“Namaste Didi. This is Rajani.”
After a lot of dithering and pressure from both sides – her parents and Harsha, Rajani got down to calling Rekha.
“Hello Rajani! Why so formal? We are going to be sisters! I am so looking forward to you becoming a part of our family. Oh it will be so much fun to have a sister and a friend to go out with, see movies, go shopping, eat golgappas – you do like golgappas right?”
“Yes Didi, I do.” Rajani’s awkwardness eased somewhat at the exuberant welcome. “I wanted to thank you for the bracelet. It’s nice.”
“Did you like it? I wasn’t quite sure if you would like it. After all I haven’t even met you and have no clue about your likes and dislikes. But I wanted to send something and this is the in thing these days. But never mind, when you come over, we can buy you something you really like.”
“No, no, Didi, it’s nice. Very nice.” Rajani felt embarrassed and petty. “You sent something for me, that’s what’s important.”
“How sweet you are! I am dying to meet you. Here talk to Mother.”
“Namaste.” Rajani panicked. Aunty? Mother?
“Namaste, Namaste beta. So good to talk to you. Harsha was very impressed with you.” She laughed. “He seems besotted with you.”
Rajani flushed. Was that so? But she didn’t think so…what was the right response to that statement? Thank you? I am also crazy about him? She shuddered and opted for silence.
Which seemed to be the right response.
“Aww, I can almost see you blushing!” She gushed. “So sweet.”
Rajani reddened even more. “How are you?” she choked.
“I am good! Very good!! Looking forward to bringing my new daughter home and putting up my feet and relaxing.” She laughed. “I am really excited and counting days.”
Once again Rajani was at a loss. Now what should she say?
“I…I have to go.” She mumbled. “Thank you for the lovely gift. I will talk to you later.”
“Bye beta. Take care of yourself.”
Rajani put the phone down feeling a bit relaxed. Harsha’s mother sounded sweet and welcoming. Rekha didn’t sound too bad either. It was tough to choose a gift for an unknown person. Perhaps they could be friends. Perhaps, she could fill in the gap left by Shikha. Perhaps her mother-in-law would love her just like Mamma did. Perhaps she should have asked to talk to Harsha’s Papa as well. But what could she have said? How is Uncle? How is Harsha’s Father? How is Father?
Uff! Siyapa. All this formality was too difficult. Marriages should have a written Rulebook or even better Standard Operating Procedures.
Or perhaps there was one!
What if it had stuff like wash your husband’s feet and drink the water every morning?
No, no best to fumble ones way through it all.
Drat it. Why marry?
And why marry before Bhai? He was older than her. Damn, damn and triple damn.
“Rajjiiiiii!” Shikha shrieked from miles away right into Rajani’s ear.
“Uff Shikhs! I’ll go deaf at this rate.” She grumbled.
“Wouldn’t that be great?” Shikha said.
“What do you mean?”
“Then you will be quite deaf and immune to all the taunts that your Mother-in-law and sister-in-law are going to throw your way.”
“How do you know they will do that? Are yours already…?”
“I don’t have a SIL thank God!” Shikha said.
“Why are you so against SILs?”
“Don’t you know – SILs are worse than MILs?”
“Yes. That’s what everyone says.”
“Who’s everyone? And how come you know when I don’t?”
“Oh I learnt a lot of stuff in these past few weeks.” Shikha shuddered. “Mostly unpleasant stuff. Math is waaaayyy easier.” She swore.
“Getting second thoughts about marriage?” Rajani sneered. “And when I said, you danced off without a backward glance.”
“Oh I am dying to get married. Amu is really too nice for words. It’s the others and their horror stories of in-laws that has me gasping. I am safe. I am going to stay alone with my darling hubby.” She giggled.
Rajani rolled her eyes. “Do you call him Amu?”
“Are you mad? I just say yes ji no ji, like a very sweet and good girl. Just wait till we get married, if I don’t call him Amu then you can change my name to whatever you like.”
“Hmm.” Rajani had mixed feelings. Shikha was clearly elsewhere, dreaming of a new life in a new country – alone and contented in her small family while she would be part of a big family. Her heart failed. How would she cope?
“Rajji? Where did you disappear? Rajji are you there?”
“Yeah yeah.” She shook off her morose thoughts. “When are you getting married? I want to be there to see you all decked up, mehendi and all,” she chattered, “and of course see your darling Amu!”
“Of course! You will have to come! How could I get married without my best friend? The wedding date is most likely in the first week of February. When’s yours?”
“I don’t know.”
“I hope it’s before mine. I will most likely fly off soon after my wedding and have my honeymoon in the States!”
“Wow. Lucky girl.”
“Yes aren’t I? Where are you guys going for your honeymoon?”
“No idea! I am not even sure if the wedding has been fixed or not.”
“What do you mean? I thought everything was sorted only the date needed to be fixed?”
“Yeah even we thought so. But now they want to match horoscopes.”
“Oh hasn’t that been done already? In my case, first they liked my photo on Fb and then they contacted my parents and asked for my horoscope. Only after it matched did Dad tell me.”
“Exactly! If they were the horoscope kinds they should have proceeded that way isn’t it? And now Mamma is also getting horoscopes matches by her punditji.”
“Never mind,” said Shikha comfortingly, “It’s good to get the horoscopes matched. You feel more comfortable and confident. At least I did. Everything is so uncertain almost like a gamble. Any ray of hope is welcome. But what I don’t understand is why show two Punditjis? What if their predictions don’t match?”
“I really don’t know Shikhs. I am quite fed up with this nonsense.”
“Never mind Rajji. You chill. Let them do what they want.”
“Yes but why drag me into it? This yo-yo business is very irritating and distracting. I can’t focus on my studies. Every day some new drama.”
“Oho someone’s busy day dreaming huh?” Shikha pounced.
“More like having nightmares.”
So what’s up friends? All good? See ya around and before I go – Calvin to cheer you up although I have to confess I do subscribe to Calvin’s dad’s philosophy 😉
Click here for Chapter 122: Horror-scopes