I sat there on his comfortable sofa, a bit nervous, unknowingly fidgeting with my nails while he sat on the other side- tired and sleepy. He pulled out his tie and put it on the table, took off the overcoat and hung it on the armchair. The suits must be stifling him, I thought. My sarees have been stifling me as well. I switched on the air conditioner, and he muttered thanks as he chose to recline a bit and close his eyes.
I wondered if I should make him tea. Or did he like coffee? I had the least idea. ‘Should I make you a cup of tea, or would you prefer coffee?’ I ventured unsurely. He smiled and replied with eyes still closed, ‘Anything will do fine.’ He had given me the choice, once again. I have a dilemma in choosing. I spend hours in making the choice and regret it the moment the task is completed. I miserably fail at choosing- anything may it be, even as simple as a hot beverage. My friends chose the lunch and the dinner from the menus of multi-cuisine restaurant whenever we had an outing. My parents chose my school, my career and him, my life partner, for me.
I zeroed in on masala tea. ‘Ok I’ll make masala chai for you,’ I announced for him to change the choice if he wanted. ‘Alright, make yourself a cup too,’ he agreed. As I got up and went to the kitchen, he asked with a twinkle in his eye,’ You can manage it well, I guess. Feel free to ask my help if you need.’ He was teasing me. I laughed a bit nervously at the comment. It’s the complicated dishes that I can’t do well, cooking doesn’t go that well with me, but I do marvel at the simple ones. Should I be offended? No, he’s just having a bit of fun.
I simmered the tea and readied the cups as he joined in. He poured it equally while I brought some biscuits from the jar. He liked dunking his round biscuits in tea before sipping it from the teapot, a careful observation. ‘You can wear salwar suits at home; you’re more comfortable with it I think. There’s no one here to judge,’ he remarked out of the blue. It was unexpected or had I presumed a lot about him. I was yet to know him, understand him. Three and half weeks is no time at all.
I was so bemused by my thoughts that I didn’t see the hot teacup beside my hand. It tumbled over to the floor all of a sudden, the tea spilling over, the cup breaking, and burning the back of my palm in the process. He opened the refrigerator, got nothing but the cold milk jar and poured it on my palm without a second thought. And then he burst out laughing. Yes, the laugh was loud and hearty. I was laughing with him too, eased out of the new nervousness of breaking things at my husbands’ place. And here we were, laughing over spilt tea, spilt milk and a broken teacup. He caressed my hand examining the burn, still trying to control his laughter. His touch always made me shy.
‘You don’t have to be on alert the whole day. Relax. This is our home, ok, there are no strict masters here. And don’t worry, we still have a cup of tea,’ he said slowly. I just smiled and marveled at his choice of words. We shared the cup of tea that evening, making way to share so many more loving moments in our upcoming days. And yes, we did clean the kitchen an hour later, laughing the incident all over again.