Humorous Indian Short Story
Dharini had just reached the main gate of Vishwas Apartments, when she heard a familiar voice call out to her.
“Hello Dharini!” said Mrs.Krishnamurthy. “How’s your granny?”
“She’s fine, aunty!”
“This is Raghav, my nephew. He is my brother’s son,” said Mrs.Krishnamurthy. “You know Suresh uncle?”
“I’m his son!” beamed Raghav.
“Just going to a friend’s house,” said Mrs.Krishnamurthy.
“I’m going home,” said Dharini.
“Can I call an auto for you?” asked Raghav.
Both females stared at him.
“Mrs. Raman is waiting for us, Raghav,” said Mrs. Krishnamurthy. “Bye sweetie! Drop by sometime.”
“Pleazzzz let me drop you off somewhere,” pleaded Raghav in a low voice as his aunt walked away. “Bus stop… auto stand… anywhere but where my dear aunt is dragging me!”
“I’m going back to my gran’s place,” retorted Dharini.
Dharini swirled around and made her way back to the lift of the apartments. Raghav followed her.
“Shall escort you there and then buzz off. Have to buy time before I walk into the trap!” said Raghav cheerfully.
Raghav whistled tunelessly while Dharini and he waited for the lift to come to the ground floor. It came. They got in. Dharini pressed the third-floor button and kept her eyes firmly on the lift door.
When it halted, she rushed out. She was annoyed to see Raghav was still following her!
Her ajji was not surprised to see her come back. Dharini was a ‘master’ at rushing out of the house and then rushing back in!
“Girija ajji!” exclaimed Raghav, happily.
“Raghav! When did you come?” asked Dharini’s grandmother.
“You know HIM?” asked Dharini, angrily.
“My gran and she were classmates!” said Raghav. “Met Dharini at the gate and eloped with her. That was the only way to escape from my determined aunt!”
“Still running away from matrimony?” grinned Dharini’s granny.
“So is someone else!”
“Her?” asked Raghav, pointing at Dharini.
Dharini glared at him.
Raghav’s mobile rang. “Coming! I’m COMING!” said Raghav, as he ran back towards the lift.
Dharini bumped into Raghav a week later, at the supermarket near her grandmother’s apartment.
“Do I offer you congratulations?” asked Dharini, sarcastically.
“You ditched me,” said Raghav sadly.
“How was she?”
“She asked me if I could cook!” moaned Raghav. “I asked her if she liked salsa. Thereafter, icy silence prevailed which even the piping hot cup of Nescafe could not melt! She refused to have any connection with a non-veggie. She thought salsa was a FISH!”
He looked mournfully at Dharini. “Is it a crime to like fish?”
“Fish in a dish or fish in the sea?” asked Dharini, sternly.
Raghav grinned. “So here I am – still an eligible handsome Iyer bachelor. Feel free to fish for me!”
“Do you EAT fish?”
“He-he!” smirked Raghav.
It was with great difficulty that Dharini persuaded him that she did not have to be dropped home. She had other plans.
“That’s my business!” said Dharini, firmly.
A month later, Dharini took her grandmother to a function at Surya Bhavan as her mother was not in town.
“She gets a chance to meet everyone at one place,” her mother pointed out. “So, you have to go with her.”
“I’ll take her, leave her and scoot!” threatened Dharini.
To her horror, Raghav was there.
“Hello!” beamed Raghav happily. “I think we have met before! Do have a glass of cold lemonade.”
“Raghav, where is your grandmother?” asked Dharini’s ajji.
“She’s talking to Malathi aunty,” replied Raghav.
“Deserter!” muttered Dharini angrily, as her granny went to meet her friends.
“Frown please!” whispered Raghav. “There are dangerous prospective ma-in-laws around!”
“Am surprised YOU are still single!” hissed Dharini, angrily.
“No one likes me,” retorted Raghav, sadly.
“Off on your favourite track?” grinned Dharini.
“Girls are so choosy,” complained Raghav. “One girl’s father asked me which area I liked to work. I said Java. Daughter dear promptly announced she was not going to Java. Too close to earthquake-prone Sumatra!”
Dharini ended up with a coughing fit as she nearly choked on her drink.
“Then another asked me my favourite hobby. Told her I loved the salsa. Got the boot again. She thought I was in love with a girl called Sarsa!” said Raghav, as he patted her on the head.
Dharini hurriedly took another big sip of her lemonade.
“Do I lisp?” asked Raghav, plaintively.
“As salsa doesn’t need you to roll your R’s, I wouldn’t know!”
“My mum says it’s high time I stopped mumbling. My sister is giving me lessons in clear enunciation and pronunciation. The word ‘salsa’ is banned from my vocabulary.”
Raghav looked sadly at Dharini. “Life is so unfair.”
“Why do you GO to meet these girls?” asked Dharini sternly.
“They COME to meet me!”
“See that pretty girl over there?”
“Where? WHERE?” asked Raghav.
“Over there. She’s waving to you.”
“You find her pretty?”
“She looks your salsa type,” retorted Dharini.
“I think I am needed,” said Raghav reluctantly, as someone yelled out “RAGHU!”
“If you are not staying for lunch, meet me at Barista near your gran’s place at 5.”
