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The next day morning, Subbu woke up before the sun as usual and switched on the music. He continued his morning rituals of feeding the dogs and the birds and came back to the garden to water the plants. To his surprise, Priya was already there watering the plants.
“You are too early today, Madam.” smiled Subbu.
“Yes, I wanted to see how the world looks like in the early mornings.” Priya smiled back.
“Believe me, Madam; it looks the best this time. So are you going to the office today or whether you are working from home?” asked Subbu.
“I know I have been lazy of late to go to the office, but I had requested for working from home for a couple of days more till the weekend,” said Priya.
“You are getting into a habit, Madam. Make sure you don’t do this for 21 continuous days; otherwise, they say that it can very well become a habit.” smiled Subbu.
“Not at all Subbu, I would rather wake up this time for 21 days and make this a habit,” said Priya loving the early morning weather.
While watering the plants, Priya noticed that little buds have already started projecting out from the Blue Moon Plant. She felt happy inside and was keen to see it bloom soon.
Priya noticed that Subbu was picking the newly grown vegetables from the plant. She didn’t realize that the vegetables, especially brinjals and tomatoes to have grown to their fuller size.
“They look so lovely. So you want me to cook them for you?” asked Priya.
“No Madam. Let me have the honour of cooking them for you.”
“Then, please go ahead. But you never told me that you could cook” Priya was surprised.
“I am a jack of all trades and master of none madam,” replied Subbu.
“I disagree with this. For me, you are the master gardener and a master counsellor.” Priya smiled.
“Well Madam, it comes naturally for an old person like me. All we can do is advice people from our experience, and the only ones who can tolerate our advice are the plants.”
Priya laughed at Subbu’s Joke and said, “Well said Subbu, I must create a garden for my parents as well. They need it badly, or I at least need it badly for them to escape their lectures.”Subbu smiled back.
“So what is that you are going to make with these vegetables?” asked Priya.
“Well Madam, I intend to make mixed vegetable curry. One can never go wrong with this.”
“Mmm, if you are so sure about it, then can you make some of it during this Sunday as well?” asked Priya.
“Sure Madam. But is there any special reason for this?”
“Well it will be my son’s first birthday, and I want it to be special for him” answered Priya.
“That’s amazing. So do you intend to call people for the celebrations?”
“Not as of now. As you know, I have enough problems already, and the last thing I want is a fight at the party.”Priya said concerned.
“In that case, can I get some people for the party Madam?” requested Subbu.
“I don’t have any problems with that. But whom are you planning to bring?” asked Priya.
“A few good friends of mine, they will like to come, and their blessings will be good for your kid,”
“Then you can invite them, but you put a word to Sendhil as well. You never know how he reacts to things, especially of late” said Priya.
“Why do you say that, Madam?” asked Subbu.
“Well he makes a mistake and shouts at me one day, and the next day he says sorry and expects me to forgive him instantly,” said Priya remembering Sendhil’s silent sorry in the morning.
Subbu listened silently and did not give a reply. He went to his tent and started making arrangements for his mixed vegetable curry. Priya followed him and was keenly watching Subbu’s preparations for the breakfast.
Subbu did not try to spice up the food with extra flavours and used minimum salt in his cooking. He tried to utilize the natural flavours of the vegetables and create a nutritious dish.
Priya kept watching the cooking intently and was amazed by the simplicity of Subbu’s cooking. Subbu’s mixed vegetable curry was ready in no time, and he presented his dish in a bowl to Priya.
Priya took the first taste of the curry and felt it so fresh and unique.
She said, “I feel I taste the real vegetables finally. I don’t even feel the absence of spices, and it still tastes amazing.”
“That’s because they are natural vegetables grown with lots of love.” smiled Subbu.
“If the taste is because of the love, then I must admit that it must be a tasty love,” Priya laughed at her joke.
Subbu smiled back.
Continuing to eat her share of vegetable curry, Priya asked, “Tell me, Subbu, why does this taste so good? Did you buy some hybrid seeds or did you use some special manure?”
“Well Madam, I never thought about the fruit or its taste when I bought the seeds. All I tried was to take care of the plant with requisite manure, shade, water and some talk with a musical background. The plant provided me with the best output.”
