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Cup of Tea – A Short Story


August 11, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Fiction


Cup of Tea – A Short Story - Baby & Beyond

Clem Onojeghuo

Before we begin: All this week, I participated in the Write Tribe Festival of Words, a 7 day blogging challenge in which we were given one prompt a day to write about. I am proud of myself that I have made it to Day 7, but I have to say that I have been completely blown away by some of the entries to the challenge. The creative takes on the prompts have seen everything from heart-felt letters to poetry to humour to short fiction. I am coming away from this challenge feeling inspired and motivated. Though all my posts revolved around the central theme of my blog which is parenting, I dabbled a bit in humour myself. And now, egged on by my fellow WriteTribers, I am deviating from my theme and writing a short story for the last prompt, “If we were having coffee…”. If you enjoy reading it, do let me know in the Comments so that I can continue writing more fiction.

Oh, one more thing! I don’t drink coffee, but tea is my lifeline. So I have modified the prompt a bit to suit myself, “If we were having tea…” Here we go!


 

Bakshi Uncle sat down on his old armchair that he had just dusted off. It had been almost a year since he had sat here, his favourite spot in his home, just by the window through which he would wave and exchange morning pleasantries with his friends and neighbours passing by. He set down his cup of tea on the small table in front, looked the faded photo of his wedding day up on the mantlepiece, smiled and opened his diary. It had been a while since he had written to his dear Mala. Though she was no longer with him, writing made him feel connected to her.

 

My Dear Mala,

 

If you were here with me having a cup of tea right now, I would tell you how much I have missed you. But I am back home now and though I cannot see you, I can feel your presence in every corner of this place.

 

I tried living in America with Ashok. I tried for almost a year after you left. I admit his lovely wife Sneha went out of her way to make me feel comfortable. She is like the daughter we always yearned for. Ashok is lucky to have found her. And to be honest it was great to be with our grandchildren Shaurya and Shravya. Shravya has your open, honest eyes. She will grow up to look just like you. And Shaurya is growing into a fine young boy. He’s almost as tall as Ashok now!

 

But something was missing there Mala. With Ashok and Sneha off to work and the kids at school, the empty house was almost haunting. I had nowhere to go and no one to meet. The silence of the place got to me. Yes Ashok did introduce me to a group of his friends’ parents. They meet once a week in the local community center. But in all of them I could see reflected the same loneliness and despair that I felt, the feeling of not quite fitting in. Ashok was upset with my decision to leave but I just could not go on living like that. I had to come back to you.

 

He put the pen down and looked out of the window as a sudden cacophony sounded nearby. The bell of the school across the road had just rung and the girls were rushing in for assembly before the schoolmaster closed the gates. There was the schoolmaster now. He smiled and waved good morning to Bakshi Uncle.

 

Manoj and Ashok had been friends ever since they were mere toddlers. They were school mates and even studied engineering together. They both went off to Mumbai to join a big IT company. From there, Ashok got a transfer to the New Jersey office, while Manoj returned to their hometown to start a school for girls. He had transformed his ancestral home across the road into a schoolhouse and lived with his wife Sarita in a small rented apartment a few lanes away. Sarita had often invited Mala and himself over for dinner, but they had politely declined, preferring each other’s quiet company. Maybe if Sarita asked him to dinner again, he would take her up on her offer this time.

 

He liked being here where he knew everyone and everyone knew him. He knew their lives, their stories. They all stood by each other through their celebrations and their sorrows. Living for a year in a place where he didn’t even know his neighbours’ names was bizarre to him.

 

He picked up his pen again.

This is my home Mala. This is where I belong. I grew up here. Over this threshold I brought you in my arms when we got married. This is where Ashok grew up too. This place is filled with memories of birthdays and festivals. But my favourite memory is of our morning tea ritual…the time that only you and I shared before the chores of the day began. How you always woke up 10 minutes before I did to ensure that hot, sweet tea, just as I liked it, was ready and waiting for me at this very spot, my favourite spot in the house. The only thing that stayed constant in our lives over the 52 years that we were together was our morning cup of tea. Sitting here with you by the window, sipping the tea you so lovingly brewed for me each morning. This is what I miss the most.

 

My dearest Mala, If you were here with me having a cup of tea right now, I would tell you that our life was tough but it was beautiful. We didn’t have it all but we had enough. We had love and laughter. And we had each other. And we had our morning cup of tea.

 

 

write tribe #festivalofwords #writebravely

I am participating in the Write Tribe Festival of Words #6. This is my entry for the Day 7 Prompt – “If we were having coffee…”.

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Comments
  1. Kavita Singh said on August 11, 2017 1:32 pm:

    Such a beautiful piece of fiction this is Mahak. We all can relate with it as the story somewhere connects our emotions to our parents. I asked my mom and dad too to stay in Delhi but they seem to be not okay with leaving the place where they spend their previous moments together and I absolutely understand that. You made me emotional babes ☺

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 5:24 pm:

      Awww I am so touched to read this Kavita. I really did not think that so many people would relate to this. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Vinay Leo R. said on August 11, 2017 3:25 pm:

    Write more fiction. Much more. If it clashes with your niche here, start another space. Because this is beautiful. 🙂 and I mean like WOW beautiful. I can so understand the man’s attraction and appeal to home. My grandma too feels so much at home in our native place rather than at our home. You brought that aspect of his character so eloquently. LOVED IT.

