The door bell rang. “Tony open the door.”- Priya said.
“Ok Mam.” The stout man dawdling towards the door was cranky enough to provoke the old lady who was drenched in the world of desperation. “Hurry up! Your saunter style is really unbearable. A century would go by and door won’t open if you keep ambling.”
Tony tried to take long strides but his stumpy legs didn’t have enough sap. The door bell rang again. Finally Tony reached to the door and opened it.
He saw a tall man with grizzle of dark stubble on his face. His face had few fine lines around eyes and cheeks. Flaky lips, dry eyes but still handsome guy. Before Tony could say anything, Priya came and dazzled to see his son.
Tears welled up and trickled from her eyes. Gloomy face instantly got tickled pink. She basked in the moment of gaping into his eyes. Her gloomy eyes widened up with delight. A spark of vigour spread through her veins. She ran to him and embraced him tightly. She burst into tears and her melancholy dribbled through her tears.
“My son, after a long time. How’re you?”
“Fine.” Atul replied in dull expression
“Tony keep the luggage in my room. Today my son will sleep with me.” Priya ordered Tony. Tony sluggishly moved towards to the luggage while itching his ass with dirty nails of his left hand. Priya goggled at him but he ignored.
“I want to freshen up.” Atul said.
“Ok, by then I’ll make dinner ready.” Priya said.
“You didn’t inform about your visit?” Priya asked Atul while digging a folk in the meat. “Hmm, but I don’t think that matters.” Atul frowned.
Priya squirmed. She took her eyes off him and looked down on food. There was a malignant silent in the dining room for 2 minutes. But by force of habit Priya couldn’t stay quiet.
“How long are you going to stay here?” she asked curiously.
“I will leave tomorrow morning. I have to attend seminar till two days. I will stay in the hotel unless the seminar gets over and next day after the seminar I will leave for Washington.”
“You mean you are here only for a night.” Priya asked surprisingly.
“But I also want to come with you.”
“Oh please don’t even expect. This is my last visit to your house. Stay happy with your jackass servant and your house.”
“What’s wrong with you? Since you have come here, you haven’t even asked me how I survived after your father’s death. You have become busy bee in your life that you never looked behind. Atul Washington is not your family. I am your family. You can’t wash your hands like this. In five years, you called me only five times and whenever I called you, you always hung up. Is this the way you’re going to pay for my upbringing?”
“Enough mom enough. You deserve this. Why do I take you to Washington? You are reminding me your upbringing. What you have given me in my life? See what you have done to me? You devastated me. what’s left to ruin now. Before expecting anything hark back to 10 years and think what you did with me.”
“But son”…..Atul interrupted and said just shut up and leave me alone.
Priya was shattered and shedding tears.
Atul walked off the table. Priya also left meal on dining table.
“Tony take my luggage to the guest room.” – Atul said.
Priya went to her bedroom. She was flabbergasted. She was roaming around in the room. Soon she got huffed and puffed. She had no longer stamina in her bones now. Her bones were showing her age now.
She sat in the bed. She evoked past memories. It was a month of May. A shaft of light was coming through the open window. Priya was sitting in the chair in front of dressing table and making her hair style. She stood up. She took a perfume bottle and sprayed on her clothes.
The door bell rang. She kept the bottle down. She came out of her room and walked down the stairs. She opened the door. There were Atul and his girlfriend Sharon.
Atul came to make Sharon meet his family. He and Sharon were in live-in for 5 years and after completing studies and having received citizenship, he decided to take parents’ permission to marry her.
Vikram (Atul’s father) had already met Sharon in the hotel when he went to Canada for his business meeting. That time Sharon was in Canada with her family.
He was glad to see her and he permitted Atul to marry Sharon. But by then Atul had not made Sharon introduced his mom thus he came India.
Priya always wanted an Indian daughter-in-law who belives indian traditions. Who is supposed to keep Karvachauth fast for her husband’s long life. Who is supposed to wear indian attire. Who is supposed to be sociable with all relatives. She wanted a girl who could devote herself completely for family and relatives.
Sharon stayed for 5 days but Priya couldn’t interact much with her. Perhaps she was not much interactive or maybe she was not comfortable to communicate in English. Priya asked her likes and dislikes and about her parents but not much.
