Dadi: You know, when I was younger, I was so fair. And so beautiful. And so thin.
Dadi: Don’t feel bad, at least you are fair.
Dadi: Anyway, I was so pretty, that I turned your grandfather’s head. You know, he had come to ‘see’ another girl. But ended up marrying me.
Me: This is why burkhas are popular in some countries I expect.
Dadi (mystifyingly): Yes, yes. In fact, I was wearing these old rags, and still he told me I looked like a queen.
Me (nastily): Like Snow White’s stepmother?
Dadi: Yes, yes! I had a mirror also.
Me: (Confused. Rexamining sentence, did I insult her or compliment her?): ….oh.
Dadi: And after that first day when he saw me, he told his mother he’s not marrying anyone else. Because I was so beautiful, so fair, so think, so well spoken…but don’t feel bad. You speak well too.
Dadi: Yes, yes. In fact, (coyly) on our first night, he gave me a bangle and told me that he was in love with me.
Me: What??? Are you sure? My grandfather? MY grandfather? Mr Dada?
Outrage. He barely ever spoke. To anyone. Who knew the old boy had it in him?
Dadi: Yes yes. He held my left hand and told me that my hands were so beautiful and so fair and so thin. Don’t feel bad.
Me: I don’t.
Dadi: And he said he had fallen in love with me. And he’d had such a hard life. And his sister was the only other girl he’d spoken to…
Me: (cutting her off) His sister? He didn’t have one no? He was an only child….
Dadi is suddenly thrown off guard. “Ahh…”
Me (suddenly, light dawns): Dadi….this is a scene from the Telugu movie we saw last night. You know? The hero says all this and then says that he won’t talk to any other girl the way he does to the heroine.
Embarrassed silence. I’ve put my foot in it. I mean, I don’t want to hurt her feelings.
Dadi (magnificently recovering): Yes yes, I know! But the man who wrote the film, Mr Subba Rao, was a very good friend of your grandfather’s. That’s how the scene happened. He was inspired by our story.
Me: Of the sister. And not talking to any other girl.
Dadi: Yes yes.
Me: Well, he certainly didn’t talk to me much, so…
Dadi: Yes. And he loved me, because I was so fair, so beautiful and so thin. You could also be thin.
Me: I don’t think Dada would talk to me even then. But thanks.