Mother's Love9 mins 9.1K 9 mins 9.1K
“Kanika you make palak panneer today and poori for lunch,” Raheal said. He stood behind the kitchen door. He was of medium height, had a rugged brown face, sturdy shoulders, and short cropped hair with no sideburns at all.
Kanika slowed down the flame of the gas stove and turned to reply her husband, “Ok, but why poori for lunch?” she was quite bemused by his irregular request. She was looking homely and beautiful in a simple green and purple salwar kameez.
“Oh, that’s nothing. My friend has been asking for it quite a long time. He likes your food very much and he is very fond of poori. That’s why,” Raheal grinned.
Kanika was swooped up with innocuous pleasure for this unexpected way of her husband’s promptness. This was the first grin he had rendered to her after their six months of marriage journey. He had always ridiculed her for being novice and lack of worldly knowledge. She was deeply frowned about this fact. She had done her B.Sc (Computer Science) in Madurai, though the college she studied was co-education, she was pretty distanced from the boys and concentrated only on studies. Please don’t think she was clever and intelligent and bookish worm and all that. She studied just for her mother’s sake. Her mother was uneducated and wanted her daughter to know everything. But Kanika only knew if her mother’s promise had been realized or not. What do you think Kanika?
“Have a bath, I will prepare and pack it neatly,” Kanika said. She immediately started kneading the dough and boiled the oil in the pan and immersed the round dough and fried until it turned deep brown and inflated. She did multi-tasking, and in other pan she prepared a curry with panneer slices and palak. The smell was so captivating and mouthwatering. She had admired herself for preparing a food like that. It was close to perfection that she had never done it before. She was richly happy to supply this food for her hubby’s friend. After all she was a woman to have some expectations of appreciation from others.
“Have you done?” Raheal said, after having had a bath and the towel was clung around his waist and his hair was wet.
“Yes, I have done,” Kanika beamed as she kept the prepared food in the dining table and it was neatly packed in the tiffin box.
Raheal had slipped into the formal shirt and trousers and slung his office bag over his shoulders and scurried down to the dining table and picked up the tiffin box and hustled away to his office.
Kanika sank down on the couch after his departure and feeling dizzy and tired. She pressed her hands on her eyes and gently massaged it. It felt heavy and she wanted to shut her eyelids now. But, a thin smile had spread across her lips, thinking that her husband had given her mild approbation today.
“Hmm, look like madam is so joyful today,” her mother-in-law said, she sat across her and reading anandha vikatan a weekly tamil magazine.
Kanika snapped open her eyes in a scary note as if something had boomed on her ears. She immediately adjusted her purple dupatta around her neck, and wiped her face with her hand and calmly looked at her mother-in-law and said, “Nothing aunty, I am always being the same.”
“I don’t think so. Did you do some mantra to my son? Today he hasn’t talked to me at all. I know you have done something to him,” the mother-in-law protested. Her huge nostrils were spreading wider and her leathery cheeks were getting hotter now.
Kanika didn’t know if she had to laugh for that. For the first time, she heard her mother-in-law crooning with low spirit. It gave an abounding enthusiasm to her soul for a flick of second and it was faded away starkly in the back of her head.
“No, I didn’t do anything. I just prepared a lunch and gave it to him. I didn’t speak a word with him,” Kanika said softly, ringing her fingers. Her words were panicking to see if her mother-in-law’s face was rousing in anger. Yes, she was really worried. She didn’t dare talking to her in a strident manner. It would flail her shoulders and gave her tottering and defensive thoughts. Oh, c’mon Kanika, you can do it. Let’s talk to your mother-in-law boldly.
There was a quick threatening glance hurtled by her mother-in-law. Kanika just clenched her full lips tightly while lingering in the couch with pretending confidence.
“I see you are taking more advantage of my son in the recent days, better you stop swaying your waist in front of him. If you keep pulling him towards you and distract my good relationship with my son, then I will cut of your ear and throw it to the crow,” the mother-in-law shouted. Her voice was breaking with shudder as her big thighs jiggled on the couch.
Kanika leant back in a clouding fear and shut her mouth tight. Her small eyes were moistened suddenly.
“Hmm, ok aunty. I never try to take advantage of your son,” she said in a feeble voice.
“Ok now you get lost from my sight,” her mother-in-law had dismissed her.
Kanika stood up with a heavy heart, her aspiration to have a good understanding with her mother-in-law was always failed. Her confidence level was sinking low now, but her only least of happiness was that her husband had smiled at her today. It was her precious take home credit. She was proud of that fact. Why not? After all he was her husband, isn’t?
