I ran to the dining room. Amma was sitting down on the chair and reading the letter again and again.
“What is it Amma? What is wrong?”
“Chacha Appachan has send us an eviction letter?”
“Which Chacha Appachan?”
“Your father -in-law” Amma was mad. I hate it when Amma speaks like this.
I tried to understand which Chacha Appachan send what eviction letter. Then it occured to me
“Oh, you mean Chacha Appachan, your mother’s brother, the man who owns this house?”
“hmmm” She grunted
“Why Amma?”
“Because, I didn’t pay rent for three months. Only the last three months. I paid the rent first of every month all these while. I needed money to pay the rent advance for Maria, so I didn’t pay the last three months. Look at this Nina, he used John’s( another cousin) law firm to send this letter.”
I knew what my mother was thinking. Chacha Appachan is her uncle and he lives in US with his son. He won’t die if he didn’t get the rent for three months. He didn’t have to embarass Amma by going to a lawyer within the family. Now everyone in the extended family would laugh at Amma. Why are people so cruel? Why do family members treat each other with this much contempt?
“What are we going to do Amma?”
“I don’t know Nina”

I was expected to bring goodies from home when I go back to the hostel. I already have a long list of things to buy for my classmates. Most of them wanted Banana chips. Aparna wanted Black Halwa( king of malayalee sweets). I waited until now, hoping that Appa would come home and I can ask him for money. Now What am i going to do? How can I ask Amma for money to buy things for my classmates? I could’t do it, not when she is already so worried.

Saturday morning, I was packing my bags. There was nothing much to pack, just my clothes.
“Nina, come and help me to hang the laundry” Amma called
I went to the laundry room and Amma gave me a bucket full of clothes. The top most one was the new designer brown saree, I created for Amma. I wanted to drop the bucket and run.
Amma still hasn’t seen the art work I created. I walked slowly to the clothes line. Just few more hours and I can escape. Amma shouldn’t be allowed to see the saree. I thought hard, how best to avoid her seeing the damage. I folded the saree and hung it on the line, the double layer prevents the sun light from seeping through. I hung all the other clothes neatly. I stood a few feet away and surveyed the saree again, just to make sure Amma won’t notice any changes. Everything was perfect. I went back to my room.
Little while later I heard Amma yelling
“Nina Thomas, Is this how you hang a saree to dry? Don’t you have common sense? You are going to be a doctor and you don’t know if you hang clothes in double layer, it will take longer to dry?”
I stood on the veranda and watched my mother removing the clothes peg from either side, opening the saree and shaking it. My heart was beating so fast. There are things you know you should never do and because you do them, you get in to unnecessary trouble. That line on my head(thaleyvara) is only for getting me in to trouble.
“What are you standing there like a tiang telefon(telephone post)? Come and help me”
I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me. I regretted my own stupidity. Slowly I walked to where Amma was standing. She gave me one end of her precious brown saree. Together we opened the saree completely and I looked. I could see hundreds of holes. I looked at Amma. I was so relieved to see that she didn’t notice it. I helped her to hang the saree on the clothes line.
“Oh god, I forgot to take the rice of the fire. Nina, here you put the clothes peg” Amma handed me the clothes peg and ran inside. I looked at the heaven above and said the most gracious thanks.

I was in my room helping Liza to do her homework and I heard someone opening the gate. It must be Appa. I knew he would come. I quickly ran to the main door. Again it was the post man
“Who is it Nina?” Amma called out from the kitchen
“It is the Post man Amma. You have a registered letter”
“Again?” Amma came out of the kitchen wiping her hands on the edge of her saree pallav.
I watched Amma signing and collecting the letter from the postman. It was another brown envelope
Why does Chacha Appachan keep sending lawyers notices like this? Doesn’t he have anything else to do? I wondered
“What is that old man up to Now?” Amma was very angry with Chacha Appachan
Amma tore the side of the envelope and took the thick bundle of paper out. I watched her facial expressions changing from anger to bewilderment to shock.
“What is it Amma?”
She didn’t respond. I grabbed the letter from her hand. It was all in legal lingo and I didn’t understand anything
“What is it Amma?”
“That Bastard, he now wants to divorce me!. He must have found someone else younger. Oh god, that is the second misfortune. They say, misfortune always comes in three, Now what is the third one going to be?”
I looked outside. The designer brow saree was swaying in the wind.
I knew, the words that are spoken, the stones that are thrown in to the river and the saree that is damaged with an incense stick…you can’t take it back. I promised myself, when I get my first salary, I will buy Amma a new silk saree.

8 thoughts on “misfortunes

  1. Very true that misfortunes come in three…I have seen that happen. Inspite of damaging your mom’s saree, you want to buy a silk saree..that is Nina!

  2. Shankari: And I did buy her a silk saree with my first pay!

    Sujit: what to do

    Upsilamba: I wish I could!

    Madhavankutty: !

    Techno: We went to school this morning.. On the way ..he jumped on every single snow mount, threw snow balls at his sister( which hit her right on her face!) and she requested him to fall one more time backwards and hit his head..so she can live peacefully.. In other words things are back to normal!

    Jac: yes it is

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