Amma was fiddling with the pallu of her sari. Appa came in and asked,’What happened, no coffee, no breakfast and you are sitting here fiddling with your sari?’
‘Visakha has not called since so many days…’
‘Come on, she is a married woman now, she has responsibilities. She can’t keep calling you every now and then. Now go and make some coffee, you know I don’t function well without your coffee’
‘And what will you do if I die tomorrow,’ she said in anger but still got up and went into the kitchen.
‘Then I will search another like you and get married again,’ Appa said and guffawed.
Amma banged a steel tumbler on the kitchen counter.
Visakha had been born after a complicated pregnancy and an even more complicated delivery. The umbilical cord had been entangled around her neck and had the C-section not been in time, she would not have survived inside the womb. Her grandmother had lamented that she had a granddaughter but the moment the baby was put in her arms, she had forgotten everything and had lost herself in the baby.
‘Visakha’, amma thought wth pride. Visakha was a dusky complexioned girl with shining eyes. Very often it were here eyes that did the talking. And her black lustrous hair….. ah…Her Visakha was a gem. She had never been brilliant in studies. So all hopes of her doing the IIT and IIM had been quashed when she was in high school but then she did Montessori course and became a teacher. And the kids loved her so much…
‘Is my coffee ready?’, Appa asked and again amma banged a vessel and then went out with the coffee.
Visakha had been very happy with her job. But four years down the line the school had to close down. A chain of kindergartens called ‘Pratham’ had bought over the school. Although the management had asked all the teachers to meet them Visakha had not gone. She had spent the days crying at the loss. Visakha had a habit of bursting into tears. Her tears were her strength and power. Until Amma fed up of her sobs had screamed at her that if she did not go and meet the new management, she herself would take her there. And Visakha thought it better to go on her own than go with amma.
There was no doubt that she would not be selected. But something else happened. The young GM of the group liked her so much that he sent his parents with the proposal.
There was no reason for saying a ‘no’. The family was good, the boy educated and cultured. And most important both had the same ambition, that of giving a solid foundation to kids.
‘But amma, I do not want to marry now’, Visakha sobbed
‘And when do you plan on getting married. Come on Visakha, he is a good guy and whats more, you can work as a team. Wasn’t it your dream to give quality education for kids’. And so after some cajoling, Visakha agreed. But from then on there were no tears.
Yes no tears. Even the day she left for her marital home in a different city, there were no tears. And that bothered amma. Not a single,’Amma, I will miss you’ or ‘Amma, how will I manage without you’. Even if she just hugged her and shed two-three tears it would have been enough. But no. She had just taken her hand bag, waved a good-bye and left. HUH.
I mean I am her mother. She used to tell me everything and now almost 15 days are over and not a single phone or tears…
And then the phone rang. it was Visakha. “amma”, she said in a tearful voice.
‘What happened? Did your m-i-l torture you, did your husband beat you?’, were the questions she asked.
‘No My in laws have gone to some marriage in Mumbai’
“Amma, this dosa….its not coming out nicely… How do I make a dosa round and crisp’.
And her questions and her voice satisfied amma. Yes, she was needed, yes her Visakha had not changed. yes, yes…
And she began her instructions.