Wild flowers in the woods

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More than four decades ago, in an army cantonment far away from the city, a young Captain and his new bride sat watching ‘The Little Tramp’ in action. As the Captain rolled over laughing, his young bride peered into his sparkling eyes with admiration. Her own eyes, then darted towards the wall clock. Half past eleven.

‘Another thirty minutes,’ she mused. She couldn’t wait to watch him spring out of bed, and produce a bunch of roses magically from under the couch or maybe he had already placed a bar or two of her favourite chocolate right beneath the pillow! She slid her hand under the satin covers to see if there was anything there, but then withdrew it immediately because she did not wish to spoil the fun.

The credits rolled on the screen. She looked at the clock once more. Ten minutes to go. She couldn’t stop marvelling at her husband’s perfect plan. Sitting late on pretext of a movie, he was leading them to a midnight birthday bash. But what excuse would he have to stay up for ten more minutes? She was only wondering, when he leaned forward and gave her a peck on the cheek, which immediately turned the colour of raspberry.

‘Good night darling,’ he said and then turning over to his side of the bed, switched off the lamp. It took a moment or two for reality to dawn on her. But she instantly waved it off.

She loved surprises but wasn’t a fan of thrillers. She hoped he wasn’t planning a ghastly celebration. Imagine glittery red roses flying towards her in the dark night! Or, ooh la la, did he have something else on his mind?

There was no way she could read the clock, so she simply turned her mind into the second hand and began to tick away.

1,2,3,4….576,577,578…600. That was it! Ten minutes over, well, not in a jiffy.

But the night had come to a grinding halt and her husband continued to lay on the bed, absolutely still, oblivious of his anticipating wife…and…uh…well…snoring!

Had he forgotten her birthday after barely a few months of their wedding? No! It couldn’t be. He had mentioned it just the day before, enough reason for her to have hoped for a pack of surprises. She waited long enough, her heart a flurry of emotions, before sleep stole her.

The next morning, as the rays of the sun tiptoed through the silk drapes, she opened her eyes to see the dashing Captain in a green camouflage and maroon beret, standing next to her bed holding a cup of tea in his hands.

‘Good morning darling. I made you some tea,’ he said, placing the cup on the bedside table. She smiled, waiting for him to pull out something from his pocket or from behind his back. Instead, he bent forward, carefully placing his moist lips on hers and then whispered into her ear, ‘Happy Birthday, my love!’

‘Thankyou!’ she said, returning the favour. The Captain then stood up, giving his lady-love a distinguished military salute and moved out of the room.

The woman sat right there, wondering if the whole thing was a charade. A contrived effort to shield something bigger that had perhaps been stashed away for the latter half of the day.

She spent the morning cooking some birthday-worthy cuisines, and getting the house ready for a supposed celebration. She pulled out a lovely floral dress from her trousseau and pearls to go with it. A gentle touch of rouge on the cheeks gave her the perfect shade fit for a bashful birthday girl. After plucking flowers from her mini garden, she placed them in a china vase which was a wedding gift from a dear friend. And she baked a cake as well! A tiny one. They were both wary of calories and with the Captain sure to bring one along, it would be a bit too much.

As birds began to fly home and the evening sun cast its long shadows into the living room, her eyes rested on the gate, waiting for her lover to walk in, sanguine that a most glorious evening awaited her. He did, soon enough, rushing in at the speed of light and melting her away in a titanic hug.

‘I love you, my sweetheart,’ he said, looking at her. ‘Ah! The birthday girl looks beautiful. What a lucky man I am!’ She fluttered her eyes that seemed to be working like a surveillance camera at that moment.

Releasing her, the Captain walked into the house, empty-handed, welcomed by the ambrosial scent of the cake wafting from the oven.

She, on the other hand, stood at the door, her mouth agape, her listless hands dangling in free air and her eyes, a pool of water.

‘Aaahhhh… I’m famished,’ he said, drawing into his nostrils the sweet, fragrant smell and turning around to look at his wife. But what was it that he saw? His beloved, his little birdie, the one he loved most dearly in the entire world, was standing at the door with tears flowing down her orbs, smearing the mascara that had embellished her long, black, eyelashes. Her cheeks were blotchy and redder than before.

