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Disclaimer This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to events or actual people – living or dead – is purely coincidental.

Dedication To My Grandma Florina who is now in heaven For teaching me what selfless love is through the life that she lived

Romance after marriage Samuel and Sandra finally get married. Her folks are strong Pentecostals (people who dance in church and speak in tongues) and his attend a Brethren Assembly (a church whose members don't move their bodies while singing hymns and believe that the gift of tongues passed away after the apostolic period). But their love for each other is too strong to allow religious doctrines to get between them. They reason that they worship the same God (Yahweh) after all.

Samuel likes all things Russian (he always admires their brilliance) so Sandra lovingly calls him Samuelski. DAILY LIVING Characters: Samuel: Father Sandra: Mother Reuben: Son (7 years old) Charlotte: Daughter (5 years old) It’s 6:55 PM Sandra: Children, papa will be coming anytime now. I don't want you to make noise, okay? Charlotte and Reuben: Okay, mommy Sandra looks at herself in the mirror again and adjusts her saree (A 'saree' is a garment worn by women in India). She thinks, “I have to start my diet again. After I’ve had the kids, I’ve become Mrs.Chubby! Have to impress my husband. Hee hee hee.” Ding Dong She rushes to open the door It's Samuel Samuel: Hello sweetheart (embraces Sandra and gives her a warm peck) Charlotte goes running to him. Reuben is still watching cartoons on TV. Samuel: (Lifts her up and gives her two pecks) How is my baby? Charlotte: Fine papa Samuel takes two bars of KitKat. Tells her one is for her and to give the other one to Reuben. He puts her down. Sandra: Oh Honeeeey don’t give chocolate to the kids. You know how bad it is for their teeth. Shall I make a cup of coffee for you? Samuel: No honey. I want to take a shower first. It was really hot today, wasn't it? Sandra: It was (Samuel goes to the bathroom, takes a shower and as usual, in 4 minutes, he is out fresh. He wipes his hair with a towel. Sandra asks him if she can gather the kids for family prayer. Samuel says yeah) Sandra: Okay children. It's time for family prayer. The four of them sit in the living room. Samuel starts with a word of prayer. They sing

two hymns. Sandra narrates the story of Zacchaeus. After the narration is over she asks, “Why did Lord Jesus tell Zacchaeus to come down from the Sycamore tree, Reuben?� Reuben: Mommy, my friend Andrew told me once that the actual reason was because he was not wearing under wear. Sandra looks at Samuel in disbelief. Listening to the humorous reasoning of the kids, he tries to suppress a smile. Then he tells Reuben to believe only what the Bible says. Sandra concludes the time of family prayer by praying for the family. Charlotte and Reuben say amen. Samuel smiles while listening to their childish amen. Sandra goes to set the table for supper Samuel is sitting on the couch stroking his cat. Charlotte goes to him with her right hand behind her back. Charlotte: Papa Samuel: Yes, my baby Charlotte: I have something to show you Samuel: What is it? Charlotte: (Brings her right hand forward. There is a piece of paper in it.) See, I have drawn a picture of you. Samuel: (sees it) That's not me (laughs) That's a goat! Why did you say that that goat is me? (laughs again) Charlotte: Because I saw a picture of a goat today and it had hair on its chin like yours (Samuel laughs again) Samuel: (Puts her on his lap). What did you learn in school today, baby? Charlotte: I learnt 'Piggy on the railway' and 'Jack and Jill' Samuel: Baby, can you sing them right now? Charlotte: Yes, papa Samuel hears the rhymes and enjoys listening to them in her sweet voice. Reuben comes running to Samuel Reuben: Papa, today there was a spelling test and I got 10/10.

