We All Love Our Mothers And Those Of Others

Tavernello was a wine produced by a co-operative of partner wineries in Italy. It was well known for its low price and low alcohol content, as well as, being the only wine sold in tetra packs. The drink had made its way to Spain via land and cultural routes. The many immigrants, now settled in the main cities such as Barcelona, followed it.  

Claire had moved to Barcelona and been drinking it since a decade. Although, the word drinking did not exactly match the daily action of flooding one’s body with the substance to make sure that the natural fluids were completely inundated by the heat and power of this alcoholic substance. Perhaps it was the very low alcohol content that made her start the watering of her limbs and organs very early in the morning. The sprinkling and the hosing down were meticulously carried out throughout the day with the pouring of the tetra pack box content in different glasses. The irrigation was only completed when body parts, fluids, thoughts, and emotions were completely soaked and merged into a numb, comfortable, anesthetized sensation.  

At the end of her drinking day Claire would lie down anywhere in the house – on the bed, on the corridor floor, on the balcony; but at times even outside the claustrophobic four walls of her family existence – on the middle of the streets, on pavements, on station benches, parks, churches...anywhere people could see her, scrutinize her, sneer at her or pity her. Good citizens and warm souls would lift her up; thieves and junkies would steal things from her; unscrupulous beings would make the most of the situation. The woman was sedated and nothing mattered anymore, all people were the same; they were all equal - the bad the good and the very crooked. People all looked like blurred shadows passing by, leaning down, trying to lift her up or to push her down. There were no sensations of falling, talking, leaning, of being shoved and penetrated.

When out in the streets, Claire would drink anything with an orientation towards liquors that crossed the 50% of alcohol content. At home, however, her favorite drink was wine in tetra pack cartons. Was this because they reminded her of milk cartons she used share with her family at mealtimes? Or perhaps because carrying 5-6 cartons in a shopping bag would make less noise than bottles. At home the tetra pack cartons would alternate with the maximum number of empty glasses – some sticky and full of those little flies one finds in wine yards during harvest, some full with cigarette butts - and this beautiful, colorful and complex composition would cover the table, the kitchen surface, the sink, the multiple rubbish bags in almost a familiar harmony of decadence. This unique and bizarre composition was perfectly set, when one morning the doorbell rang and the 30 year old divorcee Shweta from the floor above came to ask for sugar.

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Sarita opened the door in the same clothes she had slept and lived in for the past 3 days. In her teenage wilderness nobody had bothered telling her when to wash, change clothes, sleep or eat – therefore she was as uncultivated and as feral as a street cat.

”Hi..Shweta.. ”

”Sarita..you look a little rough..sab thik to hai na? ”

”Yes everything is fine.”

Sarita turned her head to check if the house was in a mess even for her street cat standards. It was.

”Better keep the door not too wide. ” She thought to herself in an instinct of habitat protection.

”I was just wondering if you had any spare cinni. The shops are still closed.”

Sarita – ”Hmmm..let me check.. ”

Sarita gets into her “somebody needs something I need to help” mode and inattentively lets the door go wide open.

”Hai Raam! Your mother is lying on the floor just behind that chair! She must have fallen. Lets call the ambulance! ”

Shweta rushes toward the unconscious body and starts moving the usual lifeless skinny limbs of Claire trying to get her up.

”Come on Sarita! Kya kar rahi hai tu? Come and help me get her up!”

“Shweta, I am looking for your sugar. I think it might be in the fridge.”

”Sarita! How can you look for sugar? Teri maa behosh ho gayi hai? Help me get her to a doctor or a hospital!”

Sarita looks at Shweta grinningly and notices that Shweta is bending down. Her legs. Perfectly aligned with one another, each one split into a precise geometrical shape by a vertical line in her black stockings - a line that would end in the exact middle of her black high heel shoes. Heels pointing at the ground pressing it just like needle about to pierce human skin. “How does the ground resist such pain and beauty?” Thought Sarita. Sarita’s gaze moved again upwards following the vertical lines created by Shweta’s accessories. A fine horizontal line of black georgette and satin peeping from the skirt line and Sarita gave up. Her eyes shot up towards the sky and rolled.

“God why do you test me every day in such a way! You know I am a sinner. Just give me a break!”

Sarita’s conversations with God and the Virgin Mary were always silent and immaculate. Her father was Hindu but she had been brought up in catholic Spain and therefore connected more with crosses, tears, saints and martyrs, when in imprecation and sorrow mode. On the other hand, when in her pre puberty libido mode, she would always connect to Krishna and the Gopis or Shiva’s Lingam and its Mata ki Yoni. It was more relevant, she felt.

