Preeta……..!!!” it was her mother calling.
“Coming ma” she called back hating to have to discontinue her favorite dream.
“Why don’t you learn to cook a few simple dishes instead of reading books all day?” her mother grumbled “We’ll get you married in a year’s time and all this day dreaming will have to stop once you go to your mother-in-law’s place”
“Why should my mother-in-law be any different to you?” she’d reply, “moreover you learnt to cook only after marriage. I can manage a few items if a need arose you could not even do that”
“I was only fifteen when I got married” her mother retorted “at your age I had two young children to care for in addition to an endless stream of visitors and friends to entertain. Your grandmother was a deeply religious woman and I had to arrange for her pooja as well. No one has ever had it easy. Do not have any illusions about marriage. It will only lead to disappointment”
“Times have changed ma! Don’t worry I’ll manage.” She wanted to end the discussion that was annoying her. Mamma was being so pessimistic. She thought of her dead father who had been so very appreciative of anything she did. In fact she owed her dreams to him. He had made her feel like a princess.
All dreams end and so did hers. In a matter of months she was married to a young man with a promising career in a Steel company in an industrial town about two thousand miles away from her parental home. She wondered what the future had in store for her. Arriving at her new home she was appalled at the thought of having to start her day without reading the morning newspaper. Far from sipping coffee with her husband, melodious instrumental music enriching the morning air, she was expected to prepare breakfast for her husband who had to report for work at seven in the morning. She wondered who prepared breakfast before her arrival and why the previous arrangement could not continue. Cooking, cleaning, extracting work from the part-time servant as well as attending to her mother-in-law’s whims and sister-in-law’s fancies were all considered part of her marriage contract! She hated to have to wait till two in the afternoon to be able to glance through the paper. Back home she’d be the first to get hold of the newspaper. She longed for her carefree maiden days when she would read the crisp morning newspaper at leisure. She missed her collection of books, her writing table, her letter pad and her transistor all of which had been part of her existence before marriage. In short, she considered her Scientist husband and his clan as aliens who had just arrived on planet earth on a flying saucer. ‘ How very abnormal ‘ she thought to herself ‘these people seem to think and talk of nothing but cooking and house keeping all day’. The man she had married spoke to her about his research projects and electroplating devices thus shattering her dreams of holding literary discussions on Milton and Keats in an open terrace on a moonlit night! She and her husband were poles apart she felt and wondered if she would ever feel at home with him. She thought of her friends and wondered how they were faring. ‘Certainly not as badly as I am’ she thought.