Sunday, July 18, 2004


When she saw him, she couldn't help but feel a small pang of disappointment. Why didnt she feel thrilled to the tips of her toes on seeing him, why didnt her heart flutter like a butterfly when she saw him smile and wave and quicken his steps towards her? Where has all the romance gone to?

He spent about 5 mins with her mulling over the hideously expensive clothes (fancy buttons, no buttons, fancy straps, no straps, shimmery hardly there material, hardly there), before she steered him to where the swim wear lay. Pick one, he said. She thought the one in white would flatter her. He picked it up and rubbed the material between his thumb and index fingers right between the leg holes. As he did this, he looked at her and smiled. He had really kind eyes, so his look and smile didnt really go with his action. It made her feel a bit funny, like you would feel while watching a perfectly turned out gentleman digging his nose while opening the door for you.
After promising to go swimming with him from 'next monday', she started home. By the time she reached home, she decided to ignore his calls. It made her feel a little relieved, and very sad. And very tired.

Her mother was fluttering near the door when she came home.
Where did you go, why are you so late?
I told you I was going to meet Yamini to have coffee. I was only gone for two hours.
Why do you have to go out to have coffee? As if theres no coffee at home.

She wished she could scream till all the panes in all the windows in all the city shattered and all the parents in all the city went deaf. After half an hour, when she had eaten the dinner her mother had made in her destined career as a cook and maid for her busy husband and unsympathetic daughter (She could count on one hand the times that the daughter hadn't frowned after one glance at the dining table) she felt things could be worse. Her father could have been her mother. If her mother drove her to the wall, her father would have driven her over and under it. Thank god he works 20 hours a day 7 days a week. She hated those rare sundays that he stayed home the whole day. He spent his free time at home, arranging and rearranging pens and magazines on the coffeetable, bellowing instructions to minions on the phone (2 phones), peeping into the monitor every ten minutes if she was on the internet, asking her who what when why where before she went out and calling her every one hour to tell her to get home before "It gets dark." And yes, picking his nose.

It never ceased to amaze her that they could find completion and happiness in each other. But then, their definition of happiness and completion were very different from hers. Her mother felt she was complete because she was married, married to a husband with a decent amount of money, married to a man who didnt smoke or drink or cheat on her, and was still married. Her father felt complete because he was a man, married a pretty girl his parents chose for him, married a girl who gave him a child and managed the house with whatever he earned. They felt complete because they got exactly what they expected out of life. Nothing more, nothing much less.
They definied happiness as a state of no sorrow. If no one important died, no financial disaster occured, if they could buy a house and a car and have babies, they were happy. The word love did not exist in their beings. After getting used to each other, after so many years of marriage, they were extremely comfortable with each other, and agreed on everything when it came to their daughter. Which was to disagree with and disapprove most things she said or did.

They did not understand how they could have produced this creature. That went out of its way to disobey them. they did not understand why she wasnt happy staying at home, learning how to cook, wearing pleasing salwaar kameezes and sarees, and looking forward to getting married to an Engineer settled in the USA. Mostly, they didnt understand why she wanted to Buy so many books, when there were perfectly good lending libraries all over town. Or why she wanted to Spend a 1000 rupees on a handbag, when her mother bought 3 for the same price and even gifted one to her sister, or why she wanted to learn french or have boys for friends.
(to be cont'd)


Anonymous said...

Thought of ignoring your request for something I wrote, did so merrily for over a week - till I read your recent posting; felt I ought to thank you for letting me read what you write. My life levitates around material poverty - hence kindly accept payment in words:

As I wake up, the first thing I do is look around, but there isn't anyone there, as always. It's like a sign; one day, truly, there really won't be anyone there. Of course the smells would still exist, the ghosts of ancient cigarette buds, forbidden laughter, and hidden laughter will all be there, put in crevices I will never find, and singing into an echo I will always hear. Almost like magic. What I see isn't what really is. So I wake up, easily, like a brave raindrop ready to smash into the ground, but this time, the water spit is alone, no brothers, no sisters, not even the wind to guide. Once I am up, and I walk beyond my air, and into the silence, a smile has formed. I believe the legend is true - raindrops do chuckle before they dive into the earth.

Anonymous said...

Polka Chaddi,
At some point I hope you find the time to really put your views on paper, not in the form of a story, but more in terms of what you are against.
I am really looking forward to that. In the mean time, I must say your blog is really inspiring, in terms of the effort you have been putting to express yourself.
loads of love