Samuel: Really? That's nice Reuben. (Thinks to himself, "Well, who do you think you got those genes of intellect from, junior? From your dad, of course!") Reuben: And papa, today in a football match I scored a goal. Samuel: Very good, my boy. I am proud of you. (Thinks to himself again, "Ah, you got that talent from your mother the athlete. I've never kicked a ball in my life even!") Reuben: Our team won 3-1. I wanted to tell you this when you came but mommy told us not to make noise as soon as you came in Samuel: Did she? (laughs) Sandra: Ok everybody, dinner is read. Today I have made mashed potatoes, since I know how much my babies love them. (She has also prepared her favorite - lady finger and because she knows that her fussy husband doesn't like it she has prepared his favorite prawn curry too). Samuel: Where's that smell coming from? Sandra: (embarrassingly) I just heated the dry fish I had prepared in the afternoon. Samuel: Oh, smelt like a rat had died somewhere in our apartment. (He has strange taste buds. He hates fish but likes seafood like prawns and crabs. He lifts Charlotte up and carries her to the dining room. Sandra wishes he carried her like that). They all sit at their usual places. Charlotte opposite Reuben and Samuel opposite Sandra. Samuel says grace They start to eat and talk (only when they have finished chewing food particles and nothing is in their mouths. Sandra is good in coaching her children about table manners) Charlotte: Papa, why don't you like lady finger? Sandra: Because he's a man, Charlotte (smiles) Reuben: Mom, do I really have to have the salad? Sandra: No questions about it!

Pussycat comes and jumps on Charlotte's lap. Charlotte tries to give her a small piece of dry fish from her plate. Sandra wants to scream, "PUT THAT CAT DOWN!" But because she doesn't want to offend Samuel she says nicely, "Charlotttttte, don't do that." Charlotte: Mommy, pussy needs to eat something too. Sandra: I'll give her something later Charlotte: But Mommy, she's hungry right now Samuel: (says in a nice way) Charlottttttte, listen to Mommy. If you feed pussy and use the same hands to eat, you will fall sick. You don't want to miss school, do you? Charlotte: No papa (Charlotte loves going to the nursery. Everyday, she wakes up early in the morning by herself - like father like daughter - and puts her bag on her shoulder even before breakfast all set to go to school. He wakes up to read the Bible and to have his quiet time with God). She puts pussy down. Samuel wants to take pussy on his lap and feed her himself but he doesn't want to irritate Sandra so he denies himself that pleasure. Reuben: The prawns are nice, mom (Sandra is pleased) Sandra: Thanks, Reuben (she says it loudly so Samuel can hear and praise her cooking too) But the fellow is busy emptying the bowl of prawns onto his plate and not saying one word of appreciation. They all talk about school, general knowledge and just as they are about to get up Samuel opens his mouth. Samuel: The prawns were really tasty, honey. (Sandra is pleased as punch) Sandra: Thank you Samuel gets up, takes his plate to the kitchen and washes it himself. Sandra clears the table, and tells the children to take their respective plates and leave them in the sink, AFTER clearing the contents. Since it is his turn today, Samuel takes the rubbish bucket outside and dumps

everything into the big bin in the neighborhood. After that he goes and wipes the table with a damp cloth and rearranges the chairs. Sandra finishes up with the kitchen, cleaning it and scrubbing it all neatly. She comes out all tired and goes to Samuel. Sandra: Baby, can I get a massage? Pleeeeeeeeaseeee Samuel: Okay. Stand still and close your eyes. Samuel massages Sandra's neck, while the children watch TV. After 10 minutes of bliss she says... Sandra: Your turn. I can’t be selfish you know. Samuel: Ha ha ha okay, I'm all yours. Sandra massages Samuel's neck and shoulders carefully and lovingly and ends the session with a little peck at the back of his neck. Sandra: Kids, an hour left before bed time! (Bed time for the kids is at 21:30). Let’s read some books now. Samuel goes to the bedroom to type the thoughts that had gone through his mind that day on the computer before he forgets them (He sits on the computer for at least half an hour everyday, blogging). He selects his favorite reggae songs on the WinAmp player but plays them softly because Sandra doesn't like reggae music. Sandra removes some of Reuben's books from his bag and makes him do his homework. Charlotte is busy playing with her dolls. It's 21:20 Sandra: Time is up, go brush your teeth, kids! She tucks the children in bed. For the next hour, Sandra & Samuel talk about what they both came across during the day and about current affairs and political issues that are going on TV. Sandra: Honey, I am tired, let’s go to bed. Samuel: I know! Let’s listen to some music. Samuel puts his favorite reggae track: Lucky Dube's, "Soultaker” Sandra: Ohhhh, I am going to sleep. Good night.

Samuel: (smiles) Oh no, okay wait Changes the music to Lobo's "Faithful" Sandra sits on his lap and he strokes her hair lovingly. Sandra: You know what Samuelski? What did the trick when we were getting to know each other before marriage? What the magic was behind you all the time? Samuel: (smiles) What? Sandra: Your amazing heart! Your poetry and your godly behavior. How much you touched my soul! All I’d want was to be anywhere near you. You cast some kind of spell on me, Sir! Samuel: Well I'm glad it worked, Madame (He usually calls her ‘Madame’ when they are alone. That’s his pet name for her). Sandra: Really, you know, I was dying to be in your arms. I never told you this before... but that was my hope and dream! Just to be in your arms, and feel your heart beating right next to mine. Samuel smiles and a nice long French kiss follows. Then they thank the Lord and go to sleep.

Romance after marriage - Part 2 SANDRA IN A HOSPITAL Characters: Samuel: Husband of Sandra Sandra: Wife of Samuel Mrs.Naidu:Their neighbor Doctor Nurse Catering guy Sandra is 7 months pregnant Samuel is in his office when he gets a call. Samuel: Samuel speaking

Mrs.Naidu: Mr.D’silva, Mrs.Naidu here Samuel: Hi, Mrs.Naidu. What can I do for you? Mrs.Naidu: Sandra is in a hospital Samuel: WHAAAT? What happened? Mrs.Naidu: We were talking in your living room when she suddenly fainted. Samuel: Oh no! Is she okay? Mrs.Naidu: She is. But she is still unconscious. We are in the Pai Nursing Home. Samuel: Oh Lord! I'll be there soon Samuel tells his boss that he has to leave immediately. He takes a cab, reaches the place, goes to the reception and finds out where she is. Goes to the maternity section and sees Mrs.Naidu. She tells him everything. She has to leave as her husband will be returning from work soon and he doesn't have a spare key. Samuel thanks her for being there. She tells him not to worry and that she will come back in the evening along with her husband with some food. Samuel thanks her and tells her not to take the trouble as he will eat in the canteen. Samuel paces up and down outside the room and prays fervently Samuel: Heavenly Father, if anything happens to my Sandra, I'll be a crushed man. (just then a doctor comes out) Samuel: How is she, doctor? Can I see her? How's the baby? Doctor: She is in a critical condition. But the baby is fine. You can't go in there right now. Samuel: Please let me go in. She is my wife. I want to see her. Please. Just for a minute. Doctor: Okay. But you have to be quick Samuel: Goes and sees her with her eyes closed (gets emotional) Samuel: Touches her neck to see if it's warm (As if he is a doctor). Kisses her forehead. Then he kneels besides her bed, keeps his hands on her tummy and says a prayer for her and the baby. Then he kisses her tummy.

Doctor: Mr.D’silva you have to leave now Samuel keeps looking back at her till he reaches the door Doctor: Mr.D’silva, we have done all we could. Everything is in the hands of God now. Samuel sits on a sofa there. He skips dinner and fasts (even though he never practiced it before. Perhaps this may please God he thinks) and prays... Samuel: Heavenly Father, when you took grandma away I didn't say anything. When you took my pussycats away I kept quiet. But if anything happens to my Sandra it'll be too much for me to bear. Please Father, don't do this to me. Please heal her fast. Bring her back to consciousness. Finally at 4AM he lies on the sofa and goes to sleep. At 6AM he is woken up Catering guy: Sir, a cup of chai? ('chai' is the Hindi word for tea.) Samuel: Yes, please thank you. (Gives him a note and tells him to keep the change.) Samuel remembers the lovely times he had with his sweetheart and cries (He normally doesn't cry.) At 9:25AM a nurse comes out Nurse: Good news Mr.D’silva. She is out of danger. She just opened her eyes. Samuel: Can I go in? Nurse: You may. But don't make her talk. She is weak. Samuel: Rushes inside to see her. He is extremely happy to see her with her eyes open. He sits on her bed and holds her right hand with both his hands and kisses it. Samuel: How are you feeling honey? (Touches her neck again to check if it is warm) Sandra: (In a faint voice) Okay. (Looks in his eyes) How are you? Samuel: I'm fine, honey. (Kisses her hand again, withholds a tear and thanks the Lord) Don't worry, everything will be fine (smiles) (She gives him a faint smile too. He strokes her hair lovingly) Nurse: (not happy with the public display of emotions) Mr.D’silva you will have to leave now.

