Head hunter

I had to wear something nice for the party. I certainly didn’t want to look out of place. I opened my cupboard to see what I could wear. I only had a few cotton sarees. Amma gave all the expensive sarees that my father had bought for her over the years to Maria, when Maria got admission to do engineering. I didn’t mind then, because I was still young and owning a beautiful saree wasn’t a priority. But now, when I desperately needed a beautiful saree, Amma won’t buy me one. Why? I never knew the answer. It was always the case of Maria having friends from upper class and tying to fit in with the crowd.

I didn’t have any jewelleries either. All of Amma’s wedding jewellery had been handed over to Maria, because she is the oldest. I didn’t want any of Amma’s bangles or rings. She had a beautiful white stone necklace. Even as a child, I was fascinated with that necklace. Amma used to keep that in a blue velvet case. Every time when we had to go for a party or attend a wedding. Amma would wear that white stone necklace. It was my job to wash and shine the necklace using toothpaste. My mother looked so beautiful and stunning when she wore that necklace.
I don’t really know why I was fascinated with that necklace. But I wanted that necklace.When I was little, Amma promised me, she would give that necklace to me and when I saw her giving it to Maria when Maria was leaving for Bangalore, I asked her
“Amma, you promised me you will give me the white stone necklace”
“True Nina, but I don’t want to keep it here at home,lest someone steal it. I am just asking Maria’s help to keep all the jewellery in the bank locker”
“Why can’t we open a locker here in Kottayam?”
“That is because Acha said, the income tax department can check the bank lockers and fine you”
“But this is your wedding jewelleries. Why would anyone want to make you pay tax on it?”
“Oh Nina, you don’t understand”
“No I don’t. But I want you to promise me that, you will give me the white necklace”
“I promise”
I should have known then that my mother had no intention of keeping her promise. But children have a natural tendency to trust their mother, even though they knew from past experiences never to do that. I was an idiot to keep falling in the same trap over and over.

While all the girls wore expensive diamond necklaces, I wore a plain silver necklace and few glass bangles. While everyone wore silk sarees, I wore a simple cotton saree. A part of me knew, I didn’t belong to the crowd, but there was someone in the crowd that I wanted to meet. I wanted that someone to know that, this is the whole package. Although my parents have money, my karma is such that, I never get anything.

Aparna was with all the Tamilian students and and Shylaja was with the Kannadiga students. Rightfully I should be with the Malayalee students. Anitha was standing outside her room door wearing a white kancheepuram saree with a red border. She was staring at me. I knew if I stayed around another second, I would have to hear all the sarcastic comments regarding my saree or ornaments. So I quickly walked alone to the soccer stadium. On one side of the stage, there was a huge stage with blue curtains as a back drop.
Some of the seniors were checking the mike, some were busy doing last minute decorations on the stage. I looked around. I couldn’t find beautiful eyes, So I sat down in one of the chairs.
I was all alone. I was always all alone.

Soon the VIP’s arrived and the speeches began. each person competing with the speaker before him to see who can give the most boring speech. I looked around, still there was no sign of beautiful eyes.
First program was a Bharatanatyam dance performance by a Telugu senior. She danced so gracefully and I was mesmerised. I was shocked when someone tapped my shoulder.
“What?” I turned to look. One of my junior was leaning towards my chair.
“ma’am, someone wants to see you?”
“Who?” I asked her
“One of the senior boys”
“Near the canteen”
It must be Jomon. He must have decided to have one more practice session. I walked towards the canteen. The canteen was closed. I looked around to see where is Jomon
“Hey, where were you? I was looking every where for you” Beautiful eyes was standing near the entrance and smiling
“You are the one who send the message?”
“Yeah. I was looking all over for you”
He was looking at my bangles
“Nice bangles”
“Thanks” I tried not to blush.
“Can I ask you for a favour?”
“I want you to stand right here”
“You can see the stage from here, can’t you?”
I looked at the stage.
“Stand here. Don’t move”
“you will know soon. I will be with you in a minute. Ok” he walked off
I wasn’t sure what was going on. Why did he ask me to stand in front of the canteen? Is he going to hurt me? Is this some kind of a trap?
I looked around. No one was around. Everyone was sitting down in front of the stage. I thought of walking back to where I was sitting. Then I heard the emcee announcing
“Solo performance, brought to you from Nagaland” I watched beautiful eyes walking in to the stage holding a guitar. he adjusted the mike and started to sing. I knew he was looking at me when he sang
I just called to say I love you

No new year’s day
To celebrate
No chocolate covered
candy hearts to give away.
No first of spring.
No song to sing.
In fact heres just another ordinary day

No april rain
No flowers bloom
No wedding saturday within the month of june
But what it is
Is something true
Made up of these three words that I must say to you

I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart

No summers high
No warm july
No harvest moon to light one tender august night
No autumn breeze
No falling leaves
No even time for birds to fly to southern skies
No libra sun
No halloween
No giving thanks to all the christmas joy you bring
But what it is
Though old so new
To fill your heart like no three words could ever do.

