I heard Radhika aunty calling me. I checked the time. It was half an hour past my usual wake up time. No wonder she was shouting on the top of her voice. I got ready quickly and went out. If she was angry with me, she did not show it. She threw a 'hi-dear-you-are-so-sweet' look and hugged me. Now this was weird. She never did that. And then I saw what she was holding in her hand - a boy's photo. Oh no! It was yet another drama to be unfolded. She was so keen in getting me off the house. But it did not affect me. Nothing is going to change for me. I was adopted few years ago. I was so young and active then. She made full use of me. I did all the job in the house from morning 6 to night 10. She did take good care of me, or at least she thought so. But as I grew old, she started disliking me. She wanted to have someone from the newer generation.
"Diya...Today a new family will come to see you. Now be a good girl and welcome them nicely. Don't forget to greet them with a warm smile. Also try to act like you are feeling shy"
"How do I do feel shy?"
She started at me for sometime. God knows what she thought.
"Ummm....Just lower your head a bit"
Though I had a million more questions spinning inside me, I just nodded my head. I mean, that is how I was brought up - Never ask questions and do what she says.
I was in the kitchen, making coffee for everyone. I heard them talking. All sounded too excited. But I just could not understand what was so exciting in marriage. I took the tray to the hall. I saw the boy. I scanned him from top to bottom. I felt I could relate myself to him. May be this is what they call chemistry? I dismissed that feeling and turned to the lady. She was the boy's mother I guess. She was wearing all kinds of jewels one could possibly carry. She was all smiling, carefully analyzing me from head to toe. May be she was checking if I qualify for her son. I suddenly remembered what Radhika aunty said. I immediately lowered my head. After a few seconds I lifted my head and turned towards the next person. He was the boy's father. From the look on his face I understood that he did not have much say in the decision. I was amused thinking if I married this boy, even he will also become like his father. I must have grinned, because suddenly the lady started speaking to me.
"Diya...nice name. Do you know to sing?"
"Yeah, few basic steps"
"Good..." She looked pleased with her selection. She turned to the rest and declared she liked me. They asked me to go inside. They had some elders’ talk I suppose. I did not care.
Time flew like anything. Today is my marriage. I could see so many happy faces. This was what I just could not understand. I was working in a house. Now I am going to work in another house. What difference is it going to make? What is there to feel happy about it? I looked at my husband. He too looked equally bemused. Instantly I liked him. Here is someone who could feel what I feel. It felt good. As advised by Radhika aunty, I held his hands and posed for the photographs.
It has been a year since my marriage was over. I had a few chores left in the kitchen before retiring for the day. I could hear my MIL and FIL talking in the next room.
"Leela...You look upset. What is wrong with you?"
"Nothing dear. Just leave me alone for sometime"
"Come on, I want to know what is bothering my sweet wife"
"hmmm...Do you think we made the correct decision?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Is this about Diya?"
"Did she say anything?"
"I...I just don't like her. She is not as efficient as I thought. May be we should have waited for some more time. We could have got someone better for Harish."
"Someone better? What do you mean?"
"Just listen to me for a minute. I was thinking may be it is not too late. You know, I saw the advertisement about a new..."
"Stop stop...Are you even aware of what you are talking about? Do you remember how much you cried when you were told we could never have a baby. Harish saved us from all the embarrassment. You too accepted him as your son. Though I knew getting him married was something unusual, I agreed only to satisfy you. You must accept Diya as your daughter. Don't behave like the usual MIL. Get some sleep now."
I did not want to hear anything more. I went to my bedroom. It just occurred to me that even a humanoid robot cannot satisfy a MIL. For the first time I was happy for not being a woman. I switched on to sleep mode and started charging myself for the next day.