Fiction Fragment: Her son’s photographs

Jagadambal is concerned. Her son is 28 and still single. Her heart sinks at the thought of a grown Iyer man having to make his own meals. Having to sort out his own laundry. He went there at the tender age of 21. Studied, and found a job. Yes, it was time he got married.

She’s worried that he might decide to ruin his character by associating with a white woman. Or a black woman. Or even a brown woman with the wrong lineage. She was his mother. It was her duty to find him a nice Iyer girl. Someone with a BTech, a job and hands that cooked like hers. On the phone, she tells him to send her some good photographs. They will be touched with a spot of turmeric, and bundled with his horoscope. On second thoughts, only the photographs would be sent, she decides. These days, scheming parents often tailor their children’s horoscopes to cheat guileless prospective brides and grooms.

He sends her some photographs. Being thin was more a sign of prosperity, than being plump. She drops the winter photographs, and combs through the summer ones. There’s one of him near an old crumbling ruin. He looks smart. Even outgoing. But in the corner of the photograph, she notices the milky white arm of a young girl. She doesn’t want his future in-laws to think he has anything to do with women. The photograph is rejected. In the next one, he’s sitting in an open air cafĂ©. The food she decides, doesn’t look South Indian enough. What if people think that he’s started eating non vegetarian food? She knows he’s still strictly a pure vegetarian. But the food on his plate looks red and squishy. It could give people ideas.

She moves onto the next photograph. Her last hope for this batch. He’s wearing a clean pair of jeans, but he has a full sleeve shirt on. He looks like a wonderful mix of traditional and modern. He has the beginnings of a smile on his face. Very fetching.

She finishes her dinner. Goes back to the photograph. This time however, she spots something. A can of beer, about six feet away from him. She knows he doesn’t consume alcohol. But who will believe that a boy who has been abroad for seven years hasn’t touched the forbidden drink. It doesn’t even look like it’s his. But she cannot risk it. One such photograph has ruined many a matrimonial career. With a heavy heart, she opens the cupboard, and picks out the photograph taken in Ranganatha Studio for his visa application. He doesn’t look too smart. But at least there are no stray female arms, no discarded beer cans and no sign of non vegetarian habits. Yes, this photograph will have to do.

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18 Comments

Filed under Photographs, Poetry and Fiction

18 Responses to Fiction Fragment: Her son’s photographs

  1. Very interesting blog you have here! I can completely empathise with the characters in the short story here!

  2. chills

    yaaar… really awsm stuff.. made me laugh like crazy… really… wonderful treat madam .. thank you

  3. you’re soooo good at psycho-analysis… (unless this was a story narrated by S. :) … i’m sure its the same (or worse) with nubile girls … a strict scrutiny… rather photgraphs in a fake set up, an expensive sari (one that Mom has saved for this ocassion for years), deliberation on front vs side profile (depending on the REAL profile and what needs to be accentuated/downplayed… )

    and this beer-guzzlin’, forener-datin’, pork-eatin’ south-indian of yours … does he exist? I thought they only come in one size – the standard :))
    even if they do, i’d be surprized if they dont screen each photograph 10 times before sending it across to their appas/ammas…

    nonetheless, very well narrated… shortly i’ll start putting the fragmants together and sell it to a publisher that doesn’t run scripts through a blogcheck “_~_”

  4. Heh! Very nice.

    Being thin was more a sign of prosperity, than being plump.
    That explains why all expensive fitness clothing are only made for the very thin.

  5. But she did not bother to take the photograph that revealed the poonal through the shirt?

  6. LOL…Very interesting!

  7. dipali

    How does ya do it Neha, each and every time? I’ve started feeling repetitive in my Wows and Brilliants:)

  8. dipali

    So real, and so heartbreakingly funny:)

  9. Dilemmas don’t die easy, and in living on they cease being dilemmas if you learn to give up on them.

    But then giving up was never really a choice in the first place, was it?

    Oh! the travails of being a brahmin :)

    Well written.

  10. Well written ! Had such a good time reading this ! The journey back to the visa application has become a phenomenon of sorts !

  11. Naren

    Are you sympathizing with the mother character?

  12. I am going to say the same thing I mentioned to CC.

    Avan avanukku avan kashtam… enna panradhu!

  13. no fair… appo naange beer-kudiching, chicken-saapding, vella-ponnu suththara types ku enna gadhi!!!!!!!

  14. That is SO much the story of my family and that of so many others too I reckon. That is the best part about your Blog.

  15. Not the visa application photo. They always come out horrible!

  16. Thanks everyone for liking this one. :)

  17. Tanglish la type pannina spam nu sollaradhu! :(

  18. Uma

    LOL The list should also include a photograph of the guy posing next to his car. Isn’t it mandatory that all S Indian men send one of those pictures back home to woo the girls? I know some of our good friends doing so in Orkut right now :)

    Anantha, enna kashtamo? Vevaramaa solradhu