I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart
Of my heart
Of my heart

I stood there, transfixed to the ground. I should have been on the top of the world, because I finally got what I wanted. But instead of joy, I was afraid. I felt sick for feeling like that. All this while I only wanted his love, but now when I got it, the flood gates of fear were wide open. Questions of “What if'”s started to pop up in my head. What if Appa and Amma won’t accept him? What if his parents don’t accept me? I felt so restless. This was a moment I waited so much. This was a moment that you only see bollywood movies. Gil likes boy, boy sings a love song for her! The girl is supposed to dance with joy. But in this case, I was like a telephone poll sans emotion. I watched beautiful eyes walking towards me
“You liked the song?” he asked
I nodded my head
“What does the nod means? You didn’t like it?”
“I liked it” I whispered
“Want to sit down?” He asked
Both of us sat down on the canteen veranda. Three wise men skit was going on the stage. Both of us watched it silently. I thought of Artaban again. It took Artaban 33 years to find what he was looking for and it took me mere months! For once I got what I wanted. I wanted to shout and say “yay”
“Nina, I will be going home tomorrow”
“What? Why?”
“Why? To see my family of course”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean it that way. I was asking Why are you leaving on Christmas day?”
“It will take a few days before I reach home. My home is in the interior and I want to be home for the Suhkruhnye
“What is Suhkruhnye?”
“That is our festival Nina. It is usually celebrated on the 15th of January. You know I am proud to be a naga!”
“hmm” I mumbled
“Why are you so quiet all of a sudden?”
I didn’t know how to explain to him that I would miss him terribly when he is away.
“you are sad because you will miss me?” He asked and I looked at him, trying to see, how did he manage to read my mind?
I smiled
“You have a beautiful smile Nina”
“hmm” I mumbled again
“Today is ‘hmmm’ day?
“Hmm” I mumbled again.
I saw few of the Malayalee seniors walking towards the canteen
“I have to go now. Have a safe trip and come back soon”
“Sure. Merry Christmas, Happy new year and good luck with your exams”
“Thanks” I didn’t really want to leave him, but Malayalee seniors are a pain to deal with. If they knew I am having an affair with a non Malayalee, they would do anything to break it up.
“Bye, Take care” I walked off quickly

Chechy, you took all of Amma’s jewelleries, all the family photographs, all the cross stitch work by penang Ammachi, all the brass wares( kindi, mondha to be precise) from Chengannur house, the brass Uruli Ammachi kept for me(so I can always eat black halwa!!).
I do understand that you are the oldest. But am I not entitled to any of the family heirloom? Are my children not entitled to anything from their grand parents and great grand parents? Or is it that, just because I am second in line, I must forget that I am part of the same family as you?

11 thoughts on “Head hunter

  1. yah so special to have somebody singing that song to you…

    I really know what you were feeling, you long for your love and then when yu get it, yu get scared of other things and forget to celebrate. I guess its a fear of loosing something so precious which yu always wanted to have once yu get it!

  2. am sorry if this is a very private qu, but was just curious to know one thing
    1)Other than your 3 sisters do you have any half brothers sisters?

    lets say its the mallu in me who wants to know anything and everything abt a stranger so I will understand completely if you choose to ignore the q.

  3. Sujit: Unfortunately, neither my mother, nor my oldest siter thinks so..

    Crumbs: Nah.. he left on Chrismas day.. so it wasn’t really a great Christmas

    Di: Sho!

    Neihal: Thank you

    Sunita: it was..the best anyone ever did for me

    Sunshine: I have the tendency to mess up all the happiness

    Janmam: !

    Dumela: You got it

    Abraham: My dad spend a better part of his life away from us..There are times, when I see someone who resembles me, I would think..”hmmmm.. did your mother ever meet my father?” Then I laugh thinking how stupid that sounds!
    As far as I know, Amma only had four of us.. then again, I wouldn’t know for certain!!

    matt: Beautifully said!

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