Art by Arjun Sankar https://www.instagram.com/arjunsankarps/
First Part – http://archanakavi.in/2019/01/20/oru-vattam-koode/
Amshula moves to the next room with her phone. She shows you her phone screen to you. It reads KARAN. There are people lying on the bed. When they see Amshula, they move out. She picks up the call.
Karan… (Sighs deeply)
A few weeks back Amshula was in Mumbai
Amshula in her air-hostess uniform enters the apartment with a suitcase. She looks extremely tired. There is a young man, dressed up, clearing the table.
Hey… when did you come?
They kiss on the cheek and greet.
I had a layover.
How do I describe Karan to you guys; He is 5’9, well built, clean shaven with well defined jaw-line. He is one of the softer alpha man. By profession he is a pilot and that’s how they met.
I had an intense day… There was a lady on my flight…
Amshula sits on the chair and grabs an apple to eat.
I’ll hear all that later.
Karan keeps the apple back.
Freshen up first. We have Sofia’s birthday party to attend.
Do I have to join you? I’m just too tired.
Karan pulls her out of the chair.
No excuses… I have bought something for you. Go change…
She walks in half heartedly.
Amshula is getting ready. Karan opens a beer bottle and starts drinking. He looks nervous. Amshula shouts from the room
Isn’t this too fancy for a birthday party?
Just wear it… I liked it… Moreover its a theme party.
I need help.
Amshula steps out. She turns around. Karan helps her with the zip. Amshula is holding her breath.
You look gorgeous…
I’m sure you picked a smaller size… I cant breathe…
They both laugh.
Ouch… I can’t laugh.
Amshula looks at you.
I think, I know what he is upto… But I will pretend as if I don’t know… surprise dinner at some fancy place. This is the 10th time he is doing this…
Amshula looks at him and laughs.
They reach Taj Lands End, it’s a fancy hotel close to the sea and slightly away from the cities hush buzz.
Amshula and Karan walk in.
Hey… are we first?
Close your eyes.
They enter one of the halls. Amshula gets weirded out.
As they walk in to a point. The lights turns on. The room is full of her old friends.
This… is not… something…
Amshula looks around puzzled. Her best friend has flown down from Delhi.
Sneha… What the hell…
Sneha comes and hugs her.
You will know.
Karan goes on his knees.
Oh… my God…
The crowd is cheering. Amshula is in shock. Her phone rings. It’s her mother. Sneha takes the phone from her.
Look, I guarantee, there will be tough times. I guarantee that at some point, one or both of us is gonna want to get out of this thing. But i also guarantee that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. Coz I know in my heart that only you can tolerate me.
Karan takes out the ring.
So… Will you marry me?
The crowd is cheering “yes”. Amshula looks around and looks back at him. She has a half-hearted smile and nods yes.
Karan gets up and puts the ring. They hug and kiss. Amshula looks at you.
Sometimes you actually get surprised…
Everyone comes to greet them. Sneha passes her the phone.
Your mom has been calling you.
Amshula takes the phone and calls her back.
Hello Amma… I cant hear you. wait…
Amshula walks out of the hall.
Amma can you hear me?
Congratulations… We are sorry we couldn’t make it.
My mom tells me everything… Everything… Anyway that’s how I got engaged!
That’s how she got engaged. Now let’s get to the present.
How is it going? I’m sorry I couldn’t come.
That’s okay… It’s crazy here… I just couldn’t even see my grandma properly…
Meanwhile in the kitchen, Krishna and Shyamala are getting the food ready.
Krishna, can you just check and see if the kanji is done. I’ll go grind the chutney.
Ya ok!.. There 10 people for lunch.
So many? I thought most of them would be leaving.
They decided to stay.
Shyamala is irritated.
Such parasites… Ok. You serve the first batch, in the meantime I’ll start cooking for the rest.
Krishna takes a few plates and gets out of the kitchen into the dining hall. Seated around the dining table are all women; some aunts and nieces and cousins. All gossiping in general. Suddenly an aunt pointing outside….
Oh look! Lucy has come.
All the women and some of the domestic help run to the entrance of the house.
Lucy is Amshula’s mother. She has draped herself in a blue ikat saree. She looks like a cooperate woman who isn’t extremely comfortable in saree. Jose her husband is half bald from the front and has a very welcoming aura.
