but till one year he did not told me anything. He thought I will feel pain, if I knew. But now I am prepared for taking care of his future. He seems to be improving with my care…. May God have found me strong enough that I can do this duty perfectly…. ”

“May God have found me strong enough that I can do…….”

In the soothing vibrations, slept Abhilash with a selfless feeling, recalling the young lady’s smile – that was divine – beyond pink lips.

The Handbag

Her marriage is on 16th Dec. Her marriage invitation card along with a letter reminded me the day, which was her second day in the office.

To me, it was a normal working day, as I reached the door of first floor and I was about to enter. On the right side, I saw the new girl stepping down the stairs from the cafeteria. But to me it seemed that her steps were extra cautious.

My sub-conscience was not wrong. Just before, she was about to touch the floor from the stairs, she got unbalanced and was about to fall miserable. Without thinking anything, I moved forward and hold her hand. Before I can extend my left hand, she balanced herself . Before she could understand what happened, she promptly said… “Oh Sorry”.

I observed , her eyelid seemed wet. She might have cried few minutes before in cafeteria, I guessed.

While falling , she managed her dupatta but could not balance her handbag. The handbag kept rolling on the stairs towards ground floor. I guessed she did not fastened the zip of the handbag. The things in handbag scattered !

I offered her help. We gathered many used mobile recharge coupons (which she seemed never throw), a lipstick, a small diary, one small black polythene, petals of a dry rose which had turned out black, and a half torn letter, and some piece of paper torn in smallest pieces. There were broken bangle pieces ( Not sure, were they broken before ) and a little soft-toy attached key-chain.

At the time there were no one on the stairs to make her more embarrassed , but she was embarrassed. She must had got sprains on the ankle. Afterwards, neither I nor she said this falling episode to our colleagues ever.

She stayed with us for 7 months. The days she spent with our teams were really good. She changed the organization for better prospects. The industry is habituated to see such departures , but to two of her friends, it meant missing her contribution in the team.

I never knew much about her, unless few days before, she sent me a friend request in Orkut. I clicked to her personal profile. I was surprised to see her details. She had written: from the past relationship I learnt — “NEVER EVER trust Anybody”. I was a bit surprised to know this thing about her, but the sentence did elaborate the things she kept in her handbag.

I accepted her friend request and wrote a mail for her auspicious future.

She replied me back.

Today I dont have words to reply your line
“I do wish, Bhanumati ka Pitara ( the handbag) will contain fresh roses now onwards”
Apply for leave early and try to come along with Rakesh.
C. Puja

Lady of Ajanta

She was not guilty, she was not proud. She couldn’t shout, she couldn’t exclaim but her silence spoke louder than words. She was a painted beauty on the stones inside the dark caves.

Wait for the fiction here next week. Keep watching…

Morning Rainbow

( This story is again a timeless plain fiction, Any coincidence is beyond little human imagination. )

Like always 8 O’ clock morning, we both were busy. She had to go for the radio station and me for my office. She was taking bath after finishing her kitchen chorus. And for me, as car wash was already over the most difficult task was still left – I had to do. Ironing my dresses was still to be done. I spread the iron board and started ironing the shirt.

She came out the bathroom winding the pink towel around her hairs.

“You look beautiful only two times.” I said ironing my shirt.

“Really” – she smiled. Wiping the wet hairs with the towel she continued – “But only two times, so again you started your puzzle ! But why only two times ? ” – she seemed as if she did not cared for it.

“Is it needed to tell ?” – I winked .

“Ohho , wouldn’t tell ! Then keep in your heart.” – And she moved to the mirror.

“And when both the times combine up – than you look the most beautiful lady ! ”

“Tumi ki chup korbe? ( Would you keep silent ? ) – She was getting angry on my senseless chatters. And like always she got angry, what I wanted.

“Yes I will keep silent – but want to tell one line – just one line. ” – I said.

“Huh ! Just one line” , she told and she was arranging the flowers in the vase near to me . She added- “Can you keep quiet after telling just one line ”

Now I understood she wants the puzzle solved.