“Shweta come on. Haven’t you seen this before? Are you not used to the sound of the ambulance that comes to this building. They don’t come anymore you know. When you tell them the address, they refuse. They have better things to do than rescuing drunken women sleeping on the floor. Once she sobers up and will need a drink she will get up on her own”

Shweta turned around and looked at Sarita with disbelief. Was Sarita leering at her? It took her 5 seconds to say something and in those 5 seconds Shweta felt progressively 5 feelings: pity, love, anger, fear, desire. Shweta spoke:

“Kya? But this is crazy. How can you just let her sleep on the floor? Aur itni gandagi me! What is all this mess and dirt? Chi chi! It looks, as you haven’t done any washing up for months. All these flies and kide on the plates..all these tetra packs! Are you collecting tetra packs for the recycle van? Have you gone mad?”

“I know it’s dirty Shweta but I am tired of cleaning the mess she leaves behind. I will send all the tetra packs this week and buy new glasses and plates, ok? I’ll clean everything today. Just to make you happy. Don’t be angry with me, please.”

Sarita walked towards Shweta looking down, with small steps, like a little child. She pressed her head and face on Shweta’s breasts and held her hand gently. She knew her nipples were darker than hers and this turned her on. Shweta always smelled nice: a mix of coca butter, that she applied meticulously allover her body, fresh shampoo and hair spray, Gucci perfume. On her face and lips she smelled of fresh make up: sweet, buttery, eatable.

Shweta caressed Sarita’s ruffled up hair and said in with kind and loving voice: “Meri bacchi. I am not angry with you. I care about you and it really hurts to see you living in these conditions. Come on, lets get mummy to bed and then we will think about what to do with mission ‘Safai’.”

Sarita was 15. She had moved to Barcelona with her parents Claire and Dalbir from the UK when she was just 5. Dalbir was a seaman, who worked for a Spanish shipping carrier and had grabbed the opportunity of fleeing the poverty and labor of Jalandhar at early age by selling the family’s small mithai shop, when his dad had died of jaundice. Dalbir’s mum Dalvinder had moved to his sister’s house and now was at the mercy of the entire Virdee sasural. Sarita loved her Dadi Maa, who she had met twice when the family had gone to India. She had sat in her lap while Dalvinder was oiling and combing her hair and singing old folk Punjabi songs into her ear. Dalvinder had fed her with makki ki roti soaked in ghee and warm home made heart shaped jalebis. She had also removed her evil eye using water, oil, eggs and lots of obscure mantras and had told her that after this ritual her parents would not fight anymore. Sarita had felt a very strong connection with her Dadi Maa while the small ritual was going on in the dark corner of the kitchen. She had felt a tingling sensation all over her body, the same one she always felt when she met ‘special’ people, the ones she would then express herself with physically. Sarita loved Dalvinder and would call her every week to find out about her tetra pack recycling business, her cousins, Pinky Bua and the latest family gupshap. Dalvinder was Sarita’s anchor to reality and what she considered normal life.

Dadi Maa now earned a small income on the side with the tetra pack boxes Sarita regularly sent her from Barcelona through family friends and relatives from the growing Punjabi community settled in the city. She would send 240 packs a month – approximately 5 kg of material, that Dadi Maa would then sell off to Verka, The Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation Limited. Verka would re-use the tetra pack cartons to package its milk products with a tag line stating – Verka Promise of Purity. Only Sarita was aware of the irony of this circus of transactions because she was the outcome of Claire and Dalbir’s intercultural and interracial sex experiments and curiosity. She knew well what wine and its abuse’s causes and effects were, she knew what purity meant in India. How her alcoholic mother’s wine containers could turn into a promise of purity in India through the suitcases of immigrants from Jalandhar, was just another mystery of globalized karma or karmic globalization.

Perhaps Shweta too could also understand the juggling and shifting of people and things as she herself had moved from Bombay at a very early age. She could also see herself in Sarita. She had had a difficult childhood: abusive father, alcoholic brother and the whole package that comes from such a situation. She had married Siddharth at 16 because she was already expecting her son, who was now 3 years younger than Sarita, and she had divorced him 5 years ago, when she had met Julio in a coffee shop in Barcelona. Shweta had been around and also knew how to handle dark and unhealthy relationships; she had been doing that all her life. Little she knew however, of how far the darkness of those relationships could reach.