Thomas and Lucy embrace. Lucy has a pale look on her face but tries to hold it together. Along with Lucy is her husband, Jose who is holding their bag. Jose pats Thomas on his back. Some of the onlookers, mostly the aunts pass their comments with each other.
She looks lean…
Pandathe bhangi onnum illa…
Lucy walks in and goes straight to her mother’s room.
Tresakutty… what mischief are you upto?
Where else will I go… I heard you are getting naughtier day by day… Did you eat anything?
Not yet. These idiots aren’t leaving me alone.
Everyone in the room gets uncomfortable.
Now we are here.
You have gained a lot of weight.
Hearing her mother laugh Amshula cuts the call and walks out.
Wait… I’ll call you later.
Amshula gets out and makes way to meet her mother. They hug each other.
Amshula goes and sits on her mother’s lap.
Shooo… You are a big girl now.
It’s ok Elemma.
By then another Aunt enters the house and starts crying loud.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t have any strength at all to get through this.
Amshula is annoyed but tries her best to be polite
What happened peramma… She is still alive… She has just hurt her leg a little bit.
Amshula gets up from her mom’s lap.
(to her mother)
I’ll get you something to drink.
She looks at the grandmother.
Yes… Thank God someone cares… Everyone leave the room now… You guys have created enough drama… I’m not dead yet.
Amshula laughs and walks out. On the way, she hugs her dad. He looks at the ring.
We’ll talk about it later.
All the aunts sit around the dining table; all eyes turn toward Lucy and she’s fielding their questions.
You can’t let Ammuma stay alone… There are so many thieves around this area…
Don’t know Elemma… Thomas is trying to figure something out.
If you want I can move in with my family. Rajesh’s work is very close from here…
Amshula is taken shower. Her hair is tied up and she enters the room hearing this conversation. She gets extremely irritated.
Amachi… Give mom a few days… She just came.
They all are quiet. Amshula walks into Ammuma’s room.
Amshula shares her room with her grandmother; that’s how things have always been and they never felt a need to change it.
There are two beds in Ammuma’s room. Amshula is sleeping on the other bed.
How is the boy?
Amshula thinks for a while.
He is good.
Like your grandpa…
Yes… Like my grandpa…
Lucy walks in.
Amu… Be ready by 8. We have to go to church. Chachande aand aanu.
Next day morning the entire family is in the church.
Amshula’s grandfather’s 8th death anniversary Mass is going on. Amshula is sitting at the back, close to the main door. When everyone gets up for some prayer. Amshula sneaks out.
Chechi where are you going?
To see Chachan..
Athu saram illa…
They walk towards the graveyard. Her cousin sister joins her. She is stressed as if she is attempting a crime.
I’m scared of turbulence… How do you survive it?
You have no idea how scared I am… I don’t think you can die.
Amshula is standing in front of his George’s father’s grave. She stands there for a while. A small 7 year old boy comes running to the grave and pushes Amshula.
To her cousin
I can’t stand kids…
The kid places flowers. Behind him is George’s mother. Amshula smiles at her.
George’s mom hugs her.
Mol eppo vannu?
Amshula tooks at the kid.
Aunty to the kid
Did you say Hi to Aunty?
Amshula bends down. She doesn’t know what to do…
She is your daddy’s friend.
By then the Mass is over and her family has come to the grave.
(to George’s mom)
I have to go…
Nice meeting you…
Amshula walks towards her family. She turns back and looks at the kid. He smiles at her.
Amshula joins her family. The priest is reciting prayers.
When the prayer gets over George’s mom comes to wish Ammuma and her parents. The kid is running around. Ammuma calls him and gives him some money.
AMMUMAGo buy some candy.
The kid gets excited.
Thomas is driving back home with Ammuma in the front seat. Amshula is sitting behind with her parents. Grandma is sitting on the front seat.
Are you in touch with George?
No… After college we lost in touch.
He has changed so much. earlier he used to walk around with long hair bearded look.
I liked that more.
Ammakyu allengilum vrithi ishtam illa.
You guys arent in touch?
He was so helpful when you were here. Don’t be so selfish.
Amshula doesn’t react to it.
If possible when you are here go meet his mother.
Leave her alone. Where are we going to eat?
Shyamala has cooked at home.
No… I wanna go out.
Lucy gets irritated. Jose clams her.
Where do you wanna go Amma.
Uchakyu kal shaap o?
Amshula smiles. Amshula is looking out of the window. as the car moves she sees her old college.
Your college… You wanna go?
Amshula smiles and nods no.