Rosie (Chapter 9)

Glory Sasikala

Serialized novel, by Glory Sasikala


Let me sing you a very old tune 
The Moon lives in me, and I live on the Moon

Rosie made her way down the street and down the noisy, dirty courtyard and greeted her friends at the water pump with a “Hello! Good Evening!” and got back a selection of the best secretive glances and furtive giggles. Then the Taleteller removed her hand from her mouth behind which she had been giggling and said “Yes! Oh yes! This is a good evening indeed! This evening,” she said, spreading her arms theatrically, “is the best evening I have ever known in my life. Oh that such an evening,” she said, lowering her arms and crossing them, “come in everybody’s life.” By this time, the girls had gone off into peals of laughter. Rosie gave them a puzzled look and said, “Hey! What’s all this about?”
“Why ask us? Why don’t you go upstairs and find out who is waiting for you?”
At that, the blood drained out of Rosie’s face and then rushed back, leaving her hot and red. The girls noted the effect with satisfaction and giggled.
“Ai, ai, the girl is blushing,” said one.
Rosie bent down and picked up some stones and threw it at them. By then, they had all scattered, laughing. She made her way upstairs slowly, giving time for her heart to settle down to a steadier rhythm.
“She’s come! She’s come!” She heard the whispers as she made her way down the corridor, and an old lady called out to her, “Go quickly! Your Prince is waiting for you.”
For all her wish to appear cool and collected, Rosie appeared at her doorway blushing crimson and beautiful. Nevertheless, she managed to lift her eyes and take in her visitor and give him a shy smile before she entered. Her effect on Prateik was electrifying although he had only seen her the previous morning. For the first time in his life, he knew what it was to love, and the knowledge that she loved him too made it all the more beautiful. Chetan and Grandma were there in the room too, and Rosie glanced anxiously at Chetan. Seeing him relaxed and smiling at her, she relaxed too and smiled back.
“What happened? Why are you so late?” he asked.
“I went to temple,” Rosie replied.
Chetan gave her a meaningful look. She caught the look and blushed and looked down. Then, lifting up her head and looking directly at Prateik, said, “Please excuse me,” and made her way inside.
They were all quiet for a while after she left.
Chetan then asked Prateik, “Another cup of tea? Please say yes, otherwise Priya will refuse, and I need another cup of tea.”
Prateik laughed. He turned to Priya and smile. “One more cup please if it’s not too much of a bother.”
She smiled and went in.
Grandma smiled too, “The more ginger tea you drink the better. There are so many good qualities in ginger.”
She continued to list the benefits, and Prateik and Chetan listened to her. Rosie came back into the room. She had bathed and changed into a soft silk-cotton cream salwar suit that was at once simple and grand. She had left her hair open and it fell in soft waves and framed her lovely face. She wore no makeup at all and no jewellery, and somehow, her simplicity enhanced her natural beauty.
Prateik could not take his eyes off her as she made her way to her grandmother’s side and sat down gracefully on the divan. He found himself wanting to just keep looking at her.
Chetan set down his cup and said, “Well, Sir, now that Rosie is here, can we talk?”
Prateik said, “Yes we can, but on one condition.”
Chetan and Rosie and Grandma looked at him wide-eyed. Prateik laughed, “Please relax. Chetan, you must call me Prateik. You can’t reduce your own age by calling me Sir.”
They all smiled and Chetan reached out a friendly hand, “Prateik is a nice name.”
Prateik bowed.
“So...Prateik Ji, you want to marry my sister. And you want to take my other two sisters too. The proposition that you made yesterday morning seems okay to us and we accept it. But we are worried…
This is all very sudden. Your people still don’t know about these developments. What if they object when they you tell them? It’s serious matter because you’re taking on additional responsibility. And also, they might have some hope for you—that you will marry in a rich family?”
Prateik set down his teacup. “Yes, it will come as a surprise to them. They have no hopes for me. I haven’t shown any interest in settling down up until now. And now, out of the blue, I want to get married. But we are all adults. Two of my brothers are married and have families of their own. I make all my decisions. I’ve never asked their permission to live my life the way I want to. So, they have to accept my decision and go along with it. I’m not going home to ask their permission. I’m going home to inform them. But yes, there is one person whose permission I need….Chacha, my Uncle.”
He paused and smiled at them, “He is not my Uncle. He is an old man and he’s a servant. He’s been with us all our lives. Our parents died when we were quite young, and if Chacha and his wife had not taken care of us, we would not have been able to manage at all. His opinion is very important. Don’t worry though. He is sick of seeing me wasting away my life. He scolds me every day. Baba, get married. Baba, don’t drink. Baba, don’t waste your life….sometimes he cries…”
Prateik grew silent… Then he looked up and smiled, “He will be the first person to celebrate when he hears the news.”
They all smiled.
“You’re treating your old servant with so much love and respect; it shows what a gracious person you are. God Bless you!” said Grandma.
Chetan said, “Well, in that case, we have no objections.”
Prateik, whose heart was singing with joy, leaned over and shook hands, and glancing quickly at Rosie, said, “So, I will be leaving for home tomorrow morning. I will talk to my family. Then I will call you. You will have to come home—all of you.” He looked at Grandma and Priya, “Rosie too. It’s very important to me that you all come home because this is going to be the Rosie’s home and Rashmi’s and Suman’s as well.  It’s very important that you feel one hundred percent confident that they will be happy there. Please don’t say no,” he said, raising a hand as Chetan tried to object, “These are your precious sisters you are giving away. I will send in the car and I will ensure Grandma is able to travel comfortably.”
Chetan sat back, accepting defeat. “Okay, if that’s what you wish for… Thank you! I must admit that it will ease our minds.”
Grandma and Priya nodded. “It’s a good thing,” said Grandma.
“Shall we eat?” asked Priya, looking at Prateik.
“Oh yes, please!” he said, smiling at her, “I’m very hungry.”
He got up to go and wash his hands. Rosie got up too and led him inside.

[To be continued ...]

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