Hey, Peace and Love Everyone.
How was your week? Mine, pretty cool actually. I got to hangout with a friend I really hadn’t spent much time with. We had a ball. Then yesterday was writer’s critique. It was cool. Again time to hangout with friends. Something we all should create a time to do. Even when life becomes busy, time with those who mean a lot to us enriches our lives.
Today I bring you Chapter 5 of Loving Autumn. I’m not sure how much further I would like to take this story. I do know that this journey for Autumn is not over. After all, she still hasn’t decided what will happen with her and Charlie. Let me not jump too far ahead.
Mr. Arya didn’t give me a hard time after that. He was congenial. That was a significant triumph for Raj and I. The dinner was pleasant. I didn’t often eat at the Arya house. Dinner with the head of the household made me uncomfortable most of the time, and other times I felt hurt and angry. He had a lot of opinions about America, and it’s people. Most of them were wrong. There were things ignorant people said. I didn’t expect that from him. I could never remain silent, so his casual comments often sparked considerable debate. Something Mrs. Arya tried to keep from her dinner table.
But tonight was pleasant after Rhea left. I no longer had to compete with her for Raj’s attention or Mr. Arya. He smiled, watching Raj spoil me with all the food I could eat.
“Is there something we should know, Raj? You’ve never heaped her plate like that before.”
“No, bauji. I just know that she’s hungry, and she’s being polite.”
“No need to be polite, Autumn. Eat, you are going to be a part of this family and hopefully give us some beautiful grands.”
I shyly smile before Raj stuffed a piece of paratha with curried vegetables in my mouth. The family laughed, and Riya winked at me before saying, “you’re one of us now.”
I was just glad we dodged the question about pregnancy. I didn’t think I was pregnant, but Raj and I never really used protection. Charlie and I did. So if I were pregnant, it would be Raj’s. I sighed with relief. I know we wouldn’t be able to avoid the question for long, especially after we got married. But Mr. Arya’s one-eighty perplexed me. Were all the inuendos and comments meant to show him the type of person I was? Why was he all of a sudden being kind to me? I felt like he was gearing up for one final attempt. Maybe I was paranoid.
As the table was cleared, Raj and I left. As we said goodnight to his parents, Raj grabbed a bottle of wine out of the fridge.
“We should all have a glass, huh Raj. We should celebrate you settling down finally. I must admit I didn’t think Autumn would be the one to make you settle down, but, hey, I’m glad. It’s not like Arjun and his wife are having any success.”
Oh shit, I thought. Mr. Arya is turning on Anjeli. He knew, shit even I knew that Anjeli and Arjun were building their careers now. After all, they were in their late twenties.
“Dad, you know that Anjeli and I aren’t ready for children.”
“Really? You can always build your career. It’s not like your mother, and I aren’t here to help with children. Your mom would be glad to take care of the babies.”
I looked at Riya, and her face turned sour when he mentioned how she would care for the babies. I knew that Riya was enjoying her freedom of not having to take care of her sons since they had women to look after them. I didn’t think Varun’s idea was appreciated.
“Dad, mom, isn’t ready to give up her freedom, and neither are we. We’re enjoying just being a couple.”
“When your mom and I were your age, we already had you and your brother, and she was pregnant with your sisters.”
“Varun, things have changed. Nowadays, newlyweds get to spend lots of time together before they have children.”
I like Riya’s attack. She would never mention how she didn’t agree with her husband. She gave other reasons besides her displeasure. Was I going to have to argue with Raj like this. I’ve always been one to state when I’m not going for the idea. I do remember Raj asked me not to disagree with him in public. Dear God. I was going to have to go along with this. By marrying Raj, I was accepting ideas and a culture that wasn’t mine. I only came out of my head when I heard my name called.
I turned to Mr. Arya. Had he called my name? I didn’t want to be dragged into this discussion/argument. “Yes, Mr. Arya.”
“Oh dear, you can call my Varun or bauji whatever makes you feel comfortable.”
None of this made me feel comfortable. If I disagreed with him, would he turn cold again? “Yes, bauji.”
“That’s my girl.” He replied and I almost cringed. “What do you think about this? Should couples have children early or wait?”
“Bauji, I think the Creator makes those decisions for us. If he wanted Arjun and Anjeli to have children now, they really couldn’t stop a child from coming, except to abstain.”
Raj patted my shoulder. I knew he was proud of the way I maneuvered out of that one.
“Okay, how do you really feel. I know you are used to expressing your opinion with Raj. It’s one of the things he had to get used to and complained to your mom about it. So now you can express your opinion.”
I glanced at Raj who avoided my gaze. I knew that wasn’t true. Anjeli barely spoke at the dinner table. She was a delightful girl and a powerhouse at work, but here, she almost seemed reduced to an old fashion housewife. I was walking a tight rope now that would either make my life difficult here or put me in a role like Anjeli. I would be miserable.
“Bauji, I think it’s up to them,” I say to his face and decide to put both sides of the argument on the table. “Being young parents can be hard because while you have the patience and the energy for a child, you’re still not mentally mature. At the same time, the longer you wait, the older you’ll be when that child hits teenage or young adult.”
Varun nodded as if he was considering what I said. I was feeling pretty good. He didn’t immediately turn on me.
“So, what are you and Raj going to do?”
“We’re still discussing it. But we probably won’t wait long. My life is different, I mostly work from home only going into the office for meetings. I don’t have Anjeli’s stressful job that needs her to build a reputation before she can have a child. If she takes time now, that’s the last impression they will have of her. Not the few cases she handled expertly.” I looked at Anjeli, and she smiled at me. I smiled back. I had danced that high wire well. Being able to see all sides was a plus.
“You know Arjun, Anjeli; I never looked at it that way. I understand but I still would like to hear the pitter-patter of little feet. Your sister is younger than both of you boys and has two already.”
I didn’t even think of that. But I knew that Raj and Arjun’s youngest sister Amisha was in a totally different situation. She wasn’t allowed to work. She was expected to raise children and be the perfect wife. The Arya children were allowed to chose their partners, but I knew it blindsided Amisha when she walked into her husband’s family home. She never gave any thought to the type of people they were; now, she was pretty much stuck. I knew she was happy but dreaming of a different life.
I heard the pop of the cork and looked to see Raj opening the bottle of wine and Riya getting the glasses. This was indeed an interesting welcome. Still, I was glad we weren’t married yet. I had some time to adjust to what would be my new life, and an escape to my apartment would be warranted often while I still could.
Next week…. Let’s talk about planning. Chapter 6 of Loving Autumn will return the following week.