Around 4pm, I reached home and used my set of keys to open the door. Avantika was already in the kitchen, pouring that fragrant, familiar ginger tea for me.

“Are you very tired?” she asked.

“It was a funeral,” I said. She sensed the edge in my voice, perhaps, because her probes to decipher my mood gave up. She just smiled. All those years of togetherness bring out a certain unspoken compatibility. Either that, or you learn to give up easily and move towards a conversation-argument free evening. I didn’t attempt to comprehend what it was, I gave up too.

Post a quick hot shower, I laid down on the bed and closed my eyes for a moment. When the phone ring woke me up, it was 7.30 PM.

“Kabir, how are you feeling? Have you eaten anything?” I sensed genuine concern in Mumma’s voice.

“No,” I tried to sound as calm as I could manage. “Avantika will prepare some dinner right now.”

Mumma started sobbing. “Kabir, please stay at our place for some time. Please, I beg of you.”

“Please mum, Avantika will…”

“Kabir,” Mum was crying now. “We attended Avantika’s funeral today.”


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