On evenings like these, her mind often scuttles down old memory lanes. Back in school, she would spend such evenings lost in homework – yes, the teachers would always set out loads, even in those days. When she lived away in the hostel, working towards her Masters, the evenings would silently transform into night, unknown to her. Many an evening had disappeared even later when she, stuffed in her cubicle at work, remained lost in her computer screen. When she finally emerged under the open sky, the stars would be too distant, too unfriendly to talk to.
There came a series of evenings when her life turned staccato. Continue reading
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Her family was revelling in celebration. Ma was baking sweets with a haste even the roadside mithai-wala lacked. Baba had started calling up relatives. In their extended household, twenty-four was the farthest marriage-milestone. If you crossed it unwedded, there would be an avalanche of pesky people on the other side, waiting to ruin your life.
It had happened to Pooja di – the once friendly neighbourhood girl who had been her senior in school. After a boyfriend walked out on her and news spread of her (largely imagined) escapades, one boy after another refused marriage. “Who marries a tainted girl?” said gossiping women over afternoon tea. “Who wants an old bride?” said exercising men during their evening walks. Pooja was now ‘old’ – a full thirty years of age – and stayed mostly cooped up in her room. The parents were still sending proposals.