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Coral Love

Updated: Apr 8

By Sunitha Punniyamurthy


It was the second wave of lockdown and Raghavan was watching TV when he heard a scream from inside the bedroom. His wife Sita had slipped in the bathroom and her left foot looked swollen. Fortunately it wasnt a fracture but doctor recommended that she rests for 4 to 5 days with her feet up so the swelling goes down. Whenever Sita used to be unwell in the past which was very rare. Either his brother’s wife or her sister used to come and help out. Due to lockdown this was not an option. He was about to call his son in US when he noticed Pooja their next door neighour.

He asked for her help in ordering dinner online. She asked for his phone, picked up a Youtube channel. “Its best to avoid deliveries in this pandemic. You can try cooking with these videos for now, I have lot of office work today. I promise to come and help tomorrow as its Saturday”. He had no other choice but look at couple of videos to start cooking. His first cooking experience was far from perfect but he was happy that he did something new. Only when he ate the food he realized that everything was salty but Sita had not said a word. All this was new to Sita as well and she couldnt wait to walk around and do the chores.

Pooja came over next day “Sorry I couldnt help you yesterday. So what does aunt prefer, we can cook something she likes.” He actually had no clue, he had never asked nor oberserved her eating habits. They had been together for 35 years but he was busy with his job first and post retirement he was just aloof at home. They selected the videos which had simplest recipes and finished cooking. Later Pooja suggested to watch movie on laptop so Sita was not bored. He left them to it and went to take rest in the next room. Pooja and Sita started talking while waiting for the movie to start “So Aunt this is the first time Uncle has cooked for you in 35 years. Do you remember what you cooked for him the first time”. “A north Indian sweet,I forgot the name. He was working in Delhi at the time of our wedding so I thought he will like it. I got the recipe from a neighbour. But he didnt eat more than a bite. I havent prepared it since then but everyone else liked it.” “Something good came out of this situation now you got to try his cooking” said Pooja laughing. 3 more days went like that, Raghavan took care of cooking, cleaning, helped Sita move around a bit, brought her anything she needed. Pooja came over whenever she could take a break from work. Other times Raghavan sat with Sita and slowly they started talking about various topics. Sita was conflicted, she felt bad that Raghavan had to do so many chores but she was also happy about the time they were spending together.

Raghavan also realized how much work Sita usually did in the house but never complained or asked for help. They were always compatible , never fought much but they also hadnt talked much either. For the first time they were being compatible due to affection and not due to obligation. She praised his cooking , he observed her eating habits trying to figure what she liked, she waited eagerly for him to finish cooking so they could spend time together, he took care of her every small need and didnt let her get up at all. They were staying together for 35 years but the last 4 days felt different.



On the 5th day Sita woke up very early and cooked his favorite breakfast. She was waiting for this day and was eager to see his reaction. Raghavan walked into the kitchen, saw the food and became angry. “Who asked you to cook, why cant you take another day rest? Why do you have do everything the way you want.” Sita was heartbroken, this was far from the reaction she expected. “I was feeling better so I thought I will cook. Also today...”. “I dont want to talk to you right now. Just leave me alone”. She walked back to her bed and laid down. They didnt talk after that.

Pooja invited Sita to her home for watching movie. As Sita was already upset she agreed immediately. Sita came back home around 6 pm and saw Raghavan in the living room smiling and he asked her to sit. Tears rolled over in her eyes, how could he be smiling after scolding her today morning. She started walking towards bedroom. He touched her shoulder and asked her to turn around. He saw her face and wiped her tears. They had witnessed their son’s birth, his parents death, her mom’s death and other such incidents but she always found solace/comfort in her relatives as he was distant and he never needed emotional support. For the first time in 35 years they had shared a moment. “I am sorry for what I said this morning, I was upset and it wasnt your fault.” He handed her a bowl “Do you remember this, this was first dish you ever made for me. I really liked it but couldnt eat due to cold that day. Later I thought someone else had made it so I never asked you to cook it again. I have been watching youtube videos to make this and today morning this was going to be a surprise. Seeing you up and about just made me upset of this plan not going forward. I hope you like this. Happy 35th Anniversary”. She took a bite , saw his face and smiled . “Its delicious. ” He also smiled and embraced her“I really like cooking, I think I have found a new hobby. I want you also to try something you like which you werent able to do before. I want us to share the house workload and enjoy every small moment, just the two of us.” He fed her another piece and she felt the sweetness and love around her.


By Sunitha Punniyamurthy



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Pradeepa Rajkumari
Pradeepa Rajkumari
Oct 18, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

love it!!

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Arup Francis
Arup Francis
Oct 17, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Keep it up Kalakar!

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Jasper Bright Vijayakumar
Jasper Bright Vijayakumar
Oct 15, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

nicely written ! Keep going !

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Rohit Mishra
Rohit Mishra
Oct 15, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Well written!!

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manu kumar
manu kumar
Oct 15, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Good one !!

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