Posted: 03 May 2007 at 8:20am
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Hi guys! This is my first time on Tales Corner. An idea just refused to
leave my head so I decided to post it. Please read, enjoy and reply. I'd
really love to hear your views.
Summary: Durga's life is almost, nearly perfect. Her family problems
aren't poking her so much anymore and her life is peaceful. That is, until
dirty, dusty Narayan shows up at her door. He's quite nice really and
that's just the problem. He's winning everyone's hearts, including hers...
Genre: Romance/Drama/General and a bit of Humour/Angst as well. In
short - total masala!
Parts on page 1, 2, 4, 5
For at least the thousandth time Narayan Patel wiped the sweat off his
dusty, dirty forehead. If any of the girls had seen him in this condition his
popularity would've taken a sharp dive. His t-shirt was drenched in sweat
and his skin had taken on a colour a few shades darker than usual due to
the dust that covered it. It had been a tough journey. Second class on the
Indian Railways was enough to give anyone a headache, especially if they
had to endure a 3 day journey. The heat had been close to unbearable
and oppressive, suffocating him and limiting his thought process.
Narayan didn't even know why he was here in this strange country which
seemed to dislike him. Or maybe he was paranoid. He had only chosen
this job because he wanted some experience and a chance to see the
world. He had certainly gotten that. The damn train had stopped at every
tiny cluster of buildings (sometimes too small to be called a village) in
rural India before finally coming to a stop at the city of Bangalore
Bangalore – Narayan silently thanked the person (Kempe something was
his name) who had decided to found his city at an altitude of over 900 m
over m.s.l, thereby giving him relief from the boiling hot temperatures
which he had learnt were the norm in India, This city had a much more
pleasant temperature, almost temperate, which was a relief as he was to
spend the next six months here.
Six months away from home, away from his friends. Narayan wryly
thought that it might be six months away from proper food, drink and
toilets. He hadn't had good experience with any of the three in the few
days he had been here – hence his rather haggard appearance.
"Well!" Narayan thought to himself, "If there's any hope for me it's here."
He looked at the broad, empty tree-lined road with large bungalows on
either side. He was currently in a posh neighborhood (whose name he
couldn't pronounce) where he would be staying as a paying guest for 6
months. That was fine but finding the right house was a problem. "Okay;
2nd house from the temple; this must be it." At least, he hoped this was
the right house. He didn't like to think what the conservative families in
this Pensioner's Paradise would think if a strange, dirty looking NRI
knocked on their door.
Pulling out the crumpled address from his pocket, Narayan checked it and
satisfied, made his way past the wrought iron gates, past the thriving
garden and up to the front door of the house. Taking a deep breath, he
knocked thrice. And waited. The house remained silent. "Oh great," he
thought, why did they have to go out just when he arrived. Didn't they
know he was coming? He had been prepared with all his documents so
why hadn't they? However, a few moments later, he heard a whirlwind of
footsteps and a whiny feminine voice from inside.
"Why do I have to get th
e door every single time?"
"Shh! Durga!" Someone scolded. Narayan was pleased to note that the
first voice had a slight British accent – maybe he wouldn't be homesick
here after all.
Suddenly, shaking him out of his thoughts, the door was flung open to
reveal a very rattled looking girl behind. Quite startled, Narayan didn't
know what to make of it so he simply stared, forgetting his manners and
earlier intentions to create a good first impression. And staring at the
young daughter of the house definitely did not qualify as making a good
She was wearing a long, baggy "Bangalore Rocks!" t-shirt over her silver
tights and pink socks. A white dupatta, used to tie her long black hair
formed an oversized bow at the top of her head, completing her…er
weird look. "Yes, how may I help you?" She asked sternly, pushing her
black glasses back up her nose. She tapped her right foot on the floor,
expecting a quick answer. Oh God, if it hadn't been for her…ahem…
interesting attire she would've been a replica of his collage professor.
"Durga! Who is it?"
"No one maa, he isn't telling me."
Quickly, Narayan found his tongue. "I'm here because of the Athithi Devo
Bhava Program." He was 100% sure he had mispronounced that. "I think
I'm here as a paying guest." That had gone well, hadn't it?
Durga's eyebrow immediately shot up. "You think? You mean you don't
know? What does that mean?" She demanded severely.
"Well, I seemed to have come to the right address judging by your house
number but judging by the welcome I think I accidentally stepped into
Antarctica." Uh oh – this was definitely not the right thing to say. But
honestly, the girl riled him up. Coming to a house, after a long tiring
journey, the least he expected was to be asked in and not be interrogated
by a pipsqueak of a girl.
