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Tide - 17

Part - 17
“Are you waiting for me, Kamakshi?”, asked Padmaja a little breathless from climbing the stair case. She had never been particularly slim. But lately, she had noticed a tightening of her blouses, particularly around her upper arm that she taken to using the stairs over the lift.

“Hmm? Everything okay? Why do you want me to keep quiet? What is the matter, Kamakshi?”, Padmaja reeled off questions with mounting alarm.

“It's nothing”, hissed Kamakshi between gritted teeth guiding her neighbour by the arm away from her own door. “Come in to my house. I need to tell you something, Padmaja”.

And once inside, Kamakshi's behaviour was even more erratic. She said something about a letter and answering and now meeting someone and the man waiting for her at home.

“Where?”, demanded Padmaja.

Kamakshi silently pointed her finger at her neighhour.

“Where? In my house?”

Kamakshi nodded.

“Have you gone mad, Kamakshi? I gave you the keys in case you don't see me for days and there's an odd smell coming out of my house and you need to let yourself in without breaking the door because if I am okay, you would have ruined a perfectly good door. You don't use my key to let some stranger inside and then insist that I meet him.”

“He had written a really nice letter.”

“How did you find out?”

“Well, because you were no longer interested in this sort of thing, I...”

“You started reading my letters and replying to them as well?”

“Only the letters from the matrimonial advertisement. I only did it out of concern for you, Padma. I can ask him to leave, if you want.”

“Yes, I think you should do that.”

Padmaja stood there in the middle of Kamakshi's living room watching her go out. She heard her front door being opened and then there was muffled conversation. Padmaja stood rooted to her spot for several minutes waiting for Kamakshi to return. The sweat from her exertion was trickling down her back and Padmaja couldn't wait to get back home and wash off her fatigue. She gathered her bag and leaving Kamakshi's front door wide open for her neighbour to return to in case she hadn't taken her keys with her, Padmaja made her way back to her flat.

They were still talking inside. What could they be discussing for so long? Padmaja sighed and pushed the door open.

“Ah, there you are!”, greeted Kamakshi brightly, “I was just telling Mr. Srinivasan here...”

“Please call me Srini”, said the tall man who made Padmaja's sofa seem a little crowded.

“Namaskaram, I'm Padmaja”, she said bringing her palms together to greet.

“I was just telling Srini that you should be back home any minute. What took you so long? Was there a long queue?”, quizzed Kamakshi with perfect innocence.

“I have a splitting headache. So if you don't mind I need to lie down for a bit.”

“I'm so sorry”, said Srini rising swiftly from the sofa, “I can always come back another day.”

“Yes. Why don't you do that? Now, if you will excuse me, I really have go to bed. Nice meeting you.”


KR said…
Very interesting read :)
Kookaburra said…
I and Prax had an elaborate argument today about the need for marital institution. Especially with an example of a common friend who has taken to teaching and is very passionate and happy about it. And so prax asked me "dont you think she is happy, why should she ever marry, she is so happy and finds friendship and care and love in students and colleagues" and all that I could think at that moment was "may be you should read Tide by Jikku Prax" that pretty much ended the argument for now - he agreed "yeah that is real, very real" ...
Subha said…
Can you please continue with the story? I have been visiting your blog since but wanted to wait some more time to check on you. You must be busy with something else, but still..for us readers.Please consider.
Sravanthi said…
Please continue the story?
ammani said…
Thank you, lovelies for your patience. I am back to the story, slowly, grindingly slowly.

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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”

The Saturday Poem

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


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.

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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

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