Life moves on…
Subha’s wedding happened like a dream and maami was happy there were no major untoward incidents except for Krishnamurthy’s athimber complaining that the filter coffee was not piping hot and Rajalakshmi’s sister’s sister-in-law making a snide remark that the koora podavai should have had more zari on its border. Thankfully, Rajalakshmi, who was already impressed by maami’s show of affection for Subha (translated into diamond earrings, a Raymond suit for Krishnamurthi, muzhu cheer, a MS blue kanjeevaram for Rajalakshmi and a guest list of 500) laughed off her long-lost relative’s complaint with a ‘As if she’s going to wear a koora podavai everyday?’.
Soon, Subha settled into her one-bedroom quarters with Krishnamurthi and 11 months later, gave maami a grandson to dote on. And three years later, she added a daughter to complete the ‘Hum Do, Hamare Do’ picture. A perfect Indian family if there ever was one – a fixed deposit in the bank, a Bajaj scooter, a cooler in the living room, a refrigerator (Kelvinator – The coolest one), a colour television (Dyanora) and a growing PF to bank upon in the future. Added to this was the income supplemented by sewing lessons to the other women in the colony and most importantly, she had Krishnamurthi wrapped around her little finger. Then there were the weekend visits to her parents. Since her mother-in-law had two other sons settled in Benaras itself, she hardly found time to come all the way to Nagpur to trouble Subha. There was enough drama and excitement closer home. Life was indeed bliss.
Maami in her madisaar avatar grew more formidable than ever. It seemed as if the increase in sari length wrapped around her body gave maami free rein and more respect. Her voice grew louder, more authoritative but never rude. Nitya, her second daughter was doing her B.Ed at Nagpur University and continued to successfully evade all attempts of maami trying to get her go the Subha way. But maami really suspected that something was amiss… Nitya was forever listening to Vividh Bharati and sang extra loud when the romantic numbers came on… She was also smiling to herself and lost in her own world. Maami prayed to the pantheon of Gods and Goddesses, especially her favourite Ganesh (Vignaharta-remover of obstacles) that Nitya should bring no shame upon the family.
The third daughter, Ramya was also in college but least interested in studies. She pored over film magazines and loved to gossip. Maami thought that sending her to college was a waste of money. The girl definitely deserved to get married. But who would ever think of the younger daughter getting married before the older one?
Meanwhile, the radio continued to blare… as Nitya drowned herself in various moods and melodies like Rimjhim Gire Saawan, Yeh Raatein Yeh Mausam and Aayega Aaanewala… adding to the mystery and maami’s misery.
Until Nitya confidently proclaimed she was in love.
Koora podavai – The maroon coloured silk madisaar worn by the bride
Hum Do Hamare – coarsely translated into ‘We two and our two’ – the Government of India’s family planning campaign slogan.
Athimber – Uncle
MS blue – It gets the name from the royal blue sarees most preferred by singer M.S. Subbulakshmi.
Zari – golden border (the more fancy and broader the zari, the more expensive)
Muzhu Cheer – In Tambrahm weddings, it means a 101 of each sweet and savoury presented at the wedding by the girl’s parents, usually displayed at the wedding hall.