“First time, when you come out after taking bath and second when you get angry.” – I winked and again ironed the hand cuffs of my shirt.

Putting the flowers vase in the place , she could not stop moving forward – “Aakash, you did not changed a bit.”

A symphony of four eyes – and whole poetry was created.

“Dekho ami chup achi ( See I am silent now )” – I smiled.

After minutes I added ” Should I Change ?”

“Yes you should ?” And she picked up the iron, which was still lying on my hand cuffs and by the time we saw there was made a permanent brown spot with the shirt. The shirt was burnt to brown without any smoke.

“Ah Sorry !” – I was feeling bad and switched the iron off. This was the shirt which she bought on my last birthday. But that morning again something made a permanent seal on the shirt.

” Hey, no sorry, it was great ! ” And she complimented for the context.

“Aakash, can I ask you one question?” – She looked serious, that I didn’t want.

“Only one ! I guess, this is your thousandth one like this. Not just one ?” – I made the moment lighter.

“I guess you will answer honestly” – she lightened her hands around my neck.

“Honesty and me ! – Anyway I compromised for now – just for you ! ” – I giggled.

::———————:: Part 2 ::———————::

“Again I will ask you the same thing ! Can’t we plan spend this Puja at home. May not you take up your US project only after November ? If you wish, can’t you think this way ? ” – She was looking into my eyes. I didn’t expect this question this way.

We already had few arguments regarding this – as she wished that I continue with the India jobs for the time being. And on the other hand it was my long cherished US position – the America Online’s new project was depended on me now. I have been seeking such chances of exploration since many years back. All creativity and technical showmanship with a great team was to be done at full fledge. Leaving apart from Dollar pay-packages and all the high position facilities – I wanted to learn from the new kind of work culture. And on other hand, she was a die-hard Indian – a perfect admirer of our scientist president A.P.J Abdul Kalam.

But she was never an easy giver. She knows all the ways to convince me. Her hands were still across my neck.

“As I believed like ever, you may get better projects next time. If we are leaving by August – we may not return by next year. Aakash – see last year too, during Puja we could not be present at home. And Ma alone did every thing at home. Don’t you think, when everyone is with full family at Puja place – you are missing something for your ‘projects’. Can’t we make her project fruitful this time? And you know na, I wish to have a visit to Purano Kali temple this time. And at last, if you say I can take up the job of program coordinator with Radio Mirchi FM next month.” She was telling at the stretch without blinking her eyes.

Since last night I did felt that she wants to say something – but she was searching for a perfect moment to say all these.

She continued “Yesterday from office – when I called Ma – She was telling about the School’s affiliation works too. I think you can meet DM this time there and help her too. The building department too needs some clarifications.”

I needed sometime to think about all these things over. Sometimes it become difficult when two conditions wants to take same place. And I was not ready for this time. I wished she goes to home and be with ma. This chance for US, I should not miss, as last week too, I was able to convince Ma about my professional commitments this time.

Kissing her forehead – I said her – “Okey, give me a call before you leave today from office. I guess today I can pack up all projects early – we will sit at Renaissance Café. ” In reality, I didn’t reply her question. And she too knew well that I will not reply at once, so she didn’t ask for the answer again.

“Kintu madam amar shirter ki hobe ? ( What about the shirt Madam ? ” – I asked her showing my shirt’s the burnt cuff.

Leaving the anchor around my neck, she picked up the shirt from board and moved to the cupboard. She took out the thin stripped light sky shirt, again her favorite one.

We had our breakfast. I prepared the juice and she packed her lunch. And within 20 minutes , we drove out our Viplav Villas. Her Red FM station was relatively near to our house but I had to drive some 35 minutes further in the morning traffic of Bangalore.

Though she was also looking for a change but in fact, she was not willing to leave the RJ job at Red FM, as she knew the pulses of listeners very well and program manager liked her listener handling skills very much. The best thing was her coordination with her co-RJ Rahul, that everyone appreciated. Many a times in the lunch hour, I used to record her audition in my mobile FM and turn out her critique in evening – needless to say she liked them but hated to change her tone – when she used to repeat words twice and a deep breath taking sound, which I could mark easily.

