Miss Lalita felt very self-satisfied today as she walked home from work. For a late middle aged spinster, she had done very well. She had been employed in the neighborhood Children’s Orphanage as a teacher for thirty years and today she had been given a much deserved raise. It wasn’t much money, but she didn’t mind that. She loved children and the money she received from making them happy was enough for her meager life.
Walking past Tiger Circle, she stopped and bought a daily paper from the Manipal News center. She looked at the headlines first, as she always did and read: “ Prosperous MLA from Mangalore marries young Deb today.” She carefully folded the paper under her arm and crossed the street in front of Hangyo Saiba Restaurant and as she did so, she could not help looking through the blue-tinted glass at the table for two in the corner. She hurriedly walked on, because it would do no good to think of Praveen now. He was probably a drunkard and a “no good” by now, just as her mother had said he would become. She could have been young and foolish and have married him, but as she thought of where she would probably be now, she shuddered. Everyone had been right; people should not ruin their lives for love.
As Miss Lalita walked by Manipal bakery, she thought: “How nice it would be to stop in and buy a small sweet bun to take home. There will be a party tonight to celebrate my fortune. Oh, but I couldn’t forget Billu.” So she bought some of his special cat food at Kini stores on the corner.
She hung her coat in the closet and as she did so, the paper dropped from her arm, opening and revealing the rest of the news: “The MLA from Mangalore, Praveen Shetty, marries today at the TMA Pai convention hall. His young bride . . . ”