Samuel: I'm sitting outside, honey. Don't worry. He thanks God for healing his wife.

Romance after marriage - Part 3 A DAY IN THE LIFE OF SAMUEL AND SANDRA Samuel: Husband Sandra: Wife The kids are away vacationing with their grandparents in Salcette, Goa. After coming from the office in the evening Samuel is tired. So he takes a shower. After that he sits on the sofa and starts reading a book. Sandra comes from the kitchen and sees dirty socks lying scattered on the floor. She had taken great pains to clean the house in the morning so she is very very angry. With the socks in her hand and with fire in her eyes, she goes to him, holds them in front of his nose and asks‌ Sandra: What are these? Samuel: Socks, honeey Sandra: (angrily) I know what they are. Why did you throw them on the ground? Samuel: Er, I, er... Sandra: Don't they have a place? How many times must I tell you not to do this? All day long I have to slog here to keep this place spick and span and you come in the evening and throw things here and there! You untidy fellow! Do you care for people at all? Seeing her that angry, peace loving Samuel apologizes and tells her that he won't do that again. Then he gets up to kiss and make up but she says in an acidic manner ‌

Sandra: Don't touch me, you monkey. I won't tolerate this anymore. Understand??? Dirty pig!!! She then storms out of the room and goes to the kitchen to finish cooking supper. After that she goes to set the dining table. When everything is ready she calls out to him… Sandra: Supper's ready (No response. So she says again) … I said supper is ready. Samuel replies … Samuel: I am not hungry She knows he is hurt and feels bad about the words that she used earlier and fortunately today she knows what can repair the damage done. Sandra goes to him and says softly … Sandra: Honey, I forgot to tell you something Samuel: What? Sandra: Our pussycat has delivered three lovely kittens. Samuel: Whaaat? When? Where are they? How do they look? Quick, show me where they are. Is pussy okay? Sandra: Yes, my dear. They are under our bed. Come, I'll show you. They go to their bedroom. He stoops down to look underneath and sees pussy with her finger long babies who are busy pulling her nipples. She looks at him. He talks to her … Samuel: Hey pussy, are you okay? Hope it wasn’t painful. You must be tired and hungry, right? With those hungry fellows sucking everything out? Wait a minute, I’ll get you some milk and fish. Hearing him mention her favorite food stuff, pussy mews. Samuel lies on the ground, puts his head further under the bed and strokes the portion below her chin. Then he thanks God for the delivery of the healthy kittens. He also prays that pussy and her little ones may be safe from sicknesses. Then he tells the babies …

Samuel: Hey, little fellows, don’t pull that hard. Mommy will get hurt. Seeing him behaving like a kid who has found a box full of toys, Sandra smiles and thanks God for giving her a caring husband like him. After a while she tells him … Sandra: Honey, shall we go and have some food now? It’s getting cold. Pussy needs rest too. Samuel: Food? yes, honey, let's go and eat something. I'm hungry. He tells pussy … Samuel: Take rest, okay? He gives Sandra a kiss for taking care of his beloved pussycat and tells her to take extra care of her now that she has delivered kittens and to put extra layers of cloth under her and to call the vet the following day. Then he holds her hand as they walk to the dining room. Just then... Sandra: Honey... Samuel: Yes, my dear Sandra: Will you please forgive me for behaving like a bitch earlier this evening? Samuel: All's forgiven

