My mom, who is a retired teacher, runs tuition now. Not for everyone but for difficult kids, without fee. She says this keeps her connected to her roots. So there is hardly one or two kids which gives her no stress and someone to talk to, who wouldn't interrupt her rants and make faces. So this time, its our neighbour's relative's kid, who is here for summer holidays. So after the class, they stepped out to garden, mom doing some gardening, and the kid on tow, answering her questions.
Then this other guy came home. He is also from neighbourhood, the usual poor guy, who drinks a lot, jumps from one job to another and runs errands for everyone. He looks frail and dark now, a shade of a good looking guy that he was once. So he and dad are now planning a vegetable garden in the backyard.
Some background story, from mom's local news bureau- This guy, let me call him Mr.V, was a very nice guy when he was young, had a good job at a store and was a local hero, being a footballer and every one's on-call guy during fairs and temple fests, very popular and equally charming.
The cherry on top was that he was in love. Her name was Padma, the demure village girl, Shy, not very beautiful, kind of cute with grey eyes, not that good at studies, temple going... the general good girl.
For years one knew they were in love. It spanned through years, everywhere, but subtle. But like every secret, this also came out. When it did, it spread like wild fire, fast and equally destructive. There were all sorts of stories too. Some true, some lies.. Like every scandal.
Her parents were furious. Padma was married off in a hurry. That was the only solution they could think of. the caste system and all would have resulted in a greater scandal if Padma married Mr.V.
Since then, Mr.V was a wreck. He drank away his heart ache, threw away a budding career, married some girl whom he never loved.. became a disgrace of a husband, father and human being. A pathetic existence.
That is Mr.V's story.
So, after discussing the crops and the works to be done, he came to the front garden on his way out and stopped to talk to mom about her need of some fertilizers. Seeing the fumbling boy, he looked into the pale gray eyes of the kid for some moments and asked him "who is this kid?"
Mom said "He is Padma's son"
Mr.V stared at the kid for sometime and walked out through the gate.
Forgetting to say bye.