    PS: It has been a wonderful festival of words. Happy to have had your company in our smaller tribe, and to have read you through the last seven days. 🙂

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 5:23 pm:

      Thank you so much Vinay. I am truly humbled to read these comments. Thank you also for the constant encouragement and support throughout the festival. Couldn’t have gotten through it without our awesome tribe.

  3. Kala Ravi said on August 11, 2017 3:38 pm:

    Mahak, you are a born story-teller. Loved this beautiful tale with tender moments, reflections and a love lost. You should definitely write more fiction. All the best!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 5:25 pm:

      Thank you Kala. I am truly humbled to read the comments here. I must say that I was inspired to write fiction after the entries from you and the other participants from our tribe. So thank you for that!

  4. Zainab said on August 11, 2017 3:56 pm:

    This is a such a great entry! So well written!!!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 5:22 pm:

      Thank you!

  5. SHALINI BAISIWALA said on August 11, 2017 5:36 pm:

    Your post has made me yearn for a hot cup of tea now; yup me too a tea holic!!! What a warm cosy story for this prompt. Way to go Mahak – you have aptly described a feeling felt by most of us; home is where heart is! Its very difficult to relocate and adjust to a strange place if your heart is not into it! Kudos on writing a perfect piece of fiction; the emotions expressed here are very real and alive!!!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 5:21 pm:

      Thank you so much Shalini. Humbled to read such comments.

  6. Esha said on August 11, 2017 5:44 pm:

    What a heartfelt tale of love and loss! I can feel the emotions that Bakshi uncle must be going through…can identify with that as I see a lot of elderly people who are going through a similar phase in their lives right now. Very beautifully written. Loved it

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 5:21 pm:

      Thank you Esha.

  7. Keerthi Vydyula said on August 12, 2017 1:18 am:

    This post reminded me of my grand mom, she is not more, there has not gone a time when i dont miss her. This is something she always used to tell when ever i asked her to stay with us. She always told “this is not my home. My village that 50 yrs old house where i was married and brought into, where my children were born and brought up, where you were born and made me run around you all the time…that is my home”
    Such a heart felt post, i loved it to the core.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 5:21 pm:

      Thank you Keerthi. I am so touched to know that this story resonated with you on some level.

  8. Sheethal Susan Jacob said on August 12, 2017 2:04 am:

    I felt sad reading this, reading about the loneliness he might have going through without his dear one. beautifully written.

    Congrats on completing the fest. It was a fun ride with you all. 🙂

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 5:20 pm:

      Thank you and congratulations to you too!

  9. Apeksha Rao said on August 12, 2017 8:33 pm:

    Wow! What a fab story, Mahak! Please keep writing fiction. You have a knack for it. I could feel Bakshi Uncle’s emotions, so clearly. 🤗🤗

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 5:20 pm:

      Thank you Apeksha. I was inspired to try my hand at fiction after reading some of the awesome entries from you and the other participants of our tribe!

  10. Pooja Sharma said on August 14, 2017 11:13 am:

    You write amazing fiction. This really melted my heart.

  11. Madhu said on August 14, 2017 12:03 pm:

    Such a lovely story

  12. Jiya B said on August 14, 2017 12:04 pm:

    loved reading the story. Being a fiction lover and writer. I got read it twice and its a beautifull story. The emotiona are prominently put. Thanks for sharing

  13. Minakshi bajpai said on August 14, 2017 9:23 pm:

    Wow beautiful story. Very wel penned down. And i can feel the situation of bakshi uncle very wel. Story is full of up and down feelings. Great touching post

  14. Charu Sareen Gujjal said on August 15, 2017 1:41 am:

    Such a beautiful piece of fiction. You kept me hooked to the narrative till the end. Wonderful post!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 12:47 pm:

      Thank you Charu! You ladies inspired me to take up the challenge to write this after all!

  15. Deepa said on August 15, 2017 11:46 am:

    Such a hear touching piece of story..full of emotions. Beautiful. Who says you can’t write fiction? 🙂

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 12:46 pm:

      Haha…thank you Deepa!

  16. Smita said on August 16, 2017 1:25 am:

    Beautiful story, so heartfelt. I can completely understand the feeling of parents not fitting in, it is so hard to leave the place you belong to and try living in a new place. And grandparents are doing it all around, but I can understand that it is very lonely for them too. Even my parents and fil come and stay for long but they cannot move in with us. They do want to go back to their own home and I respect that totally.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 12:46 pm:

      Thanks for sharing their experience Smita. I am touched to know that this story has resonated with so many people.

  17. Nayantara Hegde said on August 16, 2017 1:36 am:

    This was a lovely read Mahak. You write fiction so well. I think you should send some more of these gems out in to the world for us to read. Kudos on completing this writers fest.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 12:45 pm:

      Thanks a lot Tara! I do hope to continue writing more fiction.