Romance Samuel was not getting marriage proposals from the girls of his community. They liked only boys who worked on ships and earned in US Dollars. So he listens to a friend and gets registered on an online matrimonial site called He sends an interest to about half a dozen girls and some of them accept it. But after emails go back and forth, he is convinced that there is only one girl he wants to spend the rest of his life with. She is Sandra. He asks God for a sign and gets a confirmation that she is indeed the one. In June of that year, she comes to stay with an aunt in his city for her holidays. She wants to see him face to face. Sandra is scared of lizards. Samuel had told her that he would get one on their first date. THE FIRST DATE - PART 1 Samuel calls Sandra Samuel: (After speaking to her for 10 minutes on the phone) I'll meet you at 12.30PM sharp. Bye. Sandra puts on her best churidar, not-so-strong perfume, a mouth freshner (smiling while remembering an earlier email of his in which he had talked about a girl at his workplace who had bad breath) and heads for the lift. Within minutes she is down waiting below her aunt's building. It's 1PM still no sign of him Sandra starts to think, "Oh man, where is this bum?" She checks her hair in a mirror. Finally he arrives. Samuel: Sorry I am late. How are you? Sandra: (still angry) Fine Samuel: Slept well? Sandra: Yep Samuel: Still tired? Sandra: No Samuel: Hungry?

Sandra remains silent and forces a smile Samuel: Let's go to that restaurant I told you about. The food over there is really excellent. I tell you. They walk for 10 mins and still there is no sign of the restaurant Sandra: (Getting irritated but not showing it to him, asks politely) Is the place very far? Samuel: Just round the corner Finally they reach the place and are ushered to their table by a waiter. They sit down. Samuel: You didn't ask me why I was late. I owe you an explanation. While I was walking on the road to get here, a crow sitting on a pole dropped something on my head and shirt. So it took time to take a shower and change. I tried to call you but the lines were busy. They say that when a bird drops something on you it brings you luck. He laughs. Then he says, "You look lovely in that salwar kameez" (A salwar kameez is a dress that is similar to the one worn by Pakistani women). That one sentence and his explanation make her forget that he was late and that she was angry with him just a while ago. Sandra: Thank you She gives him her million dollar smile Samuel: What a smile! What would you like to have? Sandra: Any recommendations? Samuel: Since you said that you like vodka, try Moscow Mule. It's a vodka cocktail. You'll like it Sandra: Have you tried it? Samuel: Just once. Am not a Vodka fan. (Raises his hand to call the waiter). Samuel: Moscow Mule for the lady and Haywards 5000 for me please. Thank you. The waiter goes away. Samuel and Sandra look at one another.

Samuel: So, finally... Sandra: ... we're sitting across each other. Samuel: Yea They smile. Samuel strokes his beard. Sandra looks at it. Sandra: Samuel, because of your beard you remind me of Lenin, the Father of the Russian Resolution or should I say that you look more like Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan? Samuel: I admire Lenin. But, if you say that this beard makes me look like that diabolic Anton LaVey, I'd better trim it first thing in the morning tomorrow. He looks at her hair Samuel: What happened to your red hair? Sandra: Swam too much and the color got washed away (smiles) Samuel: Hey, when are you going to give me those swimming lessons you promised to? (Samuel doesn't know to swim. There are some other things that he doesn't know but it doesn't matter because Sandra likes him just the way he is). The waiter gets the drinks. Sandra tastes the cocktail. Sandra: This stuff is nice. Samuel: I told you. (He looks at her hair again) You have nice long hair. I like girls with long hair. Sandra: Girls??? Samuel: Er, I meant that girls look good in long hair rather than short. Sandra: Thank you. Why have you kept long hair? I liked it when it was short. Samuel: Well, these are the days when I have something on top. Who knows 'kal ho na ho'? Sandra: What did that mean? (Being a Tamilian, she doesn't know Hindi)

