“This marriage cannot happen!”

Manu was taken aback at his father’s brusque statement. Rathinam had never raised his voice before, in front of Manu. Today though, not only had he almost screamed, but he looked like he had seen a ghost.

As Rathinam walked away leaving behind perplexed faces and a dumbstruck girl’s family, Manu mumbled a hasty sorry and followed behind, barely hiding his glee. He had expected a long drawn battle with his father, when he would reject this girl and confess his love for Sameera. He had not expected his father to be the one to reject this alliance.

Yet, Manu couldn’t comprehend his father’s actions. What had gotten into him? He felt sorry for the girl and her family. She was motherless, and her father had looked as if he was about to collapse as Rathinam walked away. I will go and apologize in detail, later.

Rathinam entered his room and locked the door from inside. The tears he had so tried to restrain came tumbling down like an unexpected hailstorm. He went to his cupboard, reached for the locker, and fumbled deep inside it for a while. When his hand came out, his palm held a small, old package. Rathinam drew open the strings that held the package together, wiping the tears with his shirt sleeve.

The photo that stared out of his hand was one that had been his life all these years. Padma.

She was the dream girl of every Tamil man. Luscious black hair tied up in a serpentine plait that reached her hips, the small red bindi adorning her curvacious brows, strands of mallipoo (jasmine) on her plait, a Kanjeevaram sari draped impeccably around her lithe figure, her eyes twinkling with happiness, underlined by kohl, and that jimikki in her ears.

That jimikki. His first gift to her, from his first salary.

He had not expected to see the same jimikki again, least of all in the home where he went to fix his son’s alliance, and certainly not on the girl’s ears.

Her Amma had left it for her, the girl’s father had told.

Padma had been pregnant when he left her. He had never met her again, but had heard from a common friend once that she did not have a child from her marriage, and her husband had accepted the illegitimate child as his own.

Rathinam sighed. This marriage could not happen. How could a brother marry his sister?


This post has been written as part of the A-Z Challenge. Do keep visiting this blog on more gyan on life and my perception of it, all this month.


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