Suddenly, her demeanor changed and she smiled at him, a little too
sweetly. "Oh! I'm so sorry. Where did I forget my manners? Silly me!
Please don't think badly of our Indian hospitality – the heat got to me."
Still smiling in that syrupy way, she led him inside. Momentarily puzzled
by this sudden change, Narayan understood when he saw her mother
standing behind her.
Durga's mother, or so he presumed, was a beautiful woman, somewhere
in her mid-forties. Dressed in a casual kurti and jeans she smiled at him
encouragingly. "Namaste, you must be Narayan Patel. I'm Kamala Javeri,
Durga's mother." An awkward silence fell at this.
"Excuse me." Durga intervened. "It's actually Kamala Shastri." This earned
her a glare from her mother. "What? We don't want him to have any
misconceptions, do we?" Narayan wondered what the issue was in a
simple introduction but wisely kept his thought to himself.
"Anyway, forget it. I'm Kamala Javeri-Shastri, Durga's mother and
welcome to our humble abode Narayan. Come in, make yourself at home
on the sofa and I'll introduce you to the family."
Humble abode? It was their abode but certainly not humble. Well, it was
better to do as she said anyway. So Narayan settled himself on their
cream coloured sofa, staring absently into space. Durga sat there too but
she was hardly any company as she was resolutely avoiding his eyes and
as silent as a stone.
Narayan tried, quite unsuccessfully, to make conversation. "So hi. I'm so
glad to have someone my age here. Nice place you've got here."
Although the conversation was painfully polite, Durga made an effort to
go along with it anyone. Not for his sake, no, not all. But simply because
she felt she had been unduly rude to this stranger and this rudeness
reflected badly on her family, upbringing and possibly country as well.
She had her reasons but those didn't matter for now.
"Yea thanks. I help decorate it a few months ago. So…is it your first time
"Yes it is. I've wanted to come here for so long but I never could. It's a
For the first time, she smiled. "I love this place. But it sure does take
some getting used to." That was definitely true. It had taken Narayan only
three days on the Indian Railways to realize that. India was nothing like
the placid London suburb he came from. Every inch of India was
throbbing with life and no one, no matter how prone they were to
boredom, could ever get bored here.
ust then, Kamala, or Kamala auntie as he was supposed to call her, re-
entered the room. "Come on, there are a lot of people I have to introduce
"Yes auntie sure." Smiling he made his way past the hallway into the large
living room. It was tastefully done but the dcor went unnoticed by
Narayan as he looked in amazement at Durga's huge family. They were
all there, in different shapes, sizes and outfits, looking at him politely.
Everyone stood up to greet him, even the eldest members.
"Hey buddy, good luck, there are a LOT of people to get used to." Durga
whispered in his ear before skipping off to join her family. "Mom, I'll do
the introductions. This," she said, pointing to a young girl, about 8, is
Kranti. She certainly lives up to her name." Winking, she blew a kiss to the
younger girl and looked threateningly at Narayan. "If you ever make her
cry even one tear or harm a hair on her head you better start digging your
grave." The kids snickered.
"Durga! This is not the way to talk to a guest. Narayan is good with kids,
I'm sure." Kamala was sometimes at a loss as to what to do. Her daughter
sometimes acted like a difficult teenager.
"I've got experience with kids. I have this cute little nephew in London."
More quietly, he added, "I wouldn't dare to do anything out of line
anyway; I've got this Kali next to me, haven't I?"
Rather annoyed inside but smiling on the outside, Durga continued to
introduce her aunt, Jayanti, Kranti's mother and Kamala's younger sister-
in-law. Jayanti was a pretty, soft spoken woman, well dressed and
smiling."Ok now this is Smaran mama (uncle), Kranti's dad."
"Hello, nice to meet you sir." Narayan was sure that given his dirty attire,
he looked stupidly formal as he held out his hand stiffly.
"No need for all that. We aren't Britishers here, are we?"
The rather painfully process (given his urgent need for a hot bath) was
finally completed after Narayan was introduced to the rest of the army.
There was Putti, Kranti's sister and the cutest member of the family – a
bouncing two year old; Tara, Durga's other cousin sister; Arjun and
Lakshmi, Tara's parents and finally, the elders of the family – Kashinath
and Parvati. Phew! That was a long list which Narayan was very likely to
forget. Such a lot of people! Honestly, he didn't see the need for him to
be introduced to the whole family. He was a paying guest – not the future
Edited by putturani - 20 December 2007 at 7:56pm
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