Samuel: I meant 'who knows if I’ll have hair tomorrow or not?' Tomorrow I may become as bald as a coot. Sandra: You're so funny Samuel: You think so? Sandra: I used to get toothaches after reading your mails Samuel: I got mouth aches too. Sandra: You know I used to wonder how you would be in real life? You're the same. Samuel: (Remembers something he has brought for her) I have brought something for you. Your favorite... (Puts a hand in the inside pocket of his jacket) Sandra: Please tell me that it's not a lizard Samuel: How did you guess? (laughs) It won't hurt you. Sandra: Pleease Samuel, pleeease don't take it out Sandra is about to get off her chair Samuel: (still laughing) No, no, it's not a reptile. Removes a rose and hands it to her. Only four petals are left because the others came off in the crowded train. He puts his hand in the pocket again and gets the petals that fell off. He gets embarrassed. Sandra is amused and embarrasses him further Sandra: Just one? You stingy you. I expected at least a bouquet. Samuel: I did want to get you a bouquet but the roses would all have got crushed in the train like this one Sandra sniffs the fragrance coming from the few petals in order to make him feel nice Sandra: Nice fragrance. Thank you Samuel: Just a thank you and nothing more? I need something from you right here (Points to the right side of his face) and one more on the left one for lifting that heavy suitcase of yours at the railway station, yesterday. Your aunt was acting like I was a porter, "Beta, isko jara dicky main dal do, peeleaze." I mean 'put this suitcase in the trunk of the car'.

Sandra: You're so mean Samuel laughs Just then the waiter comes to take the order for lunch Sandra: We need some more time The waiter goes away.

Romance - Part 2 FIRST DATE - THE FINAL PART Samuel: Spinach Chicken is the best dish on the menu. People come from all over just to have it here. In the evening it's very difficult to get a table. Because we have come here in the afternoon it's less crowded. Just then ... "Praise the Lord, brother Samuel" (Samuel sees two of his church believers walking towards their table) Samuel: Praise the Lord, brother! Praise the Lord, sister! (There are introductions)

(Samuel points to Sandra) Brother, she is Sister Sandra, a friend (Samuel points to them) Sandra, he is Bro.Roger one of our church elders and she is his wife Sis.Cynthia. Sandra: (Looks at them and says) Praise the Lord! Samuel smiles because "Praise the Lord" is a term normally used only by people from Brethren Assemblies. Pentecostals are more used to, "Halleluiah" and "Glory to Jesus" Roger: Brother Samuel, haven't seen you in church for two weeks. We had tried calling you up many times but your cell was always turned off. Were you sick? Samuel: Yes I was. I'll be coming this Sunday. Roger: Praise the Lord, brother. We all miss you there. Samuel: (smiles) Nice to know that. Brother Roger looks at the mug of beer and Sandra's cocktail but doesn't say anything because Sandra is there. Samuel tries to say something to divert his attention from the table. Samuel: I think people need to open better restaurants in Dahisar. We have to come all the way to Kandivli, eh? Cythia: Yea, Samuel Roger: See you guys later They proceed to another table Samuel: (Smiles embarrassingly) I think that next Sunday's sermon at the youth meeting will be for me and you can guess what the topic will be. Makes eye contact with the waiter to call him. When he comes he orders dry spinach chicken, garlic chicken gravy and chicken fried rice. Sandra: Do people do that? Samuel: Do what? Sandra: Preach to others when they spot them doing something that they "think" is wrong?