Shweta and Sarita were locked in a tender hug for what felt like the length of a Hindi love song. Shweta pressed Sarita’s head closer to her breasts and inhaled the grease and dirt of her unclean scalp. “Meri pyaari bacchi, you know I love you right?” Sarita and Shweta both cuddled into each other for some time: Sarita smelling and feeling Shweta’s breasts on her cheeks and Shweta enjoying Sarita’s innocence and her tender body. Sarita was dirty and smelly but her skin was tight, smooth, fresh. “She just needs a little scrubbing and a bubble bath” Shweta thought.

Shweta and Sarita now had a plan of action for mission ‘Safai’: Sarita would start from the kitchen and toilets. She would open and fold the tetra pak boxes to make them flat and give them to Dharmendra, who was travelling the following day to Jalandhar. She would then clean the bedrooms spotless. Shweta would come to help her the next day as Julio was now waiting in bed for his 2 teaspoons, froth milk coffee. Julio would leave early the following morning for his usual business trip to Venezuela where he had some sort of ‘business’. Shweta did not quite understand what kind of business Julio ran, she only knew that he would pay her rent, bring back perfumes, sexy underwear, clothes and an occasional diamond. This was enough information for her to be in love with him and take care of his daily emotional and physical needs. Shweta would be free during his long travelling periods and would dedicate herself to her son Amit and her beauty routine.

“Hey Amit! Stop playing. I need your help with my boxes. Come fast!” shouted Sarita.

Sarita and Amit were friends and that is how Shweta had met cute little Sarita. Sarita used to play with Amit because he was the only Asian kid in the building and because he would help her open and fold the tetra pack boxes to be sent to her Dadi Maa. Amit was playing football in the plaza when Sarita came running.

Amit would always do what Sarita asked; he liked her more than any of the other girls who kept on writing love letters to him at school. Both shared roots, a small passion for football, bicycles and an innocent need of touching each other in the dark corner of the garage.

Amit ran towards Sarita flipping and pushing the ball with his fast feet. “Hey you! You know that if I help you I will want something in return.” Said Amit with a cheeky grin on his face.

“Yes I know. Just come up and we’ll see what you’ll get this time”. Sarita replied winking.

The two went to Sarita’s flat and started collecting and folding all the visible tetra pack boxes. Once collected all on the balcony, both kids sat on the tiled floor and stared at each other. Amit said: “Now that I have helped you and job is almost done, I want my the first half of my reward.”

Amit started unzipping his pants and pulling out his adolescent cock out. Sarita felt the usual tingling sensation, a warm flux of blood in her underwear and her clitoris pulsating in chorus with her heartbeat. Sarita had wanted to see a cock since she was 9 and Amit had been very helpful in demonstrating how when a cock was inserted into her mouth and moved enough, it would explode into cum and pleasure. Sarita went on her knees and began her oral journey of gratification.

Amit pushed her head closer to his body and hissed: “Come on. Faster. Take it all.” “You’ll drink my cum this time”. Sarita protested with a sound but Amit was very quick in halting it with a push on her head. Sarita felt that cum tasted like soap and snot together but still went on giving explosions to Amit because he felt so vulnerable when her mouth was about to be filled with the substance. Sarita touched herself and came with Amit’s cum taste on her tongue. She had spat most of it on the stack of folded tetra pack cartons and now was wondering how to clean this minute mess within a mess. Sarita decided to just let it dry on the stack in the sun’s heat.

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Shweta came to Sarita’s place on the second day, as promised. She was wearing a red sleeveless pinafore, with black and green flowers, that would just touch her knees and her breasts at the right angles – enough for the viewer to catch her perfectly shaped kneecaps and cleavage. She had collected her hair into a rough bundle that gave away to occasional curly hair wisps. Couple of them would fall on her cheek and recurrently one lonely hair would plunge on her lip and get trapped on her red lipstick. She would carefully pick the untamed hair with her index finger, hook it into her impeccably manicured red-coated nail and pull it behind her ear. When Shweta moved between furniture, folding, creasing, pushing, lifting, lugging, her face would contract a little; her eyebrows would come closer to one another and her eyes would become smaller. Amit’s facial expressions during explosion resembled hers, thought Sarita.

The bed had to pulled away from the wall, as some of the wine cartons were lying behind the bedframe, “These will have to be folded tomorrow” Sarita thought. Shweta bent down to hold the edge of the frame and Sarita started feeling the tingling sensation as soon as her eyes transfixed on Shweta’s backbone and surrounding curves. Thoughtlessly and impetuously she drew her body to touch Shweta’s buttocks. As Sarita pushed herself tighter to Shweta’s behind, running her hands on her breast, looking for her nipples, Shweta jumped up reacting to the unexpected.

