“No…no. Ask me something else”, said the old lady.
“Oh come on paati! Please tell us!”, begged the two girls huddled in front of her.
Paati looked frantically at thaatha and at the curious faces of her two grandchildren, Sahana and Sahithya. They were typical teenagers with the former being 15 years old and the latter 13. They loved their grandparents and the stories they recounted from their lives. But like most teenagers, the only topic they were interested these days was love, or in this case, first crush. They wanted to know their paati’s first crush. And as one can imagine, this was a very awkward topic for paati to talk about, especially with thaatha sitting by her side.
Sensing her apprehension, Sahana quipped, “We are sure thaatha won’t mind. Also we will be asking him the same question after you.”
At this, thaatha gave paati a reassuring look and wore the headphones from his smartphone and started listening to songs.
With the newfound courage now that her husband wasn’t listening to what she was going to say, paati started.
“Well, in those days girls were usually married off very young and before that they were never allowed to venture out too much out of their houses, let alone talk to or even see boys.”
“That sounds boring. How would you have a first crush if you didn’t even look at boys?”, quizzed Sahithya, the younger impatient grandkid.
“You forget I was a teenager like you once and it is from me you girls get your rebellious attitude from.”, said paati with a grin.
“This is getting exciting now.”
“Oh it is! The other girls from the village were my only companions. Our daily chores included bringing water from the river to our houses in pots early in the morning. We used to do this at 5 in the morning, so it was rare we would see any boys. But when I was in my PUC, I would feign studying in the morning at times and go to fetch water in the evenings much to the dismay of my mother.”
“Why did you do that paati?”, asked Sahana.
“To see the boys playing in the fields of course!”
The trio giggled. If one were not wise, it would seem that there were three teenage girls talking about boys and giggling away like a slumber party.
“It was one of those days. I was carrying a pot full of water on my hips as I took the longest route to my house around the fields, so that I can watch the boys from the village play football. I had my eye on this one boy. He was tall and lanky, but what caught my eye was this tuft of hair that fell on his face from his otherwise slicked back hair. No amount of coconut oil would keep this tuft in it’s place and I loved seeing him swipe it back every time it fell on his face while he was running around playing.”
“Ah paati!”, chorused the girls. “Did you ever got to learn his name? Did you talk to him?”
“Well, isn’t it time you pestered your thaatha?”
The girls’ faces fell. Just when the story was about to get interesting their paati has decided she has said enough. They turned to their thaatha with high hopes.
Seeing the girls looking at him, thaatha removed the headphones, “Done with her story?”
“She stopped just when it got interesting. Please tell us about your first crush thaatha.”, pleaded Sahana.
“Well, I’m pretty sure your paati covered the part about how girls and boys from villages hardly had a chance to see or talk to each other. That made things even more exciting when you finally get to talk to a girl, even if all she manages to do is blush and run away. I am talking about this one peculiar girl I mustered the courage to talk to. She used to watch alone us boys play in the fields…..”
This post is written for the ‘love theme’ contest by The Chennai Bloggers Club (www.chennaibloggers.in) in association with woodooz (http://www.woodooz.com/) and Indian Superheroes (http://indiansuperheroes.com/ )