At some point Dhanalakshmi’s mother had become obsessed with Guruji. Her mother wasn’t really orthodox earlier, but perhaps the increasing ache in her joints, a concern for her afterlife and other miscellaneous worries had made her want to compensate for the years of irreverence towards ritual keeping. Worried about her daughter’s future, she consulted Guruji. He waved his hand across the horoscope and the girl’s photograph and said only one word – “Pickle”.
The Mother was confused. Did he mean she should eat more pickle? Or perhaps eat less of it. Her daughter’s intake of pickle had never been an issue before. The Guruji’s flunkies had urged her to focus her mind on the word. Guruji often just gave his audience a word, and they had to find their own meaning. Mysterious are his ways they said.
Over the next month, the mother obsessed over pickle. One week she went overboard pickling every thing in the fridge. When no one showed too much interest at home, she distributed it amongst their neighbours. The next week, she began to look for prospective grooms who had something to do with pickle manufacturing. The Mother kept reminding her daughter that Guruji was always right. She began to look for signs on pickle bottles in the supermarket shelves. Her heart pounded with worry. It could be a negative or positive indication. Really, was pickle good for her daughter’s fate? Or bad? What if Dhanalakshmi ended up eating poisoned pickle? What if Guruji was predicting an allergy?
Dhanalaksmi came home a little late that night. She seemed rather happy. This whole obsession with pickle was creating havoc with her diet, and she just wanted to get away from home for a little while. The new project she was assigned to would take her to Dubai for at least six months, and perhaps by the time she came back, her mother would have found some less intrusive obsession.
She tells her mother about the Dubai project. Her mother is momentarily dissatisfied. She was hoping her daughter would tell her that she had to work in a pickle manufacturing factory. She was aware that unless something related to pickle came up in Dhanalakshmi’s life, Guruji was going to lose further grace in the household.
The Mother’s eyes suddenly light up. “Guruji was right! All along! How unfortunate that any of you doubted him for even a second!”. The daughter is now confused. What did Dubai have to do with this pickle business.
“Think about it. All these people in Dubai, they wear this thing on their head and look like pickle jars. That white towel with a band. Mysterious are Guruji’s ways. It was his blessing that got you this project.”.
Dhanalakshmi gives up. Her Mother wins.