Mrs. Kulkarni had been busy since morning, getting the whole house arranged and cleaned. After all both her NRI kids, Smita and Rupesh were supposedly arriving the next day. In her excitement, she forgot to serve the evening tea to Mr. Kulkarni, who had been waiting for it since almost an hour. At last he lost his patience and thought to prepare it on his own. As he was heading towards the kitchen, the beautiful bone china teacups, displayed in the glass showcase caught his attention. With a sarcastic smile, he moved ahead. He was thinking, how he was never allowed to drink in those cups. How his wife, Uma had been waiting to take it out only for some special guests. His thoughts were interrupted by the tinkling of Mrs. Kulkarni’s bangles. She was already in the kitchen preparing tea for him. With guilt on her face she said, “Sorry, for the delay. Smita’s room had to be perfectly arranged. You know how fussy she is about her things. Even if a photo of hers is missing, she will go crazy and I don’t want to spoil her mood. After all she is coming home after two years. I want everything to be perfect for my kids. It has been so long since we saw them both. I am glad they both decided to come home together.”
“Look at the tea Uma”, Mr. Kulkarni suddenly interrupted. “Whenever you think about your kids, you just forget everything. Even me”. He sulked like a child, who craves for attention. “Today I want to drink tea in those favorite bone china cups of yours. Consider it a penalty for the delay in my evening tea”.
“Uff, Day by day you are turning into a kid. Who would believe, you are already a grandpa”. She said mockingly. “Okay. Let me bring those tea cups. But remember to wash them properly and put them back in place after drying”.
Mr. Kulkarni was shocked. “How did Uma agree so easily? She is so possessive about those cups.” He thought. “May be she is so elated that her brain has stopped working”. He smiled upon his victory and rushed towards the balcony with his cup served with hot tea before Mrs. Kulkarni changes her mind. They both sipped the tea from their cups waiting for the sun to set soon. “Every moment is passing so slowly” They both said together and laughed at each other’s impatience.
It was going to be a long night for them, waiting for the morning, to get up and rush towards the airport. Mrs. Kulkarni as usual woke up at 6, and headed towards the kitchen. She had loads to do today, cook everyone’s favorite dish. Hurriedly, she finished most of her work and looked at the watch. It was 7:30 already and it seemed that Mr. Kulkarni was still sleeping. “What is wrong with him? Day by day he is behaving weirder”. She thought. Her anger was unstoppable when she saw that Mr. Kulkarni had not put back those tea cups in the shelf. Surprisingly, in a minute her anger was dissolved in the memories of last evening’s tea. It was a beautiful evening they spent together sipping tea from those beautiful tea cups talking about their kids. How they both proudly talked just about the kids and how they raised them to be such successful adults.
Finally, she served the morning tea in those beautiful bone china cups again, thinking in exasperation, “It is the last time I will serve him tea in these cups”. It’s just that she didn’t want to ruin this beautiful morning and so she headed towards the study. Mr. Kulkarni used to sleep in the study most of the nights after reading his novel. As she entered the study, she saw Mr. Kulkarni hanging from his rocking chair, and his favorite book on the floor. “Ravi”, she screamed dropping the tea cup, and rushing towards her husband. She hugged him and rested him on the chair, but it was too late. His body was pale and cold, and she howled in agony looking at him and then at those broken pieces of the bone china on floor. “Yesterday was indeed the first and the last cup of tea in those preciously preserved cups”, she thought.