It was a drive to a mom & kids lunch. All who were attending were asked to give our car numbers ,colour and make as parking had been organized in a special slot by an influential mum ( because she knew the restaurant owners so well we were informed rather many times. Aaah influential mum was also a rather nice person you see so for those unfortunates like me who were self driving she had even organized valet parking with her own spare drivers- la di dah da dah da dah! All we had to do was share our car details & show up. The rest of the parking fetching tipping modalities would all be taken care off. So far so good. I really didn’t want to go but I told myself I should.
I usually begged off these afternoon soirees with my large stock of lame excuses but this time Kaveri had insisted I attend. Apparently me & Anushka (another working single mother) were the only two who never showed up at these ‘ladies & childrens only do’s’ & it was rude. Insinuations that her mother was weird & standoffish was something Kaveri seemed keen to shake off & so I went.
The whatsapp group messages were flying- Kanchan was arriving in a Mauve Mercedes MH 01 #$#&^ & Paloma in a White Jaguar blah blah blah and etc etc .Kaveri read the messages aloud to me as I maneuvered the steering wheel frantically, trying to avoid crashing into a fellow mother Jaguar’s bum as we drove up the long driveway to the venue.
‘Oh Mamma I forgot to tell you. Aliya got an Aston Martin last week- it’s really nice. Can we get one? I laughed out a loud No , instructing Kaveri to type in our vehicle details
“Why not? You said we are going to get a new car didn’t you? ‘
“Tell them we are arriving in White Chevrolet beat -4.5 lakhs. & I am driving so the car needs to be parked. We ned a valet”
“Mamma , how can our car number be 4.5 lakhs?’
“Oops. No sorry, I mean its 1.74 crores. That’s why we can’t have a Bentley”
I sat through the ladies lunch in a catatonic haze. Trying to not yawn at the discussion of how much money was spent by the ladies on which luxury item, on mother in law problems & how the husband had NOOO time. I sat solemnly watching Aliya’s mother order 3 leaves for lunch “My husband says I’m getting too fat’ she clucked ‘ says if I lose 10 kilos he’ll take me to Hawaii on holiday’
The children sat & giggled at a table at the other end of the restaurant .I glanced enviously their way, longing to join in their unpretentious laughter. My few attempts to get up and scoot from the momma table to check on the children’s table were met with a tight grab at the wrist & a firm warning of voice “Suchitra please don’t embarrass them. Let them be free’
She was talking about being free? Seriously? Hee hee hee.
It was at one of those don’t you dare try & escape the Momma table that A fellow mommie suddenly picked up my left hand to stare at the massive stone on my ring finger ‘Glass “ I announced . It was the only ornament I ever wore or owned anymore. The rest of the real stuff I had given away or simply lost. Putting them somewhere so safe I hadn’t ever seen them again
I saw the oh you poor thing look in fellow mommies eyes “We have to find a nice man for Suchitra “ Fellow mommie announced gallantly to the table
“Oh please I’m fine” I tried to interrupt in but she shushed me down adjusting the football sized emerald on her own finger “ You can’t go on like this’
Go on how?
I smiled to myself. Couldn’t help but remember the time when I had worn the same ring to a dinner party many years ago. In the days when I carried the Mrs tag. The life of the star wife
“Its glass” I had announced even then when someone had gasped over its beauty. Of course at that time no one had believed me. Everyone had assumed & insisted the piece of glass was a dazzling diamond gifted to me by my husband even congratulating Mr big bucks on his good taste “ Hah” a trust fund heiress had laughed “I can spot the real gems darling. This one’s a beauty ‘ And then conspiratorially in my ear “ But it’s a good idea to keep the original in the locker & wear fakes. I can get it duplicated for you if you like,after all the world is not safe anymore’
I laughed aloud at the memory. ‘Listen are you okay’ fellow mommie at ladies lunch with the children clucked ‘Take care of yourself ya. At least start wearing some make up & jewelry when you come out’ that pitying glance again.
Phew. I was glad when the lunch ended. I had done this for Kaveri and so it was worth it. On the drive back we played the rhyming word game . This time in Hindi . Kaveri sensed my mood and initiated the dialogue
‘So basically Mamma , if we have akkal (brains) we don’t need shakkal (looks) & can see through peoples nakkal (pretences) right?’
“Yup” I answered “why you suddenly asking me that baby?’
I just sent Aaliya that sms” Kaveri muttered referring to her schoolmate “My god. How much she shows off. I’m not going to talk to her again. I mean who cares if her mother gifted her a pair of Jimmy Choo’s ya’
Whoaaa. My baby has grown up swell. I have spent my Momma years well