Tell me a story

“Mummy, mummy, story, please!” Little Ritika hovered around tugging at Indira’s sari.

“Not now, dear, I have a lot work to do”, she bustled about the kitchen chopping, frying and stirring.

Rishi had invited his friends for drinks. Again.  He’d called her just as she was stepping out for her yoga class, and told her his office buddies wanted a home cooked meal. There goes my evening, she groaned inwardly.

Indira had grown weary of these “fun get-togethers”, as Rishi called them. There was certainly no fun for her in flitting in and out of the kitchen to serve the guys, keeping a smile plastered on her face while they talked at her, and clearing away their mess, late into the night.

“Mummy, Dadda’s call!” her daughter handed her the phone. “Hi, Just letting you know, we’ll be home in an hour.” “You could’ve checked with me before calling them over, Rishi”, she regretted her words the moment she uttered them. Her Rishi was a good, kind man; but he hated any form of dissent, disobedience or disagreement. Especially from her. When angered, he would, depending on her luck, sulk for hours or rain fury and abuse.

“Why? Do you have a meeting lined up?” he sneered. “What do you do everyday at home, other than sitting in front of the TV growing fat? Look, I work hard all day and I deserve to come home and unwind. Now, go and get ready. This conversation is over.”

“Mummy, tell me a story pleaaasee. About how the princess met a handsome prince.” Indira looked at the phone, smiled, scooped up her child and turned off the stove. “Not a fairy tale, honey. Let us do something else today”

At 7 pm on the dot, Rishi and his buddies walked in. But instead of a smartly dressed wife offering water and words of welcome, he found Indira on the couch with their daughter in her lap. “Do you know why we celebrate Dussera? Once upon a time, the world believed women are weak, foolish and timid. But a fearless Goddess riding a lion into battle proved them wrong ….”

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