“Sarita!” squeaked Shweta.

“Be quite. Don’t make noise. Make me feel you. Make me smell you” Sarita whispered in Shweta’s ear.

Sarita found Shweta’s nipples through the open cleavage. She started rubbing them and squeezing them. All movements become smooth, coordinated, melodic. Sarita’s hands were dancing on Shweta’s body just like a trained and skilled performer rehearsing her favorite enactment. It felt as Sarita was born to feel, touch and experience bodies; she was made to give pleasure, to create, intensify and exploit desire. She was presenting was she knew to do best – perform love. Her hands and touch were so intense and overwhelming that Shweta forgot her age, her responsibilities, society, herself and gave away to the rhythm, to pleasure, to her aroused senses.

After having had orgasms on one another and kissed every drop of sweat and melted pleasure on both bodies, Shweta was drained. Shweta’s mind was twisting and turning at memory of what had just happened. Confused and erratic thoughts kept on popping like pink soap bubbles in her mind:

“How could this young child be so sexual?”

“How can she know how to give pleasure to her – an ‘experienced’ and ‘mature’ woman?”

 “What will happen now?”

“All this was surely illegal. Am I a pedophile?”

“She started all this.”

 “I could not resist her touch, her lips, her tender body.”

Sarita was calm. She was looking at the curves, angles and lines of Shweta’s face, head and body. She was caressing Shweta and enjoying the confusion created from the pleasure on her face.

Sarita asked: “You like the way I touch you?

“Yes, but…I am not sure if this is right Sarita.”

“It’s OK Shweta. Let god decide what is wrong or write. Eventually he or she will tell us one day if feeling pleasure is right or wrong. Let this be our secret. We will not tell anyone. I love the way your body responds to mine. It feels too good to be wrong. It makes me feel good.

“Shweta…I am hungry.”

Shweta suddenly came out of her trance and laughed, gently pulling her hair back from her forehead. “You are a little Shaitan! Come. We’ll get you some food.

Sarita placed her hand on Shweta’s mouth, fixed her gaze into her eyes and said: “Shweta I love you”.

The woman and the girl made their way to Shweta’s flat to eat a post sex snack: bread and Nutella, Sarita and Amit’s favorite. Amit said goodnight to friend and mother and went to bed. The woman and the girl finished their snack, after the snack came a kiss, after a kiss a little touching and stroking here and there took place, and the two made love the entire night.

The following morning Sarita’s house stood spotless: no things, objects or food on the tables, no clothes lying on the floor, all the tetra pack cartons had been folded and stacked next to the washing machine. It had taken 2 days but the outcome was spectacular. Claire woke up in the morning with the usual tremors and anxiety. She was oblivious of Sarita’s sex encounters with both family members residing in flat 301. She had been drunk sleeping. Seen that Sarita was not in bed she had to pull all her energies together and go to the shop to buy her wine doses. Claire put some clothes on, shoes, a quick look in the mirror, comb and there she was walking down the stairs holding the handrail tight. Claire was always scared of falling, when she was sober. Her legs were so long and thin and it made her feel unstable on her on feet. However, when Claire was drunk she was not scared on anything: she would walk, fall, get up and fall again – to the amusement of people around as well as the ambulance staff who would come to take care to the local psychiatric unit. This time she had no strength to carry all her 8 daily doses of wine home and went for just one carton. “Will Sarita get upset about this?” Claire managed to ask herself, perhaps out of fear of and not care. Claire then thought that it did not matter after all, Sarita would eventually buy some more to meet her strange quota of stacked up boxes. This time however, Claire would have to play hide and seek with this particular carton because Sarita was already angry and she had spent 2 days cleaning the flat. If Sarita saw Claire drunk this time she would surely beat her up, just like her husband used to do when he was in town. Claire was almost excited – about the hide and seek game she was about to play with Sarita, about the beating, about the next flush of alcohol she would very soon have in her blood stream. Claire held the tetra pack carton, opened it and poured the content in a clean glass.

