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An overwhelming smell of Onions & Garlic hit him as soon as he entered the house. A thought of entering a wrong apartment occurred to him but he soon realized that his wife was already home & cooking. He left his bag on the couch in the living room and walked towards the kitchen. There he saw Anita standing in the kitchen with her long curly hairs tied in a braid, wearing a Saree, mastering the art of vegetable cutting with left hand supporting the onion being cut by the rapid moving knife in her right hand. He asked her if he could take a look at his sweet & loving wife. She stopped cutting & looked at him with eyes closed. He saw that tears had filled her eyes & she was pressing them to remove the water. He wiped her eyes & hugged her. For a moment, they forgot where they were standing. The whistle of the pressure cooker reminded Anita of the upcoming dinner guest. Yes, her father was coming for dinner alone today since her mother had gone to her aunt’s place where all her sisters were going to cook & dine together. Usually, when visiting them, mother would make father’s plate & serve him. She recalled her mother saying that he liked Okra. So she had decided to prepare samosa for appetizer; Okra vegetable, potato vegetable, lentil soup, chappati & rice for main course & Gulab Jamun for dessert. She gave Akash the ginger tea she had prepared for him & got back to her chopping. Next in line were tomatoes, chillies, okra & potatoes.

Akash took a sip of tea & feeling refreshed already, removed another chopping board & knife from the cupboard & started cutting the potatoes with Anita. He knew how tensed she was regarding this dinner & wanted to make things easier for her. After a while both were competing against each other on who cuts most veggies. To him she was the cutest person to compete with. In the end, he won in-spite of she getting the head start and him drinking his tea all along. She pushed him out of the kitchen to concentrate on the cooking.

Exactly after an hour, Anita came into the living room & crashed besides Akash. Thankful that the food was cooked well before her father’s arrival & that she could rest now. She had already made appetizer & dessert the previous day. Akash was watching “Friends” on TV. It was his favorite TV show. He saw Anita fall asleep on his shoulder & tried not to move. It felt silly to him that she was tensed about her father visiting. He had found her old man to be a calm & knowledgeable person. He liked to be in his company discussing the recent cricket matches, stock market & technology.

With a soft voice & a kiss on the forehead, Akash woke up Anita after half an hour. She looked refreshed after the nap & he did not want to let go of her. She went into the bedroom to get ready for the dinner. She wore a white golden border Saree, braided her hair and also put a small red dot on her forehead. She looked simple but elegant. Akash also got dressed in white kurta pajama.

The door bell rang at sharp 7pm. Anita opened the door with Akash standing behind her to welcome his father-in-law. Anita’s dad was very happy to see both of them. He entered the house feeling a bit weird being alone and handed Anita the box of sweets that his wife had asked him to take. He entered the living room after removing his shoes & sat on the couch. Akash sat with him while Anita fetched a glass of water for him. They all chatted for a while & then Anita left them to reheat some of the food. Upon entering the kitchen, she again started feeling tensed & anxious. She concentrated on the task at hand & tried to shut the nervous thoughts out of her mind. After all, it was her father who loved her immensely.

She set the table for three & asked Akash & her father to join. Akash asked for the honor of serving his father-in-law & was granted the permission without any protests from Anita. Her father was astonished & delighted. Okra vegetable bought a wider smile on his face. Anita was already feeling ridiculous for being so worrisome.

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