I live in India part of the year. My days are packed with obligations. Starting a week with a birthday, I am tied up the entire Tuesday attending a puja. It is a betrothal on Wednesday. Birthdays are anglicised. The cutting of the cake, lighting the candles, blowing them off and the usual Happy Birthday to you song sets the tone for the party. The puja is marked by a discourse on Ramayana, followed by an aarti and distribution of prasad.The engagement is traditional. Indian in its practice. The exchange of plates filled with fruits, flowers and coconuts, the elaborate lunch or tea with typical Indian menu add charm.
A marriage of a close relative is on Thursday. I rush through my morning chores and hurry to the wedding. Relatives complain that I am late. I squat there gawky witnessing the rituals half asleep. My friend pulls me out from my slumber with a sharp jolt. I follow her to the feasting chamber. The banana leaf is huge that I have to raise little to partake the curries placed on the other half of the leaf. The menu is damn extraneous. I nibble, close the leaf. I drink a cup of hot payasam. My tongue is burnt in the milieu.
The next day I sit at home. After an oil bath, I relax on my couch when the buzzer chimes. I am reluctant to rise. Meantime a couple enter. They greet me with a smile and address me as aunty as if they know me well. I strain my eyes and look close. I fail. I return their smile with an uneasiness. They talk to me with such ease as if I am a close relative of them. I nod and feign a recognition. They leave with the equal comfort asking me to come to their wedding anniversary. I bid them adieu.
The weekends should be mine. I tell my people at home not to bother me. With that ultimatum, I resign to my bed and lie. I doze off in no time. My staff follow my words to perfection. A few minutes after I locked my room, my mother had come home. She was sent away by my helpers. I heard later, she walked away in a fury, banged the door on her way. I called my mom to apologise. She was in no frame of mind to answer my call, slammed the receiver
Sunday is my day. I wake up early. break my fast at 7 in the morning. I indulge in reading and writing. There are no one to bother me. I dine and repose when I wish.. My hometown is dear to me in many ways but keeps me at toes throughout the week. I wish to return to my second home soon.
Pastures are greener on the other side.