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Sindoor

Tanu hurried and sent the rest of her text, then proceeded to delete it from her side. These small things needed to be done right then and there. Otherwise, they become the dangerous big things.

What are you doing in there for so long?

The question was a few mins late today. Usually, Ma interjects within the first five minutes of her being in the loo. Mothers have a sixth sense after all. So they know when their married daughters are spending more time than they should doing their business…

Coming. Tanu hurried and sent the rest of her text, then proceeded to delete it from her side. These small things needed to be done right then and there. Otherwise, they become the dangerous big things. Clearing chat on phone, ensuring call records are clear – all minutia but critical.

Who were you talking to? Ma enquired. Tanu knew she had the most inquisitive of all mothers, no small feat to achieve for an Indian mother. Ma noticed everything and cared about putting her nose into everything. This had made Tanu’s school days beyond miserable, but now, in her forties, Tanu didn’t care. Ma and Baba were both aging. There was no time left for complaints. And also, life is the most effective idealism killer. The things that seem unacceptable and so wrong when one is young; life slowly adds terrible wrongs into the recipe to make them seem not wrong at all.

Here. Ma smooshed the red powder on her again. Tanu sighed. Even with all of life’s perspectives, this was going to be a hard couple of weeks. Despite explaining about a thousand times to her suddenly religious mother that she didn’t believe in Sindoor, Ma ambushed her every day with the pretext of a conversation and put some on her parting.

Ma had never been the sindoor type all her life. Neither was she ever traditional. But then again, she had never been religious either but now, every morning, she spent about two hours on the ritual of laying out food for the gods and serenading them. Her puja, which was only the last part of this if measured in terms of what Tanu would consider an act of worship to be, now had to be done every day at the exact same time.

I have told you not to do this. Tanu muttered as she wiped the vermillion off her.

Who were you talking to? Ma asked again. It was probably not a pretext of conversation then today. More an actual conversation.

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A friend.

Why not Sameer? Ma asked as she tried to put the thali back into the top shelf – her puja veneration storage location.

Because your son-in-law doesn’t have time to talk. He is very busy at work. Tanu grabbed the thali and climbed onto the small enclave by the bedroom door – a perfect perch to reach the top shelves. As she pushed the thali back, more red powder sprinkled out of it all over her.

See – that’s a sign. Ma smiled. You should talk more to Sameer.

Image source: a still from the film Agnisaakshi

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About the Author

Tanushree Ghosh

Manages supply chain teams in Intel Corp. Blogger, writer and poet. Founder and Director Her Rights (www.herrights.website). Contributor Huffington Post US, The Logical Indian. Poetry and fiction published in several US, UK and read more...

45 Posts | 134,656 Views

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