Mrs. Radha Madhav pushed a big box with her hands and feet and managed to get it into the family room. “This weighs a ton,” she complained. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #Fiction #DrRaghavendraRao #Literature
“What weighs a ton?” her husband, Venu Madhav, asked.
“You didn’t tell me about this. Why are you buying so many saris?”
“I’m not buying them. A friend’s friend gave me Ramya’s number in Atlanta. She sends a bundle of saris occasionally. I invite my friends to tea and show them the saris. If they like, they buy some. I collect the money and the leftover saris, and send them back to Ramya.”
“I didn’t know.”
“You’re always busy with your office work and hardly notice anything.”
“Yes, that’s true.”
Radha and Venu were a newly-married couple. Venu was a software engineer at Hanford Electronics and doe-eyed Radha a homemaker.
“Madhav, I plan to invite a few friends at five for tea. There’ll be a lot of noise, dear. So, go and play tennis with your friends.”
“Yes, my love.”
“You’re so sweet. Give me a hug.” The phone interrupted them.
“I’ll take a raincheck.” Madhav picked up the tennis racket and went out.
It was Shyama on the phone.
“Hi, Radha, did you get the saris you ordered?”
“Yes. Come at five.”
“Good. Listen, the last time I came at five, Vanaja, Soni and Anika were already there checking the saris. They got the choicest ones. If you don’t mind, I’ll be there a little early this time.”
She had hardly hung up when the phone rang again. It was Padma.
“Radha, any saris today?”
“When is tea time and the sari show?”
“Come at five. Just now we had lunch.”
Hardly an hour had gone by when Padma walked in.
“Radha, I’m sorry to barge in. I pick up my daughter from the Kathak dance class at five. I can’t come then. I thought I’ll take a quick look at the saris. You don’t mind, do you?”
Radha picked up the saris one by one and spread them on the carpet. There was a blue Kanjeevaram sari, a couple of green Mysore crepe pure silk saris, a plain magenta and gold georgette sari, a teal embroidered georgette sari and several embroidered silk saris with blouses, and a few latest design bright colored Bollywood saris.
Padma scrutinized the saris one by one. She carried a few near the window to see the true colors in daylight. She unfolded a couple of saris to check the pallu and glanced at the price tag. Finally, she selected two saris and requested Radha to keep them aside. It was almost four.
Shyama, Anika, Vanaja and Soni then walked in almost at the same time.
“Oh, no, Radha, not fair, not fair. You can’t give preference to Padma.” Shyama complained smiling.
“I’m sorry, I need to pick up my daughter from dance practice at five. So, I came a little early.”
“That’s okay. Padma, which sari did you already select?” Soni asked.
“The chocolate color Bandhni and the peacock blue Mysore silk one.”
“Oh, the peacock blue one, I love it,” Soni whined. “Radha, next time you should allow me to select first.”
“Sure, all of you can come first at the same time. Let me make some tea for you.” Smiling, Radha kept the kettle on the stove.
Exactly at five, Ragini came in. She glanced at the scene and the saris spread all over the carpet and sofa. She was upset. “Very unfair, Radha, I don’t like this scene. Don’t get me wrong for frankly expressing my thoughts. When you suggest a time, you should stick to that and should not allow anyone to come early. They take away the nice saris. Why should people like me get leftover ones? I don’t like what you did.”
“I’m sorry, Ragini, Padma cannot be here at five, hence came early. Why are you so upset?”
“No, Radha, rules are rules. You should say ‘no’ to people who want to come early.”
“Okay, agreed. Water is boiling.” Radha brewed several cups of Assam tea and placed them on the coffee table with a tray of mixed nuts. Padma quickly took a couple of sips of the tea and said that she would take the saris the next day and left.
“Why are you so upset, Ragini? Radha is taking a lot of trouble to make phone calls and get these saris. We should appreciate her,” Soni tried to cool the situation.
“All right. I know what Radha is doing and appreciate it. I had an appointment at the yoga class at five, but I canceled it and came here. Maybe, I still can go there, which is better for me than this empty chattering.”
“Ragini, don’t leave, please. Have tea. We will talk it over and come to an understanding.”
“We all have plenty of saris in our closets. There is no need to get upset,” said Soni.
Ragini grabbed her purse. “Radha, I’ll talk to you later. Bye.” She walked out.
Radha’s friends enjoyed the tea and the snacks. They bought several saris and left.
Madhav came home after the tennis game.
“Radha, you look so beautiful. What did you do? A haircut?”
“You’re wearing a new sari. The light-gold color sari blends with your skin so well, I almost didn’t notice it. How much is it?”
“Two hundred dollars?”
“Three hundred dollars.”
“Madhav, the deal is if I sell ten saris, I can have one sari of my choice for free. Before anyone arrived, I picked my favorite sari and kept it aside. How is my selection?”
“Fantastic. Radha, now I must fulfill the unfinished business. Where is my hug?”