Fiction | Issue 1 (April 2023)

Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives

Sahana Ahmed

How I love to peek into the homes of others, where no one’s heard of Foshan bazaars, and case goods come from strict catalogues, price-on-request. Homes where everybody has good taste, good teeth, and pots of money. I start with Sussanne’s living room.

It is midmorning. I’m wearing a Sicilian-folk kaftan with alabaster boat shoes. No, make that an obsidian summer dress — Bombay is so warm already. I’m perched on a duck down Andrew Martin, watched over by the concentric circles of a Raza. I compliment Sussanne on the painstakingly curated room. She giggles. I rearrange her furniture in my head.

Someone brings in nibbles on bejewelled Fradkof platters. I help myself to a bit of compressed strawberry granite with sorrel leaf jelly. Makaibari is poured from a Hallmark pot. I am on the terrace.

Soft Tibetan music chimes out of BeoLab 5 speakers. Across the bay, I can see my fiftieth-floor apartment. 

It is the one with the living wall that Nita A copied. 

Malla is taking selfies against a teamLab light sculpture. I see Karan rushing to meet me. 

I set my tea down on a GKD table and step forward to receive his hug. My new Okan Uçkun tattoo plays peekaboo from the yoke of my obi wrap dress. Karan is in raptures over its precise lines. 

Tina comes over, a Mondo Casa goblet in hand. I tell her she should sell me the Subodh Gupta that hangs in her hall: “It’ll look better in my office than your mishmash house.” 

She chokes on her rosé. The smog forces us back indoors. 

We are in Manhattan.

The helical slide in this loft was crafted by Belgian artisans. The designer tells me about manual overrides. 

I chat with the collagen-enriched homeowners who wish to remain anonymous. I tell them I love their Miele cooking range. Not so much the cerulean Mogul bench, but they don’t have to know that. 

The architect, a nice fellow, directs me to a pop-blue Moroso chair. He kneels beside me, and begs me to “inscribe” my signature on his copy of my bestseller. I scoff, but oblige.

The phone rings; it is the husband. “Hello, hello!” I say, “Hello? Bad netwo...” End call

It is midmorning. The house kitty purrs from the shell of an Apple monitor. Sussanne is smiling right back at me.

Sahana Ahmed is a poet and novelist based in Gurugram, India. She is the author of Combat Skirts (Juggernaut, 2018) and the editor of Amity: peace poems (Hawakal, 2022).