“Nina, Sharon and the gang are organizing Crescent park annual day this Saturday. Would you like to join us?” Arjun Asked
“What annual day?”
“Crescent park annual day! You need to have a reasons to have a party nah? So they chose a day to celebrate their apartment’s birthday!, there will be music, dancing and booze! So you want to come?”
I wasn’t sure. I knew Amma would be upset if I go out for a party. I knew exactly why Amma would be upset. She wanted the society’s respect. Some how going to a party with a boy was not a socially acceptable behaviour. The irony of it all was, while she didn’t practice what she preached, She expected me to. And all I ever wanted was to enjoy my youth, because in three years I will be working as a doctor and I won’t have the time to go and attend a party.
I hated the situation I was in. I wished I was born in Arjun’s or Sharon’s family. I envied my friends and hated my family.
Three years, I just had to survive another three years more, then I would be out of this miserable family.
‘I would divorce my family’ I told myself.
I looked forward to the day I can be free of family.
“Can I ask you a favour?” Arjun asked
Gosh, favour? Is he going to ask me to bring something for the party? I am broke! I don’t have any money to buy anything. I should have said No, when he asked me if I was coming. Damn.
I looked at Arjun hoping he won’t ask me to bring something
“Can you not wear this t shirt?” He pointed to my favourite blue t shirt. “I am sick of seeing you in this t shirt. Please Nina, please don’t wear this t shirt. Did you know that you wore this t shirt every time we have gone out together?”
I wasn’t sure, but I knew he might be right. It was my favourite t shirt and I have the tendency to wear my favourite clothes over and over!
“Really. I can spot you among the crowd in commercial street. I just have to look for the blue t shirt!” Arjun was laughing
It felt weird. I was always able to spot my mother in the crowd. I just had to look for a woman wearing cream colour blouse, irrespective of the saree colour. I didn’t even want to think if I was turning out to be like my mother. Besides my blue t shirt matches my jeans, it is not like wearing a mismatched blouse with a saree, Right?
Amma was in the kitchen when I came back. I could smell something nice.
“What are you cooking Amma?” I asked
“It is not for you” She replied
It really hurts when Amma talks as though I never mattered. I wanted to hurt her and fight with her. I thought of saying I didn’t ask for whom it was, I asked what was cooking? Does she not understand English?
To hell with Amma.
I walked in to the kitchen to see what she was cooking. Amma was applying ghee on a steel plate. She then took the kuali and poured the contents in to the plate.
She was making Rava laddu.
She covered the plate and turned to look at me
“I made this for Sally and you don’t touch it. Tomorrow is Friday, I am going to take it with me when I visit her tomorrow”
“ok” I wanted to tell her, I won’t die if I don’t get to eat her harder than the rock laddu. But I didn’t.
Then I remembered, Amma never made Rava laddu for me.
I thought of asking how come you never made Rava laddu for me? But what was the point in asking? I can fight as much as I want to, but she was never going to change. Was she?
“Do you want to come along?”
I missed Sally. I missed talking to her and playing with her. I wondered how she had been? It felt good to know that I will see my baby sister tomorrow. I looked forward to seeing her.
In the morning, Amma made me apply the hair dye on her hair.
“You didn’t put it here, you see, there is still grey hair here” Amma was standing near the main door and checking her hair in the hand mirror.
“So what Amma, few grey hairs won’t kill you”
“oh pinney! Do you want Sally’s friends to think that I am her grandmother?”
“Grandmother? Why would they think like that?”
“Viddi kooshmandam” ( dumb nut!) “I am not going to explain to you. if you can’t understand simple things, why are you wasting your energy and studying for medicine?”
We heard the fish seller ringing the cycle bell. Amma looked at me.
“mone’ Do you have money?”
I was viddikooshmandam a second ago, now I am mone’???
“Sally may not have had good food at the hostel. You know, you are staying at the hostel. Can we buy some fish? Then I cam make some fish curry and pack some rice along to take with us.”
Amma looked at me pathetically. She looked as though she was begging me.
I didn’t want her to beg to me. Much as I hated her for treating me badly, I didn’t want her to beg.
I only had 100 Rs, till I get Appa’s next draft.
I took the money out of my handbag and gave it to Amma
“This is all I have Amma.”
Amma took the money from my hands and ran down the steps calling after the fish seller.
“Nina, get the pot” Amma called out.
I took the meen chutty and went downstairs.
I looked inside the fish basket. There were few pomfrets, and some small fish. I knew Amma would buy the small fish. Pomfret was expensive. Besides I had already told her, the 100 Rs note in her hand was all I had.
What did I know?
I watched my mother spending my last 100 Rs and buying the biggest pomfret. It was my money and there were so much of stuff I wanted to buy and I hated the taste of pomfret.
As we walked up the stairs Amma spoke
“I know Nina that you don’t like to eat pomfret. pavam Sally alley! You know she loves fish molley. Oh I forgot, I need coconut. Take this money and go to the corner shop and buy 1 coconut and a small bottle of coconut oil. Fish molley taste better if it is cooked in coconut oil”
Amma gave me the balance she got from the fish seller. It was my money and I had no control over it. I hated myself for being a sucker!