It was a lazy Sunday afternoon. The Gupta household was enveloped in a sluggish, meal-induced inertia. Rajul was rolling on the floor, reading an ill-written, romantic novella. His father Chaman lounged languidly on the sofa, rolling his eyes at him. Ammaji, Chaman’s deceased mother and the matriarch of the family was surely rolling in her grave looking at this indolence.
A hoarse cawing broke the stupor. Chaman looked towards the beady-eyed crow perched upon the windowsill and smiled widely.
“Dad? Why are you smiling at the crow?” Rajul asked, peeking from behind his paperback.
“Rajul beta, do you know how I met your Mummy?”
“What? Umm, no Dad I don’t want to- “
“It was the summer of ‘99.” Chaman bulldozed on. “Ammaji had served an ultimatum to get me married before the turn of the century. I, being a quintessential mama’s boy was ready to get married to anyone whom Ammaji approved. But alas! Fate had other plans.”
By now, Rajul’s eyes had glazed over. He was about to turn over and feign sleep when he heard a hitch in his father’s voice.
“My dear Amma left us forever. Her dream of finding a suitable bride remained unfulfilled.” Chaman sighed heavily and sent a quick prayer upwards.
With a shaky breath he continued, “But I had to honor her last wish. I posted matrimonial ads, consulted matchmakers, met more than twenty girls but none felt right. How would I know if Ammaji approved the girl I select? That’s when I met-“
“My mummy?” Rajul yawned.
“No, the crow!” Chaman exclaimed. “It is said that souls with unfulfilled wishes possess the crows. I knew it was Ammaji looking over me through the pesky carrion. It had the same look of annoyance on its face, judgemental eyes, waddling gait, and the shrill voice. Ditto Ammaji!”
Rajul picked up his fallen jaw. His Dad seemed convinced about the notion.
“You see, every time I met a prospective girl this crow would be around, outside the window, on a tree, on a passing cow. Always watching. It would shake its head imperceptibly and I would politely reject the girl.” Chaman shrugged.
“But one rainy day, while walking towards the bus stand, I slipped on the mossy road. I lost my balance and was about to fall in a pool of humiliation when a strong grip yanked me up. I looked into the eyes of my savior and was about to thank her when I felt a warm…
Ammaji had given her blessings. I still remember your mother’s tinkling laughter as she wiped the crow-shit off my face. It was divine Sarandeep!”
“Divine… what??” Rajul fumbled.
“Co-incidence, a chance encounter?” Chaman quipped.
“Serendipity?” Rajul supplied facepalming himself.
“Ah yes! And that’s how I met your Mummy.” Chaman concluded with a flourish.
Rajul bit back his retort. It was interesting how he might have to thank the co-mingling of superstition and serendipity for his existence.
Looks like Ammaji agreed.
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