The ride from station to Koramangala was a 45 minute one. Meena Mami sat at the back. Shanks, started the conversation-
“My wife is pregnant – First child. Our parents are abroad and will not be able to come for the delivery. I am attending classes for handling this on my own. As mentioned earlier you will have to take charge of the house like our mother.”
“What about you? Do you have children? Where are they and what are they doing?”
“I don’t have anyone. Don’t worry I will take care of your wife. What ‘s her name?”
“Myths – Mythili... “
The santro zipped to the left.
“This is our apartment. Security... Aunty hamare saath rahengi. Flat number B-6.”
“Ok, Saab “He stared at the lady who was fiddling with something in her bag.
Mythili opened the door “Ah! Mami, you look exactly like my pati. Come in come in.. "
“Here, this is for you”, it was a packet of fruits and pal khoa. “
Meena mami settled faster than expected. The kitchen and dining room gained focus from the computer. The tongues which had died of eating canned and pre cooked food were awoken by Spicy rasams, Thovials and batchanams. There was always a small cup of surprise at the end of a meal.
Mythili gained weight as the dates fast approached. Shanks was tensed, applied for 15 days of PL and revised the check list everyday.
Mami was composed. She went about her daily rituals without a murmur. If she missed the quaint fields of Tanjore, she didn’t mention .
Shanks initial apprehensions of elderly intervention in their independent lives were thrashed aside with Mami discreetly moving to her room when the parents were playing with the unborn.
The D-DAY arrived with a sharp pain. The new born was to come along soon. The pains got more frequent and Shanks more nervous. He screamed more than Myths, that the gyni gave him a tranquilizer and asked him to step out of the labour room. Mami sat in one corner of the lobby muttering barely audible slokas.
The delivery was normal. It was a beautiful baby girl. Kaavya- the proud parents named her. Her photos and foot prints criss crossed the internet space to far flung grand parents, uncles and aunts.
Myths rejoined duty in a month without a thing to worry. Kaavya was a darling and Mami’s pet. Mami would sing all kinds of songs for her and Kaavya bloomed. In the evenings when the parents came back, the bundle of joy was dutifully handed over. Things seemed to have settled into a mode of perfection.
It was a particularly stressful week for Myths. Shanks was attending a call at home. So she decided to take a stroll with Mami and Kaavya.
Mami was unusually silent. Was she missing her life in Mayavaram? Should she give her a week off or something? This was not the right time. There was a project deadline coming up and Mami had to be here. How could she ask her? Myths wanted to break the silence.
“Mami, you have never said anything about yourself to me. “
The question seemed to have opened a long withheld dam. Mami spoke at length reminiscing long gone days…
“I was married when I was 15. I was widowed when I was 16. I never saw my husband as I had not attained puberty. Life after that was tough. I was always in the kitchen, and with the new born kids. At 25 I wanted to have my own kids but I never knew how. I was the only daughter of my parents. They had lots of property which came under my name. I did nt want any of them; I wanted to have a family. But those days were different. Sometimes I wondered was this life worth living. Looking back now, I don t know how I got past those days. I never could talk to anyone about this.
So I started studying without anyone’s knowledge. I passed MA English Lit. I taught children at home. I loved children. I gave all my property for the construction of a school.
I had actually never been to a city before. That’s why when Sambu mama told me that someone was looking for help in a city. I applied.”
She looked at Myths and asked with a lilt in her eyes – “Mythili, You won’t mistake me if I ask you something? “
“Not at all mami, “Myths replied mentally preparing for a week’s leave application and started rehearsing her explanations.
“Will you take me to this place someday?”
She unwrapped a metro plus edition (folded in 16) which had Forum- The Mall shots splashed across its front page. PVR 's latest show was also on the Advt.
“I have never seen anything like this before. “
Suddenly Myth felt like a mother of 2 children, “Sure mami I will. Lets go today itself – you, me and Kaavya. It will be a pucca lady’s day out .“ Mami refolded the paper into her saree folds.
She told Kaavya - "Kutti ponne , innikku nama vellila porom. Enna dress su pottukulam ?? "
Myths slowed her pace down to watch the two beautiful women walk ahead of her. Mayavaram Mami , the name just didn’t suite her.