"Coming coming!" Kausalya ran from the kitchen to help her husband. She slipped on the wet floor but caught hold of the door and saved herself from a fall.
"How many times have I told you to dry up yourself in the bathroom itself! What if I had slipped and fell on floor. Had I factured my leg you would have had to shell out some ten grand for the doctor's bill! And who would have cooked for you? Your mother?" Kausalya replied back to her husband sharply. She was relieved that she had escaped the fall but she was sad that now she had to clean up the floor all by herself.
"Atleast eat your breakfast!" kausalya squawked from the back.
"No no! I have to run or I will miss the bus!" Srinivas defended.
Srinivas dashed towards the exit.
Almost an hour later in the nearby room someone was trying to still sleep even as the sungod trying to wake him himself.
"Beta! Wake up! Its ten in the morning." kausalya shouted in her usual tone.
"Mom! I slept at two in the morning. Let me have some sleep." Ramesh replied in a sleepy mood.
But he knew it, it was the end of his lovely dream in which he was laying almost naked with three girls on a beach and doing things which are unmentionable in a country like India and unthinkable in a family like the Roa's!
While Ramesh was having his breakfast, kausalya asked, "so what are your plans today? Are you going out? should i cook lunch for you?"
Ramesh paused for a whole minute and thought about things he was supposed to do or might do. When nothing came to his mind, he promptly called Rahul.
"Hi dude? What! still in bed you idiot! Wake up man..... Hey by the way, how about a movie?.....
the afternoon show? ... what! we already saw all the movies? nothing left out? .... hey wait a minute.... we didn't see 'Ratoon ki rani' ... oh its not worth! ...nothing ..no scenes kya? ... oh God! then what shall we do man!! .... do one thing.. just come to my place we will decide.. i am hanging up.... balance low... bye!" Ramesh wondered what he would today.
"Why don't you go the sidhivinayaka temple today and pray for your MBA result! God's grace is a must in such matters! I am even fasting for you every thursday!" kausalya justified.
"Mom! Please don't get started now! I am very busy. And anyway, I am sure God has lot to do than to listen to my prayers." Ramesh stated stolidly.
"I tell you its waste arguing with you!" kausalya tried to convince but she knew it was waste.
"By the way? What is Rahul doing these days? Is he also joining MBA this time?" She enquired.
She thought it was her parental duty to know about her son's friends. A person's character is judged by the kind of friend's he has. She had read this somewhere.
Kausalya has always wanted Ramesh to do his MBA because one of her distant relatives son had also done his MBA and was now residing in the US of A.
Though Kausalya never even dreamt of a life without Ramesh, but still she felt her son's life would be secured in the United States of America than the Andhra state of India. She even heard Srinivas telling "the competition in India is too high. All because of population. And the government is so biased. Reservations even in higher education! And we suffer because we were born in a forward caste! This is so injustice!"
Kausalya had always wished a better life for her son.
Kausalya woke up early that day. It was the judgement day. It was the day her future would be decided. Appa had decided to marry off her if she again failed this time. Her mother was silent as usual and played no significant role rather than cooking and keeping the house clean, so Kausalya couldn't expect any help from her.
Ramu, he little brother bought her the newspaper. She trembled as she flipped through the pages. '
What if she passed, will appa agree to send her to Madras to study? After all there was no college in her village. How can she stay without appa and amma?' Her mind dwindled around these thoughts. But fate had something else for her.
"The girl cooks very well and also knows stitching. She also sings very well." Amma spoke to a fat lady with hope in her eyes. But nothing seem to convince the fat lady.
"kausalya please sing the sitarama kalyanam song." Amma asked her.
Kausalya was very nervous. All eyes were fixed on her. Amma had strictly ordered her to not even look up and answer only when asked.
But admist all these, kausalya quickly glanced from the corner of her eye to have a look at the prospectus groom. He was not at all like she had imagined. He didn't wear the tight bell bottoms, nor did he had the stylish ring the south indian heroes had. She was disappointed.
A week after a letter arrived stating that the fat lady was pleased to accept Kausalya as her daughter-in-law but she had also sent a list of things they wanted and the probable date of marriage. But no one asked what kausalya wanted.
Twenty eight years later, cleaning the shelf, kausalya looked at her wedding photo and thought for a second, was this the life she wanted? Srinivas was a good man. He earned a decent salary. He came home early from work. Never said anything to his wife. What else was needed?
Suddenly she found something. It was a small Vinayaka Idol. Srinivas had gifted it to her on their first anniversary. She smiled looking at it.
She wondered sometimes if Srinivas now remembered their anniversary or as a matter of fact even her birthday!
'When was the last time Srinivas took her to a movie or to a restaraunt...' she barely remembered any such incident.
It was years when they last made love.
All their life they had worked hard so that they could afford this thousand square feet apartment and could save for Ramesh's higher studies.
They never bothered about themselves.
Srinivas would proudly say "My assest is my son! What more do I need?".
Queitly dusting the books kausalya wondered how they would be able to live when their son leaves for the USA. But what will he eat there? Will he get the same food? She had even heard that the people in the US of A eat cow's meat!
She was worried how will her vegetarian Brahmin son survive in that country!
"I will have to pack him atleast five jars of pickels. My poor son!" She tried to console herself.