Samuel: That's the job of a shepherd, isn't it? Sandra: What's wrong with drinking? The Bible doesn't condemn it. It's only getting drunk that's wrong! Samuel: Well, we won't be able to convince the older generation that that's what the Bible says (smiles). But, you know what? Sandra: What? Samuel: I've been thinking that I should maybe give up drinking. Even socially. Sandra: But why? So the 'weaker' brethren don't get offended? They'll remain weak till they die if we don't teach them what's right and what's wrong. Samuel: No, it's not them that I'm bothered about. It's the non Christians in our country. They think that drinking is a vice. How are we going to have a good testimony among them, if we like the very thing that they despise? Sandra: You're probably right. May be I should stop pleasing myself too. Samuel: I think that if we give up drinking for the same of others, then when we stand before God one day, we'll realize that the sacrifice was worthwhile. Sandra: Me thinks the same too. Just then Samuel's phone rings Samuel: I have to answer this. Excuse me. Hi Rupali. What's the matter? Number? Let me check if I have their card‌ Removes his wallet and searches for a business card. Sandra spots her photo in there and is immensely pleased but she still wants to know who the girl who called him is Samuel: Okay, I'll come early today. Bye. Sandra: Who was she? Samuel: A colleague Sandra: Something important? Samuel: No, she just wanted the number of a placement agency Sandra: You said you're going to meet her early

Samuel: (smiles wondering why women are so suspicious) I have to go to work half an hour early today. There'll be an important meeting. Sandra: I saw my photo in there Samuel: Oh yeah, it's been there for a while (smiles) Sandra: You make me feel special Samuel: You are special, Madame Sandra: Stop calling me that, will you? Or else I'll call you Sir Samuel: At your service ma'am (laughs) The waiter gets the food and serves them They get busy eating and talking Samuel puts his hand forward to take another piece of chicken Sandra: (from the corner of her eye notices Brother Roger staring at them) Why don't people have manners? Samuel: (thinking she aimed that dart at him) Because they are hungry, honey. I didn't have breakfast today. Sandra: (realizes that her sentence left her mouth at the wrong time) No, no, I didn't mean you. Sorry. Brother Roger is staring at us. Samuel: (laughs) I think he likes your long hair. Indian men like long hair (laughs again) Sandra: (very irritated) So bad. Can't people mind their own business? Samuel: This is a public place, honey. People can look wherever they want. Let them enjoy their freedom and let's enjoy our meal, shall we? By the way, even though Bro.Roger corrects us young people in church, he means well. It's so easy for us to go astray, you know. He's just shocked to see me having beer. Being my shepherd, he has to keep an eye on me. Sandra starts eating again. Then she starts talking Samuel laughs after some time Sandra: What's so funny?

Samuel: You remind me of my niece Karen Sandra: Why? Samuel: She used to have chocolate stuck on her teeth and you have spinach stuck on yours. Sandra: (tries to remove it with her tongue) Has it gone? Samuel: It has (laughs some more) Finally they finish having dessert Samuel: I have something to give you before we leave (Removes a CD) This one has the world’s best reggae love songs on it. 150 of them, all handpicked by me. I had to burn them on my PC. When you listen to them, remember that there is someone who is thinking of you. I have something else to give you. (Removes a tiny box from his jacket and hands it to her) Sandra: What's in here? Samuel: Open it Sandra: Right here? Samuel: Yep Sandra: Opens it and finds a nice looking ring Samuel: I don't know if it'll fit your finger but if it doesn't no worries cause we can have it changed tomorrow. (He puts it on her finger) Samuel: It fits perfectly Sandra: (she's very happy) Ohhh Samuelskiii, thank you sooooo much. (smoooch she gives him a peck on his cheek). Samuel: Well, this is just a symbol of my love for you. Do me a favor. (Removes another ring from his pocket)

Slip this one on my finger, will you? This is to let people know that I now have someone special in my life (Sandra does that) (Samuel kisses her on her forehead and thanks her. He gets a bit emotional) He pays the bill and leaves a generous tip. They get out of the restaurant and find that it's drizzling Sandra: Oh no, I don't have an umbrella Samuel: No problem. It's the rainy season so I always carry one. And it's large enough for both of us (smiles as he removes it from his shoulder bag) He escorts her back to her aunt's apartment. Sandra is happy it's raining cause they are under one umbrella and his arm is now on her shoulders. Samuel wishes it rained before they ate cause after all the ale that has gone in, shy Sandra can't stop talking and the escorting trip is a torture for his sensitive nose because of the garlic-based gravy which she consumed.

