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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?”

“Mine.”

“And?”

“Yours.”

“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.

Comments

Subha said…
I like the way this is going.

Subha

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The Aiyaiyo Syndrome

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Bio-data

Married for 31 years, 2 months and 17 days
Six cups coffee a day, brewed everyday of marriage
Three meals a day,
At least two dishes cooked, each meal-time
One snack for every Sunday
Big basket of clothes ironed every Tuesday
Average 18 items of clothing washed per day
Three children
1 miscarriage
One mother-in-law suffered
900 sq metre of floor space mopped, once a day
One caesarean endured
3 chicken poxes, 2 measles, 2 fractures, 8 diarrhoeas, depression, conjunctivitis every summer, 1 tonsilitis and countless common colds and flues
1 job held for 29 years
6 hours slept every night
Sex tolerated every 2nd week
Religious rituals everyone of them, carried out
Not one of them, believed in
Lived 52 years and some
Died exhausted

Overheard, “At least she had the satisfaction of having lived for her family”


http://jikku.blogspot.com/2005/02/quick-tale-3.html#c111042815438237631

The Saturday Poem

Found this in yesterday's paper. Again, I wish I'd written it.

-a

Now and Then

"Now that I'm fifty-seven",
My mother used to say,
"Why should I waste a minute?
Why should I waste a day

Doing the things I ought to
Simply because I should?
Now that I'm fifty-seven
I'm done with that for good."

But now and then I'd catch her
Trapped in some thankless chore
Just as she might have been at
Fifty-three or fifty-four

And I would say to her
(And I have to bite my tongue)
That if you mean to learn a skill
It's well worth starting young

And so, to make sure I'm in time
For fifty, I've begun
To do exactly as I please
Now that I'm thirty-one.

-Sophie Hannah

Lost in Post

To a little boy

It cannot be easy being you. A follow-up act to your more devilishly charming, flamboyant older brother. Before you were born, I was convinced that no child could ever take the special place your brother had come to occupy in my life. I used to argue with your father you would always be a second-born. A runner-up. A bridesmaid (or a best-man, as you turned out to be). That you could never be the prized, cherished, celebrated apple of my eye that my firstborn child was. But how easily you tore down my flimsy little conviction. The minute I saw you, I knew I was gone. What was worse, I succumbed willingly.

My fears that you would be overshadowed by your brother have proven unfounded. Over the past year, you have come into your own as a person. Your brother demands and challenges our love and attention. You, on the other hand, are much more accepting of our distractions with him. It is almost as if you understand that he is used to being the star of the show for much of his…

I ask, you write

Okay, here's the idea. I ask you a question and you write a short story explaining it. Let me give you an example.

What happened when young Padmavathi was drawing water from the well to wash her clothes, early one Margazhi morning?

Annon's story

One morning when Padmavathi was drawing water from the well, she found Pettai Rowdy # 1 Govindarajulu inside the bucket! She dropped it at once and Govindarajulu went down and down and hit the bottom of the well with a Nung sound. His upper and lower teeth fused together and since then he has been fed intravenously. Pettai Rowdy # 2, Ragothaman Iyengar, who suggested this to Govindarajulu, now rules the roost.

After marrying Padmavathi, he is inviting all of you to a water drawing ceremony at the new well they dug in their house.

Jai Ragothaman Iyengar! Jai Padmavathi! Come one, Come all!

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Here's a question for you.

What happened that made young Meenakshi change her mind about the parrot green saree she had originally chosen and go for a …