Fiction Five00-10

Raising a Toast

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Seema retired to her bed at her usual time but not before she wound up the ‘old fashioned’ alarm clock that ‘woke up the dead’ as her children had the penchant for complaining.  It was 14th of November; the eve of her anniversary and she and Rob would have been celebrating their fifty fifth. At seventy five, her back demanded some rest  though she knew that she would be up at midnight to raise a toast, as they had been doing for the past so many years.  Theirs was a wedding that took place amidst a furor.  Both sets of parents were aghast at the thought of inter-community marriage and who could blame them? 

It was so unheard of in the year 1965. If the news report were to be believed it continued to evoke strong sentiments even in 2020.  Parents went to the extent of killing their children’s choices if it didn’t meet with their approval!  Seema was glad that both sets of parents didn’t attempt to murder but left the young to their own devices and refused to visit them or talk to them.  The initial struggle only made their marriage stronger, particularly when she became pregnant with twins.  It was Rob who ensured that she was well taken care of and they could manage the most difficult time of their life only because they truly cared, loved and respected each other and their commitment to their marriage was steadfast. 

It was only after twins birth did the respective parents thawed. The toothless grin did what their parents’ combined efforts couldn’t.  Post the birth of the children, the parents helped whenever they could particularly when both Rob and Seema didn’t show any sign of converting their faith! 

Seema didn’t mind dozing off for she had an hour and half before the clock struck twelve. She had set the alarm at ten minutes to midnight and that would help her move to the dining room where the champagne, Dom Pérignon was cooling in a bucket of ice.  She had roasted their favourite cashew nuts and almonds to go with the drink and had kept the same ready. A bloom of roses, one for each year was set romantically on the table. It was a tradition that she continued till date, irrespective of the cost. 

The clock stuck 12 and Seema poured a finger of the chilled champagne into the two glasses and clicked one to the other glass and murmured, ‘To Us,’ as she raised a toast at his picture.

She sipped hers first and took a sip from her husband’s too.  She missed him terribly and this was the fifth anniversary without him.  He had bought the most expensive bottle to celebrate their golden jubilee but was not there to taste the best.  She hoped that she would join him before the wine in the bottle got over or earlier.  She looked forward to the time when they could toast to each other  in heaven. 


Photo By: Volodymyr Tokar

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