“And WHY should I meet YOU?” asked Dharini, sarcastically.
“Free coffee in exchange for giving me tips to scare away headhunters for matrimony!” grinned Raghav.
“RAGHU!” yelled many voices.
Dharini surprised herself by going to the Barista café. Curiosity overcame her determination not to meet Raghav. He came, but with a companion, a very pretty woman. She looked familiar, but Dharini could not remember ever having met her.
“Meet Kamakshi,” said Raghav.
“Getting married next month!” beamed Kamakshi happily.
“You like salsa?” asked Dharini, wondering why she suddenly felt so glum.
“Hope to see it when I go globe-trotting. Hey, there’s Kartik!” said Kamakshi, hurriedly getting up from her seat. Kamakshi and Kartik sat at another table. They had eyes only for each other.
“You’re weird!” said Dharini to Raghav.
“How can you sit and watch your fiancée flirt with another guy?”
“Fiancee? Mine?” asked Raghav, puzzled. Then he burst out laughing. He got up and brought Kamakshi back to their table.
“Tell her what you are to me!” grinned Raghav.
“Well, we know each other from childhood. Live under the same roof.”
“Kamakshi!” said Raghav, sternly.
“I hate to admit it, but we are related. He is my brother.”
She bent and whispered in Dharini’s ear, “Personally I think he is a bit of a loony!”
Kamakshi then went back to her table.
“How could you think I was engaged to her?” asked Raghav, plaintively. “I was heart whole and fancy-free at noon!”
“She said she was getting married.”
“And you presumed it was to ME!” accused Raghav. “A firm disbeliever of phat mangni, phat shaadi!”
He ordered more cold coffee.
“Your B.P. will shoot up,” warned Dahrini.
“It’s already shot up with the nasty fright you gave me!” said her companion.
“Why did you summon me here?”
“Ah!” grinned Raghav, pulling out a small diary. He opened a page. It had a list of items. Raghav took out a pen and then looked sternly at her.
“Do you like to salsa?” he asked.
“Not a language expert!”
Raghav marked a cross against one item in his diary and shook his head sadly.
“Depends on the variety!”
“Scream at the sight of rats?”
“What do you do when you see them?”
“That’s my girl!” said Raghav, happily.
Dharini blinked. “Excuse me?”
Kamakshi came back to their table.
“Kartik’s gone to collect his suit. Did you give her the card?” asked Kamakshi sternly. “Did she agree?”
“To what?” asked Dharini, coldly.
“To walk with my mad brother down the road of matrimony!”
“Why are you both staring at me like that?” protested Raghav. “It’s making me nervy. Now I have to have more coffee.”
“RAGHAV!” screamed the girls.
“There is a nut loose in his head but amma insists he was sane as a kid,” said Kamakshi. “Anyway, I’m off. Have to collect my silk blouses from the boutique. Bye Dharini! Hope to see you soon as part of my crazy family!”
“Just how did you presume I was dying to marry you?” asked Dharini, angrily.
“Want more coffee with ice-cream?” asked Raghav.
“It’s like this. I do not want to meet any more girls. You don’t want to meet any boys. So….”
“Who gave you this info?”
“An elderly birdie! So, if we tag on to each other no one will trouble us!” said Raghav, triumphantly.
“I can take care of myself, thank you!”
“You get a guy who can cook”
“Ooooooh! A chef! What else?” asked Dharini, sarcastically.
“Am an expert at shutting up wailing kids.”
Dharini looked at him, suspiciously.
“The trick is to give them lots of chocolates!”
“And spend all our time filling up cavities!” retorted Dharini. “Your sis was right. You are a loony!”
“So?” grinned Raghav. “I have two weeks leave. Let’s paint the town red!”
“Scandalize everyone in town!”
“You do the salsa,” reminded Raghav, sternly. “You like fish.”
“You shouldn’t care about what the duniya thinks!”
So Dharini, the determined spinster, went out with Raghav, the jittery bachelor. They had a lot of fun and set tongues wagging in their ‘biradari’.
“So now you will HAVE to marry me!” pointed out Raghav gleefully, as they sipped coffee at their favourite Barista cafe.
“Salsa girls don’t care about reputations!” reminded Dharini.
“Think I need more coffee,” said Raghav, sadly.
“But no girl gets a chef, nanny and chauffeur for free.”
“AND a deft handy man cum resident doctor!”
“So, one last question.”
“Will you come anywhere with me?”
“Beauty parlours?” asked Dharini, mischievously.
“Yup!” grinned Raghav.
To her surprise, Raghav did keep his promise. A week before their wedding, he took her to the His & Hers beauty parlour near her apartment. If women want equal rights, so do men. No bride should be allowed to OUTSHINE her groom!
phat mangni-phat shaadi quick engagement-quick wedding
biradari extended family
Written By: Hema Rao is a freelance children’s content writer/editor.
Over the years, her stories have been published in various children magazines (Target, The Children’s Magazine, Children’s Digest, Gokulam, Kids&You, Children’s World, NBT, Dimdima), in books ( CBT, Learner’s Press, Navneet publications) and kids websites (dimdima.com, pitara.com). Three stories are on writershideout.net. She was a content editor/writer for EVS (I to V) text books for PRISM publishing house (Bangalore). [email protected]