#35Posted: May 1, 2011
Lata couldn’t believe she had finally given in. Sure, she had always known how persistent and stubborn her mom was. But still, it was a trait she herself had inherited, and which she believed she had cultivated with much more care and passion. Apparently not.
Draped in her newly bought blue cotton saree, Lata sat cross-legged on the edge of her bed. It was Saturday afternoon for heavens’ sake. She should be in her dance saree perfecting her thillanna, not getting ready to be showed off to some stupid people who think she would be the perfect latest addition to their family. That wasn’t how it was supposed to happen. That wasn’t how she had always imagined it to be. Lata looked up and saw herself gazing at her kohl-lined eyes in the mirror. She had always been so sure that she would one day meet her Krishna. And that was what she told her mom a few days ago. She had heartbreakingly told Lata to stop daydreaming and look at reality. Her Krishna must have lost his way, she had said, and meeting him ain’t gonna happen. “We have a thirty year old unmarried girl in the house. What bad deed did we ever do in our past lives?” she had wailed to Lata’s dad.
So here she was. Draped in her soft blue cotton saree with perfectly kohl-lined eyes waiting for her prospective groom to come and see if she was good enough for him.
Thirty minutes later, Lata was sitting on her mother’s rustic one-seater couch with her five year old niece on her lap. The room was filled with the smell of homemade pancakes and tea mixed with the alien smell of what Lata attributed to strangers. This was so wrong, Lata thought with a lump in her throat. No one had the right to invade her comfort zone like that. Gentle and polite chatter was going on around her, and the pouring rain was providing a hell of a background music. Lata hadn’t lifted her head since she had been brought in. She couldn’t bring herself to. And she was distinctively aware that this was being attributed to her being shy. Yeah. Right.
She had had a dream the previous night. It was as if she had been thrown back in her teens, in her yellow and red ghagra choli and with her long black hair twirling wildly with the wind. She couldn’t remember much of the dream, apart from fleeting sensory recollections. The rough ground underneath her feet; the sound of her anklets; the intense smell of incense and rose water; diyas and diyas everywhere. She was in the yard of Kovil Montagne, she knew it. Lata remembered lighting a diya in front of the Krishna in the yard, just like she always does, before giggling and prancing up the famous steps with her sisters. A light-hearted, carefree spirit, humming the padam her guru had just taught her.
So many years of being immersed in the world of music and dance that she had not realised there was a real world she was expected to function in.