“You make it sound simple, but I think it is more than that,” Priya persisted.
“Believe me, Madam, I mean what I say. It’s as simple as that. You concentrate only on the foundation; the result will be taken care of.”
Priya kept thinking about what Subbu had said when Subbu said her one more thing, “You don’t need to worry about your kid’s future, you provide him with the good environment and love, and his future will be taken care automatically. Finally don’t try to make him happy, he will learn it automatically from you people.”
“But what if we are not happy?” asked Priya.
“You know the answer Madam.” replied Subbu starting to dig into his share of the curry.
The Birthday Party
It was the Birthday of the couple’s Kid, and they both felt lucky as it was on a Sunday which made things easier for them to arrange for the evening party. Both Sendhil and Priya had called on some of their colleagues and their friends for the party. Without speaking a word, they had divided their portion of the work for the party.
Priya took charge of the dinner and the cake, whereas Sendhil decided to work on the decorations and seating arrangements in the garden. Subbu advised the couple to visit the temple nearby and do their prayers for the kid before they can begin their work for the evening party. The couple had no other choice but to succumb to their new guide without any resistance.
It was after a gap of one year that Sendhil and Priya had gone to a temple together. The visit to the temple stirred a lot of emotions in them as it was the same temple which they frequented during their dating days. Both of them made their prayers, and their devotion was much deep and sincere compared to their earlier prayers at that temple.
All the time at the temple, both Sendhil and Priya did not utter a single word to each other. They wanted to speak out a little before their divorce settlement which was about to happen in a couple of days; however, they remain muted expecting something to happen to break their silence. But there was nothing which could enable them to open out, and they started to return from the temple.
Priya got engaged in the cooking department as she wanted to surprise the guests with her newly developed culinary skills. While cooking, she remembered how bad a cook she was before and how Sendhil solaced her by appreciating her tasteless food. Sendhil, on the other hand, kept remembering the fights he had with Priya for no fault of hers. He felt sorry for pouring out his emotions on Priya for his bad day at work.
The evening arrived, and the couple managed to finish their preparations just in time to welcome their guests. The party was planned between 5.00 PM to 7.30 PM as the couple believed that this timing would not kill the entire Sunday of the guests. The guests started to arrive at the party on time, and the music volume began to increase.
Priya got engrossed with her friends, and so did Sendhil with his friends. It was looking as if there were two parties at the same venue. Most of the guests were aware of the problems between Sendhil and Priya, and so they played safely without bringing any personal topics to the front.
Subbu helped the couple in the arrangements and kept himself busy. During the party, the couple tried to glance at each other without others notice. This was the day they had planned to celebrate big; however, today, they felt it was no way close, and all they were doing was finishing the formalities.
After the cake got cut, the party slowed down as guests started leaving to catch up with their evening appointments. With the crowd strength coming down, the remaining people also started to pack their bags. Finally, after lots of hugs and kisses, the house became silent once again despite the loud music in the background. The couple felt a huge vacuum inside their hearts as they were trying to hide their deep fears through the party fun.
Priya started to clear up the table and Sendhil begun to remove the decorations when Subbu interrupted them, “Not so soon. My guests are yet to come.”
“But it’s already 8.00. The party was supposed to be until 7.30 only.” Priya said.
“Well, Madam, I had told them that the party begins at 8.00. I am sorry to have done that, but I felt that it would be a wrong idea to mix them with your guests” explained Subbu.
“How many are expected?” asked Priya keenly, trying to figure out the amount of food needed to serve them.
“I am expecting a couple, an old man and a lady,” said Subbu.
“Do we know any of them?” Sendhil asked, worried by the extension of the party with uninvited guests.
“Well Sir, you know the old man, he is your milkman Gopi. He wanted to apologize to you for the mistake he had done. As far as the lady is concerned, she is the wife of the film star Vikas.” said Subbu.
“Are you serious? Why didn’t you tell me before? I would have made this party grand and would have made my friends wait till she arrives” said Priya in excitement.
“Well, Madam, this is a surprise for you.“smile Subbu.
“What about the couple?” Sendhil asked.
“Sir, they are blind. They are my good old friends, and I wanted them to bless the kid on a good occasion like this,” Subbu answered.
