A gust of wind rushes into the house, the curtains flutter and with it they bring strong smell of summer, of mangoes and lemon juice. Small noises can be heard from outside, children shouting and playing cricket, moos from cows chewing their cud in the shade. The hall is filled with aroma of sweet delicacies and freshly made pakodas. The table is set, the table cloth fluttering under the fan, as the people around the table chat happily. A small child maybe 7-8 years old can be seen playing with a toy car at the end of hall.
“The wedding reception should be in Lord’s only. That way we will be able to fill all the people of either families.” Said the teeming, keen and round man.
“Arre Premji, everything will be done in the right way. These matters are trivial, anyway it is laughable to think we will hold it in anyplace lower than Lord’s. After all all our office friends will be there…”, said the man from other side, called Vinod, “..and it will be a delight to see the face of Atul.”
“Hahaha. You are right. Well it’s a good thing we thought for our kids. Unless they would go wayward in their quest for “love”. Such stupid nonsense. All these Hollywood and Bollywood movies na! They get into their brains and do the damage. But what can one do!”, a lady who seems to be the girl’s mother says.
“Pushpa, you couldn’t be more right… It is indeed hard to control young people nowadays. These days the youth go around with this notion called live-in relationships… As if these sins can be tolerated! The society should be cleansed of such thinking… These young people need to be shown their places.”, said the only lady remaining.
“Yes, yes, Geeta. These ideas are nice and all, only naivety can create such notions, but we still respect them even if we laugh at behind… Hehehe.. Isn’t it, Premji? After all we get the last laugh…”, said Vinod mockingly.
“Mom, mom…. Can I have a biscuit?” Asked the kid sweetly. “Not right now.” The kid goes and again starts playing with his toy.
Vinod tentatively says, “Umm. Well we have to talk about the money you know.”
“Yes, yes. Sure.. we have been thinking about it. We will split the cost 70-30 then? Is that alright?”
“Arre you just said what our heart desired. We meet at so many levels. But what about the…” He leans in as he speaks, “…dowry?”
“Oh well, that has all been decided. Don’t worry about it. It will be more than satisfying. Hahahaha. After all we are friends, will we disappoint?”
Pushpa gets up and goes to kitchen to put the plates as the pakodas had been eaten voraciously. The kid enters the kitchen with his mom. “Mom, what is dowry?”
“It is a gift given by the family of the girl to the family of boy during marriage. It can be anything from gold to other riches.”
“Oh! So when I marry, I can ask as many Hulk toys as I want?”
“Hahaha. Sweet child, the hulk is of no value in front of gold. When you grow up, you will know.”
“What is gold, ma?”
“It is a soft yellow metal that is very valuable and is used especially in jewelry. We trade through it.”
“Why is that a piece of metal is valuable and my toy is not?”
Pushpa smiles and runs her hand through the tousled hair, “Well it is not in abundance as other metals and is used as currency. It is malleable also, so it can be made into many things.”
“But so is my wit, isn’t it? You only told me that! That I can be anything if my wit is used properly. Am I valuable too?”
“Of course, my child. You silly fool, of course you are valuable. More valuable than anything in the world.”
“So what will happen if you don’t give the gift?”
“They may cancel the marriage then.”
“Isn’t my sister more valuable than gold?
“Of course it is. Why are you asking such silly questions?”
The kid looks at his mother with wide, innocent eyes, “Then why are we selling her?”