Jim, that’s not the way to do it, Jim. I am not sure what they get out of it, is it peace of mind, dissolution of responsibilities, or plain sadistic pleasure in passing down the injustice that was meted out to you a few decades ago. I see it happening everywhere, Jim. It is sad to see when people today use their mobile phones, their laptops, their social networks, their automatic cars and designer labels but still their minds and hearts operate in 1960s mode. It is as if they deliberately fattened up a pig for slaughter, right from the day it was born, it was fed, made to wear nice clothes, made to look good, was given minimal education, was showed off to kin and rest of the suburb, made to look good, made sure the onset of menarche was celebrated, made to look good, never asked what it wants or how it wants, made to look good and then sent off. I hate the whole process Jim, I mean why is the whole process so unfair especially during these times.
She was a good kid Jim. Yes, Jim, did you notice I used the past tense? Yes, she was a good kid. She is not a kid anymore. I knew her when she was a kid, Jim. She used to help her parents with all the chores at the fast food shop downstairs. Remember the house, Jim? They served some good stuff over there which I used to eat after I returned from college. I used to order them from the balcony shouting out in front of some fifteen customers all of them gathered around the mobile stall and got them delivered to the house on the first floor, which was quite a deserved favor as we had given our premises for the mobile stall without collecting any rent. The kid used to deliver them more often than not. Sometimes her mom but I remember receiving the stuff from the kid mostly. She was a shy kid, Jim who used to call me anna and I quite liked that. A pretty face that hid a lot of wit, Jim. The other time I used to spot her was at 7.15 am at the bus stop outside the temple. She would walk past me to her school, the shy permanent smile intact, a light school bag hanging behind her, while I and a few other guys would have gathered around discussing engineering mechanics, the latest Rahman album and the new girl in our bus that used to board at Ashok Pillar. She was a kid, Jim, she probably was in the eighth grade. Or the seventh? I guess eighth would be more like it, neither too low nor too high. Yes, she was in eighth grade, Jim. I hardly spoke to her, our conversations limited to questions regarding her school, or what I want from the fast food stall or what I want for dinner. Or rather if I approve of what was made for dinner. That went on for exactly a month, Jim. My granddad and aunt were away in California and I lived alone in that 4000 odd sq. ft house for a month. So lunch was taken care of in college and dinner was home cooked from their place. So she used to come home trotting, sharp at 8.30 pm, carrying my dinner carrier that had delicious Tambrahm home cooked meals. I used to take it from her and wish her goodbye. This was routine for one month Jim, between the 15th of July to the 15th of August 2005.
She was that same kid I met yesterday, Jim. I attended her wedding and probably I was the only one that wore a dull face in that sea of people, each one of them, happy and gay in their finest clothes listening to a third grade singer singing Malgova Mambayam so admirably well that he wouldn’t even make it to the auditions of Indian Idol 5. That kid could hardly speak, Jim, for she did not even know how to formally introduce her husband to all those unsuspecting people climbing the dais to wish her good luck in life, of which she needs plenty or maybe not with that small world her parents have chosen for themselves and herself. She just smiled and tried to do a formal introduction before the groom himself saved his face. This is what I did not like, Jim. Has she even attained the legal age, Jim? I would never know. I would never know what she did to deserve this and I did not like one bit of it. They refuse to let her grow up and see the world, Jim. How cruel of them? And she doesn’t even realize. They kill the girl, Jim. They kill the girl before she becomes a woman. Yes Jim, that’s what they do.
(As you can see, am still suffering from a David Foster Wallace hangover and am not even done yet. A shameless attempt at imitation on an issue close to the heart)