Sendhil gave a thought for some time and felt Subbu’s commitment towards the family and smiled. He said, “Ok Subbu, in that case, the night is still young, and the real party has just started. Let’s get back to work and relive the happiness again.”
As the three began arranging the tables to accommodate their limited guests in the garden, the old couple entered the garden.
“Hello, Rai, lovely to have you here” greeted Subbu.
The blind couple smiled hearing Subbu’s voice and slowly walked towards him with the help of their sticks. Sendhil and Priya greeted the couple and helped them to get seated in their places.
“What a lovely smell this garden posses. I can smell roses, lilies and orchids. It looks you have done an excellent job Subbu. “said Mrs Rai.
“You must have a gifted nose Mrs.Rai. Otherwise, not many people can smell beyond the dinner at the table.” smiled Subbu.
Laughing at Subbu’s comment, Mrs.Rai asked Subbu, “Can you show us the garden please. We would love to see that.”
Sendhil interrupted, “But it’s already dark, you may not see it properly.”
Rai smiled and replied, “It doesn’t make a difference to us. But Subbu must carry a torch for himself though.”
“Oh, sorry Sir, I didn’t mean to….”Sendhil felt sorry.
“It’s perfectly, alright. It happens to us all the time” interrupted Rai and started walking towards the garden accompanied by his wife.
Sendhil kept watching the blind couple along with Subbu. He saw them touching the plants and smiling at them. He also saw them smelling the flowers and discussing i. He realized how come a blind person could enjoy the beauty of the garden.
He also thought about how come they could live together as a blind couple and still manage to deliver their duties. Priya too was amazed to watch the animated blind couple discussing plants with Subbu. This continued for some time when Gopi and a lady entered their garden.
The lady came near Priya and said, “I am Parul, wife of Vikas. Subbu told a lot about you and requested me to come to this party.”
“Thank you very much for coming Madam. This is the biggest surprise for me today. I am a big fan of Vikas, and when Subbu told me that you are coming today, I got taken back. Please be seated Madam and feel comfortable.” Priya spoke out without taking a breath.
Sendhil too welcomed Parul and made her comfortable. Priya could not contain her enthusiasm and continued speaking to her without a break. Both the ladies took the resort of wine to open up their personal lives to each other. Sendhil, on the other hand, did not want to bother the ladies. He smiled at Gopi, who was standing at the corner of the garden.
“Please join us. What would you like to drink?” asked Sendhil.
“It’s alright, Sir. I came here to apologize to you, Sir. Subbu had told me about the incident, and I must tell you that I was unaware of your call.” said Gopi.
“Oh, it’s perfectly alright. I was foolish enough to make my assumptions. I did not know what you were going through until Subbu explained to me everything.”
Gopi smiled back at Sendhil and asked, “So where is the birthday boy Sir. I brought a special gift for him.”
Looking at a small plant Gopi was holding, Sendhil smiled.“That must be the gift of the day. But he is already asleep to receive your gift.”
“It’s ok Sir. Please make sure he plants this tomorrow and continue this tradition for all his birthdays,” said Gopi.
“That’s a noble thought. I will get it done.”
By the time, the two guests got seated, Subbu returned with the blind couple, and they too joined the table. Subbu introduced all the guests to each other and also to the host couple. The dining started in the decorated garden with soft music in the background. The fragrance of the flowers added beauty to the evening.
Over the course of the dinner, everyone got comfortable with each other, and the discussion became too loud. The guests had no inhibitions speaking their mind, and all their talks added insights to the tough lives they had experienced.
By the time, everyone had finished their dinner; Subbu stood up and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, today is the special day for a special kid. I want all of you to bless him from the bottom of your heart. It is a different story that he is already asleep now, but your blessings will undoubtedly reach him.
The second important request I would like to make to the guests is to speak out a few words. I know that all my guests are unique in some way or the other and their talk will make this day still more special to Sendhil and Priya. Saying these words, Subbu sat down. He looked at the guests and signalled them to take on the stage.
Rai stood first without any hesitation and said, “Let me take the honour of speaking first on behalf of my Dear wife and me. But before speaking anything, I would like to know if the host would like me to speak on anything particular .”