Twelve packets of Silken Touch wet wipes. Ordered online for the Goa trip and delivered within twelve hours by a delivery boy who thoughtfully placed a call over intercom before ringing the doorbell of the Singh residence, then handed the parcel to Mrs Singh with a respectful bow, and was, in return for his impeccable conduct, rewarded with a three-star rating on Amazon – two stars deducted for body odour.
Rupees 960 in total. Unopened, no discount.
Set of two badminton racquets. An acquisition by which Mr Singh meant to encourage some actual action on the beach, because he realised that his children would spend all their waking hours glued to their iPad otherwise, which is not what eight-year old boys should be doing in their formative years. Racquets are lime-green in colour, branded and sturdy, and come with a set of six rainbow shuttlecocks made of natural feathers.
Rs 2160 each. Marked down by 10% on purchase price. Shuttlecocks complimentary.
Three Floréal lipsticks with argan oil. Bought by Mrs Singh when she visited the departmental store to pick up travel-sized toiletries. After she bought shampoo and sunscreen, she found herself drifting towards the Floréalcounter. The make-up assistant welcomed her like a long-lost friend and convinced her that she was just three matte shades away from making a solid impression at the five-star resort they’d be staying in.
Rs 1300 each: Majestic Mauve, Blazing Brown, Nude Nymph. All sealed, no discount.
Two convertible school bags. Untouched, because the new school year was yet to begin. The Singhs were travelling to Goa in late May, while school wouldn’t reopen until mid-June. The boys had been looking forward to flaunt these bags, which, when not being used to lug books, can double up as strollers. They come with matching lunch boxes and sippers, all Pokémon-themed and carefully curated by Mrs Singh who wanted the kids to stand out in school.
Rs 2500 per set, each inclusive of one bag, one lunch box and one sipper.
Luxury analog watch with studded dial. Purchased by Mrs Singh at the opportune moment of a flash sale. She intended to gift it to her husband on his 40th birthday but, as we know now, he didn’t make it. Original Prado. High-precision metal belt with a cobalt-blue dial and Swarovski detailing. Box unopened, gift-wrapped. Invoice and warranty card available.
Original price: Rs 24,000. Discounted price: Rs 21,000.
iPad, eighth generation, 128 GB, white. A recent upgrade on the 2019 model. Equipped with the same storage and features as its predecessor but made the boys feel more important in school. Protected by an authentic snow-white Apple cover. Carefully used. Bears a tiny scratch from the day they fought over who would use it first.
Rs 32,000. Flat discount of Rs 5,900. Cover free.
Swenfiddish single-malt Scotch whisky. A twelve-year old brew, fruity and creamy, purchased in early 2020 and saved up to use at house parties. One of Mr Singh’s favourite things in the world – so appreciative was he of its fine taste, in fact, that he couldn’t resist downing a few pegs on the morning of the Goa trip. In hindsight, he should have.
Five sealed bottles: Rs 5500 each. Sixth bottle missing 180 ml: steal deal at Rs 2500.
Rapidox Speedster ZX (2017, Diesel). An investment made three years ago when the boys turned old enough to be taken on road trips. A compact XUV that’s perfect for a family of four – smooth as butter, plenty of leg room, and enough backseat space for a couple of fidgety kids. It has airbags for all passengers too. That airbags cannot always prevent death is a different matter.
Original price: Rs 18,00,000. Offer price: Rs 8,75,000. Damages incurred to hood/engine have been repaired. Windshield and windows replaced. Car dented, re-painted, safety-checked.
Weekend home in Nebula Township, New Mumbai. Booked in 2018, ownership obtained in January 2020. One-hour drive from the city. Two floors, three bedrooms, terrace garden, porch swing, lush lawn with rose beds. Fully furnished. All conceivable amenities included. Bonus: a treehouse that the Singhs erected for their boys in April and stuffed with toys. All fresh, never used – neither tree, nor toys.
Selling price: Rs 3,20,00,000, all-inclusive.
Miscellanea. Personal and household items, running into thousands, whose prices are unknown/inestimable.Available in different stages of use, at modest prices. Will be exhibited in the courtyard of the Singh mansion on 3rd June, from 12 noon to 7 pm. Proceeds shall be donated to charity.
The notification (as received on Whatsapp):
This is to inform you that our friends, the Singhs, passed away following an unfortunate accident on the Mumbai-Goa highway on May 28, 2020. Given the pandemic situation, it has been decided to have a drive-thru prayer meet in place of a traditional congregation. This will take place on 3rd June, from 9 am to 11 am. Visitors are requested to enter the Singh mansion via the main gate and exit from the back gate, not vice versa. Please pay your respects from inside your car, without stepping out. You may roll down your windows but keep your masks on. No flowers or garlands will be accepted in tribute. Please do not insist on touching or hugging the bereaved.
We understand that this terrible, untimely departure has got people in our circles talking. However, out of respect for the departed as well as the grieving, you are requested to refrain from any kind of conjecture concerning the family, and to not circulate pictures/videos of the accident on Whatsapp. Kindly do not post social media updates about them either – even if you feel terribly tempted to tell the world you knew them – since the last thing the family wants at this point is voyeuristic interest from strangers.
We earnestly hope that the deceased find peace. We also request all those whom this message will reach, with folded hands, to never drink and drive.
Megha Nayar was longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2020 and the New Asian Writing Short Story Prize 2020. More recently, one of her stories was picked up by Out Of Print magazine to be showcased at India’s prestigious Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2021. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Trampset, Variety Pack, Versification, Rejection Letters, Coven Editions, Burnt Breakfast, Brown Sugar, Marias at Sampaguitas, Cauldron Anthology, Harpy Hybrid Review, Potato Soup Journal, Postscript Mag, Ayaskala Mag and The Daily Drunk Mag, among others. She tweets at @meghasnatter.