It took him a moment to register the changed scenario. And then, with lines of worry cast on his forehead, he walked back to her.

‘What is it, my love? What happened?’ he asked, holding her hands, pulling her towards him and trying to wipe off her tears. She pushed him back, rushing to her room and burying her head in the pillow. He ran right behind her, shocked by the sudden turn of events.

‘Please speak to me once darling. What is it that makes you cry? Am I the one to be blamed today?’

She sat up, looking at him with her bloodshot eyes. She wasn’t sure if she should be the one to spell it out. He was supposed to know, wasn’t he?

‘My love, I can’t bear to see you like this. Please speak up,’ he implored.

‘When I was with mumma-papa, oh, what splendid celebrations we had on my birthday! Each year. They made it so special for me. It’s just…just that I’m missing them.’ She wanted to say so much more, but something held her back.

He stood there, frozen. Oh! He hadn’t thought of it at all! He loved her, yes, he did. But that’s how it had always been at the military school. Birthdays meant wishes. Maybe if his birthday had fallen before hers, he would have got a demo just the way they did at work. But now it was too late. Or, was it?

‘Give me a moment darling,’ he said, storming out of the room. The next she heard was the sound of the engine revving up. She ran out, only to see him speed away in his scooter. Where had he gone? The city was more than an hour away. She sat down on the stairs, right outside the door with the wind ruffling her hair. As the tears on her face dried up, it felt like a patch of earth in peak summers. She was parched, but she refused to move inside, not until he returned.

As night descended, she looked up at the blanket of stars, secretly cursing herself for sending her husband away at that hour. It must have been around nine in the night when she caught sight of a bunch of balloons at a distance. The rumbling Bajaj Chetak then appeared outside the gate, and the Captain alighted from it. In his hands he carried boxes and roses, bright-coloured balloons and party hats!

No prizes for guessing what transpired in the young couple’s home that evening. But what’s of more significance is how birthdays and similar situations panned out for them in the next four decades.

Well, the husband didn’t quite learn his lesson and regretfully the years only expanded his skills in forgetfulness. And the wife? The tantalizing glimpse of their forthcoming life, on that eventful day, taught her precisely how she was to have her way with the man.

And that is how love bloomed, in the midst of unharmonious music and brush strokes gone wrong. For, you know what, it is only the wild flowers that make the woods beautiful.


This blog post is part of the ‘Petals of Love’ Blog Hop by Swarnali Nath. (The Saffron Story Teller)

39 thoughts on “Wild flowers in the woods”

  1. I love the way you write, Sonia. It creates a music that’s soothing even in pain. Military or not, few husbands remember their wives’ birthdays and take that extra step to make it special. Isn’t it better to just tell them what you expect? Love blooms in different ways and its nothing wrong in speaking out loud what they don’t get!

  2. WOW!!! This is such a magnificent writing. As a woman who loves surprises and attention to detail when planning things for your loved one, I can very well resonate with the new bride. So much expectations, so much yearnings! If only men like the Captain understood the feelings.

    And these lines in the end, “The tantalizing glimpse of their forthcoming life, on that eventful day, taught her precisely how she was to have her way with the man.

    And that is how love bloomed, in the midst of unharmonious music and brush strokes gone wrong. For, you know what, it is only the wild flowers that make the woods beautiful.” is simply superb!!!

    Amazing post and take on love!

  3. What a delightful story Sonia, I loved the visual imagery you created and the build up. There are no right or wrong ways, love is in the small insignificant things, though a little larger than life gesture never hurts, after all we grew up with dose of SRK in Swiss Alps;)

  4. It was a treat to read your post where I could actually visualise the scenes because the narration was so lucid ! Absolutely, the brush strokes gone wrong sometimes create the best of abstract paintings and so is life ; abstract reality. Loved reading it ! Great writing, Sonia as always !!

  5. Amazing narration, Sonia. Such a delicious flavor of love blooming amid unharmonious music. I enjoyed reading the story so much. Loved the way you ended it.

