She chopped the onions and garlic and set them for sauteeing. She loved it when the aroma of garlic filled the kitchen. She hoped her husband would like the Pav Bhaji she was so painstakingly preparing for him. She had already prepared rasam and rice for her ma-in-law; she knew she would not appreciate Pav Bhaji. She was dead tired, but still, she wanted to make something special for him this Saturday night.
‘Lakshmi, what are you doing? The whole kitchen is stinking, for God’s sake!’ Ma-in-law barged into the kitchen.
How did she ever think she was going to get away with this? When had she and her ma-in-law ever seen eye to eye on things – even things as simple as making dinner for herself and her husband.
‘Making Pav Bhaji for me and Rajesh, amma. I’ve already made rasam rice….’
‘Switch off the gas immediately, I say. No need to do all this. Why can’t you eat rasam rice too? There’s enough for everyone.’ Lakshmi was interrupted mid-sentence.
Another interruption. ‘Nothing doing. I can’t have my kitchen stinking like some hell hole. Switch off the gas immediately, I say!’
Something sparked off inside her. This had to come to an end. Now. Immediately. She had lived like this for 2 years, and was not ready to accept it another minute. An educated, caring and loving girl surely had the right to do her own thing in her own house.
‘No amma, I can’t. I and Rajesh both happen to love Pav Bhaji, and I’ve promised him I’ll make something special for him today,’ she shot. ‘I am going to make this for him. Please sit in the garden; you won’t feel the smell so strongly there.’
A stunned silence.
Rajesh happened to love the Pav Bhaji. Lakshmi and Rajesh happily dined on Pav Bhaji and Coke that night.
For this week’s Magpie.