Delhi Diary-Sunita

Sunita comes in every day at 11.30 AM. She alway wears a bright and colorful sari. I wear black yoga pants and a wide T-shirt. She looks ready dressed for a wedding. But in the next two hours she will clean all the pots and pans, plates and cups we were using for last nights dinner and todays’s breakfast. She smiles lightly. I stifle a yawn and make some tea. Sunita is 35 years old. She has three children. Two boys and a girl. I neither have a husband nor children. A circumstance Sunita again and again finds astonishing and very, very weird. Sunita got married when she was thirteen years old. A circumstance I again and again find astonishing and most often disturbing. Sunita and I met a couple of years ago when I came to Delhi for the first time. The first question she asked me when we had tea for the very first time was: „Where is your house?“ I didn’t got the question right by then and stared at her not secure what answer she expected. Sunita’s house is in village outside of Lucknow.  Family land. They grow mustard seeds. One day she will leave Delhi to get back there. When making tea for the two of us, Sunita never joins me at the table but leans against the doorframe. Sunita swipes the floor, peels and slices vegetable and cuts meat. Sometimes she hums while doing so. Often I lean in the doorframe and listen to her voice. When I left Delhi back then, I did not gave Sunita a new sari ( what she would have like very much ) or money ( what her husband would have liked very much). Sunita I said I pay the fees for you children to go to the school. But you have to promise to send your daughter to school as well. Sunita promised. Once a year I got a letter from Sunita, it must have cost her so much time to write it, confirming that her children did well in school. Now, I look at three children, who feel slightly embarrassed and I feel embarrassed too. I smile and smile and smile. Sunita’s husband is a tailor and he irons as well. He has a small stall not too far from where we live. The children are helping him. Only after school, says Sunita. I nod. Every morning Sunita brings a pile of freshly ironed and washed clothes back to the house. Sunita has never thrown anything into a washing machine. She would never wear as I do, clothes she did not iron beforehand. Every morning before she starts work, she irons and washes the clothes of three other families. A forth-night ago, I opened the door to my room and saw how Sunita pulled my hairs out of my hairbrush. I felt so ashamed. I did not even notice that she does it frequently but I did not even notice at all. Sunita cares about so many things and I do care so less. Sunita’s first son, was born when she was seventeen years old. Everyday around noon, he brings the lunch Mrs Rajasthani prepares with his bike to the hospital. Every time I give him money for doing so. Everyday Sunita scolds me for doing so. Sunita wears a ring on every single toe, her nails are always immaculate, mine are absolutely not. Sometimes Sunita looks at me as if she were about to ask me something. I hope one day she will do. Sunita giggles like a three year old, when I make funny noises with the children. You are pretty say I, Sunita but she does not like to hear this and pulls the scarf of her sari over her head. Sometimes I wish we could be friends, Sunita and me, we could go out for dinner and I know for sure it would be a fabulous night. Sunita never calls me by my name, she always calls me didi, that means elder sister  in Hindi, a name I do not like at all. I always call her Sunita and sing her name whenever I spot her. Sometimes her Hindi is so fast that I have to ask Mrs Rajasthani for help. She thinks us a curious couple. Sometimes I am afraid that Sunita does not have a good opinion of me and I rather seldom wish to please, but I very much wish that Sunita likes me only half as much as I like her.

2 thoughts on “Delhi Diary-Sunita

  1. I spent some happy time catching up with your blog after traveling for a week and not having much computer time. I enjoyed every post, and am replying to all of them in this comment. The market you visited seemed filled with real life, real goods, and real people, unlike most of the sanitized and expensive stores where I have to shop. Memory Lane intrigued me; and as so often happens when I read your writing, I wanted to know more. I like the was the dream-like quality of Almonds turned to the reality of the way almonds are used and then back to the dream. Nice organization. Finally, my favorite, Sunita, a well written character sketch and reflection on an unusual relationship. You have such an eye for detail; I look forward to reading your posts.

    • I hope you had lovely week traveling and I am excited to read about your adventures. Sunita is indeed a most lovely woman and I am very grateful to know her. My life would be poorer without her and whenever I see her, I just have to smile.

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