Thursday, December 06, 2012

Tide - 19

Part - 19

Saktivel had married Srivalli, a girl chosen by his parents. They had had two sons who were now 32 and 30 respectively. When the children were just 9 and 7, their mother had met with an accident that took away her life instantly. The next two decades, Saktivel juggled his work with bringing up his boys – it helped that his parents were with him but the pain of losing his wife never really went away. It was only a couple of years ago, now that both his sons had families of their own, that he has started to look at his own life.

“I was surprised you asked me in for coffee”, he says, gathering crumbs with his finger tip from the small plate that had not long ago, held some biscuits.

Padmaja does not know what to say and instead bites into a large chunk of biscuit, nibbling which she wonders how to respond to the statement.

The conversation had progressed naturally up until that point. They had each in turn updated the other on their lives and those of their family members. Saktivel knew her brother Nandu had passed away in '91 and he seemed to have heard about her marriage, subsequent widowhood (what a god awful word!) and Sanjana too.

“I was pretty certain you had mistaken me for someone else, because if you had recognised me you would have turned around and walked away the minute you spotted me”, Saktivel continues unaware that that had precisely been Padmaja's intentions.

“I'm surprised Padmaja, that you agreed to meet me after what happened all those years ago.”

“Hmm? What? What happened all those years ago?”

“You know”, says Saktivel, “with the marriage proposal and everything.”

“Whose marriage proposal?”




“Yours and mine? Marriage? To each other?”

“Why? Don't you remember? When I asked your mother if I could marry you. And she said that you were not interested.”

Seeing the look of utter incomprehension on Padmaja's face, Saktivel decides to elaborate. It turns out he had asked Padmaja's mother for her daughter's hand in marriage and after some days, the mother had conveyed to him that Padamaja did not see Saktivel as a husband but as a brother and had to politely decline his proposal.

“I never knew of your proposal, I'm so sorry”, says Padmaja when she can finally bring herself to speak. “Amma never told me anything about it.”

“But she insisted that...”

“It is possible that Amma didn't think we were a good match. You know our families...”

“I know, but your mother said that you couldn't see me as your husband.”

“I wouldn't have said that.”

“Did you think I would have been a good husband for you?”

Padmaja didn't seem to hear the question.

“Do you mean, all these years you've been thinking that I turned down your marriage proposal?”

For a while the only sound you could hear is the too-loud ticking of the clock. Eventually, Saktivel rises from the sofa scattering biscuit crumbs as he stands up.

“I'd better go now. Thank you for the coffee, Padmaja”

It's only when the door shuts behind Saktivel that Padmaja realises that she still doesn't have the pressure cooker valve. She would have to speak to Kamakshi now.

1 comment:

Subha said...

I like the way this is going.