As we neared her office, some telephone wire was being laid, so digging was being done near to Pizza Corner. I stopped the car. Her office was at just two minutes of walking distance from there. She got down the car giving her same dimple smile, that meant a lot for me. I took the left turn and shifted the gear.

I put Country music in the player. Evening was going to decide my career as well as my family life.

::———————:: Part 3 ::———————::

I was a bit late that day in the office. As I entered the office, Shubha was there –

“Good Morning…” she added. “Awaiting sweets in the evening!” And she entered her cubicle.

“Good Morning..” – I was puzzled but I knew her humour well.

In the VP’s room, I was sitting within the big glass walls, which is said to encapsulate the transparent decisions.

I was to take up the leadership of the new US project and it was a strategic move of company. I myself waited for this chance for long. This time my US dream was to be realized. Next month I had to leave for US.

First person I wanted to meet was, Ritesh, my colleague as well as a good friend too.A friendship – that is rare in competitive corporate world. I went to meet him in his cubicle. He congratulated me and we did some on the hand tech planning too.

“Aakash next time, I do hope for the Singapore project” – he told and our hands were tied. There was something in the bond that we both could understand. Actually he too eyed for the US project but management had decided me as most of us in office guessed too.

The day at office was great. There were notes of congratulations as well as a bit nostalgic faces of few of my team members. Specially Mamta – who last month almost shouted on me – “Aakash, do you think, that much of reports can be generated in 4 days”.

And I had replied – “Take your time, just complete 1/3 of that – rest I will allocate to others? Only that much part you do .. but Happily, Cheer up! ” And next day morning I saw in her work status. Surprisingly she had completed 1/4 of reports in one day only and started working on the next reports. Managing the target was really difficult for me as well as for each of us. But that had to be done keeping a environment around.

Since last four years, the office was my second home.

I was at my cubicle drawing timelines and all reports analysis. I was happy but no so inside. It happens to me many a time. The US glare was shown to me but the small town Durga Puja was there.

It was our lunch time. And this time as Anamika was still in mind, I wanted to record her audition. She has been the popular RJ of “Hungama Hits” program. After lunch, I could listen only towards the end of program.

In my mobile, I tuned to 98.4 FM, and pressed record button. Hungama Hits was going on. During the last line of recording Anamika’s voice I was dumbstuck with one line she told. As my recording was over – I played back the words.

At the end of program the last song was “Aapke dil mein thodi si jagah chahiye..” .. and she continued the rhythm with her voice. It was like this..

Aaaaapke dil mein thodi si jagah chahiye….. aur…. Humein aapse Vida hone ka ijjajat chahiye, Friends see you tomorrow at the same time at the same place… Hungama Hits at your own 98.4 FM. Tomorrow Rahul will be accompanied by our Bindaaaas, our sweet Jagriti…….. Stay tuned to 98.4 FM….” And Rahul summed up her.

Hearing the name of Jagriti for the Hungama Hits program, I could not get the point right.

“Jagriti !!” For the Hungama Hits program will she be the new RJ in place of Her. Jagriti was the RJ of “Good Morning Bangalore” program. Why she was allocated noon time? Some kind of puzzle – that I could not understand. May be because of morning talks, she decided to leave the job or a sudden shift of programs.

I thought to call her later on. I restrained –as I knew there must be some genuine reason. And other reason was I had to wind up office works early.

Something was already decided at her end – I was sure.

Around 7 O’clock evening I called her up. She was at Bangalore Central – for some shopping with her friend. So I decided to pick her up from there. Seeing her at Bangalore Central in Pink ethnic top and Denim Jeans I stopped the car. She came in bidding her friend bye. A carrybag in her hand.

“Ki kina kati holo? ( What did you purchased ?)” I asked her.

“Something, crazy shopping like ever?” – She replied but I failed to guess.

In the car I asked about her announcement of Jagriti.

