Friday, September 22, 2006

The True Sparkle

The True Sparkle
(Woman’s Era Nov. (First) 1997)


It was going to be a black Diwali for the Anands this year. There was nowhere to go, nowhere to hide from the all pervasive gaiety that swelled like a tidal wave all around them. Who cared? Who bothered? Who remembered that around this time last year, theirs too had been a rollickingly happy family, caught up in the feverish excitement of Diwali? In the infectious enthusiasm of Varsha.
Dadi ma had been preparing traditional sweetmeats, shaking her head at the quality of ghee these days. Varsha had tripped in, popped a besan-laddu into her mouth and pouted, “Less ghee Dadi-ma! Cholesterol, you know!”
Saroj, Varsha’s mother, had taken out her special objets d’art and was lovingly polishing them before displaying them in her tastefully done up living room.
“Mom,” Varsha had teased, “You deck the house the way other women deck themselves with jewellery!”
All the same, the gleam of pride in Saroj’s eyes had been reflected in Varsha’s. It had been Varsha who spent half a day putting up silk and lace curtains. Their “party curtains” she called them. ------

“Papa,” she had called out to Jog Anand, “I’m going to wash the car. Be ready for my lesson!” That was the deal. Varsha would wash the car and her father would teach her the rudiments of driving. Though not yet of legal age to drive, she wanted to have a head start when she turned eighteen and actually started taking driving lessons.
She could not wait, she wanted her birthday to come quickly. And, bundle of contradictions that she was, she wanted to remain a child forever. Pampered by her parents and grandma, bickering with her brother, savouring the golden moments of childhood. ---------

Last year, Diwali was Varsha. She was everywhere. In and out of the neighbouring flats. Taking around homemade delicacies in plates covered with gay napkins. Concentrating on an original rangoli design in front of the door. Stringing up fairy lights along the balcony with her father. Accompanying her mother to the beauty parlour. --------

The flat where they lived was part of a cooperative housing society. Everyone knew of the Anands’ tragedy. Everyone tiptoed around them on eggshells, as it were.
There was a collective guilt. Guilt for having been careless on innumerable Diwalis. Guilt for being heartless enough to celebrate the forthcoming Diwali. Guilt for being alive. ------


Blogger tangled said...

No, no, no...
The whole story, please.

4:33 AM   
Blogger LAK said...

Heh,heh, some other time!A little patience, please!

6:44 AM   
Blogger Sachin said...

Hey, this was good...its leading up to something big and maybe bad.....better not to know...but then....we'd want to know as well...

10:03 PM   

Post a Comment

<< Home