Friday, December 16, 2005

The Society Scandal

Rumors flew thick in the air. The whole society was abuzz. Mrs. Rastogi had not attended Mrs. Malhotra’s pet Pommerian’s birthday complaining of a headache. Mrs. Ghosh whispered, “Even last week, she walked in the last moment to Mrs. Malhotra’s kitty party.” Mrs. Mishra nibbled delicately at paneer pakora and remarked, “That’s because she had to water her Star of Bethlehem’s. She always says that 4pm is the only time of the day when the plants can absorb water.…she called it fotosynthesix.” “Actually,” replied Mrs. Ghosh, “the whole fallout was because Mrs. Rastogi lost to Mrs. Malhotra in the Mahjong party at Mrs. Mirchndani’s”. “Ssshhhhh!” Joined Mrs. Krishnamurthy. “I know the real reason. Mr. Malhotra is soon going to get a big promotion and then he will be senior to Mr. Rastogi.” “Oh! My gosh” exclaimed Mrs. Mishra and Mrs. Ghosh.

It was official now. Cold war had begun. Chintu Rastogi was not allowed to play with Bobby Malhotra. At Pummy’s wedding, Mrs. Malhotra gifted her silver anklets and Mrs. Rastogi hit back with gold earrings. When the Rastogi family decided to spend their summer at Singapore, the Malhotras chose New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Krishnamurthy was doing her best to bring them together. She paired up the two of them in the three-legged-race at her residence on a sunny winter Sunday afternoon. It did not work. She went to Mrs. Rastogi’ place and under the pretext of learning how to maintain Star of Bethlehem’s, tried to gain her confidence. Mrs. Malhotra poured out her heart while showing her how to cook Paneer Butter Masala. Mrs. Krishnamurthy had all the inside dough and people flocked to her for news.

Equations in the company were changing very fast. Mr. Ray the President was about to retire and there was speculation about who would succeed him. Opinion was divided between Mr. Malhotra and Mr. Rastogi. Many said, Rastogi would be promoted over Malhotra and he would be the next President. Mrs. Malhotra and Mrs. Rastogi continued to smile their plastic smiles when they met at parties and grimaced as soon as their backs were turned. Tension was rife in the air.

The day arrived. Mr. Ray was retiring. He would name his successor and a grand farewell party would be thrown at the club soon afterwards. Mr. Rastogi and Mr. Malhotra arrived in office in spotless white shirts and their wives got their best Kanjeevarams ready. Mr. Ray called everyone to his office and said; “The management has decided that in the event of my retirement, Mr. Krishnamurthy will take over as the next President of the company. Mr. Malhotra and Mr. Rastogi will be assisting him. They will both be promoted as Vice-Presidents. Thank you.”

The party was a grand success. Everybody commented on how appropriate it was of the wives of the newly appointed Vice-Presidents to turn up in South Indian silks. Mrs. Krishnamurthy was particularly pleased. She commented on how glad she was to have Mrs. Rastogi and Mrs. Malhotra as her dearest friends. She demanded that they jointly throw a party at the women’s club next week. Mrs. Rastogi and Mrs. Malhotra had suddenly become best friends, together venting their ire against the newly appointed President’s wife. Mrs. Krishnamurthy had the last laugh!

No comments: