MY FUNNY SHORT STORY PUBLISHED IN STORYMIRROR.COM
Sheetal Taneja had taken over the cleanliness drive in her house. She barked orders at her husband, Arun. She commented, with both her hands on her hips,” This is not the way to fold your clothes. Let me show you how it is done.”
She folded his clothes very neatly and handed them over to him. She moved on to supervise her children. When she entered their room, the siblings were throwing things at each other. ” I had enough of your squabbling,” yelled Sheetal,” Get back to work, both of you. I will come back again in half an hour. If I find any mess on the floor, you are going to starve today.” Aditi grumbled,” I hate this lockdown. I wish school would re-open soon. Mom, were you Adolf Hitler in your previous birth?” Sheetal stifled her laughter. She probed her daughter,” What makes you think that I was Hitler?”
Aditi replied,” Who else would make their dear ones slog like a slave during holidays?” Sheetal responded,” My dear child, your room is a mess. I want you to clean it up and keep everything spic and span. Both of you will be rewarded suitably for your hard work.” Aditi and Yash resumed their cleaning operation. Sheetal re-entered her bedroom to find her husband playing on his mobile. She gave him an exasperated look. Arun gave her a sheepish smile and explained,” I took a small break. My hands were aching. Please give me a cup of tea.” She stomped out furiously. Clang! Clang! Clang! She dropped some utensils in a fit of rage. Arun, now thoroughly alarmed, came rushing into the kitchen. ” I hope you are not hurt, sweetheart,” said Arun, feeling genuinely concerned for her. She shook her head and continued to prepare tea. Her mother-in-law, Usha, was busy paying a visit to her neighbor.
She handed over a cup to Arun and offered him cookies. The couple finished their tea in absolute silence. Arun went back to clean his cupboard. Sheetal joined him shortly. She picked out a couple of dresses from her wardrobe and laid them on her bed. Arun noticed something brown sticking out amongst her clothes. ” Hey! What’s that thing in your closet? Let me see, ” he yelled out in excitement. Sheetal made a feeble attempt to hide it. Arun was quick enough to pull it out. It was a diary.
“Give it back,” fired Sheetal,” It’s a personal diary. You are not supposed to read it without my knowledge or consent.” Arun loved teasing her. Her objection to sharing the secrets of her diary made him very curious.
He asked her,” Have you written any romantic lines for your boyfriend? Why are you hiding it?” Sheetal threw a pillow at him. She remarked,” For God’s sake, don’t talk rubbish. I avoided interacting with boys in my class. They ignored me as if I didn’t exist.” Arun replied,” I think they must have been thick-skulled blokes. I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind avoiding a pretty girl.” Sheetal had to laugh. She said,” I have a suggestion. Let us finish this cleaning job. Instead of watching television tonight, we will have a storytelling session. You can read out loud from this diary. It only contains memories of my childhood and college-going days.”
Finally, they finished cleaning their room and had dinner at 8.30 PM. Arun asked his mother and children to stay back in the living room. He called Sheetal to join him in the storytelling session. She sat down beside her mother-in-law and watched Arun commencing his speech.
He said,” Sheetal and I have decided to start a storytelling session every night to keep us entertained. She has given me her permission to quote some passages from her diary written in her childhood.”
The children looked at their mother and smiled. She ruffled their hair gently and hugged them to her bosom. Usha patted her daughter-in-law affectionately.
Arun started reading from the second page of the diary. The first entry was made on 15 July 1992.
Sheetal had written:
Thank you for becoming my best friend. I know I am not Annie Frank. Yet, I want to share my thoughts and feelings with someone who I can trust.
Yesterday I went to attend a cousin’s wedding. My mother forced me to wear pink satin Lehnga-Choli. She dabbed a lot of powder on my face as well as hers.
I yelled out in fear after seeing my reflection in the mirror. I looked like a white ghost. My mother generously applied kohl to my eyes. ” Stop it, maa,” I pleaded with her to spare me from further embarrassment. She responded,” Be quiet, my baby doll. We are going to a marriage ceremony. We have to wear the best attire for the occasion.” The temperature outside reached 40°C. I felt like tearing away this stupid dress. After applying lipstick, she tied my hair into a ponytail. I had to wear gold earrings and bangles with a necklace.
I wish I had been a boy. My family got ready. We hired a taxi and reached the marriage venue. It was a five-star hotel. I loved the floral decoration and the red carpet covering the marble floor. The ceremony was yet to begin. My aunt, Kamini, and her husband, Jitendra, welcomed us. We pushed the glass door to enter the hall. The air-conditioner gave us a respite from the sweltering heat. The fragrance of perfumes and room fresheners permeated the whole area. Our relatives( I never knew so many existed) greeted us with bear hugs. I nearly got squashed to a pulp.
I managed to break free from the tight embrace of my aunt. She ruined my already spoiled face by planting kisses on both the cheeks. The lipstick marks on my cheeks made me look like a clown. A waiter offered me a chilled glass of watermelon juice. He gave me a sympathetic look. I gave him a weak smile. Half an hour later, I found myself visiting the loo for the fourth time, after drinking six glasses of juice. My aunts and uncles offered their unsolicited advice about my future career and marriage. I am just a twelve-year-old girl. My mother glared at me after I yawned over somebody’s lecture on girls’ education and marriage. A passing waiter presented roasted cashews and pakoras as hors d’oeuvre in a tray. My mother and father grabbed a handful of them and popped them into their mouth. My elder sister and I had a difficult time controlling our laughter. My parents opened their mouths as wide as the crocodiles. They were not the only couple doing so. The wedding ceremony began at 8 PM. Kamini aunty’s daughter, Preeti, looked resplendent in her red bridal attire. Her groom wore a cream-colored Sherwani with a matching turban. The marriage went off without any hitch, unlike in movies, where relatives or friends create obstacles.
We went to greet the newly-wed couple after the ceremony was over. My mother wanted to impress her niece with her newly acquired skills, broken English.
Instead of saying,” Please accept my heartiest congratulations,” she ended up with,” Please expect my heartfelt condolences.” All of us, including the couple, roared with laughter. I spoke up for her,” Sorry, Didi. She meant to say heartiest congratulations. She has joined a class for spoken English very recently. I hope you weren’t offended.” Didi squeezed my hand gently and said,” Don’t worry, sweetheart. I know my aunt very well. She is a lovely woman.” The groom also nodded his head and smiled at us. We took a family picture. Later, we went to have lunch. I was surprised to find people piling an enormous amount of food on their plates. I thought they were hungry for centuries together.
My mother forced me to take a second helping of everything. Four Puris and Chole with Vegetable fried rice fried chicken dal-fry and two cups of ice-cream created a havoc in my stomach.
I ended up my day with frequent trips to the toilet. I think it got disgusted with my butt. I could almost hear it screaming, ” Please give me respite from your shit. I can’t take it anymore. ”
I had a sleepless night, tossing in my bed and clutching my stomach.” The entire family convulsed into laughter. Everyone cheered for Sheetal. Usha said,” I never realized that you were so talented. Why don’t you consider writing a book?” Sheetal pinched herself to make sure that she wasn’t dreaming. Usha had never appreciated her all these years. The food theft episode transformed her drastically into an affectionate mother-in-law.
Sheetal thanked her for her encouragement. The children asked their father to continue his reading. He started reading from the second entry recorded on 16 July 1992. It said:
” Dear Diary,
My parents are the best couple in the world. They have a great sense of humor running through their veins. That’s why they created both of us ( myself and my sister). My mother, Saroj Kapoor, is a housewife. My father, Satpal Kapoor, is a government employee. Let me describe their appearance. My father’s height is around 5’10’ with a pot-belly and a chubby face. He could pass on for Santa Claus. He reminds me of Goofy, a Walt Disney character. My mother is short and stout. She has a round face and a flat nose with thick lips. Her voice is very masculine. My father often teases her.
My parents like to argue with each other. They are like Tom and Jerry. They frequently get into a war of words. The argument ends with my father saying sorry.
Today my father said,” Saroj dear, your face looks like a deflated football. Would you like me to blow some air on your face?” She replied,” Just do me a favor. Lend me your teeth for scraping coconut. Did anyone tell you that your head looks like it got stuck into a vessel?
Someone jerked it off with such a force that it obtained an elongated shape.”
Both of them laughed heartily. My stomach ached from the non-stop laughter.”
Arun had to stop for a while, as he guffawed over every line. Usha and kids clapped loudly for Sheetal. The noise subsided after ten minutes. Arun commented,” I am going to read the final passage for the day. We will go to bed after this session is over. I promise you to continue reading this diary every night until the completion of all the entries.”
Sheetal gave him a nod. He turned another page dated 20 July 1992.
The entry began with:
” Dear Diary,
Today I fought with my sister, Vandana, to grab a window seat on the school bus. She called me names in front of my friends. I was so upset that I composed a nasty poem on her and slid it inside her school bag. The poem goes like this:
My sister is a stupid bitch,
She looks like a mean little witch.
She snores and farts with an explosive sound.
Her stomping feet shakes the ground.
She sounds like a cat scratching a pole.
She has freckles on her face with a tiny mole.
She celebrates her birthday during Halloween.
No wonder, I consider her as witches’ queen.
She is scared of cockroaches and mice.
She is an expert in giving useless advice.
I wish I could sew up her blabbering mouth.
Then she wouldn’t use words uncouth.
I felt both sorry and relieved after expressing my anger in this manner.
Bye for now.”
Arun and his family clapped for Sheetal. They were proud of her writing skills. She wished them good night before retiring for the day.
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