Monday blues. A cliché? I think not. Today’s a different kind of day. Today, I wish for tomorrow. The device speaks out, loud and clear — Aai’s voice. One month. Only one month? 30 days/ 720 hours/ 17,280 minutes. How many breaths?
A flurry of activity: tickets booked? Bags packed? I’m on the train.
The smell of stale urine lingers in the still air. Fish fry and Sambar devoured whole. The stuttering fan finally comes to a — Halt. Are we moving yet?
Muted conversations come alive as children run barefooted, on grimy floors. Curious eyes peep out from the dark. “Would you like some?” Murmured refusals are lost in the chilly gusts. I listen to the human noise we sat there making.
A pickle of languages ferment together. Plugpoint Battles.
Sleep and dreams come and go. Watchful eyes continue watching.
A Red Mickey Mouse Pencil Box. I liked the blue one better!
Rewards in exchange for new words — ‘Cursive.’ “I can’t believe you’ve never heard that word before.” A toothy laugh rewards a crinkly smile.
“What’s your favourite word Ajja?” Mysticism
‘Mis-ti-si-sm. Like the occult?’ A word that describes the feeling that words lack in descriptions.
We enter the house. Last visit, last rites? An embrace of Ponds talcum powder and Lacto Calamine. I pull away, to breathe. Summers spent on cold, tiled floors sipping iced tea from tea cups. “You both are here!” Yes, yes we are. Flip Flop. Flip Flop. She leads the way.
He’s not asleep today — yet frail, unmoving — eyes twinkling as they always do. Tufts of white hair stay strong. Rooted proudly in their soil.
A book in one hand, dictionary in the other. Back scratcher to the rescue. Now, he’s got my toothy smile. ‘Second Guessing’- That’s today’s word.
“Phrase,” I correct him
“Ahahahaha” His loud throaty laugh rings volumes — millions of tiny wonders seek refuge in its companionship. Feeding and multiplying, feeding and multiplying. Off they go to the work. Will they ever stop their silent conquest?
12:00 ‘o’ clock. Let the pills begin: blue, green, yellow and orange. Four down, three to go.
“I’m going up!” A proclamation before the End. The sound of a life lived. Whole, content, imperfect. He curls up like a child beneath the blanket, dictionary in hand. Wispy old man, happy. Truly happy.
I watch, envious.