The tetra pack carton in her hand was like any other: insignificant, cheap, badly labeled designed by feedback of working class consumers. The content also cheap: pale yellow, bad taste, mundane high of a Mediterranean country of the 80s. The tetra pack box was one of a series of judiciously and meticulously hidden prizes Claire used to keep the treasure hunt game alive with her husband and to make her life bearable when Dalbir was in town. She never had to play the game with Sarita because her daughter had this peculiar hobby of collecting the boxes. The more the merrier, she felt. The game was usually initiated by her eyes rolling in different direction, by the smell of chewing gum in her breath, by the clumsy movement of her long limbs and by her mouth twisting and turning – almost as a natural way of the body to react to a blow or a wind force coming at full speed – a slow-motion movement.

She had been playing this game since 14 years with the other team – a team made of her husband’s attributes more than he himself: ignorance, fear, insecurity, aggression, anger, mistrust. Dalbir used to take long breaks of 3 to 4 months, because he found the game very tiring and surely felt as losing most of the time. His work was just an excuse to run away from the conjugal madness. Sarita often thought: “How does it feel to be part of a losing team? A team that always looses out on the same opponent. The team plans, contemplates, starts to look for new strategies and maybe even a new coach.” But her Dalbir would just get angry, whine, shout, cry, explode in its physical might and keep on playing at the treasure hunt, absurdly never giving up.

Perseverance is what made the two go for 14 years non-stop. It was part of their own daily marriage ritual. Claire would give the usual clues, Dalbir would be waiting and there the hunt would start. Where was the tetra pack carton this time? Behind the washing machine, stacked in between piles of crockery, inside the toilet flush, under the bed, over the cupboard, in the garage somewhere, in some whole on the staircase – it could be anywhere. Dalbir would puff and sweat and curse and rattle on. Inflate, explode, absorb into the facial expressions of frustration and eagerness – small eyes surrounded by corrugated lines; crimped lips - as small as a chicken’s assholes; flushed wine color cheeks spreading shades and gradations of red until the ears.

This time however it wasn’t Dalbir to be part of the treasure hunt but his Sarita. Sarita opened the door and looked at Claire.

“I can see that you have started your day already.”

Claire answered in falsetto: “What are you talking about?”

“Where is it? I can see it in your eyes and your voice”

“I don’t know what you are talking about. You are as mad as your father.”

Sarita was daughter to both game players; in normal circumstances this made the hunt confusing to her at times – who can one support? There would be feelings involved, attachments, recycling agendas – it was never easy to decide loyalty. Luckily this time it was clear: Sarita was seeking and Claire hiding. From room to the other, this time the hunt would end almost immediately. Part of the hunt included observing the movements of the hiding player and at present all conclusion very indicating the washing machine with a big flashing neon arrow saying “Come and get me”. Sarita went, looked into the washing machine drum and here it was– in its full and indulging insignificance the tetra pack carton, the same one of the 8 she used to go and buy at the supermarket behind the house every morning at 8 am to not make her mother go through the pain and anxiety of withdrawal symptoms.

Sarita lifted the tetra pack carton and shouted: “WHY? WHY? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME? YOU SEE EVERYDAY HOW MUCH I HAVE TO WORK TO KEEP THIS HOUSE TIDY,TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS IN ORDER. NOW YOU ARE GOING TO GET DRUNK AND START WITH THE MESS AGAIN. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELF? DON’T YOU LOVE ME? I AM YOUR DAUGHTER! YOU ARE HURTING ME! YOU ARE MAKING MY LIFE MISARABLE! DO YOU UNDERSTAND? I AM ASHAMED OF MY EXISTENCE BECAUSE OF YOU! I CANNOT HAVE A NORMAL LIFE, FRIENDS, RELATIONSHIPS BECAUSE OF YOU! HOW CAN YOU BE SO SELFISH? YOU DECIDE NOW AND FOR ALL: IS IT GOING TO BE ME OR THE THIS TETRA PACK CARTON!

The mother says crying: “Give it to me I need it, this the tetra pack carton is my life”

Sarita grabbed Claire’s hair and started pulling back and forth. She wanted to get madness, sorrow and pain out of Claire’s brain by shaking her harder and harder. “COME OUT! GIVE ME MY MOTHER BACK! GET OUT FROM THERE!” Claire leaped forward and started crying for help. Sarita screamed back “I HELP YOU ALL THE TIME BUT THIS TIME I WILL HELP YOU GET THIS MONSTER OUT OF YOUR HEAD BY BREAKING IT. THIS IS THE ONLY LANGUAGE YOU UNDERSTAND!

