Jayanti was wearing her watch when she heard the long horn beep. Her mother came out of the kitchen with the ladle in her hand and gave her a sharp look. Jayanti snapped and said -‘not today maa!’. As soon as she left Mrs. Kanekar rang the door bell and gave her obnoxious smile to Jayanti’s mom and showed the empty bowl in her hand. Jayanti’s mom went inside and came with the bowl full of milk. Mrs. Kanekar was quick enough to ask about Jayanti, she seem so genuinely concerned about the guy who came everyday to pick her up every morning on black bike. She was very carefully helpful in mentioning its been two years since Jayanti had passed her graduation. Jayanti’s mom was doing her best to avoid the regular confrontation and repeated that Jayanti will not marry till she finishes her Distant learning MBA. But Mrs Kanekar was a helpful neighbour and it was her primal reason of existence to see Jayanti get married.
Jayanti’s mom was honing her negotiation skill with the Sabziwallah (vegetable seller) when she heard the murmurs coming from the next vendor. She turned a bit to see Mrs Kanekar and Mrs Saluja taking Jayanti’s name. Mrs Kanekar was complaining to Mrs Saluja how she was getting irritated every morning with the horn beeps and how Jayanti was setting a bad example on the other girls of the colony. Jayanti’s mom couldn’t stand there anymore and left the market and took a fast pace to restore herself in the commodious niche of her home. Jayanti came late that evening and asked for a quick dinner as she had to write her MBA assignment. Her mom came out and prepared her dinner plate and didn’t even looked at her or asked her why she was late? Jayanti took few bites but couldn’t enjoy her first meal of the day…..she finally asked her mom what did Mrs Kanekar said in the morning. Her mom said people think bad things about Jayanti and the the boy on the bike. Jayanti couldn’t said a word more than – he is just a friend who helps me in picking and dropping, otherwise the normal bus would take hours for her to commute.
Jayanti didn’t knew what to say- was she upset with Mrs Kanekar or her own mother. She felt bad at how neighbours were making her mom her biggest enemy. She was a simple girl who never went out or partied or wore fancy clothes like her neighbours’ daughters. She worked hard and studied too. She wanted to run away from that colony but she knew it was useless as there will never be an escape from some Mrs Kanekar or Mrs Saluja there.