THE OLD PARENTS, especially having a son or a daughter of marriageable age, whenever see an eligible candidate, start knitting an idea: the age-old idea of marrying their offspring. My mother was not an exception. On seeing Sarita coming early in morning on my birthday, Mama had begun the knitting, using needle and thread of her imagination. I knew that Sarita and me were living on two different earths. There was no connecting thread. There were needles and needles.
Since I joined my job, at twenty-five Km far from the city, I got hardly time to meet Sarita on weekdays. It was different when we were doing our graduation in chemistry. But the weekends were ours. Out of the city drive, walking on the bank of lake, drinking coconuts, and sometimes sitting in a pocket-friendly restaurant: these were the items on our menu.
She had started attending her factory. Both the chemical stuffs were caged into money spinning machines. For Sarita it was nothing more than shouting at workers and scolding engineers for better output. She was assisting her brother and father.
“You know Vishal, these workers are born-lazy, “ she would open her factory premises while sitting in restaurants, too.
“Change the subject, or change the mindset.” I was bound to oppose her, because as per her definition I too would be a born-lazy, late coming, and dim-witted. I was also a worker in another factory.
Neither of us knew about the reason for which we had continued to meet after completing our study. But Sarita’s visits at my home wrote a new chapter. “Do you know what your Mama told me on phone today?”
“She is in hurry to find a bride for me.”
“She had found out. It’s me.” I took Sarita’s words as our teacup jokes. My word-decoding machine was not poor. But when I looked at my payroll, I saw that I was a snail on the ground. And Sarita was a fairy, travelling in spacecraft. My mother had seen only her face and her friendly talks on my birthday. She did not know that there were thirty workers like me working under her direct supervision. She was daughter of an industrialist.
“Then why she comes to meet you every Sunday?”
“Mama, we are friends. Nothing else.” But my words failed to shake her castle of hope. The castle survived until she took her last breath.
IT WAS SUNDAY. For some, it begins with a good tea and for some it begins with a lengthy yawn. My day started with the touch of a hurricane. It was in my one-room apartment. It started blasting in every direction.
“I have not seen a cruel man like you. Where had you been since a fortnight?”
“I… I was…”
“Okay… I am not dying to see you. “
“Sarita I was at….”
“Okay… who cares for me?” She did not give me time to say that I was at my village for some religious rites. My mother’s ashes.
“You are coming at my home. Seven o’clock, evening. Sharp Seven.”
She wanted me to meet her parents. Marriage proposal.
“Shut up.” (Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)