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Life On An Eversilver Plate

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tide - 11

Part 11

“Chee! You ought to be ashamed of yourself”, thunders Sanjana.

The drains in Sanjana's flat were blocked that morning and she had come to her mother's house for a quick shower on her way to work. Padmaja was not home and Sanjana had let herself in using the spare keys. She had found a file marked 'Hindu responses' left open on the dining table. Intrigued, she had gone throught its contents and had grown increasingly furious that no sooner had her mother come home than she launched into an attack.

“Have you gone senile? Have you thought about what you are doing?”, Sanjana continues lambasting her mother.

She was never one to hold back. Padmaja often wonders where her daughter gets her tempestuous nature from. Probably from her father, she reasons. Padmaja would attribute to her late husband traits that she did not recognise in her daughter. And over the years, she has thus fashioned a mental portrait of him which makes him seem a little more real than the fast-fading photo that now hangs in her living room.

“What's wrong with you, Amma? Why can't you be like other women your age who go about life without making much fuss?”

“That's quite enough, Sanjana”

“No, I won't stop. I want to know what has happened now that you have gone and put yourself on the market like some...”

“I said enough.”

“Why are you doing this? Is it lust? Is that it? Cheap, filthy, lust? Hmm, Amma? That's disgusting!”


“Why? Does the truth hurt you? We are not in America, you know. All those old women doing what they want, going around with whoever they please.”

“Sanjana, don't!”

“Have you forgotten how old you are, Amma? You are not twenty five anymore, you know.”

“Yes, that's right.”, says Padmaja finally, “I'm not twenty five anymore. But I'm not dead either.”

“I don't know what's got into you, Amma”, says Sanjana, her voice quivering, “you're not the mother I knew.”

“May be you never knew me.”

In the silence that follows, Sanjana gathers her bag and makes her way to the door.

“Do you want me to pick Tara up from school or will you be back in time?”, asks Padmaja after her retreating daughter.

Sanjana hurries down the stairs without a reply.

Hearing the commotion, Kamakshi makes an appearance at Padmaja's doorstep.

“Everything okay?”, she asks needlessly as she makes her way into the living room. Buoyed by the prospect of a good drama, she calls out from the kitchen, “Padma, there seems to be no decoction in your house. Shall I get you some and you can tell me what happened over coffee?”

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