  18. Shubhreet Kaur said on August 16, 2017 9:59 am:

    Oh Mahak! We just got back from visiting Karma’s grandparents last night and today morning I read this. Touchwood, both Karan and my parents have each other but I understand the feeling you have portrayed in the story very well. I lost my younger brother almost 2 years ago and he used to live in our house in Chandigarh with my grandfather. Then my darji passed away and mom moved to Chandigarh since Angad was there alone. And then Angad went. Mom still stays there and dad goes every weekend since he’s working in Delhi. But I know how the emptiness of that house hits them everyday. I was born there, so was Angad. And even though it causes pain, it also brings them solace because most of his memories are tied up in that house. It’s not just bricks and walls but your entire life. I’ve taken off to a different tangent in my comment but I really felt my mom could have written this letter to Angad. Maybe a slightly different version but with the same feelings of loss and love! This really hit me in my heart! 🙂

    1. Baby & Beyond said on August 16, 2017 12:43 pm:

      Shubhs, I remember reading your post about your brother and it was heartbreaking. Thank you so much for your comment. I don’t think I have ever come close to experiencing such a huge loss in my life as you must have and I am really touched to know that my words resonated with you at some level. Hugs to you and Karma.

  19. Rakhi Parsai said on August 16, 2017 10:28 pm:

    Beautiful work Mahak. I lost my moms some 9 years back and have been living this worry forever that my papa is alone but he doesn’t want to move out of the house and things around him. he is so close to everything that my mom had gathered in the house. People at this age want to stay grounded to their home and roots. Loved the way you have portrayed the story.

  20. Shoma said on August 18, 2017 10:11 am:

    Mahak really enjoyed reading this! You should definitely try your hand at fiction. Such a simple story but it has so many layers and so many emotions. Keep up the good work

  21. Prisha Lalwani said on August 18, 2017 6:28 pm:

    Mahak!!
    This had me teary eyed. I could feel a knot form in me when i was reading this story. I’m falling short of words to praise this. Beautiful!!

  22. Vasantha Vivek said on August 19, 2017 2:27 pm:

    Fantastic writeup. Such a deep emotional love. You have expressed very beautifully with your choicest selection of words.

  23. Anchal said on August 21, 2017 1:53 pm:

    Such an emotional post. I lost my nana last year, And I m sure my nani feels this way when my other family members go out leaving her alone at home.

  24. Aesha Shah said on September 15, 2017 7:22 pm:

    Mahak, please write more fiction. Beautifully expressed. My husband lost his father 15 years back. My mother in law was 48 at that time. There is not a day when she doesnt remember him and speak to me about her life. She daily cries off to sleep, I see this experience this daily after I got married. Losing a loved one is an incomparable loss. she nows stays with us and left her hometown and misses her home too. I really felt the words you expressed.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on September 18, 2017 12:59 pm:

      Thank you for sharing her story Aesha. I cannot even imagine her loss at such a young age. I am touched to hear that this story resonated with you in some way.

  25. Alpana Deo said on September 16, 2017 9:03 am:

    Mahak, you have done an awesome job in bringing out the emotions through your story. it actually didn’t feel like a story to me. At that age, parents want to stay put at their own place. Thats the place where they build their memories with each passing day, passing moment The don’t want to leave that place.

    Please write more stories. You have earned a reader here..:)

    1. Baby & Beyond said on September 18, 2017 12:55 pm:

      That’s so lovely to hear. Thank you Alpana.

  26. Ramya drozario said on September 16, 2017 11:32 am:

    Oh wow! This is such a beautiful story. It makes me want to pause life and think over it. Great work!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on September 18, 2017 12:54 pm:

      Thank you Ramya.

  27. Mayuri Nidigallu said on September 16, 2017 11:49 am:

    Such a touching story, Mahak. Your words left an imprint in my heart and a film of tears in my eyes. Please write more fiction, you are so good at it.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on September 18, 2017 12:54 pm:

      Thank you so much Mayuri

  28. Leo said on September 16, 2017 2:30 pm:

    I had read your fiction yesterday, and was thinking of re-reading this one again. I remember reading it during the Festival, and it is such a beautiful, emotional piece. 🙂 Maybe you could write a story for your kiddo next.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on September 18, 2017 12:51 pm:

      I hadn’t even thought of that but maybe I should! #Leotribe inspired me to write fiction in the first place and now here you are inspiring me again 🙂

  29. Ashwini Dodani said on September 16, 2017 3:03 pm:

    This is a simple yet a very very very beautiful story. I loved it so much that I was lost while I read it as much as the uncle in the story. Sigh. Keep writing. 🙂

    1. Baby & Beyond said on September 18, 2017 12:49 pm:

      That means a lot coming from you. Thank you!

  30. Nupur said on September 16, 2017 4:26 pm:

    Good detailing. Sweet story.

  31. Brinda said on September 16, 2017 10:28 pm:

    So beautifully crafted Mahak. I generally don’t read fiction but this made it so worth it!!