Meenakshi paced around the large kitchen.She wore an anxious and worried look on her face. Every now and then she peeked outside to see what the men folk were talking. Her heart raced and she was impatient to know the outcome of the meeting going on outside.
She stood by the door and pulled in the little girl standing there gaping at the small crowd. In her hand was a half eaten banana.For her,the proceedings were far more interesting than the banana!
'Don't stand there watching the men. What will they say. Just because of this behavior, it will all fall off. Come in and sit with me', said Meenakshi.
Little Veda did not know what was happening and even more so why the men kept looking at her and smiling and then turning to talk something about her. She was just a child,only 5 years old! She went in obediently and sat by the huge water pot on the floor.
The men left and Meenakshi hurried outside the kitchen.
'What did they say? Did they agree? Did they like Veda? Please say something....'
Her husband, 15 years her senior, looked at her and smiled.
'Everything is fine Meenakshi.The astrologer says her horoscope is excellent.They have even finalised the dates. It is on the 5th of next month!'
Meenakshi relaxed, but it was just for a second and then panic set in.
Such a lot of work to be done.
'Let me send word to my sisters. They will come and help me out.' She said and went looking for the house help.
The pre-wedding feast which was the norm took place and the grooms family and theirs took part in it. Around a hundred people feasted on all the good food and chatted idly later.
Only when the bride and groom are meant to be for each other does the groom's family have even a sip of coffee at the bride's place.Such was the culture!
So the wedding of Little Veda and Little Sami was the talk of the village for a long time. Traditional spreads were prepared for all 4 days and the little bride wore the prettiest and expensive silk gown anyone had seen. And as for the weeding gifts from her mother's side,it was the envy of many!
A couple of days after the wedding, little Sami left her at her mother's place and went with his family. He just knew that this was a little girl with whom he could play and boss around!Of course he could boss around or at least his mother told him so and he was 10 years old!
Life returned to normal for Meenakshi. Little Veda played inside the house as usual with her brother and sister but things were more strict for her after the celebration and she never understood anything of what had happened.
The little one was given a lot of sweets and new dresses each day during the celebration and was pampered a lot. She also got a new friend who looked a lot elder than her, but she did not mind! But the thing she could never understand for a long time was why her mother made her wear a thick chain that her new friend tied around her neck with some pendant everyday and did not allow her to remove it!
'Amma, why can't you let me study'? I don't want to get married now.There is so much to read and learn' said Kamala, almost in tears.
'It is already late and our relations are questioning me and I really don't know what to say', replied Veda.
'But Amma, I am just 18,why this hurry!!'
Oh dear girl, you will never understand. This is not early!Haven't I told you , I was married off when I was 5! I don't even remember clearly what happened that day! I was sent to my husband's home after the ritual seclusion[coming of age ceremony]. I was just 14 when I went there. I know those days were different, yet the time has come for your wedding.
All Kamala could do was run away from that room and cry for a while. Nothing could be done.
A few days later, the grooms family came to see her and she was decked up in a beautiful red silk sarie and wore a few jewels. The groom,Ganesh, was good looking but nothing about him felt good to Kamala. She wanted to study but this boy had spoilt it all.
The usual fare of Sojji and Bajji were served to the groom's family and Veda,like all mothers, praised her daughters culinary skills.Coffee was served and Sami and Veda made note of the other details for the wedding as they were being discussed. Kamala stood a little away and helplessly listened to all that was being said and done.
The wedding dates were fixed in accordance to their horoscopes. Kamala went along with her parents for the shopping and then the D-day dawned! By now Kamala had accepted the prospect of getting married .The two day wedding was elaborate and all the rituals were followed without fail. The groom and the bride were tired and all they wanted was to be left alone so that they could rest a while!
After the wedding, the groom's family took her to their native village for a small ceremony and from there to their home just a few hours journey from her maternal house.......
'Ma, err...I want to tell you something...'
Kamala looked up from her embroidery He daughter was so pretty and today her face was tinged with some unknown feeling.'Yes dear what is it?'
'Err.. I mean...I ....'
Come on Sukanya, you can tell me.what is the matter?
'Ma, there is this person-Sandeep. Err...We...We..I mean, he is my senior at work and we.....'
Kamala feared the worst and her heart raced.She put down the sarie that she was embroidering .
'Oh God!, Don't tell me you want to marry that guy!'
'Ma actually, that is...,that is, what I wanted to tell you....'
'Did you even care to think of us when you made that decision?'
At that very moment, Ganesh entered the room. He had been listening to this conversation from his bedroom.
'Did you hear what she just said. How could she ever think of doing such a thing! Who is this boy and what is his family background? God...Why did you make me hear such a thing from my daughter's mouth!!!'
Kamala, wait, let us see what she has to say...'
'No, I will never accept such a thing in our family. When I was to be married, I just put aside all my dreams and married the boy of my parents choice. And see how happy and contented I am today. Things are not how they seem in the beginning....Just..Just forget this boy and sit at home. We will have your wedding fixed soon,someone we know and someone who will be a perfect match for you....'
'Pa,please tell her...'
