Vanita came home earlier than usual from her office to her mom’s surprise. Although she had asked no question, Vanita said with a smile “I had not much work to do and felt like having hot bajjis with coffee from you.”
“Why not? I will have it ready in a jiffy,” her mom replied happily as she hurried to the work station to cut the vegetables.
Vanita sank comfortably on the sofa and lazily skimmed through the day’s paper till her eyes fell on an advertisement under the Brides wanted category in the matrimonial section. It was in bold letters against a color background obviously to attract potential brides. Vanita, nearing 30 and a spinster, took delight once a while browsing through such matrimonial columns. It is more an amusing diversion than an effort to source her partner.
“A marketing executive in a multinational company aged 34,170cm with clean habits and drawing a good salary, frequently on tour desires a life partner. Has an aged mother with initial signs of Alzheimer. The potential partner should be a graduate around 30, without any encumbrance, not working but pleasant and smiling always. Caste and language no bar. The expectations are small and very few. She should have an aesthetic sense, love her home, keeping it clean and well decorated and be good in culinary art experimenting daily different cuisines of many regions and countries. Should be fond of having children and have cheerful disposition and not given to tantrums even under slight provocation. Would want her to be a home bird and not employed after marriage. All her needs would be amply taken care of. Quick marriage is contemplated
Vanita had a strong streak of independence and a dim view of arranged marriages. The few men she met in her work place and social circles did not inspire her. She found them either egoistic with notions of male superiority or just plain uninteresting men. She was happy with her present state and had no intention to marry although her mother gently broached the subject once a while.
Anger rose in her when she read this ad but she nevertheless went though it again carefully. This guy needed a woman to take care of his ailing mom without spending on servants and possibly he is a foodie wanting to eat varieties of food at home. He also needed a woman waiting for him when he returned home from office or tour and willing to raise a family of many children. He would not like her to work and in plain words want her to be tied to home but disingenuously clothes his real intention by words like aesthetic sense, love of home and decorating it. To cap it all he wants her to be cheerful without frustration even under trying circumstances with an aged woman in what is possibly a case of advanced Alzheimer.
An idea struck her mind she called the number and asked him to visit her home the next day at 4pm for discussions.f
A well dressed and smart looking guy rang the bell sharp at 4pm.Vanita’s mom was asleep in the bedroom.
“Good evening. I am Abhinav and have come in response to your invitation about my ad” he said, a bit overawed at the beautiful maiden who answered his bell.
“Come in, Abhinav.I am Vanita who called you yesterday” replied Vanita as she led him to the living room overlooking the workstation and kitchen area where a young woman was busy shining the glasses.
As he seated himself comfortably considering himself fortunate to meet the charming lady, she asked “What would you have? Apple, guava or mango juice?”
“Mango” he said contrary to her expectation that he would leave the choice to her.
“Rukku, bring two glasses of mango juice” she said and turned towards him.
“I am very pleased to meet you. I hope you must have read about my requirements. I am very particular about them. Since you have invited me, I assume you have understood”
“Certainly I have understood what you want. You are indeed lucky to have come across one who fits to the T your demands” said Vanita smiling in a bewitching manner. “You need a woman who is qualified but would stay at home tending to your sick mother, cooking different kinds of food to satisfy your palate, raise a family of many children and be always smiling and cheerful. Am I correct?”she asked.
“In a way yes but I would not put it so crudely” he answered
“Never mind how it is put. But it is a fact. Rukku ,come here” she said and as Rukku came in her old cotton sari with an apron tied around her waist and in a disheveled hair and perspiring face, Vanita added ”Mr. Abhinav,my maid Rukku meets all your requirements and would gladly marry you. She has written her graduate examination on line and results are expected next month. She will stop working after wedding. She will look very charming after a wash and dressing up.She will take care of your mother. What do you say?”
Abhinav stood up and angrily said ”I am not amused at your silly behavior, you you …”even as he stomped towards the door
“Get out, I say and go to an employment agency looking for a maid and not a slave for your wife” said Vanita as she banged the door behind him
She turned and rushed to hug the smiling Rukku even as her sister was in peals of laughter.
”Akka (elder sister), I thoroughly enjoyed this small act as a maid in an old sari. A fitting lesson you gave to that foolish man. Thank God amma is sleeping in the bedroom” said Rukmini