Amravati was stunned. She listened to her neighbor, wail. Her neighbor was dressed in a bright pink sari with a green and gold border, her heavy jhumki dangled from her ear lobes, like a pendulum gone wrong. The kajal that was adorning her eyes a few minutes back was now all smudged on her fleshy cheeks. She was hysterical. “Ambika is not in her room, she has run away on her wedding day. Amu, find her, go get her, Amu.” Amravati’s neighbor kept repeating as more people started pouring into the room. Most of them were Harini kaku’s relatives, who had come for Ambika’s wedding. Harini Kaku’s fingers dug into Amravati’s shoulders and she continued to wail. Amravati put her hands around the crying woman’s wrist and gently pulled both her hands down. “Shh…shh…” said Amravati. The background chatter of relatives was increasing. “Where could she have gone?”, “She must be still at the station.”, “If we go now, we could catch her.” “I will kill my daughter, if she ever did such a thing.”” Girls should not be allowed to step outside the house.” “Look what happens when you give too much freedom to girls.” The chatter kept increasing. Amravati, firmly held Harini kaku and made her sit on the sofa. She held her there, as if making sure that, she doesn’t stand and start wailing again. Somehow Amravati knew that, if, Harini kept sitting, she would keep sobbing and taking to herself gently. Amravati then turned to the clamoring crowd and placed her finger over her lips, almost like a threat. Suddenly there was a lull in the room.
Amravati felt like laughing, her stomach churned with hysteria, how she would have loved this drama to continue. But instead she decided to be sober and centered. “Ambika, went to my house to rest, she hadn’t slept in weeks, with all the wedding noise in the house.” I will go and get her. The sudden silence seemed to deepen even more, Harini kaku’s had a strange expression on her face, almost like she had lost her nose and didn’t know about it. A splash of icy cold water fell on the gossiping relatives and they dispersed.
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