One afternoon Preeta happened to notice an appeal in the newspaper bearing the name of her college. The appeal had been made to all former students of the college to contribute generously to rebuild the college library that had been damaged and destroyed by a flood in the area. The news brought tears to her eyes. She thought of the many evenings she had spent browsing through books and magazines in the library. She thought of the librarian who treated the library like a temple and tended to the books as if they were her children. She wondered about the librarian’s reaction to the calamity and felt sorry for having called her a “vigilant vulture”. She sat brooding over the unfortunate event when her mother-in-law called out to her.
“Why don’t we start preparing dinner” she said, “fetch me a knife and the cutting board. I’ll start peeling potatoes while you make tea….”
She stopped on seeing the expression on her face.
“What is the matter child?” she enquired “what’s bothering you? Are you alright?”
Had it been another occasion she might have given an evasive answer but the news had evoked memories of a life that had been so precious to her. She handed the newspaper to her mother-in-law and explained in brief the calamity that had befallen her Alma Mater.
“The library must have been one of your favorite haunts in the college,” said her mother-in-law “ your mother has told me what an avid reader you were before marriage. No wonder you are feeling so bad! Why don’t we send some contribution towards its reconstruction?”
Preeta looked up feeling genuinely surprised. She had never imagined that the older woman could understand her concern let alone appreciate it. Her mother-in-law’s words touched a vital cord in her heart and Preeta felt an instant bond developing towards her.
“That would be great amma” she exclaimed “thank you so much. Could we send the amount tomorrow?”
“Why not?” she replied “the earlier the better. And why do you seem so surprised? I may not have gone to college but I also led a life before marriage just like you. I too felt like a total misfit here and longed for a return to my parental home. Your concern is genuine and I don’t expect you to cut yourself from your roots. All I want you to do is to adapt to this new environment, strike new roots and accept it as your own”
“I will definitely do it amma,” said Preeta “provided you guide and direct me”
“Let me first direct you to the preparation of an evening meal” laughed amma “or else your husband will pout and sulk like a five year old”
“Not my husband but your son!” retorted Preeta thoroughly enjoying her new found authority over her doting mother-in-law.
Your writing is so smooth and easy to get through. The flow is really good, the way that you leads the reader through the story. I enjoyed meself.
Thanx Dave for your words of encouragement.
A wonderful account.
Those who would take the time to read all the three parts will find their roots so close to these striking roots.
What strikes me is: why is that opposite poles always attract!!??!!
passerby55:i hope all is well in mumbai.thanx for sparing time to read my long story.
very nice - you know it is accounts of personal experiences like this that women shared between themselves which gave each other strength that their life was no different and also to learn how to adjust to a new life among total strangers. It could have been me telling the story - I have been through the same feelings and similar experiences.
Usha:It has been a long post and must have required time and patience to go thro' it.The tolerance level of the current generation is going down. Divorce rates are increasing and living in relationships are being preferred for fear of commitment.I would like to reach out to such people and tell them that adjusting is not compromising.
On a thoughtful note - do you still think that girls would have to dread thinking of their after married lives anymore ?
Far from mom in laws and sis in laws to worry about (the hubby takes care of that by already living separately) she doesnt even have to undergo any change in her pre married lifestyle...thanks to her corporate worklife which she shares with her hubby.
And abt cooking, the boys love to play an equal role in lending a hand in burning the food and breaking the dishes by lending their amateurish hands.
Your story as aptly titled "Striking Roots" does take one back to the good old times...but then no regrets to the current day. Great writing though !!!
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