The Deep Red Henna Tattoo


It was my first day back at work after my wedding. I’d taken a decent time off what with the crazy preparations, long overdrawn rituals and well deserved honeymoon in Italy. It had been a month almost. I had no idea what state I’d left my projects in. Usually I’d write down stuff for the sad sad day that I return from vacation, but hey, this was my first wedding (and hopefully the only one) and hence my longest ever vacation.

I didn’t want to ride my bike to work because we all know how riddled with potholes our roads are in June. So, careful not to pick anything white, I got dressed and made some tea. He got dressed too and hugged me before we sat down to tea and breakfast. Soon it was time to go. I walked him to the bus stop, smiled goodbye and hailed a rickshaw. Damn it, I forgot my scarf again. I thought about him and how much I did not know him. And how much he did not know me. And how yet, we’d decided to spend our lives together. I wasn’t in love with him yet, but I would be. Right ? My heart still belonged to my college love. But he wasn’t what fate had in store for me. He went overseas to study. I stayed back. And soon there was a wedding.

The rickshaw lurched and stalled. Yep, pothole. But this is India. People love people. So there were five men helping to push the rickshaw out to freedom and soon we were on our way. The driver looked in the rear view mirror and gave me a helpless smile. We stopped at a red light. A barely dressed woman with an unconscious child came up to me and begged for change. She was persistent. I gave her some. And then they all came. There was a stray dog amongst them too. The light turned green. We moved. This must be a good driver to wait at a red light.

Half a rollercoaster ride later we jolted to a stop. I looked at the meter, did a quick conversion in my head and paid the driver. “No change madam”.

I looked up at the tall twin skyscrapers. My first workplace since college. And probably my one and only. I was a campus recruit. Speaking of those, four very happy people came waltzing toward me. We hugged. Laughed. My friends from college. Also still here. Just like me. They were happy  to see me, and me them. I found solace in familiarity.

I spent the day struggling to put together the pieces of code I’d left in the haste of my wedding, catching up with colleagues and sharing wedding sweets with them. I showed them pictures of our trip. Tomorrow I would tell them of how I got sick eating strange foreign food.

I reached home before him and started dinner. I picked out a movie we’d watch. I heard him enter the house and brought him a glass of water. We hugged and shared stories of the day. We’d be good friends soon I thought. Right ?

Who knows? This did not happen. Today’s daily prompt asks this:

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.

This was a day in the life of the parallel universe that exists in the dimension of the alternate choice.

I did not stay back 🙂

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3 thoughts on “The Deep Red Henna Tattoo

  1. Pingback: My torrid affair with Blogger’s Block. | The Lesser Canine

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