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Manya Shroff stepped out of her sedan in style. The Sabyasachi organza saree looked smug on her fit-as-a-fiddle body. Never the type to dress like S’Orry and his minions, Manya was the epitome of subtlety and grace. 

The slamming sound startled her, but she regained her composure. Jumping like a cat and passing out of a panic attack was too Bollywoodishly middle-class. She took a deep breath and addressed her daughter-in-law. 

“Mahima beta! I know you’re eager to taste every morsel in the wedding buffet, but puh-leeze, can you treat my car with kindness?” 

Mahima bit her tongue, the sarcasm lost on her.

Before Manya could shrug off the unsophisticated apology, the groom’s mother and her friend from school, Neera Amin appeared to greet the Shroffs. 

“Manya! It’s so good to see you. Where have you been all these years?”

Manya gave Neera an air kiss. “Guilty as charged, sweetheart. I’m not on social media, but I keep myself busy doing my bit for society. You know, Neera, a couple of days ago, I participated in a hunger strike to demand corporate rights for our maids.”

Neera’s botoxed lips formed into an O and would have kissed Manya’s hands for her generosity, but Mahima chose that moment to interject her observation on the same. “Aunty! The event was a success. There were so many cocktails!”

“Let’s go and meet the gorgeous couple,” Manya dragged Neera away before Mahima could spill the beans about their maid getting fired that evening for taking the weekend off. 

Manya looked admiringly at the festoons of orchids and lilies. Neera sure had class! Never the one to keep in touch with anyone, Manya had accepted the invitation of the Amins. She needed their surname to boost her art gallery.

The three reached the stage. The groom looked resplendent in a sherwani. Manya raised one eyebrow when she saw the bride who looked like a Ghatkopar girl lost in Malabar Hill. But she managed to put on her socialite smile and approached the couple to hand over the envelope.

The girl excitedly peeped into it and, with gleaming eyes, looked at the Amin boy.

Haila! I can buy that mixer grinder.”

Neera coughed and escaped to the dessert counter on the pretext of resolving an invisible squabble. Shock writ large on her face, Manya exited the stage. With a soft sigh, she declared, “Let’s go home, Mahima.”

“But you met your friend after a long time,” Mahima protested. “Don’t you want to revisit your school days?”

Manya shook her head.

Undeterred, Mahima continued, “Neera aunty is nice, mummy ji. She will feel bad if we leave suddenly.”

“Oh, how I wish I had not come here. As if one middle-class torture was not enough! God had to thrust another one, just when I needed the Amin connection. Ewww! Don’t mind, beta, I’m just venting out my frustrations.”

A lump formed in Mahima’s throat. But all it took was one look at the buffet counter, and the good-natured girl’s eyes lit up with merriment. “Mummy ji! Let’s at least pack some food for home.”



P.C – Amish Thakkar from Unsplash

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