It is 10 am. I am already drenched in sweat because of the wedding shopping.
This is the problem when daughter is in US and for her marriage Mom has to shop. But I am enjoying it.
I am nostalgic at times thinking about my wedding shopping 27 years back. It was fun roaming around Vishwa Anna* then.
Today, I expected Sunitha to come with me for the grand shopping but her daughter-in-law is not well.Today, mothers – in law are busier than daughters in law. I smiled thinking about the lighter moment in those words.
S.M.Street has been always busy. It is getting busier day by day. I remember during the early days of my marriage Sreekanth and I used to love roaming around in the busy street. We used to walk all the way up to the S.K.Pottekkad Statue holding our hands and talking silly things. Certain things have not changed in the street. One is the Witco, the luggage and travel accessories shop, where Sreekanth and I bought the BIG suitcase for our honeymoon trip. Today I am again here at Witco for buying a suitcase for my daughter’s honeymoon.Phew!!What all mothers have to do these days?
My daughter is a lucky charm, a software engineer, now getting married to another engineer in the same company at Seattle. Now all she has to do is to land in Calicut two days before the wedding, get married and then fly back. Lucky woman!!. Am I little jealous?
I was planning not to spend too much time at the shop as my driver Samad is a new guy and I have no clue how is he going to blend with us .The previous one was so lazy that Sreekanth or I should shout at him to start the car..Ho!!
I was searching for a huge suitcase with lots of pouches as Jiya, my daughter, has a habit of stuffing things like stuffing a samosa.
In 10 minutes I was thinking of leaving the shop as I was not getting a suitcase of my choice. Suddenly I saw another person checking a suitcase. I liked it in a second like falling in love on first sight. Before I walked few steps and reached there, that person had already selected the suitcase.
I asked the shop boy for another one. But he gave an unpleasant news.
I gave an irritated and unsatisfied look to the shop boy and then looked at the person who bought the suitcase.
I felt like I may faint or I may have a heart attack. I could see similar reactions happening on his face too.
“Parrot!!! “He whispered.”Shiva!!! “I whispered it too.
The Shiva which was there in my mind was a young gentleman who was very intelligent and handsome. His hair was black and shiny. His clothes were always washed and pressed like those shown in Surf Excel ads. But time has done a pathetic magic on him. He is bald now. His eyes are red with the dark circles giving the message of insomnia. The waves on his forehead told me that he is not happy in life.
I was born in a small village near to Nilambur forests. Today it is one of the places in Kerala which is still a village.
I was the only girl in my family; a sister to three boys; two elder brothers and a one younger brother.
Shiva is my second elder brother.
Unlike my elder brother, Vishwanathan, Shiva was not very close with me. It is not that he doesn’t love me but he didn’t know to express his love and affection. He was little stubborn . But still it was my favorite past times to irritate him and make him run behind me. Only these kind lighter moments gave a relief to my poverty-stricken life.
The love of my brothers is something that I will cherish more the love of my parents as they were so busy making the life move on which gave them no time to love us. I often tell my friends that Vishwa Anna is my father, Shiva Anna is my elder brother and Mukund is my friend and not my younger brother. My world was always surrounded by these three people. It was Vishwa Anna who taught me what life is and his love and care made me come up in life. Shiva Anna was very brilliant in studies which made me study harder to reach his levels. Once during flood time, I was lazy to go for the class test, but when I saw Shiva Anna going for his test, I too went with him. We had to cross a canal to reach the school. As the canal was over flowing that day, Shiva lifted me and crossed the canal. He was a strong guy then.
But today look at him, he doesn’t even have a body that fits his shirt.
“Shiva Anna…How are you??It’s been very long that I have seen you. How come you are in Calicut now?”I asked.
“My Parrot!!How are you??You are looking very pretty. I am happy to see you”, he replied in a very low voice..
“How is bhabhi**? Do you have kids?? “, I asked in an excitement but felt embarrassed next second thinking that I don’t even know whether my brother has kids or not. And this thought was very well drawn on my face.
“She is fine. I have a son. You don’t have to feel bad about anything. After all it was my mistake which lead into such a crack in our family”, he said as if he understood what I thought a few seconds ago.
Yes!!It is his mistake. That is what everybody still telling and everybody still believing or wishing to believe.
After my marriage with Srikanth, I made Vishwa Anna to get married to Savitha Bhabhi. One year later, Shiva found a girl after a tiring bride searching session. She was pretty and nice.
But things just changed upside down during the first week of the marriage. It was worse than the saas-bahu*** soaps that we watch in TV. They moved out from the house after one month. Heated arguments were still going on but he fell for bhabhi’s charm and sweet words. As time passed, the relationship with us just dissolved in air. Even then, we had some clue that where he was or how he was doing. But then family life just made me too much busy that I forgot about him. It was not just his mistake. It was everybody’s mistake. At least I should have bothered to find him out.
“Jiya is getting married. Wedding is on next Sunday at Taj“, I said in broken words..
“Hmmm…Now I know why you are searching for a suitcase…Hmmm…And I…How is she? Who is the guy? I am not sure that...“He stammered…
I told him the biography of my kids. I told him about the wedding. Quickly took out a wedding invitation from my hand bag and gave him.
He looked at the venue address and said, “My house is five minutes from the venue. I have lived there for past 19 years“.
Tears flowed like a broken dam, spoiling my makeup and showing the world my aged skin. But I had no strength to pull out the tissue from my bag.
“I NEVER knew it”, I said through my tears. Then I thought it was better to tell that I never bothered to find you.
“Give Jiya this suitcase as my wedding gift. I won’t be able to attend the wedding. Tell her that my blessings are always with her”, He said this and paid at the counter.
I was standing still without moving an inch. He came next to me and called.”My Parrot!! “He kept his rough hands on my head as if blessing me.”Though you never knew it, I knew that you were here. My care and prayers are always there with you. “
Before I could tell something, he just vanished through the door like the bond of brotherhood dissolved through the time.
I was still standing there not knowing what to do, when the shop guy came and kept a huge suitcase next to me.
*Anna - elder brother **Bhabhi - Sister-in-law ***saas-bahu - Mother-in-law - Daughter-in-law