Pukku and Perception

Grandmother says women who are loud and opinionated are a disgrace to the family.

Women these days are ‘out of control‘, they watch ‘English Films’ and get unrealistic ideas. These women feel they can earn their living independently and even kiss their husband for their wedding photograph and put it on Facebook. They celebrate so much that they live in this illusion that they are celebrities.

”The most shameless is Sushma”, she says scrunching her nose and squinting her brows so hard that one would think she is Simran from DDLJ but the older, bitter version who did not catch her train with Raj and lives this forever disappointed life.

”Just because she got her son married does not mean she can dance like a lunatic in front of everyone in the Bariyaat. Mother in law is supposed to be the role model of the daughter in law. Tsk what has she become? How will she control her daughter in law???!!!”

Pukku does not understand why daughters-in-law are supposed to be “controlled” by mothers in law but then again Pukku does not understand a lot of things.

For instance, she does not know if Grandmother is expecting an answer to the question she just asked or if it is one of those questions that if uttered an answer to would-be re-answered by a SMACK ON THE CHEEKS and ‘HOW DARE YOU ANSWER BACKKK!!!!’

So Pukku just looks down at her toes and clears her throat as silently as possible.

”No wonder that characterless daughter in law was posing in front of the camera pouting, looking like a filthy pig. Not just that, that swine had the audacity to dance away in her own wedding reception !” making a disgusted face Grandmother puts the grey hair flying in front of her face behind her ears and makes direct eye contact with Pukku,” Pukku whether I am there or not in your wedding you better keep your father’s pride and not do such embarrassing things like that uncultured barn raised animal!”

Pukku nods as an obedient granddaughter should.

Considering the fact that Pukku is just 9 she knows that she won’t be married for at least the next 18-20 years. She secretly hopes Grandmother does not make it to her wedding because she knows regardless of how much she tries to be perfect she always ends up being a disappointment for Grandma. The disappointment is already heavy for her tiny soft shoulders and she is not sure if she can carry more of the accumulated heaviness over the years.

Grandmother looks like she is a hundred years old, maybe she is older than that but Pukku has never dared ask her how old she is and no one knows when her birthday is.

”Grandmother, what is wrong with dancing at your own wedding?” she whimpers and almost ‘dares’ asking a question.


Pukku does not like it when her curiosity brings her shame.

Questions are not entertained in the Sharma family, especially not questions by females. She feels guilty for asking the question she just asked, the guilt turns into a heavy lump on her throat that is making it itchy. She tries to softly clear her throat again to fight the discomfort. She remembers Anita Miss, her class teacher telling her that there are no stupid questions…but it seems like Anita Miss is not qualified to make such statements because she is not 100 years old.


This scares Pukku so much she starts trembling.

Seeing this Grandmother changes the tone of her voice and tries to be loving,” Oh baby Pukkuli I am just saying this for your sake, what kind of man would want to marry a woman who is constantly clearing her throat? It is irritating to people around isn’t it? Control the itch and it will go away okay?? Now you go and tell your mother to bring me some  tea..my head is about to burst!”

So off Pukku goes to the kitchen where her mother is cooking.

She requests her to make some tea for Grandmother.

After she does what she is asked to do she does what she likes to do….that is attending to her own thoughts and having conversations with herself.

Pukku learned a new word a few days ago,


Although it rhymes with ‘perfection’ it is totally different from what it means.

Anita Miss told Pukku that just because words rhyme or things look similar does not mean that they have the same meaning.

Perception is how people see things… it is as simple as that.

Everyone says Pukku and Bhukku look similar… Bhukku is Pukku’s twin brother who right now is running in the garden with an empty plastic bucket on his head screaming on top of his lungs. If Pukku did that Grandmother would probably spank her for bringing dishonor to the family, but Bhukku is “just being a child.”

Pukku does not understand why she and her brother are so different despite being born to the same mother in the same family. She does not understand how if she did the same things her brother does she would bring dishonor to the family and he….. would just be …..himself, Isn’t it funny how when a boy enjoys he is just enjoying while when a girl enjoys she is bringing embarrassment to the family? how is she already supposed to know how to be a grown-up up and her brother is allowed to be a child?

Pukku is scared to tell her mother that she learned this new word, she is afraid to tell her that Anita Miss said everyone is allowed to have a perception, to see the world in a way they want to.

If Grandmother hears about this Pukku might certainly get spanked because in the Sharma household women are only supposed to be seen and not see as they wish.

Maybe Grandmother and Anita Miss need to meet and have a conversation, that way Pukku won’t have to tell Grandmother that she is actually ‘allowed’ to see things in her own way. That way she would not get in trouble.

‘PUKKUUUUUU!!! Take the tea to Grandmother!’ her mother calls her out.

Pukku’s imaginative journey of Grandmother and Anita Miss’s conversation is disrupted by the tea tray clattering in her hands.

“PUKKU!!!! IF YOU CAN’T EVEN SERVE TEA PROPERLY HOW WILL ANYONE ACCEPT YOU??????”,Grandmother glares at her. Her eyes popping out and her nostrils flaring up…

Pukku wonders if Grandmother’s angry eyes perceive Pukku the way she is….or maybe no one told her that she is allowed to have a perception hence she does not allow anyone else to have one.

Maybe Pukku should tell Grandmother that she now knows what perception means…or maybe not now….