  6. It’s always a pleasure to read ur stories and narration. Beautiful usage of words and I loved the last comparison of wildflowers that makes the woods beautiful. This story seemed so relatable. Love blossoms with acceptance.

  7. I totally loved and could relate to the poor girl. The officers and the way to get them around 😃. So beautiful.. love comes along slowly. Loved the wild flower comparison in the end.
    Deepika Sharma

  8. I couldn’t agree more on,’ wildflowers that make the woods beautiful’, very true! These tipsy turvy paths make the bond of soulmates stronger year after year, just like the gold shines brighter after every stroke of heat. Well written Sonia!

  9. Loved this take on love… Dare I ask if this is based on someone you know? 🙂

    Seems real enough to have occurred somewhere along the way!

  10. Dr. Surbhi Prapanna

    Wow Sonia, it is always a pleasure to read you. you have such a brilliant style of narration and use of language is just so classy and elegant. the plot of story is totally relatable to me and I am sure many of us had faced that kind of incidences once or more in our partner relationship. sometimes women set higher set of expectations from their partners and as usual for men, it is hard to understand that why she is reacting like this. end line was so beautiful. loved it so much.

  11. I’m loving all these stories. Sonia, yours is so realistic and beautiful and portrays what happens in real life. That not everyone can read minds, that with time people will learn love languages 🙂

  12. Love is about embracing the differences, and you’ve portrayed it brilliantly, Sonia. Enjoyed this riveting tale, especially how you ended with ‘For, you know what, it is the wild flowers that make the woods beautiful.’ Beautiful. ♥️

  13. Lovely story. The love between couple grows every year and we know each other a bit more every year. My husband still hates parties. It’s been 7 years. And out party keeps growing every year. So a bit here and a bit there some for him and some for me. It felt like I read my story.

  14. The story reflects how adorable love is. How being loved is more important than showing love. How love can teach you lessons of life and even an army officer can wear party hats and decorates balloons and flowers. This is such a sweet story of love. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. And I was wondering about the name of the story while reading. It felt lovely when you told us why you chose to name the story this way. I wish I could find some beautiful wild flowers in woods, too. Thank you so much Sonia for joining us in the blog hop and presenting us such a sweet story. I am grateful to you. Best wishes💐💐 ❤❤

    1. Thankyou to you Swarnali. One, for I reminisced a beautiful life experience by being a part of the blog hop. Two, you perfectly summed up my reasons for choosing the title.

  15. This story seems to be a glimpse of my personal life, even though my husband is not from Army & ours is love marrige, still we both are pokes, a part when it comes to expressing. Certainly loves blooms with time n so does the understanding. Loved it Sonia ❤

  16. Sometimes when I see newly married wives complaining…I smile inwardly thinking the same..sooner or later you will understand each others love language. Till then just hang on.

    Lovely story.

  17. Just like the petals, this was one delicate love story till I read the end !! You’ve woven a masterpiece here Sonia with such intricate detailing and gripping storytelling!! I was smiling consistently throughout the read, breaking into a wider grin at your ending statement!! I’m sure the girl learned to have her way with her forgetful husband and their wildflower evolving love, bloomed to make their marriage beautiful ❤️❤️ This is a succulent juicy writeup dripping with romance and marriage vows!!

  18. How sweet of both of them!! I just want to say, ‘I understand you completely!!’ But to whom? To captain? Or to his wife? If it was 2 decades ago, I would have cursed the ’emotionless’ captain many times for making his wife feel so miserable on her special day. But the truth is that love mellows and matures with time, age, and experience. So after having been exposed to many such enriching experiences, today I can proudly say that I understand the captain’s perspective wholeheartedly. That’s the beauty of a mature( and perhaps wild too) love!!

  19. I loved the build up . What a sweet story that was . Our expectations very rarely match reality but then we learn to enjoy what we get and cherish the developing relationship . In my own case I know my husband likes to spoil me with expensive gifts while I know he doesn’t really like gifts so his birthday gifts are practical and totally unromantic ranging from socks to books that he might want to read .
    Love really evolves over time and this year how present to me is four dental implants!

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