I sit alone in the drawing room. My single cup of tea does not have a companion today, nor a biscuit to accompany it. The belan is stowed away, the atta is sealed and pushed to the dark recesses of the cupboard, frying oil is drained into the sink and the whole spices will soon be forgotten. The house no longer smells like hot parathas and loving concern. There is no echo of my name called from the other room, no midday emails to ask when I am coming home and if I’ve eaten lunch, no impromptu shopping trips and visits to a museum! The spare duvet is rolled away and the extra bed deflated until the next time she’s here. Come back Ma!


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