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Tide - 22

Part - 22

“How old were you when this photo was taken, paati?”

The school had been flooded and Tara was there to spend the day with her grandmother before being collected by her mother on her way back home.

“Let me see, it was taken a week after we got married...I was very young at that time.”

“You look so different then”

“It was a long, long time ago”

“Was yours an arranged marriage or a love marriage, paati?”

“We did not have anything called love marriage back then. It was only invented after people started watching movies.”

A long time ago, when Padmaja was a young girl but not quite a woman, an aunt had once remarked, “poor thing, at this rate he will have to be very blind to marry her” and her mother had laughed along with everyone else. Later that night, lying next to Padmaja, her mother had held her hand tight and whispered that she did not want to offend her aunt and not laugh at her jokes, especially since she had been so kind in lending them some money to tide over tough times. Some day, her mother promised, a wonderful prince with a moustache would come to marry her and then they will both laugh at her aunt.

Padmaja did not share her conviction. In the mirror she saw reflected a square jaw and eyebrows that knitted too closely together, even though she tried hard to maintain that look of surprise that kept them apart. At fifteen, she was the shortest of her friends and had still not grown breasts. She feigned indifference when her classmates talked of boys who had written love letters to them. She really did not need them, especially since they only served to distract her from what she was good at. And what she was good at was studies. Love and marriage was for those who did not have much else to do. Sometimes though, she wished that her mother would disagree with her and repeat the story about the prince with a moustache, but she never did.

“Let's be honest, Paddu”, Amma began one day some years later, and even before she had finished speaking, Padmaja instinctively knew what was going to be asked of her. Talking to her mother was like climbing a familiar flight of stairs in the dark, Padmaja could tell where the next step was going to be well before she got there. “This boy is from a good family and he does not seem very particular about how his wife should look. If he agrees to this match, I don't think you should protest too much. Remember, it may not happen again.”

So when it was announced that she was to marry, it surprised everyone, including Padmaja. It seemed like the story starring herself had already been written and now the pages were turning. So it must be, she reasoned. So it must be.

Comments

AKM said…
Mmmm. She reached a peaceful enough place I think, from these meagre beginnings. Perhaps happiness lies in Round 2 ? Though I'd prefer a happy ending, I don't know if it should necessarily involve another shot at marriage or even romance, no ?

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Here’s an interesting write-up by Chinna Ammani on stereotypical portrayals in Indian adverts. The opinion expressed is strong and the language uncompromising. Read at your own peril!-a

The Aiyaiyo Syndrome

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Though their voice is dubbed later with a Tamil voice-over, I ensure that they pronounce it the non-Mehmood way. Mehmood has done this major damage to us So…

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!

-

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 …