Her mother-in-law suddenly called her loud, “Wait, who will bring me coffee? Your mother or father?”
Kanika stopped before she climbed the upstairs to enter into her bedroom. This was the only place to restore her peacefulness despite the hard stones of words threw upon her.
She scrambled down to kitchen and prepared a steamy nestle coffee and handed it to her mother-in-law and hurried up the stairs and to her safest haven. She slammed the door behind her and jumped up the bed to her face down and cuddled the pillow and buried her face in it, the tears were crawling down her soft cheeks and it soaked the white pillow cover. That moment she felt like killing herself, after writing a note to her parents saying that she was not happier in this ravaging place. She sat on the bed and drew a paper from the table behind it. Also took a pen from the pen-stand and removed the cap. This was an ink pen. She wrote Mom on the paper, which was straightened on her lap. The mere mention of her mother had stopped her tears to flow because she always told her to be confident and be selfless on helping others, even if thousands of people hate what you do. Yes, I should not be selfless person. Why should I expect something from others and repudiate myself, she thought. But still her left eye had shed a tear and it plopped on the paper as the M letter in Mom had zoomed out slowly as if the tree’s root was spreading deep into the earth. She slammed the paper on the table and rolled over on the bed and stared at the ceiling.
She started counting the good things that happened today for her. She counted each one by raising her finger.
1. I have made my husband to smile at me.
2. I have prepared food for someone who loves my cooking.
3. I have a good house to stay in, despite lots of people were straying in the streets without shelter.
4. I have all the dresses I wanted to wear. There is no one in the house had ditched over me on buying these things.
5. I have a husband who would take care of me financially and never raised his hand to beat me, though he is moody and reserved person to talk with me.
Her left hand fingers were splayed fully and her counting again had begun now with her right hand.
6. My mother-in-law is usually counter attacking person with her jabbing words, but she was not a lethal one to harm me physically. Never, ever beaten me once.
7. I am healthy with God’s grace and can do anything I wanted. Thank God.
8. I have parents to support me if I struggle with my incoherent thoughts or something.
9. I have friends whom I can talk over and laugh at times.
10. I have known good neighborhood people to spend time with them.
Now, her smile spread fully over her face and brightened. She decided not to worry about anything that comes to her way wrenching her. She thought she had to do something to keep herself busy and wanted to immerse in this work in her free times. That gives me some satisfaction and I might pursue some sense of purposefulness, she thought. So, she scrambled across the room and seated facing the desktop computer. This computer was there in the same place since she had got married, but she had never ever thought of doing something interesting in that. However, now, she had that accessibility and mindset to do some good thing. She switched on the computer and started browsing the chrome to get into interesting sites. She went to the cooking forum and shared her thoughts over on the special dish – making of chicken roast with palak gravy. The people who had seen her post had started liking this dish and came up with various questionnaires’ and she began answering them. Though she had seldom sprinted to kitchen and washroom (for washing clothes), the whole day went like the passing clouds over the sky, without any external or internal disturbances. She felt happy and content with herself.
In the evening she decided to go for the market to bring some vegetables to home. She took the wire basket, went down the hall and stood behind the main door and coughed, “Aunty, I am going to market,” she said in an authentic voice.
The mother-in-law looked up from the newspaper and whisked her hand and said, “Hmm, go and come quick.” Her voice was strident and briskly fell over from her large mouth.
Kanika closed the door with a heavy squeak and walked down the street a few hundred meters and turned right to enter the market. The evening breeze was cool and wafted her long flowing hair side to side. The sun was already hidden behind the thick clouds in the west and night was peeking through slowly. The market was crowded today, and the people from all the places had throng over there with their family as if they came for shopping or something. The vegetable vendors were shouting at customers to come and buy at their shops. The ladies were bargaining for even one rupee and two rupees to buy the vegetables. You could hear the screaming and yapping voices in middle of the shops.
Kanika had gently glided towards the market and stood at the fifth shop and asked for the price of the cabbage. The vendor was haggling with her.
“The palak panneer was very tasty at lunch hour,” a muffled lady voice came over to her ear. Kanika ignored it at first.
“What about the poori then? Don’t you like it?” a man’s whispering vice echoed. He was giggling and laughing aloud.
Kanika’s heart jumped out of her chest and fell on the ground now. She knew it was her husband’s voice. Tears rushed to her eyes in a frantic force. She didn’t turn and looked at them. She immediately flew from that place and snuggled back to her house. Now, she had to learn how to put up with the deceiving!