One day …the Lady of the House disappeared.
No one knew what happened.
No one knew where she went.
But she was not there…
Not there…when the master called out for a second cup of tea…not there when the Girl wanted her suit ironed.
The Family spared no effort to trace her.
They started with the kitchen…hurriedly threw open all the shelves.
But all they could see were shiny brass containers neatly arranged.
The girl with a sudden brainwave opened the Spice Box…knowing for certain her mother would be there.
But all she could see were mustard …spice and other spices.
She peeped into the Rice container. But there was no trace of her mother.
The salt container…the kitchen cabinet…the utensil rack bore no trace of the Lady of the House.
The boy peeped into the Laundry basket …but all it contained were his smelly socks which landed there two minutes ago.
They lifted the doormat…turned the carpet upside down.
But she was not there.
Finally the family marched to the nearby police station.
“What is your wife’s name …?”, asked the policeman chewing his pen.
“Missus…”, replied the Master of the house with a deep look of contemplation on his face.
“When did you last see her last?”
At this the master, the girl and boy started scratching their heads.
“Ok…Ok Do you at least have a picture of her?”
The policeman had dealt with worse cases in the past.
“I can draw a picture of her”, said the boy who had recently graduated from the famous JJ School of Arts.
“You sure this is your mother”, said the policeman incredulously staring at the picture.
“Of course …”, said the boy. He sounded offended.
“But this looks like…
…like Pressure cooker”, finished the policeman.
“That’s her…”, shrugged the boy.
Shortly the family marched out of the Police station.
What the family did not know was exactly forty eight hours before she was missed…the Lady of the House had rolled herself into a book…a magazine to be more precise.
Folded between covers of the book…she felt a tear swell in her eyes.
“My Family misses me …”,she thought as the wetness spilled out of her eyes.
Maybe that was the reason…when the Master picked up the book …he found it slightly wet.
The Master missed his Rajma chawal.
“Hope your Mother is found soon”
“Hmmm…”, came the dual replies from the Son and Daughter.
The Lady could contain herself no longer.
She wanted to un roll herself into a human being again and slip into her familiar spice box.
But she was not yet lifted by any reader.
So she waited …as she had waited since the last forty eight hours.
Finally her patience bore fruit.
She was lifted by the Master of the House.
At this point Dear Reader…Let me reiterate a well known fact about books.
Books …once they land in the Readers’ hands possess a unique ability to read the Reader’s mind…
provided both the Book and the Reader are on the same page.
So you might have well understood what the Missus might have felt as she was lifted by her husband.
She was in a hurry to get into the mind of the man she had married twenty Five years ago.
She held back her tears.
She did not want to raise his suspicions…not yet.
Every pore on her skin trembled .
Today she would be on the same page as her Husband.
She ached for his finger tips on her flesh…on her empty spaces.
So she waited in the Sudoku section.
But today she had miscalculated …just like Human being.
Today the Sudoku section did not interest the Master.
Instead he flipped open the Bolly wood Section.
Mallika lay there sprawled in her itsy bitsy nothings.
“what lips…”, thought the master sleepily his hand on the open page.
Shortly afterwards… he fell asleep his dreams full of beach volley ball with the seductive Mallika.
“Maybe he’s tired…” thought the Missus on different page.
She herself was feeling cramped inside the tiny squares.
Sometime after midnight…when the whole household was asleep…the Missus quietly slipped from the Sudoku squares into the Sports’ section.
“My Little boy would be the first one to see me…”, she thought fondly before falling asleep beside the wickets.
The next morning…the aroma of Carrot Halwa awakened her.
Suddenly she was aware of her hunger.
But she was not yet ready to unroll.
She wanted to be on the same page as her boy.
But the boy was on the immediate next page .
“Wow…the dish’s a success…”
He close his eyes as he imagined morsels of Carrot Halwa resting tantalizingly on Sonya’s painted lips .
When Sonya would smack her lips would be the precise moment when he would go down on his knees.
Yes.. today would be the day he would propose to Sonya…to THE Sonya…Sonya who owned a couple of Merce Benz…Sonya whose father owned a private yacht…
“I might even have one of my galleries on the yacht…”, he thought dreamily .
“Sonya….mmmm…how I love you..”
The Lady on the neighboring page could contain herself no longer .
“The poor boy is surely hungry…I will cook up a quick meal. I can step into the book right afterwards…”,she thought stepping out of the book into the now empty household.
Precisely at that moment…the girl stepped into the house.
“Mama were you here this morning ?” asked the girl.
Clearly she remembered nothing about the search .
But she was in a hurry.
She could not wait for the answers.
“Mamma…I came to change”…she said throwing her bag on the bed.
“Its Sonya’s engagement…”
“Sonya’s getting engaged…to whom ?”,asked the lady her curiosity aroused.
“To …Arjun…Bhaiyya’s best friend..’’, said the girl rushing out.
The next day when the whole family was enjoying Rajma chawal…the policeman landed on their doorstep.
“you did not tell she’s back…”, said the policeman accusingly eyeing the Lady .
“huh..”,said three voices uncomprehendingly.
“But you are a good artist…”,said the policeman appreciatively to the boy.
Suddenly it came back to the boy and the girl …the morning at the police station.
“You must have missed her terribly…
…Now can I close the case ?”
“Huh…Yes”, said the master as realization slowly started hitting him.