Ravi and Shoba have a perfect marriage—that is until Amma arrives from India and forces Shoba to make an impossible choice
(Excerpt) When Appa died, Amma wailed from the start to the end of the ceremonies and pujas. Sometimes the lower castes in India hired professional mourners to accompany the dead body to make certain the outsiders knew how much the deceased would be missed. But such hired hands were not welcome or needed at this high caste event. Ravi and Shoba had left Minneapolis in a rush and arrived in Madras the night before, so Ravi could say goodbye to his father.
Ravi’s childhood home was a large two story with airy verandas on both levels. It was built with the required two entrances, the main one and another for the servants to use. The front door was made of intricately polished wood and from the entrance Shoba could see all the way to the open back door, into the well manicured garden. This was done purposefully so that any evil spirits that entered the home could easily find their way out. The rooms were oddly shaped because their auspicious dimensions had been dictated by the family astrologer. Furnishings were meager, all except the puja or worship room. Here a richly colored carpet faced a shrine that contained a multitude of colorful gods; Ganesh, Lakshmi, Kali, Shiva, Venkateshwara, Krishna and some she had never seen. Shoba was dazzled by the display. Even though her family was Hindu, they were not very religious. In her childhood home there had been no open displays of Hinduism, other than an occasional Ganesh on the dashboard or an Ohm sign. She was unsure of her role at this event. Her family was from north India in Punjab and did not speak Tamil as Ravi’s family did. She was taller and lighter skinned than most of Ravi’s family and had dark brown hair and light brown eyes. Her family was from a lower caste than Ravi’s, but in America this difference never seemed to matter…Read the whole story! AMMA short story