“You are joking, right? You have got to be joking.” Ria’s laughter echoed in the basement parking lot. She sounded amused like he had actually cracked a joke but Samir could see the shadow of fear in her large brown eyes.
She pushed her hair behind an ear and Samir stopped. He hated that she could still make him stop.
“But, why? Why would you even be thinking about it?” there was that voice again, like a feather caressing skin.
“Come on Ria, you have always known someone had to go.” Samir scratched behind his ear with his pen.
“Yes, of course, someone has to go…but I thought we agreed it was going to be the other woman…” there was just a small shiver in her voice like the feather had passed over a razor. Continue reading
Nisha could hear them talking about the wedding already. She plucked silk threads from the pallu of her saree. She could not remember the last time she felt her parents had been inconsiderate of her. She had always brushed aside the issue of marriage, but arriving back from work and finding a family sitting in their living room had shocked her. She had not realized her parents were so keen on her getting married. Not that she didn’t look forward to it herself. But a heads up would have been good.
When she had entered the house her mother had hurried her into their bedroom and handed her her mother’s favorite silk saree, the one with the swans swimming along the pallu. That was when Nisha knew they were serious about this. She had expected to be called into the living room for a while now. And having waited for a while she was getting restless. She paced up and down the bedroom and put an ear to the door to try and hear what was being said. When she heard words like ‘dowry’ and ‘cooking’, she shook her head, opened the door and walked into the living room.
Nisha walked directly to the empty sofa opposite the prospective groom and sat down in it. An awkward silence followed in which the prospective groom and his parents stared at Nisha and her parents as if to ask how she had walked into their conversation unassisted.
Nisha folded her hands and raised them to the groom’s parents, “Namaste!” “ Hello…” she said to the groom. They seemed too dumbstruck because no one said anything.
The overhead fan could be heard creaking in the awkward silence. Her mother’s bangles clinked as she folded her hands nervously. Continue reading