Hush! We are Elite

‘Silver Heights’ is a residential society for the creme de la creme, built on a hillock to avoid all the smog that engulfs the city. Of course, our husbands were astute in the selection of our residences, for they knew that the smoke emanating from our factories could choke us. The city suffers from a severe water crunch. Not the residents of Silver Heights though, where the fountain that welcomes you at the society’s entrance, overflows joyously, oblivious to scarcity.

Once our husbands leave for their respective offices, we, the ladies of the society, indulge ourselves in social activities. The ‘Silver Heights Women Residents’ Welfare Organisation’ (SHWRWO) engages in multiple pursuits. Once a fortnight, we meet at one of the ladies’ spacious apartments, tastefully decorated with artefacts from around the world. We do not believe in slander or back biting but there’s no harm in a little harmless gossip. We are elite you see.

Please do not dare to equate our upscale meetings with the ordinary ‘kitty parties’ where women play ‘lotto’ and gorge upon fried snacks, licking the trickled syrup from the sugar-coated desserts off their podgy, gold-and-diamond-ringed fingers. We are a diet-conscious sorority. Therefore, only diet coke in summer along with baked goodies and sugar-free desserts. In winters, we offer assorted herbal teas like hibiscus, blue pea, jasmine or matcha green.

Well, if you think we only eat and talk, you are sadly mistaken. We do social welfare also. When our lowly maids, who come to work in our apartments from the other end of the city, are beaten blue and black by their good-for-nothing dipsomaniac husbands, we visit their shoddy chawls and slums, raise slogans, call the police and sometimes even get the fellow arrested. But you know, these foolish women do not comprehend the need of letting the useless fellows behind the bars, till they mend their ways. The very next day, they get their men out by retracting their statements. They claim that they were not beaten but had an accidental fall. What can be done about these illiterate women who have little idea of domestic abuse and their rights against violence. But then, that’s their lot. What can we do but to guide them and motivate them to take measures like abandoning the abusive fellow or taking the recourse of law against such brutality.

A month ago, Mangla family, one of the most influential conglomerates of the city, bought an apartment in Silver Heights. Mr. Mangla, our husbands said, was an ardent worshipper of Bacchus and drank till he fell down like a sodden log. A few days ago, loud noises like crashing crockery, banging of doors, shrieks and cries were heard from their apartment. The next day, Mrs. Mangla could be seen covering her bruises with her silk scarf. Nobody asked anything. You see we are elite, after all. We don’t pervade other people’s privacy.

The noises have become a regular affair. We are worried about the hullabaloo in our peaceful orchard. However, it would be impolite to go knocking at their door or complain about the noises. So, we leave a note at their doorstep, ‘Hush! Keep it down. We are elite.’

Sonika Sethi