Epilogue Samuel: Father (64 years old) Sandra: Wife of Samuel (dead) Charlotte: Daughter (32 years old) Avinash: Son in law (39 years old) Grace: Granddaughter (6 years old) Charlotte is a gynecologist and Avinash is an airline captain. Grace is in Standard 1. They have come to Mumbai to spend their holidays with Samuel. It's been two years since Sandra has left him and gone up to paradise. It's evening and Avinash has gone to the street below with Grace to buy her a cone of ice-cream, despite Charlotte's protests. Samuel comes out of his room to go to the loo when he hears a voice coming from the living room. "Samuelski" (It gets repeated) "Samuelskiiiiiiii." That was the pet name given to him by his sweetheart. Samuel puts his face in there and sees his beloved Sandra sitting on the teapoy.

Samuel: (He gets excited) My Sandra, you're back. (He runs to embrace her but when he reaches the spot, she vanishes) Charlotte: (From the kitchen she hears Samuel calling her mom's name so she comes out) Papa, is everything okay? Samuel: Yes (Samuel goes to his room and takes a photo of Sandra in his hands) Samuel: Sandra, why did you leave me behind? Do you know how lonely I am feeling without you? Everything here reminds me of you. When I sit at the dining table your place is empty. When I go to bed you are not there besides me. I miss you, my dear. How I long to hear your voice. (Then he speaks to God) God please take me up there. I have lived long enough. Why are you keeping me down here longer? I want to come up there to be with my Sandra. (Talks to Sandra again) Sandra, tell God to bring me up there soon. Charlotte has finished preparing dinner. Charlotte: (Enters Samuel’s bed room and sees him staring at a framed photo of her mom) Papa, dinner is ready. Samuel: You guys go ahead. I am not hungry Charlotte: Papa, you didn't have breakfast nor lunch. You'll grow weak like this. Have something at least. Papa, please. Samuel: Okay, I'll come. Just want a glass of warm milk. Avinash: (Hasn't seen his reclusive father-in-law all day) Hello, Daddy Samuel: Hi, Avinash. How are you? Avinash: Fine, Daddy Grace loves grand-dad very much so she sits on his lap. He loves her too because her long nose reminds him of his beloved Sandra. He pulls her nose with his fingers and remembers those days when he used to pull Sandra's nose. There is a faint smile on his face now. Grace pulls Grandpa's long moustache and beard. Charlotte: Stop it Grace, will you? Samuel: Don't stop her Charlotte. She reminds me of your mom. Your mom used to pull my beard to tell me that it was time to shave.

Avinash says grace and they begin to eat Grace: (Grace sees that grandpa is not having anything) Grandpa, have something. (She dips a piece of roti in sabji and puts it in his mouth). She reminds him of Sandra again. Once, when he was lying down sick on a bed, Sandra had done that – hand fed him. He takes it and relishes it. He smiles because this little angel is an exact replica of her grandma - her words, features and mannerisms) After dinner... Charlotte: You know Avi I can't bear to see dad like this. He is missing mom very much. Avinash: Happens Charlotte, they loved each other very much, didn't they? When I die, you will miss me too, won't you? Or will you get married to another dude soon? (laughs) Charlotte: Sheeesh (that was her mom's favorite word) Samuel wakes up at 4:30AM to have his quiet time and at 5:30AM just before dawn proceeds to his favorite place. It's the graveyard in Dahisar. He goes there everyday to sit on the grave, below which are the remains of his sweetheart. In his hands today are the letters she wrote to him during their courtship days. He goes through them. He remembers all the care and concern she showered on him when she was alive and weeps. Then he lies there to sleep. A new watchman thinks he is a homeless bum because of his disheveled hair, unkempt beard and unwashed clothes so he pats his body with a cane. Samuel says something to him in English and the guy goes away. Samuel goes to sleep again. He lies there all day going down memory lane. He finds peace there in that graveyard, close to the remains of his beloved.

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Two Indian Love Birds  
Two Indian Love Birds  

TWO INDIAN LOVE BIRDS Disclaimer This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to events or actual people – living or dead – is purely coinc...