Monday, November 13, 2006

At the Traffic Signal

(Woman's Era: November (First) 2002)
(WE's blurb: Two women--- waiting for the traffic lights to change---)


“Relax!” exhorted the red light at the traffic signal. Avinash drummed his fingers on the steering wheel impatiently. Megha, sitting beside him, fumed inwardly. The red light seemed to jeer at her—relax indeed! As if one ever could! She shot a sideways glance at Avinash. He was still drumming on the wheel. But he didn’t do that when he was alone, she bet. “Now, because he is going slightly out of the way to drop me, his time is suddenly precious,” she thought resentfully.
Megha knew she was being unduly harsh on her husband, but she could not help it. That was how she felt. Only she knew the Herculean effort it took to get out of the house. -----

----- She as wife, mother, bahu and general dogsbody was expected to put herself out catering to everybody’s needs-mental, physical, and emotional. Why blame others, she herself saw her role as that of a giver, a nurturer. She had to be flexible, accommodating everything and everybody smoothly. The fabric of life could not have a single wrinkle!-----

------ Could she call herself a 21st century woman? Certainly not! Why, she was so flexible and accommodating that she had not even combed her hair before leaving home, so as not to delay Avinash. She set about doing it now. Avinash demurred, “Don’t do that – people are staring.”
“Let them,” she huffed. If she began to care what even strangers thought---! As she turned her face automatically to the window, her attention was caught by a woman who had drawn up alongside their car, riding a scooter. Now, there was a 21st century woman for you! Her very appearance radiated confidence. She seemed at ease, an ease born of freedom. The freedom to go where she pleased, without depending on anybody. --------Feet encased in no-nonsense sandals—she could see that the toenails were varnished. Her own toes curled—how long was it since she had had a pedicure?---------
Her eyes met the other lady’s. They both hurriedly looked away. Megha thought, “Huh, she must be thinking what an idiot I am—can’t even comb my hair before setting out! If I had been working, I’d have been organized, efficient smart ----”
Rachna tilted her head sideways as she adjusted her helmet strap. The action brought into her line of sight the car standing to her right. She could see the lady in the passenger seat. As Rachna looked, the lady began to comb out her hair with quick, practised strokes. Then she ran her fingers through her long hair and shook it back. Rachna looked away in case she was caught staring.
That one act by the stranger in the car brought home to Rachna everything she did not have, everything she wanted to do. To be able to comb your hair in a car with someone else driving—ah, that was luxury. That was pampering.____

-----Oh to be able to just get up and go! No half-day leave, or arranging an ‘on-duty’ or asking someone to cover up for you.--------


Blogger Lakshmi a.k.a. Lotus Eyes said...

Sometimes we covet what others have, not knowing what we ourselves possess. Ultimately, it is up to each one to decide what really makes them happy.
Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.
You have great creative writing skills. I went through some of your posts. Congrats on being published! One of the posts about visting grandparents reminded me of my own vacations when I was a kid. I, too, used to go to visit my grandmother. I might link to your post in the future if I write something similar about my own experiences.
Keep writing. I am adding you to my blog roll. Hope that's okay with you.

9:09 PM   
Blogger LAK said...

Thanx, Lakshmi, you made my day. Of course you can blogroll me. The scavenger topic I mentioned is in the post called "A crow and two girls". You are welcome to my other blog(the first, actually)too----you had visited there earlier via Mumbaigirl.

11:27 PM   
Blogger veraLeigh said...

blog-hop :)

11:32 PM   
Blogger Sachin said...

As I keep reading your articles / stories (btw, they are much more real than stories), my eyebrows keep going up - you're a good writer!!!!

10:25 PM   
Blogger Sachin said...

As I keep reading your articles / stories (btw, they are much more real than stories), my eyebrows keep going up - you're a good writer!!!!

10:25 PM   

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