Fiction: Mom’s Lover

Venkat Raman V
-Venkat Raman V


Pranitha was an independent girl. She was twenty-eight years old and she worked as an editor in a famous publishing company. She was the only child and stayed with her parents. She often travelled for work to different places. Pranitha loved her job and the freedom that came with it. From when she completed college, her mother Lakshmi wanted to get her married. 
"I can't get married just because you had children of your own when you were my age", said Pranitha hotly. This was a charade they had to go through every time her mother attended a wedding. “It is not my fault grandpa couldn’t stand you”, she snapped.
“You are so beautiful and you are old enough. Why don’t you get married?”, asked her mother innocently. 
“That isn’t a reason to get married”, said Pranitha in exasperation. 
"Look at this boy. Tell me what is wrong with him", said Lakshmi showing her a photo on the website. 
"He looks like he has haemorrhoids", she said without bothering to look at the picture. 
"Don't insult people you do not know ", said Lakshmi looking angry. She angrily closed the browser screen. 
"You asked for my opinion. If you don't want it, don't ask", said Pranitha hotly.  
"How will you get married if you never even look at the pictures?", asked her mother looking downcast. 
"I don't want to get married because I have to. I want to do it because I want to", said Pranitha. Her mother stared at her but she did not flinch. She would not let her mother guilt her into doing this. 
"I gave you all the time in the world to find yourself a guy. It's not my fault you couldn't find one on your own", said her mother.  
"Ma, I want to marry for love. I don't want to have a child with someone first and then try to get to know them. Why am I telling you all this! You wouldn't even know what love is!", said Pranitha in exasperation.  
"Who said I don't know what love is?", asked Lakshmi calmly.
"Don't tell me you loved someone", said Pranitha sarcastically. She looked at her mother grin widely and said, "You're kidding". 
"It was about a year before I got married", began her mother. Pranitha had been ready to storm out the door but this caught her interest. She pulled up a chair and turned it around as she sat with a curious grin on her face. She couldn’t ignore this. 
"I was at my uncle's place in the village. We visited his friend, the postmaster", her mother continued as she spoke reminiscing her seemingly fond memory. She was blushing. "My aunt and the postmaster's wife were having a very boring conversation when her son came in the house. They had been speaking about him non-stop. He was working in the city and had come home for the holidays. He was all the woman could speak about. I looked at him, initially disinterested. He had beautiful hair and he ruffled it casually as he stepped in the room. He pulled his collar backwards stylishly and kept snapping his fingers as he took off his shoes and whistled a random tune. He was sweaty and looked tired but he was handsome. He asked his mother for something and waited till she went to the next room. He ruffled his hair and checked me out like a celluloid hero. He didn't smile but kept looking at me. I looked back at him too. I wasn’t disinterested anymore", she said. 
"What happened then?", asked Pranitha. 
"I knew that this was the man I had to be married to. I knew then that he was my life", she said.
"That's it? Hair, snapping fingers and a whistle?", asked Pranitha. 
"With the right person, that is all you need", she said fondly.  
"Go on", said Pranitha as her mom began to blush. The doorbell rang and Pranitha walked to the door, cursing the timing. 
Her father stood at the door and smiled at her. "You are home so soon", he said kindly. Pranitha smiled and hugged him but then it hit her. Her mom had been in love with someone else. 
She watched awkwardly as her father stepped in. The man was half bald and he was not in shape. Her mom had loved a handsome man but had to marry her father. She turned to the kitchen to look at her mom. She was not visible from where she stood. She wanted to go back and hear the rest of her story but she couldn't when her father was here. The truth would be catastrophic. She loved her father. He was a good man and a kind husband. Her mind began to race about how unfair the revelation would be on him. 
Just as she watched him, he ran his fingers over what was left of his hair and eyed the kitchen. He was looking to see if her mother was watching him. He pulled his collar stylishly, snapped his fingers as he took off his shoes and began to whistle a tune. Pranitha watched open-mouthed as her mother came from the kitchen with coffee. She had washed her face, adjusted her hair and changed her clothes in a matter of a minute. It then hit her. Her grandfather used to live in a village before moving to the city on retirement. She never asked where he worked exactly but he often used to take pride in telling anyone who would listen that he worked for the government. It became clear. Her mother did not have an arranged marriage. Her father was the handsome guy from her uncle's village. 
"She takes an hour to dress up to go to the grocery store", thought Pranitha sarcastically. She now wanted to hear the rest of the story from her mother.
***

Bio: I am an Investment Banker by profession and a writer by passion. I am internationally published researcher with a special fondness for storytelling. I have signed up with a literary agent and I am in the process of getting published in mid-2024. I’m building my writer’s profile by getting my works published in prestigious names in the literary spaces. I’ve had a few stories published in magazines and I post updates on my Instagram handle @vvramanwrites

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