Gita Chandra was an open-minded woman. In fact, she prided herself for her open inquisitive nature and desire to learn and, after having her house blown up and forced to move into the countryside, she needed a hobby.
But, despite her numerous efforts, Gita just couldn't find the time, which was strange since she had more time to spare than the last five years combined. She didn't have her old shop anymore - having to move to the countryside for Haresh’ new job, and she was considering expanding. Haresh had agreed, if only to get Gita out of the house to stop spying on the neighbours, especially Sarah Jane.
“I want to help her fight aliens!” Gita had protested one evening. “But she won't let me! Such a tragic injustice! I'm telling you, Haresh, I would be perfect- Haresh? Are you even paying attention, Haresh?”
She had forgotten about this wanton desire by the next morning, but the gap in her life was still considerable and she didn't have anything to do. Gita decided she needed a hobby.
“What on Earth is all this mess?” Haresh exclaimed the following morning as he walked down from his extended nap for breakfast. In his sleep induced daze, he had almost slipped over a piece of fabric that lay haphazardly on the floor.
“Knitting!” Gita declared proudly, wielding a pair of knitting needles. Around her were numerous discarded knitted products. “It's my new hobby! I’m taking lessons off the Internet, you see.”
“Right,” Haresh frowned, processing the information. “Well...could you be more careful?”
“It’s not my fault that you weren’t looking at where you were going, my darling,” Gita scoffed, returning to her knitting. Haresh rolled his eyes, and resumed his hunt for breakfast.
Gita continued to knit. She knitted when Haresh went to work, when Haresh returned from work, until it was bedtime and then the cycle repeated to days. Soon, her knitted products gradually changed. They looked less deformed and more natural.
“I did it!” Gita cheered, turning to the hassled Haresh. “Look, I think I made it perfect!”
“That’s nice.” Haresh mumbled, turning back to his paperwork. Gita was excited. She had succeeded! She could expand her business and turn it into a franchise! Bloomin’ Lovely goes fashionable, the possibilities were endless!
She needed a customer. Gita couldn’t run a business without customers. Her thoughts turned to the woman over the road, Sarah Jane Smith. Grabbing her jacket and one of her knitted scarves, Gita waved a quick goodbye to Haresh and hopped out the door, trotting across the road excitedly. Pushing the gate open and hurrying up the path, Gita raised her hand to knock on the door when it practically flew open, and a panicked Sarah Jane Smith and her entourage of children skidded to a halt when they saw her.
“Hi, Sarah!” Gita smiled warmly, holding up her scarf. “I’ve made something for you! It’s a scarf! You see, my darling,I was thinking of expanding my business, Bloomin’ Lovely does fashion!”
“But you don’t have a business anymore,” Zoe pointed out. “It’s an hour away.”
“A minor setback.”
“It’s not even a good looking scarf anyway,” Dan whispered to Beth, and the pair snickered quietly as if it was an inside joke.
“Oh, Gita, now really isn’t the time,” Sarah Jane said, hurriedly grabbing the woman by the arm and practically manhandled her out of the doorway. The four kids streamed past, hurrying down the drive, whispering animatedly about a watch or some such. Sarah Jane shut the door behind them, cursed about how her new car hadn’t arrived yet, and hurriedly joined the four youngsters.
“Okay, we’ll talk later, yeah?” Gita called out. Sarah Jane nodded and waved hurriedly before Gita was left all alone on the doorstep, with only her internal ramblings to keep her company. She wondered why Sarah and co were in such a hurry. Her eyes drifted to Sarah’s flower display, and she tutted. “Silly Sarah.”
Gita bent down and arranged the flowers in an orderly fashion.They had been bending at all sorts of funny angles and Gita was far too picky to just leave them like that. While she was rearranging the flowers, her eyes were drawn to an object glinting in the sunlight.
It was a watch. She picked it up and examined it. It was cool and smooth to the touch, but it was ancient looking. Gita turned it around and studied the elaborate intricate markings, engrossed in the patterns.
“Put me down!” a voice demanded, startling Gita. She flailed slightly, hurriedly grabbing her scarf before it fell to the floor. She looked around, trying to determine the source of the voice. She looked down at the watch and leaned in slightly.
