-Telugu Original by Dr K.Geeta
-English Translation by V.Vijaya Kumar
I’ve been conversing on the phone with Alecia even though it’s been a year since I left that apartment. She speaks in Spanish from her side, I use English whether she could understand it or not, yet, I continue to talk with her for her sweet joyful voice.
“I met Alecia today on my way back to Walmart. Can you recall our friend Antonia, the one who used to come along with Alecia? She said their younger daughter is staying here in our apartment as a tenant” I said with Surya. As the apartment is within walkable distance to his office Surya comes home for lunch.
“Oh, that kid, almost our Nidhi’s age… saw me while I was parking my car yesterday. I couldn’t make it out then, but I get him now! Yes, he’s the grandson of Antonia” Surya said.
Nidhi ran to me and said joyfully, “Mom, see who’s here!”
A two year old cute baby standing beside Nidhi looking gorgeous and sweet.
“Hi sweety!” I greeted the baby.
Nidhi laughed and said, “She’s not Sweety, it’s Isabela”
Ten minutes later her mother came. She hugged me affectionately and inquired,
“How are you Priya, my mother always talks about you!” She said happily.
“I met her the day before yesterday at Alecia’s house. When did you move into this apartment?” I asked her.
“A month ago, I’ll come again after some time, I need to drop this kid off at Mom and attend my job” she said.
“What about your son?” I asked.
“He goes with Mom walking from school when she picked him up there, he’s there now, the weekend”
“Working on weekends! Are you?”
“Mmm.. Of course!” She smiled understandably.
Antonia’s younger kid Miralda looks very cute and smart.
Once in a casual talk the girl’s mother Antonia said pitifully about her “She’s very diligent and ready to take up any responsibility to stand on her own feet, but she never inclined to stay with me a few days”
“Doesn’t it sound fair Antonia? You should appreciate not weighing upon you and making a way on their own!” I said thoughtfully.
“Perhaps… yet, the free life not at the cost of… settlement of life in a proper way”
She heaved a sigh and continued, “When I asked her to marry, she said, don’t push me into abyss”
She became a mother of two children! The first son’s father, when the kid was hardly three, married another girl and went away.
Now she’s with another lad, again pregnant, we insist she should marry at least now, she’s reluctant.
I said empathetically, ” I don’t know the etiquettes and customs of this country well, but remember she’s born and brought up here and she has the right to decide the way she prefers. Don’t worry about it as if you’re at home land”
The staff celebrated a party at Surya’s office. It’s 8 p.m then. We saw Miralda’s car when we were parking our car.
Nidhi grabbed my hand suddenly.
“Why?” I stared at her.
Miralda’s son Christopher was playing with his phone sitting in the car, and the small baby was sleeping beside the boy.
“Mom’s got to get the keys,” Christopher said looking at us.
When we stepped into our hall, suddenly Surya said, “Yep! it seems I left the mobile in the car!”
“It’s Okay, don’t worry, I’ll get it” saying this I headed to the car.
Miralda was there now in the car!
“Hi, is everything okay?” I waved at her formally.
She got down from the car and in a sick voice she said, “Priya, would you mind if these kids stay at your home for a while?”
“Why? need to ask it? By the way, are you going out?” I enquired.
“Nope! I’m just staying here in the car, no issues!” She said,
“I don’t understand what you mean, anyway, first let’s move from here, it’s freezing, we will talk at home” I led them to our apartment.
I took the baby and laid her on the Sofa tucked her in a blanket and said, “Christopher, get to Nidhi’s room and play with him a while”
“Now, tell me,” I said to Miralda offering her coffee.
“Nothing, in particular, our Landlady rented the house from 10.00 p.m. to 8.00 a.m.” Miralda smiled at me weakly.
That’s what I like about Meralda, she takes any horrid thing with ease and says with an undeterred smile.
“Yep! I can’t go with it…Tell me more!” I said.
“This kid’s father and I separated six months ago, we were at loggerheads. Recession usurped my job. To make both ends meet I entertain two petty jobs to bring up these two!”
She added, “I sub-leased a room from a double bedded apartment where I could only stay on stipulated timings, just..lack of no option” she stopped then.
“No such fuss everyday! My mom and dad are out for San Francisco today, We’d spent there otherwise, the key of them left with us!”
“It’s okay, You’re welcome anytime here” and I said further, “Anyone must appreciate you Miralda! You take any trouble with an unfaded smile and solve it on your own” I said appreciatively.
“True, Priya, I mean it! Giving you trouble like this is rather killing me!” She admitted it in a tone of excuse.
I patted her on her shoulder and said,”Hey! Feel free!”
“Don’t the fathers here need to take responsibility equally I suppose?” Categorically I told.
“True, but all these go when legally divorced after marriage!…” She continued, “I don’t like such marriages meant for legal privilege, many headaches with lawyers when separated, I own my kids ever, they come whenever they wish to see their kids or leave! No such expectations from them, these are my kids anyway! She uttered ‘My’ with double stress.
“Hope not you made them irresponsible, bearing their share!” I told.
“No responsible guy does this! They know pretty well, leaving me means leaving the children!” She said painfully.
“Priya, I will get a babysitter for these kids after I get a better one, I see my mom’s anguish in your face! It’s America, more than half of this sort houses it! These things are common here, of course the personal agony is always there, it’s not at all an issue of social concern, we take it and live with it without pressure” She smiled back at me.
I loved the self confident disposition on her face. I said, “Call me whenever you need anything” Nidhi already fell asleep.
Christopher’s getting down the steps holding his mother’s hand sleepily. The baby on her shoulder with an undeterred smile sleeping peacefully.
A post graduate in English literature and language and in Economics. A few of my translations were published. I translated the poems of Dr. Andesri , Denchanala, Ayila Saida Chary and Urmila from Telugu to English. I write articles and reviews to magazines and news papers. To the field of poetry I am rather a new face.