Lockdown Love. Our new series explores love in this new ab-normal life. Where masks have replaced kisses and hugs have become emojis. Where cold steel and glass have replaced the warmth of flesh and blood. How has love changed? Or is it still the same, underneath the layers of disinfectants and face-coverings? Tell us a new love story. In 250 words or less. Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will publish the best ones on Mondays.
By Ananya Bhattacharya
She was on her Friday evening stroll in the neighbourhood market. She walked past the glass door of the bakery, deciding to not step in that day. But the call of the beautifully stacked goodies was hard to ignore. As was the fragrance. She walked in. Walked to the takeaway shelves and spotted a row of French Hearts. The tiny writing on the box announced it was pure buttery sugary love. It even had the shape to speak for it. She knew what to do.
"Ye French Hearts ka box please pack kar dijiye (Please pack this box of French Hearts)."
She handed him a Rs 50 note and walked out, happy that at least she stuck to her diet and did not get a box for herself.
He was near the pharmacy, the market landmark.
"This is for you." She handed him the first 'gift'. He peeked into the big brown envelope and his eyes lit up. She said, "French Hearts."
Nearly three years had passed by and a virus had shut everyone in. He and she were not in the same house. The world was locked. The fragrance of bakeries were a thing of the past.
Luckily, the online delivery app still had a few packets of her favourite cookies.
Friday evening. Work is a little slow. She is hungry, but not quite. You know that feeling, right?
Dash to the kitchen. Open the packet. Put the sugar-coated little cookies into the small bowl. She was just about to bite into one when she stopped. Grabbed her phone. Open camera. Click. Send.
She looked at the screen. Her eyes lit up. "French Hearts," his message read.