The previous story is located here
Namrata rests herself on the couch, looks at Arun’s frame and speaks to herself, spotlights on Namrata, the audience lends an ear to her conscience.
Namrata: Ever since you left, things went out of hands; our children refuse to comply with me. Ever since you left us, there has not been a day that we did not notice an argument. Rhea wants to pursue higher studies, in a foreign land; she has mastered the art of pretension. She wants to run away from me. Your son wants to follow her footsteps. I want them to be happy but…
The doorbell rings, the housekeeper enters from the kitchen and opens the door to Rhea the wall clock shows half past seven in the evening. Rhea enters, a young girl in her early twenties decked up in Western attire.
Rhea enters and embraces Namrata from behind.
Namrata: what is it now? In addition, where were you for so long? Look its half past seven, you told me you would return by six. You owe me an explanation.
Rhea: (tries to ease the situation by putting up a fake smile) Mom, it is the final year of my college and I was just hanging around with my friends.
Namrata: (rising her voice in a tone of anguish) roaming around the city with young girls that too dressed up like this? You are just too young to read what crosses the mind of young men besides that we have a reputation to maintain.
Rhea: (moving her fingers in the gesture of an inverted comma) Mom, this is in, it looks trendy, who wants to look like a filthy “behen-jee” and I beg you mom please let us not indulge ourselves into another tussle now.
Namrata: I always obeyed my mother and never answered her back; the current generation does not know how to foster respect.
Rhea: Mom you better expect fatty to blindly obey all your orders, the puppet you always wanted to own, all his life he has lived up to your expectations, I have always been troublesome, isn’t it? Moreover, raising me has always been like watering the neighbors garden, so why invest your brains when I will not even bring you profitable returns.
Namrata: (gives her an ironic look) give your loud mouth a break. God bless your “future in-laws.”
Namrata exits to the kitchen, Rhea moves upstairs to her room. Lights fade out. The screen is backlit; Rhea enters the bedroom to find Arnav banging shut the wardrobe in a hurry as beads of sweat find their way down his forehead.
Rhea: Hey, what are you trying to hide from me?
Arnav: (ironically) why would I try to hide something from you?
Rhea: I must say you have developed a good sense of humour fatty.
Arnav: (fuming furiously) do not call me that again.
Rhea: (giggles) Look, someone is burning out of rage.
Arnav: (blows up and yells at her) what makes you utter that? Just because you fit in does not mean you have all the right to plague my life with your taunt. Do you even know how it feels when you forbid me from voicing my opinion and carry out mom’s orders? Do you even understand how it feels when I am mortified for the way I look? Why would you empathize with me? You pursued Commerce and look at me, I could not even gear up the courage to pursue science and confirm to the norms, unlike Mr. Sen’s son I want to pursue Liberal Arts and give wings to my dreams.
Rhea: (mocking at him) Liberal Arts; Will that fetch you a penny or is it just that you are trying to conceal the fact that you lack intellectual acumen to act like a Man?
Arnav: (annoyingly) carrying out something that provides solace to the soul does not make someone any less of a Man.
Rhea: (raising her fingers in the gesture of an inverted comma) we know what follows next, you will say, “I don’t lend an ear to the age-old norms that you have nurtured with utmost care.”
Arnav: It doesn’t appeal to my intellect how can you scale one’s intelligence by what one takes up, even if not backed by one’s will, but the nod of approval from the society is taken into consideration.