Rosie (Chapter 6)

Glory Sasikala

Serialized novel, by Glory Sasikala


Clouds upon clouds chased one another through the night 
Soon they were gone, and it was clear Moonlight

Rosie did not sleep well that night. She had an extensive night routine—checking on the doors, soaking dry legumes to be cooked in the morning, cleaning out and making the beds not just for herself but for her grandmother and her two sisters as well. They helped her with this. She then had a bath, applied some moisturiser, and then knelt down by the bed to say her prayers. It was well past 11 when she was finally in bed, and even then, sleep eluded her.
“Oh God! Why has this happened? Just like that, out of the blue. Came to meet Sudhir Master, instead ended up screwing up my life. What sort of a guy does that?”
She screwed up her face, trying to recall Prateik. “I came in and he was seated on the sofa, talking to Grandma. What was he saying? Arrey, he would not have been able to say anything. Grandma never allows anyone to talk. She must have been talking and he must have been listening.”
She recalled his face, his demeanour, “Hmmm!! Looks nice! Handsome!”
She recalled with pleasure his body language. Women are attracted to that. The way a guy sits, the way he talks, how much he talks…how safe is he? Not sure why, but that is the most important question that pops up in a woman’s mind. How safe is he?
“He is fine. He speaks well, is gentle. He won’t take advantage of women. He will treat them with respect. That’s why Grandma liked him. And he really is very self-assured. Rich na? That’s why. Must be having servants at home and ordering them about. Bring that! Take this! I’m the Boss!”
She giggled in the dark. Then she thought some more…
“But marriage? Arrey, we have just met! We’ve hardly spoken a handful of words. And going by that, he wants to marry me? What did he see in me?”
Beautiful women who know they’re beautiful take it for granted that men will fall in love with them. Not Rosie…Because you see, she did not consider herself beautiful. She hadn’t been taught to stare for hours into the mirror and preen. She would wake up in the morning, have a bath, wash out her clothes, take fresh ones from her meagre collection, have breakfast and leave the house. Where was the time to even think about oneself?
So this disadvantage of not knowing she was beautiful came into full play now.
“What did he see in me? I have no house, no money…I have nothing. Even then he wants to marry me. Mad man! And I have two young sisters. He wants to provide for them!”
She felt a sense of growing anger and resentment. Who was he to provide for them? They were not beggars. And it was not just a question of money… Rashmi had been two years old and Suman just a newborn baby when their mother had passed away from childbirth complications. Rosie had been only 10 years old then. From then on, she had been taking care of her family: her two younger sisters, her grandmother, and even her brother…till he got married. They relied on her for everything, every small and big decision. How could she leave them and go?
“No! I won’t go! I won’t get married. This is my destiny: to take care of my grandma and bring up my two sisters. To provide them with good education, teach them good behaviour, and then, to get them married if they so wished to. That’s it. I cannot agree to this marriage.”
She thought about her decision. “Sigh…” She closed her eyes and fell asleep.
But one person really seemed to have lost sleep over the matter. It was not yet dawn when an old hand shook Rosie awake. “Baba, wake up!”
“What is it Grandma?” mumbled Rosie.
“I must know what you have decided.”
“Grandma, not at this hour! People don’t decide anything at this hour. They sleep. Go away!”
“Wake up Rosie! Or I’ll pour a bucket of water over your head!”
Rosie struggled to sit up, “What a horrible Grandma you are!”
She got up and sat on her bed and looked at her grandmother through groggy eyes, “You haven’t slept much have you?”
“No. How can I sleep when such an important decision is to be made?” Grandma asked.
Rosie decided not to beat around the bush, “Grandma, I know that you think that this is a good offer. But I’m not really aching to get married right now. I have two younger sisters. I have to think about them too. Where will they go? You know very well it’s not just a monetary issue. I…I dream for them! I want to see them do something productive with their lives and become good, strong-willed women. And if I go away, who will take care of them?” She took her grandmother’s hands in hers, “Forgive me for saying this, but you are very old. You will not be able to manage without me. And Chetan has his own family to take care of. Grandma, just allow me to talk to this…Prateik. I will make him understand the situation. I’m not a young miss. I’m a school teacher. I can manage. Please allow me to talk to him alone.”
Grandma listened to her intently. Then she nodded, “I respect your decision.” She patted Rosie on the head, “You are a very good girl. Go back to sleep. Everything will be alright.”
With those words, she turned and left the room to go and pray. Rosie sat for a while, suddenly feeling very tired. She then fell back on the bed and fell asleep.

[To be continued ...]

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