“So today you again recorded?” – And she smiled to continue. “Will tell you… lets sit there at cafe”


She put the packet on the table. I took out her ever fav. Rose bud from my pocket and put on her packet touching her fingers.

“Anything special today ?” – She asked picking that up.

“Yes you” I smiled.

“Thank you, really cute” She kissed the rose and put the back on the packet – “Hope this shirt too you will like!”

“So this was the crazy shopping, Okey, this time I will iron it carefully!” – And we laughed

We ordered the waiter. He knew about our Cappuccino and veg sandwich.

She asked me to take out the laptop. I took out the laptop from the bag and switched it on. When she tells to switch on the laptop it means she want to check her mails.

“You can check mails from home too.” – I suggested as I had a lot of things to tell her so to hear from her.

“Please login to Air Sahara?” – She said “Aakash, actually I have to go Delhi in morning”

Now the puzzle for her announcement in radio program was getting clearer. But I was not prepared for this.

“But ..” I was still incomplete.

“Aunt again fainted today slightly, Gopal called me up around 10’O clock morning and told me, though nothing is serious” – she told in continuation to assure me too. The things were getting clearer to me.

Her Aunt was her second Ma. Since childhood she stayed with her in Delhi. Aunty had no daughter and she grew in their home. After masters in Public Relations, Anamika opted for the IIMC and all under her guidance. Though Aunty’s sons were taking care for her to the best, but she was never any less concerned for her.

On the coffee table itself, the onwards journey ticket for the next morning was booked. She told me to book the return ticket too. Now she changed the no. of passengers to 2. She will take Aunty back to Bangalore for her complete checkup at Apollo Hospitals here, as Delhi is hotter in summer.

At coffee table we talked about Aunty’s health and so many other things. We talked about our US trip too, at length. Though she was not happy, but she knew she can’t do much once my decision is made. This Durga Puja home going plan, we cancelled again.

While returning from supermarket we did some shopping for dry fruits and some things like Agarbatti as she always carry, while she goes to home. Dinner was packed from the Punjabi dhaba.

At home, we packed up her journey items.

It was around 11 O’ clock she went to bed before me as her flight was at 9:15 am in morning.

For both of us, the day was hectic and unexpected but still we were able to manage the things.

I was still on my laptop doing something for what I was really felt tense still.

“Good boys sleep early” – She murmured behind the pillow. She did not sleep still.

Every time before any one of us had to leave for some place, we did sleep together. I shut down the laptop.

Looking her closed eyelids – seemingly innocent child, I switched off the bedside night lamp. Putting my palm on her arm we slept.

May be around 2 am I woke up to drink water. I was restless but I slept again as in morning I had to go to the airport.

The next morning, before the birds could twitter, I got up. I was again on my laptop – like the addiction ever.

She got up around 6 am. After she prepared the tea, she came to me. I was printing the e-tickets. Keeping the cups on the table, she picked the e-tickets up.

“Aakash these two tickets are for me, okey?”

I nodded in affirmation.

“And these two more tickets for two passengers.” She continued, “From Bangalore to Kolkata… for whom ?”

“Check the dates?” – I said taking the cup from the table.

“October 13th” – telling she was looking towards me with a surprise.

“Wouldn’t we go for Durga Puja ?” – I smiled.

She eyelids became static and the lower lip under her teeth .

“Aakash, your US trip?” – she asked with surprise.

“Yes I have thought. I wouldn’t go” – I said “Will suggest management to send Ritesh there.”

She pulled the chair nearby and was looking up the tickets. She was silent. And her silence meant more than silence itself.

“The tea is nice – it makes my day.” – I was trying to break her silence.

“Aakash, you are a kid.” – She winked.

“Thanks, chocolates for the kid please.” – I quipped

“Ohho! chocos” – and her lips greeted my left cheek.

She opened the window near to me. Cool breeze was coming in. We were looking outside.Rainbow Being summer in Bangalore, it rained again last night.

I directed her eyes towards the west horizon. There was a beautiful rainbow.