A story by Rita Malik
Her husband Ravi had eaten a strange leaf in the first strange country he had visited long ago, under the pretense of his business affairs, no doubt. But his gastronomic tendencies were awakened to the new possibilities. Possibilities that did not include in any way shape or form, yellow or red ground spices, mixed all spice, cinnamon, nor betel nut, no hing, no lentils, and no unnecessary red or green chilies. The peptic ulcer his personal physician had for so long profited over, that helped house him in a perfect Mercedes Benz, was no longer going to provide the funds. The salt had lost its savor. He was a connoisseur of all things non-Indian. He could even gallivant and float and beam over the most delectable and bland fish, boiled potatoes, as long as they were associated with a culinary culture and a national pride of some independent nature, such as Irish dishes. Yes, Ravi had developed a taste for Irish food.
Meanwhile, his friend Vijay had hatcheries all over China. Seema had wondered during many pillow talk parlances with Ravi about the state of affairs if one has only to rely on the revenues from various chicken hatcheries to make a living.
“But he’s doing very well,” Ravi had told her. “How else could he live in that beautiful farmhouse and all that acreage in the middle of Delhi?”
“Inheritance,” she’d replied, flipping a magazine page without looking up. “He’s his father’s son.” Vijay’s grandfather had been the Mayor of Delhi once upon a time. The family had depths of connections, especially in political circles. His wife, a pretty woman, who went by the name of Penny, outright non-Indian, even though she was a Kashmiri, had the gift of youthful looks and a fine figure, Seema reflected ruefully.
Seema herself was darker skinned, but by no means of the blackish sort, seen in the people of Dravidian descent. Her family was from U.P. Bihari’s. Wheat skinned. And there was no noble lineage. She had been able to hide this from her friends. In fact she had led them on to believe she was descended from a long line of Rajputs, before the drastic changes took place, industrialization, globalization. She made self-deprecating remarks and joked about the Rajputs along the way, endearing herself with the Dolly’s, the Sweety’s, and the ruffians of Punjab, as she would call them, in her parlances with Ravi after their partying.
Still, Ravi never understood. He did patiently hear her out, as she ranted about the housewives of New Friends and South Extension.
“Shopping and kitty parties and showing off, that’s all that these women find time to do.” Why she had done this, the deliberate misleading as regards her lineage, she did herself not know.