Of Payasam And Vermin
He yawned. Wide. He knew deep down inside that he should cover his mouth, but couldn’t .He just couldn’t. It was too boring you see. The feeling had to be expressed in ways more explicit than constant furtive looks at the watch, and impatient clicking sounds with the tongue .After he had kept his mouth open for what he thought to be an indecently long time, he snapped it shut ,and looked around. Great. No one saw. Fantastic. He sighed and decided to look at the food instead.
‘AAAAAAAHHHHHH’, a scream rented the air, and that’s saying something since it was already so crowded and noisy .He looked up, glad at the distraction, blessing the pseudo-banshee with enough kids for all the teams in the next ICC world cup. He followed the flowing crowd towards the source of the continuing shrieks, now genuinely interested, all kinds of medieval knight in shining armour pictures racing through his mind. ‘Pls let her be pretty god, pls. Ok at least not fugly..i can work with non-fugly,’ he murmured to himself as he pushed past old flabby aunties swathed in kilometers of kanchipuram sarees and flashy gold. He finally pushed past the last of them(a magnificent creature of extraordinary stench and an utter lack of hair care products),and reached the epicenter of it all. There stood the bride in all her..er..bridal-glory, face all red to match her clothes(was it a sari?so much of cloth man. It could sew enough clothes for all the children in dharavi), trying to make herself as small as possible and pointing dramatically at the opposite corner of the mandap. The men were scurrying around, dropping to their knees and crawling on all fours, looking for something. ‘What happened, aunty?’, he asked the creature next to him. ‘Cockroach comes. Girl is screaming. Stupid girls all are now. Cockroach only no it is. Tcha,’ she said with disdain. He nodded sagely saying, ‘Yes aunty, correct aunty, that only. Stupid.’
And then he saw it, right there on the yellow marigold flower on a pillar. No one had seen it…it had assumed that it was safe. But not for long. He crept towards it, taking off one of his sandals slowly and holding it posed ready in his hand. he was almost there.
‘O no you don’t!’, he yelled ,and ran after it with a sudden burst of energy .He knocked over an old man and his cane ,sent kids scattering like skittles and stepped on the puja thali but he didn’t notice .All he saw was the pretty bride’s distressed face and the tiny arthropod causing it. O and the whole knight thing was pretty much permanently embedded in his head now.
He was breathing heavily, a truimphant grin spreading across his face. Then he stopped. Looked around. He saw his mum’s stricken expression in the crowd, muttering, ‘That demon child is not mine i picked him up at a cow fair’. He looked back at the livid face his sandal had made impact with. ‘S-s-sorry..I didn’t see, I swear. You see, there was this cockroach..,’ his voice feebly faded away as swung the sandal back and forth dumbly. A hand came from nowhere and steered him away from the scene, saying in loud hearty tones ,’O it was just an accident, we’re all very sorry.hes jus a careless kid..I’ll give him a talking-to’. Once outside the hall, he turned and said, ‘Dad, I’m sorry, really. I honestly didn’t pay attention’. His dad shoved some money into his hand and said, ‘It’s ok we’ll talk later. Now go. Have fun. Meet us back at the house later. GO!’.
He looked back at the hall disconsolately, sighed and left, as the cockroach looked out through the glass windows of the hall. Serve you right, human.
The wedding photos came out in a week. The bride looked worried. The groom had a strangely shaped red mark on his left cheek. The food was great.
This was contributed by our guest ed : ‘Bhartiya Nari’
We hope she writes more for Moment Of Zen!
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