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Blame it on the Woman

Those were the days when lot of changes were happening in my life. I moved to Bangalore for work, got married and was setting up a home. In that hectic schedule, Malvi’s presence was like a breath of fresh air. She was my first cook in Bangalore.  

 Malvi was a woman in late twenties. She had a huge red bindi on her forehead, which contrasted against her dark skin. Her only makeup was her smile. She showed me with a smile, the bruises on her hand and the injury on her leg. She complained with a smile about her eye infection and her son’s leg fracture. I loved that in her, her smile, which showed that she cared less about her troubles.

Malvi told me about her marriage. She told me about her husband, who made guest appearances at home, inaccessible most of the time. Malvi’s was a love marriage, which became unpleasant over the years. She eloped with her fiancé, when she was in 10th standard. He was an auto driver then. He threatened her to marry him and given the innocence of her age, she did marry him. Her family did not approve of the marriage and she had to severe her relationship with most of her family, save her brother.

 One quirk of Malvi’s character was that she never stepped into the apartment if I wasn’t there. If my husband was at home, she used to wait for me near the elevator. That irritated the hungry me, waiting to devour dinner after a long day at work and her behavior perplexed my husband.

One fine day, she told me, ‘Madam, I will not be coming.’

I thought it was temporary break. I asked her, ‘Will you be coming after two or three days?’

She replied, ‘No Madam. I am quitting the job. I am moving to Mysore with my family.’

 Malvi’s resignation was a huge blow to me. I have been enjoying all the dishes cooked by her and the extra time I got sans the cooking.

I scolded her, ‘You should have told me earlier. Where will I get a cook now at such a short notice? Why are you moving to Mysore?

 Malvi replied,”My husband is not answering my calls anymore. I came to know that he is in Mysore, at his home. He is threatening to end our marriage. My husband says that, ‘She goes to houses, who knows what nonsense she does there?’ 

I can live on my own. I have been doing so for the past three months. But my brother wants me to get back with him for the sake of the kids’. My husband wants me to stay home and not go for work anywhere. Where will I get the money to run the house and to pay for kids’ schools then? He doesn’t earn any money and neither does he want me to.”

 Malvi consoled me saying that, ‘I will go to him with the kids and ask him to return. If he sees the kids, maybe that will change his mind. If all goes well, I will return soon enough.’

I waited for Malvi for almost a month, hoping that she would return. After the initial excitement of helping me in the kitchen fizzled away, my husband entreated me to appoint another cook. A few months later, her son showed up at my doorstep and asked for her mother’s last month’s salary. He told me that they moved to Mysore. I gave him the salary, without any complaints. Malvi deserved it.

I had several culinary relationships after Malvi, but none of them lasted long enough. 

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I am avid reader. I am interested in reading adult fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, young adult and children's fiction.

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