Priya and Vikram were in their bedroom. Priya wanted to know Vikram’s opinion about Sharon. She asked “What do you think about Sharon?”
“Well behaved girl, beautiful and talk courteously. I think she is perfect for Atul.”
“She doesn’t know Hindi and she also told me she doesn’t want to stay in India. I am really astounded what you liked in her?”
“If she doesn’t know Hindi, what’s the problem? She is supposed to stay with Atul. He’s got citizenship and settled his business there.” said Vikram.
“Yeah, I know but what about us? We stayed with our family and served our in-laws and parents. We never washed our hands from our responsibilities. How can they wriggle off the hook?”
“But Atul cleared this before going foreign that he’s going there for settlement. When he said so, why didn’t you think about this that time?” said Vikram.
“That time he was obstinate to go there and I was not expecting he would settle there.”
While yawning and stretching shoulders Vikram said “Well, I want to hit the sack now. If you’re flummoxed about your decision, you can put it off.”
Days passed by but Priya didn’t talk to Sharon much. She got bored to death. Priya’s nasty behaviour was getting a rise out of Atul but he couldn’t react. The time came when Sharon had to leave for Canada.
Atul stayed at his parents’ home for 1 week more. Atul tried to know his parents’ opinion about Sharon. He shattered when they turned down Sharon.
“It’s not feasible for her to stay with us. She doesn’t know Hindi. How would she communicate? In fact I think it’s mismatch. Atul you’re dashing and that girl is a bit stout. Even she doesn’t come equal to your shoulders in height.”
“But how the language matters to you? She is supposed to stay with me abroad. That’s it.”
“Look, Atul I want an Indian daughter-in-law who can serve to us and relatives. She is not acclimatized to Indian culture so I don’t think she can manage to adjust with us.”
“Dad why don’t you make her understand? In fact you liked her when you met in Canada and you told me you would convince mom.”
“Urm, my son your mom is right. Adjustment is very important to uphold a relationship. Marriage is serving family. I don’t think she would manage.”
Atul blew a fuse. He said “Disgusting, how could you dare to affront me. I came India because dad you said that you liked her and you told me to make her meet with mom. If you didn’t want to accept her why did you ask me to introduce her to mom? In fact I made her met with other relatives before visiting your home. What would I say her now that you cast aside her. Even this will be her insult too. What would she think about? Is she a part of exhibition that People enjoyed her seeing and went off.”
“Atul, is this the way you’re talking to your dad? You’re going off at me for that girl. Who the hell is she? We are your parents and if we’re saying you something that is for your favour.” Vikram said.
Atul said “Dad I have been living with her for past 5 years and now I can’t take back step.”
“You should think about this at that time. We are not going to pay for your faults. Still it’s not too much delay.” Vikram said.
“But that’s not feasible. Everybody, our friends and her parents know about this. I have met with her parents. They think that I would never take her on ride.”
“It’s very common in their culture. Boys come and go from their life. If you leave her, what’s the big deal?”
“How mean it is. Enough is enough. What you think we couldn’t marry? But Sharon never liked the opinion of marriage without taking your permission. Her parents are ready but they also want your opinion. We don’t have any problem then why do you?
“Stop badgering. We are clear headed and our opinion is entrenched.” Vikram said.
Atul said “I got it. You don’t need a daughter-in-law but you need a servant. I am going to pack my bags and leaving right now.” and stomped off.
It was no wonder that Priya and Vikram were intact. They didn’t even try to stop him. Vikram was hacked off. “Let him go. He is madly over heels but he’ll be back when he gets devastated. Dullard.” He said.
Priya came out of past memory when Tony knocked the door.
Tony brought a glass of water and some medicines on a tray. He kept that on the side drawer of the bed.
Priya eyes were breeming. She got off her bed. She took medicine, drank water and kept the glass there. Tears came down from the eyes. She wiped them. She lay on the bed and went to sleep.
Next day Priya made breakfast for Atul. He came down from the guest room with luggage. He didn’t even have breakfast. “I am going now.” He said
“But breakfast is ready.” Priya said
“I don’t want to have.”
Priya couldn’t hide the intensity of her emotions and she precipitously said “Will you call me if you go there?”
He said “No, you don’t deserve that.” and left immediately.
Priya shattered and she began to whimper.