Epic Stories? Everyday Stories!
So what happened?
Sarojini entered the hall en route to the kitchen. Two men were sitting on the sofa there. One was her brother- in- law Raghava and the other, his son, Sriram, who was Manju’s husband. Sriram was working on his laptop, while Raghava was reading the day’s paper. “Charan, you take your coffee and leave the kitchen, ” Muthu patti issued orders to her daughter-in-law, sister and grandson like a general on the eve of a battle. “There are two cups of coffee here. Which one is mine?” Charan asked with the self-involvement, typical of teenagers. “Oh-ho, Manju, you do it! Give one to Charan, and the other cup to your father-in-law. I swear, the man cannot open his eyes before his first cup of coffee.”
was continuing, “Wait until you hear about Kittu’s history,” he said, adjusting his bifocals. “His family connections were very bad. His uncle actually put his parents in jail.”
arojini looked eagerly at her sister. “Muthu, remember Ramu, our neighbour in the village? He took his parents to court, asking for his share in the family property. Word in the neighbourhood is that his parents nearly went to jail for that.”
“Children don’t respect their parents these days.” Muthu offered another platitude.
Raghava continued. “As for Kittu himself, he was a petty thief when he was young. When he became older, he became known in his town for womanising. It seemed he’d been going out with all the pretty girls there. Yet this girl ran away with him and married him. She said she loved him.”
“Love!” scoffed Muthu, vigorously stirring hot mysore pak in a big kadhai. “In India, people don’t get married for love. This idea came from foreign countries. Mark my words, nothing good comes when you take on the bad habits from other countries. Can you imagine what would have happened if we had loved when we were young?”
Pat came the answer from her granddaughter, Ranjani, “Patti, your husband wouldn’t have married you. I would have had a much better grandmother. Right, thatha?”
Raghava grinned and winked at her. But Muthu exploded, “If you talk like this to me, I’ll never leave you my diamond earrings. You’ll have to go to your husband’s house wearing plastic earrings,” she threatened.
Manju tensed. World War III seemed imminent. The only thing to do was to take out one of the combatants. “Ranju, if you keep talking, you’ll miss your school bus for sure. Now, go take your bath,” Manju yelled at her daughter.
The diamond earrings were a hot button issue with her also. Under her breath, she muttered, “You’re never going to give your precious diamond earrings to my daughter, you old hag! You promised them to me, but did you at least lend it to me even once? Never! I know what you’ll do. You’ll take them with you when you die.”
Meanwhile, Sarojini interjected, “Be quiet, Muthu! Raghava, continue with your story. What happened to that Kittu? Did he change after marriage at least?”
“Yes, in a way. He entered politics.”
Sriram sat back with a sigh. “Ah, yes, the last resort of rogues. Did he become the party leader or the chief minister?”
“He got rid of his uncle and took over his property. Then he began to interfere in his cousins’ property disputes. He began to play king-maker.”
haran spoke up, “Ha, there is only a television drama called King-maker, thatha. There is no such word. You are making it up.” His cellphone had run out of battery and was currently getting charged, hence his participation in the conversation.
“I meant that this fellow used his political influence to promote someone else. Two sets of cousins were fighting over their grandfather’s property. One set happened to be Kittu’s relatives on his father’s side. So, he backed them in the fight for the property, saying that they were the rightful heirs.”
“Why did they have to fight? Couldn’t they have reached a compromise?” Sarojini asked, as she began mixing the besan for boondhi.
“They tried, but it was half-hearted at best. And at that meeting, Kittu ended up killing his own cousin for insulting him.”
“What is this world coming to? Why should this Kittu kill a man just because he insulted him? They should have put him in jail for murder! Muthu, that mysore pak has turned out nice, hasn’t it?” Sarojini said, adjusting the flame of the gas burner.
Muthu was running a knife through the hot mysore pak on a large plate, cutting it into perfect diamond shapes.
“Kittu wasn’t jailed because people thought of him as a god.”
Sriram snorted in derision. “One of those god-men, I suppose. All you have to do is a few magic tricks and some hypnotism and immediately people believe you are a god!”
“Your story is taking too long, thatha. Just tell us this. Who won in the end?” Charan asked, one eye on the cellphone.
“With an unscrupulous man like Kittu on their side, I’m sure that his cousins won!” Sriram said, shutting his laptop with a snap.
“Yes, they did, but not before there was a huge fight. The other family was simply destroyed.”
arojini tut-tutted, “I feel sorry for the other family. Poor things! If Kittu hadn’t interfered, they might have got something at least.”
Her task finished, her sister turned on her. “Sarojini, you are too sentimental. That is why your brother-in-law and his family are still living in your house. When it comes to money and property, you should forget all relationships. That is the only way to survive,” proclaimed Muthu, Ms Machiavelli.
Manju had come into the hall with a towel for Charan. As she looked at her father-in-law, her brow furrowed. “I think I’ve heard this story somewhere. I just can’t remember where.”
“This world is full of stories like this. These days, good people don’t prosper. I won’t be surprised if the winners gave Kittu something substantial for his pains,” said Muthu with relish.
Raghava steepled his
Giving a squeak, Ranjani grabbed her school bag and ran out of the house. Her goodbye sounded faintly from the door. Manju heaved a sigh of relief.