The Morning Before
“I know them well, Saru,” announced Lakhi, blowing over her freshly painted nails. “ They will do everything to make me feel special.”
“Doesn’t everyone, sis?” Saru rolled her eyes. “ They are not the only ones inviting you!”
“Come on ! Remember how they distributed so much food from their lavish spread last year to the homeless. Everything on the menu.” reminded Lakhi. “I was touched by the Nathani family’s benevolence.”
“Well, good for you!” sighed Saru.” I considered myself lucky to be invited to that one hurried breakfast get-together last February, just before their younger son was joining college.They didn’t even give me enough time to get the creases on my favourite white dress ironed out!”
“I hate breakfast invites.Not my cup of tea! I need lights, action!” Lakhi stated. “Come with me tonight.There’s plenty of time for you to doll up.”
“It’s not about dolling up. Elegance, as Audrey Hepburn said, is the only beauty that never fades!” Saru quipped. “ Besides,I don’t go anywhere uninvited. I intend to practice my music and then snuggle in with a good book.”
“Ok..Miss smart-pants..tell me…does the nail paint on twenty nails take more time to dry up than ten? Losing my patience.Gotta sort out the jewellery. Still haven’t figured out which shade of pink to wear!” muttered Lakhi.
“Who cares for the pink once you flash the gold?” grinned Saru.
The Morning After
“Someone is up early !” teased Saru, seeing her sister furious, twirling the hundred-petal floret in her hand.
“Well….I didn’t catch a wink last night.” said Lakhi.
“Let me guess,” exclaimed Saru. “ The table linen had stains? They missed that one cobweb hanging in that obsolete corner of their outhouse? The rice-pudding wasn’t sweet enough? Wait…not enough bling for my ‘haute’ sis?”
“So, even you feel that’s the way to my heart?” Lakhi rued.“Everything was as expected.Shiny floors, endless strings of exotic flowers , earthen diyas competing with the fashionable LEDs, intricate Rangolis, mouth-watering savories, rice puddings in innumerable flavours including options for diabetics. I revelled in it until…”
“Until I went to check out the lotus pond in their backyard. I caught their younger son there, bribing someone for question papers from his upcoming exams.”
“I knew it! Not my place.” Saru said.
“I rushed to inform Mr Nathani and witnessed him ruthlessly abusing the serving staff. Filthy words.” rued Lakhi.
“And the missus?”
“Found her mercilessly ridiculing her daughter-in-law .Apparently, the girl’s parents sponsor the Diwali dinner everytime and there wasn’t enough to give to the homeless this time.The media, of course,was waiting to cover that act of charity!”
“I hope you left right away !”
“Not before tweaking the conch adorning my idol in their family temple!” winked Lakhi.” The false wall slid away and all their unaccounted money was on display.The media is loving it!
The heavens resounded with the tinkling of bells as Saraswati and Lakshmi had a hearty laugh together.
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