Alpana was putting away the breakfast dishes into the sink when a loud piercing wail was heard from the living room. She quickly washed her hands and rushed to check on her daughters.
The younger one Donna was crying inconsolably.
“What’s wrong dear?”
“Didi said I’ve missed all the good things in life.”
“That’s not true! Muna what did you tell your sister?”
“The truth,” the elder one smirked from her chair.
“Didi said Ramayana was telecasted before I was born!”
“They’d air it many times in future too.” (They did not; Indian parents are champions in giving false hopes.)
“Also I can’t follow Mahabharata,” sobbed Donna.
Now this was slightly because the content was too heavy for her young mind but mostly because she was unable to comprehend Hindi.
“Aright…stop crying. I’ll sit and read with Mahabharata with you.”
“When?” Donna wiped off her cheeks but she needed an actual timeline before she stopped crying fully.
“We’ll do it in the evening, starting today. Now be good you two, while I finish off my chores.”
Alpana rushed back to make arrangements for the elaborate Sunday lunch while Muna decided to be merciful and entertained her sister with some colourful origami.
The Mahabharata sessions started off well and Donna started to look forward to the evenings when Alpana explained to her the vivid imagery out of the books.
All was well till they reached episode where Kunti decides to abandon baby Karna.
“How can she give up her own child?” Donna was shocked.
“Kunti was an unwed mother…in our society a girl can’t be a mother if she isn’t married.”
“Then how did she become one?”
Alpana started to feel very nervous and cleared her voice.
“The Sun god had given her the child.”
“Then Kunti should have told everyone that only.”
Despite the wintry chill in the air there were beads of perspiration forming on Alpana’s forehead now.
“There are rules dear, we’ve to follow them.”
“I’d like to break them.”
“Yes. It’s a resolution. When I grow up, I shall be an unwed mother too and unlike Kunti I’ll keep my son.” Her daughter’s face looked defiant much to the chagrin of Alpana.
She was wondering what she could say next when the loud beep of the oven gave her a clue.
“The cake is ready! Why don’t you go back to an Enid Blyton book while I cut out the slices?”
Donna readily agreed to this and put away Mahabharata for the day.
But over the years the character of Kunti continued to perplex her to a great extent.
Then the day came when Donna too gave birth to a baby boy and till date she is indeed raising her son. It’s just that the baby came after her marriage and the resolution thus, was not quite fulfilled.
While other mothers are lamenting the inconsistency in their children’s behavior, Alpana is much relieved that her daughter is not a woman of her word.