“I just told you to put me down!” the watch barked at her. Gita recoiled in shock. It was a talking watch! What a remarkable piece of technology. “Unhand me, woman, do you not know who I am?!”
“HOW DARE YOU!” the watch’s voice raised an octave. This was all a bit strange. “I am Prince Pickles of Andromeda Cluster and you are manhandling me!”
“A prince!” Gita gasped, flailing again. “I’ve never met royalty before! Nice to meet you! Are you hungry? Are watches ever hungry? That’s not something I ask every day. Come on, I have tea and cookies at home. They’re my Rani’s favourites!”
“What - put me down! Obey me! This is treason! I could have you arrested, you know!”
“And Rani’s my daughter, have I mentioned Rani?”
“Yes! For the last ten min-”
“Ah, she’s wonderful, she is. She wants to be a journalist, she wants to save the world! An admirable young lady, my daughter is. She’s currently travelling the world, good for her, I say. She’s with her friend- well, I say friend- he’s called Clyde. Have I told you about Clyde?”
“YES!” cried Prince Pickles. “For the last ten minutes, yes!”
“Oh.” Gita frowned.
“Thank goodness.” Prince Pickles sighed in relief. The dreadful woman was finally silenced when-
“Well, I run a business, you know. Bloomin’ Lovely, I’m looking to expand it! And I’m going to have fashion products too! Just today, I made a scarf, you see.”
“Yes, I saw. It was dreadful.”
“Dreadful?!” Gita looked at the watch on her wrist. She was agast. She never expected Prince Pickles the watch to have such a strong opinion. In fact, she never expected any watch would have a strong opinion on anything, considering they were inanimate and all that.
“Mhm,” Prince Pickles replied drearily. “The colour palette is a horror, the design is a cry for help and it’s just a shambles overall.”
“Well, what about this?” Gita produced another item that she had knitted, a little jumper that would fit a dog.
“Now you’re just trying too hard.” Prince Pickles scoffed. “Look at it, more holes in that than the one I saw that annoying IT girl wear in a show back on the Andromeda Cluster.”
“Well, I don’t need your opinions anyway!”
“Lady, if you can’t take criticism, you’re never going to make it in the fashion biz.” Pickles groused.
The makings of Gita’s long and meaningful speech was cut off by the sound of the ringing doorbell. She hurried to the door and pulled it open. Sarah Jane Smith stood on the other side, phone in hand and eyes glued to Gita’s wrist.
“The watch, you found it!” Sarah Jane gasped before Gita could begin her standard greeting.
“Oh! Well, yes, I suppose I did.” a pause. “Would you like him back?”
“Oh, yes please, he’s...a friend’s.” Sarah Jane managed, hurriedly prying the watch off Gita’s wrist. Gita didn’t really mind, Sarah always had a problem with social etiquette.
“Finally!” Prince Pickles exclaimed. “That woman was driving me insane.”
“What, you couldn’t manage with Gita Chandra? How are you a prince again?” Sarah Jane’s phone asked. Gita frowned, could phones do that? She supposed it was that Siri thing. Everything was so digital these days.
“I could have you arrested, you pesky brat!”
“Pesky? Hardly! I am but an innocent citizen watching blundering royalty make stupid decisions.”
Sarah Jane’s phone and watch continued to argue as the woman hurried across the road. Gita waited until they were gone to shut the door and frown. It was a weird day. Haresh popped his head out of the living room door.
“Was that the door?” he asked.
“Haresh, you’re here!” Gita gasped.
“Yes, Gita, I’ve been here for the past five hours,.”
“You will not believe the day I’ve had!” Gita then proceeded to give Haresh a long-winded, convoluted summation of her day. Haresh’ eyes furrowed considerably as the story went on. “And the moral of the story, my darling, is that you should never listen to criticisms your watch makes, because they’re just stubborn royalty from another planet!”
Haresh decided he would take Gita shop hunting - and perhaps to a psychiatrist - first thing tomorrow morning.
Bloomin' Lovely returns next week with The Grand Opening