Kamala looked at her reflection in the mirror. A fair, pleasant face stood out amidst a pair of scared eyes. She scrutinised her fairness. Her grandmother had pointed out, during her marriage that it had 'won' her this coveted alliance of a wealthy businessman who, actually had his own bungalow near Hamilton bridge in Madras. Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the radio blaring the morning, devotional songs. She knew that if her husband, Sankaran had chosen to listen to the radio in the morning, instead of going on his morning walk, he must be in a good mood. She went to him, and with demure enquiries about what he would like for breakfast, she slipped in a question she had always wanted to ask. As her heart began to beat slightly faster, she quickly said the lines she had rehearsed for so many days. That she wanted to do her Msc in Chemistry. With a quiet negative nod, Sankaran proceeded to turn to the next page of his newspaper, taking care to unfold it along the neat crease.
Twenty years later. A few things had changed. Madras was now Chennai. Hamilton bridge was now Ambattan bridge. But today, Kamala was in a good mood as she was frying spices that were to be neatly packed in little, plastic bags for making rasam, sambhar in a country where no crows peck the terrace and no cows saunter the roads. In a country where her daughter Priya was going to study. Her heart burst with pride as well as sadness as she watched her vivacious, short haired daughter saying her goodbyes on the phone. She knew that Priya would move on, have new experiences, meet new men, and live with freedom. And that would give Kamala the satisfaction of living the world through her daughter's eyes.