Sarita started banging Claire’s head on the washing machine. Once, twice, thrice, fourth time and she suddenly started to feel a warm liquid flowing down her arm. The thick red liquid was now dripping on the floor and the stack of tetra pack boxes. Sarita’s immediate reaction would be of even more anger. “How dare she dirty the boxes I have to send Dadi Maa and floor I cleaned so carefully? Sarita used more force and vigor. She could see only black in front of her. There was no sense of space – the little toilet where the family would keep laundry and wash clothes. There was no sense of time – 8:30 in the morning would be breakfast time for most families. Children having their cereals, the morning show on TV, mothers preparing lunch packs, husbands tying their ties and show laces. A normal day for the rest of the world but for Sarita the world had turned into a black hole pulling all senses into the energy of rage. There was so much strength in her blows, an inhumane energy, a fight for survival sprint.

Claire was again lying down on the floor. Her face was covered in blood. Her long thin arms were covered in blood. Her eyes were closed. She had looked the same so many other times when her husband. Sarita used to check her breath when she was lying in the hospital beds or at home after a fight with Dalbir. Sarita had imagined her death millions of times and now, she was the one who had made her dark thoughts true. Sarita had imagined the police knocking at the door to inform her about her mother’s death. She had imagined uncountable times the phone ringing and bringing the news. She had imagined Claire getting hit by a car, falling off the stairs, getting strangled by her dad, being stabbed on the street, killing herself with sleeping pills, razor blades, hanging rope. All the vivid images she had been visualizing and dreaming throughout her childhood nights started flooding the black hole she was wrapped and floating in.

Sarita was breathing heavily. Her body was full of adrenaline, light. Her hands were trembling. Her eyes were wide open. She had been angry with her mother before and she had been furious with her dad as well. She had pointed a knife at her dad and even tried to poison him but this time she had been very brutal with her mother. Claire used to caress her head when she would cry or get upset if her dad had been nasty to her. Claire used to always protect her, spoil her with gifts, sing her lullabies, tell her stories from the bible when she was not drunk. She would comb and plait her long hair with love and pride Claire started drinking more after Sarita had started full time school and would often try to keep her at home after classes to enjoy her company. She was very protective and jealous of her and would not let her go to school trips with other children for fear of loosing her in a highway mishap or drowning accident. Often she would tell Sarita that she was the only reason for her to stay alive. She used to call her daughter “Little Angel”. Sarita uttered:

“Mum I love you”

Shweta was sitting on the balcony having a cigarette when the police vans started flowing in the courtyard sirens and blasting the peace of a summer afternoon siesta. As soon as the ambulance joined in concert 5 minutes later, Shweta knew who would be hosting the noisy guests. Did she want to get involved or find out what had happened? No. She was wearing head rollers. She could not be seen like this in public. Let them deal with the scandal. She would then pick up the pieces of broken Sarita, once her hair would be in place. Shweta went back into the flat and instructed Amit: “My baby, please don’t go down. Claire is again leaving with the ambulance just wait for sometime.”

“OK mum.” Amit said bouncing the ball couple of times and sinking into the sofa with the TV remote.

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Somewhere in the sacred Matrabhoomi…

Mr. Pandit was sitting in the courtyard reading the newspaper behind Geeta mandir, just like every morning after performing the first 5:30 aarti. Mr. Pandit was a Kashmiri Brahmin who had come to Jalandhar with his family to take care of the new temple in the outskirts of the city. He had 2 sons, Shwetambari - a fat but pious wife and the loving care of his mother to make his perfect pandit life complete. Shwetambari was very traditional and conservative but also an advertisement junkie who had a hobby of buying all the new products she would see on TV and print media. Mr. Pandit did not mind Shwetambari’s little passion as long as it did not interfere with chaste and unpolluted routine. After all clothes had to be washed, it did not matter to him whether his lungi carried a Jasmine or Pine odor; dahi was also good flavored, as long as the flavoring was vegetarian.

When hustling between the kitchen and the breakfast table, Shwetambari had the habit of blabbering about her daily household business. She said in excited and satisfied tone: “Pandit Ji, yeh lijie maine yeh naya packet fat free dhoodh, taste karne ko liya hai, aur yeh bhi try kijie, ek naya fruit juice bhi aaya hai, amle ka hai”. Mr. Pandit was not too excited in trying new things but was very happy that his wife had a hobby that kept her busy from nagging him. Mr Pandit drank his daily glass of cold milk and was about to start his onion free plate of poha when suddenly he read on the first page of x newspaper: “Promise of Purity Unfulfilled: Verka milk contaminated with unknown body fluids – health officials shut factory in Jalandhar”. Pandit looks up and sees the Verka milk carton on the table.



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