House
Short Stories

AN EMPTY HOUSE

Oh! It’s an empty house now. Everything is just vaguely kept and decorated with dust. No, I keep changing the sheets, the covers, and putting washed-ironed ones. But still, it doesn’t seem the same as it was earlier. The house has turned dark and no matter how many LED bulbs I switch on; a gloomy dim light seems to be present throughout the day. The kitchen lacks the aroma of spices. It’s not that we have stopped cooking but there’s no cluttering sound. In fact, the sound of the pressure cooker’s whistle or the ringing of spoons like bells in the kitchen seem to have vanished. 

Even though things are kept nicely on the dressing table, I don’t find them good. Things seem to be messy and dull and I don’t like it anymore. Moreover, I water my little plants every day but I don’t know why they have started to dry!

The milkman comes every day and house help Didi is also the same. I hear the vendor shouting and selling veggies every morning, I still pay the bills but then why does my house seem empty!

It was just a few days back, we were living in this home, laughing at lame jokes and throwing away the remote because there was nothing to watch on the TV. We went to the kitchen and opened the cabinets and refrigerator every half an hour just to look if there’s something to eat, aiming laundry clothes directly into the washing machine and leaving the cup on the railings of my balcony after having evening tea. 

It was just a few days back when we were so happy and not knowing that this is what happiness is. I was busy stressing about stuff that never mattered and all this time, I felt I was not happy. 

Since she left, I found her existence was just like God’s existence. I always loved her, I never undermined her value, her love, the food she cooked, the t-shirts she chose for me when we went shopping, and the times when she said “stop stressing over things that don’t matter”. It was she who mattered the most. 

She was the one who was always arranging the sofa covers saying “sit properly, you’re not fifteen anymore!” She was always making something in the kitchen as she knew I would roam around every half an hour asking for snacks. She was the one sitting and resting near the plants and blaming me for not watering them on time. She was the one reciprocating to vendors, milkmen and doing this indistinct talk with the house help Didi while she worked. 

She was the one making this house a home and since she’s gone, I’m trying to just keep everything the way she liked, organized, neat, and tidy but this house is still empty with all of us living here. I don’t know how I can make this house a home again. I am so clueless and hopeless and I sit on my balcony, with a cup of tea and look at these plants and wonder how these leaves and stems also knew the touch of Ma, even though they are on the verge of losing lives. 

My heart is in chaos, it is so difficult and I find no coping mechanism. I sleep every night with the motive of getting up the next day to fill this void and when I get up in the morning, all that I filled last day is gone somewhere and I have to start fresh again. She was my go-to person, you get that?

Also read: Shekhar, The Man I Loved

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