No, not a word from you,young lady...I trusted you so much and look what you have done...
'Pa, he is a nice guy and I am 26! I know how to judge people and he really loves me.....,Pa please, just meet him once and then you can decide....'
Ganesh tried to pacify Kamala and explain things but she was inconsolable.The arguments continued and after a few days Kamala and Ganesh agreed to meet Sandeep.
Kamala wanted to offer some homemade snacks with tea but Sukanya said he preferred fast food and the likes and it would also be better if they met somewhere else and not at home.
So,over the pizzas, garlic breads and cokes, they got to know more about the boy. He was living here in the city in an apartment while his parents and brothers were in Calcutta. Kamala's heart sank. The boy was handsome ,came from a good family and had enough money to last a couple of generations but this was not how she wanted to get her daughter to be married off.
The wedding date was set and it took place in the Registrar's office followed by a buffet lunch at a posh restaurant.They set off on their honey moon to Mauritius and life was a bed of roses for Sukanya. Kamala still felt something was missing in that wedding.....
'Hi dear, how are you.I was waiting for your call...'
'A bit hectic at work mom so couldn't call last weekend.So how are things with you and Sandeep?'
Sukanya let out a hearty laugh and pretended to scold her daughter.'How many times have I told you not to call him by his name. Give him some respect, Rasika!'
'Come on mom, I love and respect him a lot and you know that. But he is more of a friend to me than a Dad and you know that too!'
Again she laughed and they spoke for a while about this and that. Sukanya itched to ask the question that was forever in her mind...
'Rasika, I hope you won't get angry if I ask you something?
Oh come on mom, you are my friend too.What is it!
It's about you getting settled in life and......'
Mom, I am settled! I have the perfect job, I earn a lot and have a great circle of friends!What more do I need!
'Yes, all that is there but.....'.She glanced at Sandeep who was listening to their conversation from the other end of the room. Sukanya adjusted the laptop so that Sandeep could see his daughter.
'We want you to get married Rasika. It is already late and you have been putting it off for a long time now.We have waited long enough and we are not getting any younger. All we want is to see you happily married and settled with kids and ...'
Mom , please, don't talk like I am an oldie. I am just in my late 30's and in the peak of my career. None of my friends are married and.....'
'Please Rasika,listen to me', she said sobbing,'if you have anyone in mind let us know, you can get married to him.No objections and no questions asked'
'.......Are you seeing someone Rasika', she asked hesitantly.
'Yea mom, sort of....'
'Oh...' there was a tinge of disappointment in Sukanya's voice. She visualized her charming daughter with a tall ,blond Westerner.
Mom , Dad, I have met this amazing and beautiful person with whom I would love to spend the rest of my life with. Apart from the both of you, I never knew someone would love me so much! I just feel like the happiest and luckiest person alive!
'Mmmm...'.Words failed Sukanya and she did not wanted to interrupt. Sandeep moved over and pulled the chair closer to his wife and held her hands....
'We are living together for a while now and I actually wanted to tell you this earlier but I was really not sure how you would take it....
Sukanya's heart missed a beat. Sandeep felt her grip tighten.
'Mom, her name is Clara and she is such a wonderful person....'.A tall girl in a tight fitting jeans and a swanky tops came into view...
Sukanya's grip loosened and she slumped backwards on the chair. Sandeep ran off to fetch some water.....
This 'work of fiction',if I may call it so, is for the Blogging Marathon #33, week 3, day 2, with the theme - Food and Fiction....
And now coming to the food part,here is a super easy snack - Garlic Bread/ Garlic Toast . Lil Angel loves this and I made this many,many months ago.So once again,my drafts to the rescue!
Hokkaido milk bread - Cut into slices [Refer note below]
Adjust the following to suit your taste / availability
Red chilli flakes
- Mix the grated garlic, cheese and red chili flakes,butter in a bowl.Check the taste and add salt if needed.
- Spread this on the bread slices.
- Arrange the bread slices on a baking tray and bake for a few minutes till the cheese melts and the bread slices turn a little crisp.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately with juice / coffee...
- I had this Hokkaido milk bread which I made for a challenge and hence I used it. You can use any type of bread.
- Instead of fresh garlic, you can use garlic powder too.
- Add herbs like mint, coriander leaves, oregano to the spread if you prefer.
- What you see in the click is the grated garlic.The cheese melted and the garlic just popped up on the toast! It was yum!
- You can also use this spicy garlic butter and toast the bread as above.
- In case you don't have an oven ,you can also make this on the stove top. Heat a griddle and place the toast with the spread side facing up. Cover and let the cheese melt.Serve immediately.
- You can have the spread ready and make this just before serving.So is a great snack for the parties too.
Since my Lil Angel loves this one, I am sending this to Srivalli's Kid's Delight Event - Kid's delight Party.
Here are the other food and fiction posts.Check them out if you are free....
Labels: Bakes, Blogging Marathon, Breads, EB, Food Fiction, Garlic, Ingbread, Oven Fresh Eggless Bakes, Party Snacks, Recipes with Bread, Snack Bar