The world of Hashtags – Flash Fiction

by Chandrika R Krishnan

Malathi looked ruefully at the pictures posted by her maternal cousin Menaka accompanied by a whole slew of hashtags: #makingmemories#mylove#holdiay2019#lifeisbeautiful#grateful.  A tiny, weeny emotion in green did a little jig in her heart as she saw Menaka all over her ‘handsome’ husband amidst breathtaking surroundings.

Sigh…. Some people were born lucky thought she good-naturedly.  The clock struck three and reluctantly, she signed off face book and came back to reality. Her twins would be returning home and she needed to get something healthy into them before they left for evening classes. This time  was a ritual of sorts with both of them vying with each other to tell her all that happened at school and she was grateful that her children communicated with her despite being in the ‘so-called reticent’ teens.

An hour later, she was at the door seeing her children out and preparing for her evening walk around the complex joined by her sisters.  Despite, her father not being as successful financially as her uncle, he had the foresight to build five apartments in his ancestral property after demolishing the old, decrepit house that was left his after his father’s demise. This ensured that all sisters stayed close by and also were independent enough to have their in-laws dropping by or staying with them. The proximity helped nurture the relationship  and each of them thrived in  being a great support system to one another. Besides the house, the father couldn’t provide more than decent education and hence all four daughters and their respective family were firmly the ‘working class.’ Malathi who was on a sabbatical from her work as her children were taking the crucial boards had her hands full as she helped her sisters’ family too if need be.  All of them had enough but never in  excess.

Menaka’s financial advantage and her marriage into a successful business family did not deter her from being close to the cheerful, hardworking,  cousins of hers and made it a point to visit them whenever she was in town.

Hence, she was with all of them a weekend after her return from her holidays. As was the wont, all four sisters and their respective family met in one of the houses  making it a pot-luck and the house was brimming with joy, laughter and simultaneous talk.  As always Menaka was alone and neither her husband nor her teenage son ever made an attempt to accompany her despite her constant entreaty. She regaled them with exaggerated tales of her holiday and was at the receiving end of good-natured ribbing, on how she and her husband continued to be love birds,  just like newlyweds.

Her wistful whisper, “I would gladly swap places with you guys if only to have him all to myself,” put the world of hashtags firmly in its perspective.

 

Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash

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