“Baby ji, for how many days you are here?” The maid Savitri asked Mira unaware of the recent change in her relationship status.
Mira smiles as she tries to find the answer herself. The thought never occurred to her of what she would be telling all relatives and friends about her shifting back to Bangalore, bag and baggage. Divorces are not an easy situation for a woman to deal in a country like ours. Irrespective of the reasons of the unfortunate separation of the couple, it’s mostly woman who have to deal with the stigma. If a man doesn’t love his wife, how incapable is she to seduce a man to love her? If a man cheats on the relationship, the questions are always asked to the woman, how can you not keep your man in control? You must be pretty bad at the relationship or why would he look at someone other than you? And the best one, he is cheating on you, so what? You be the big hearted one supposed to forgive him. What about the mental trauma? No one has heard of that word I guess. A husband in your life is more important, irrespective of his shitty treatment towards you.
Mira’s head begin to buzz thinking about the questions waiting for her and the assumptions thereafter. She could see Savitri dusting the wall mounted television set and murmuring something. Not a single word registers in Mira’s brain.
She gets up from the sofa and walks upto her Bhabhi’s room. She knocks at the door before entering the room.
“Hey! you are already here? Wasn’t your train late?” Bhabhi said faking a sense of mystery. Or probably keeping an excuse ready as why didn’t she came to pick her up.
“No, the train was on time,” Mira said moving aside the stack of clothes on the bed making a room for her to sit.
“Good, good,” Bhabhi nodded before pulling out two almost similar pair of jeans and pointing at Mira, “Which one do you think would look good on me?”
Mira knows the drill. Whichever she would suggest, Bhabhi would negate her, give illogical reasons why the one she mentioned is a bad choice and fifteen minutes later, would wear the exact one she had suggested initially.
“This one,” she said pointing to the one onto the left.
“This one? Are you sure?” Bhabhi asked with the familiar confusion of her’s that Mira had always known.
“Yeah, this one will make you look thinner,” Mira said smiling faintly as she remembers how Bhabhi was competitive with her in terms of beauty and fashion. She thinks she is the only fashionista in town and wouldn’t wait a second to drop one of her sartorial fashion advices to any one not in need. She has monthly subscription of all the fashion magazines and often gets designs replicated from the nearby tailor. Few times, the designs were a hit amongst her peers but a big miss on most of the occasions.
“Do you want to eat something?” Bhabhi asked as she matches one of the clutches with her top.
“Nah, I am not hungry…”
Bhabhi cuts her in between. “You know I would have come to pick you up but I have to attend this party at Mrs. Naik’s house today. It’s her birthday and she is upcoming face in Bangalore socialite circle. She knows a lot of people these days. It’s good for us to know someone like that, don’t you think?” Bhabhi was quite excited for her afternoon rendezvous at the Naik’s residence.
“Yeah, you should, besides I know the city. I can travel on my own,” Mira had a pinch in her heart as she lied.
“You take rest, I will go take shower and come,” Bhabhi said closing the bathroom door behind her.
Mira takes a deep breath as she makes herself comfortable on the bed. She notices how much life has changed in a matter of six months. She can see the leaves and the branches moving outside as it is windy today. Usually she would sit under that window and read the pages of her favorite novel. This time, the windows are closed and there are brand new air conditioners in every room. It gets very hot in Bangalore these days. Besides it’s only March, another two months until it starts raining again. She slowly inhales the aroma of hing (asafetida) fried in the hot oil as her mother is making dal tadka in the kitchen. The last time that she was here, the house was filled with the aroma of fragrant ghee; Ma had made her favorite suji ka laddoo. Today she is cold as a slab of ice.
“What are you doing here? Go take shower, get freshen up! The food is almost ready.” Ma was standing at the door with the kitchen ladder in her hand. “Go, go fast!” She had the same energy as always, maybe a little less enthusiasm towards her.
Mira is taken in for a rude shock as soon as she opens the door of her room. This is not the room that she was lovingly given when had the family had bought the house. This is a different room altogether. The walls are shades of baby pink with white curtains on the window. The bed covers, pillow covers or the rug next to the bed, everything in the room is pink! Her study table has now has pink lacey makeup boxes instead of her books and the side wall is decorated with lights with lot of pictures clipped onto it. There is picture of Ankita on the side table in a white frame with pearls encrusted all over it. The walls have lovingly adored the posters of One Direction, Zac Efron and an almost drunk Justin Bieber. The room looks like the princessy kind of rooms shown in Hollywood and Bollywood movies. Mira was not even allowed to put a sticker on the wall and now look at this?! Justin Bieber?! seriously? what is he doing in her room?
Her room? Not anymore!