Aug 8, 2012

Mere Paas Ma Hai !!

"Dai Dog..Where are you ??" I growled wiping off yet another newly formed layer of sweat from my forehead..Standing on the streets in the perfect setting of a sunny april in chennai is definitely not as romanticized as it sounds..For once, I visualize myself nodding " Haan ji" to my poor north Indian friends who have spent most of their life cribbing about the two inevitable things about chennai - the heat and the girls.

After an endless wait of 5 long minutes my good old useless friend turns up. I jump into his car and finally after the usual exchange of profanities which take us down to the lowest levels of civilization , we give our usual "may the mosquitoes enter" wide mouthed laughter. I was meeting him after ages and still everything seemed to be the same..From the days when we strolled around the streets wearing those fancy colored "Ramarajan-has-definite-competition" kinda shorts with a cricket bat carryin sachin's pic on one shoulder and his arms on the other to the current days where allen solly and van heusen have sadly displaced the evergreen attire..nothing seems to have changed..the laughs, the useless conversations, the swear words,the bird watching sessions..hmm..there are a lot of things which can screw you and for everything else there are friends..

With a lot of "machi A is going out with B" .."WTF !! then what happened to C " list of stories with A to Z representing our entire list of eventful friends, he drove his car to his mom's school.."Machi..two minutes work da"..Since we had 2 hours more for our movie I wasn't complaining.

I was going there after ages and the moment we entered I had a pleasant surprise..the new compound wall which had replaced the old rusted barbed fence, a small playground with garishly painted see saw and a slide with the kids happily running around replacing the old worn out barren land, a medium sized building which smelt of fresh paint, and the usual this-one-for-sure-will-never-change bespectacled teacher with a heavy dose of jasmine on her head who kept repeating something followed by the thunderous response of the same thing from the kids.Looks like "development" has finally caught up with this little unknown school which continues to keep the dreams of a lot many underprivileged kids alive.

As we entered one of the teacher greeted us with a warm smile and said "we need to get MS Word installed"..I (the ex software engineer) and he (the current software engineer) gave the oh-that's-complicated-but-no-fear-for-we-are-here looks and got down to work..15 min and we clapped our hands off indicating symbolically that the mission was accomplished.

And that's when his mom came in with her usual 100watt smile intact. I was seeing her after ages and the usual "how are you" questions were exchanged. We gorged on the snacks and I was getting ready to leave as  I always believed a "5 min conversation" was all that was required to stop the other generation from complaining in their usual accusatory tone "these kids cant respect ppl" .And thats when she suddenly threw a shocker.."How is this saree" she asked with a twinkle in her eyes.. "umm err..ya its good Aunty" I replied a little surprised by the question .. "Its a pattu saree..He bought it for me "she gave a proud smile pointing at him ..He looked down as if searching for something in the floor with a "don't embarrass me" smile..I have always been a sucker when it comes to these sentimental scenes in real life and I gave my usual I-have-no-idea-how-to-react-but-will-smile. She asked " can you guys spare two min and come with me"."Ma its already late..we need to catch a movie" he whined still having not recovered from the previous sentimental scene.She suddenly caught him by the hand and started walking with her proud smile intact. Left with no choice I followed. She barged into a room which proclaimed "5 C" (i.e 5 th std C section for those have become a tad bit too old to remember the nuances )

A local DTS version of "Good morning Teacher" echoed across the dusty walls of the room. She still held his arms while he sheepishly tried to wriggle out. And she slowly left it go and turned to the kids and pausing a second taking a whiff of breath , she smiled and asked "How is this saree" ..a pause followed "Super ah erukka" (Is it good). "Super ah erukku " the class roared while breaking into giggles. I felt really weird. Why in the world does she want to show off was my first reaction ." A pattu sari..ya what..How does it really matter" I kept mumbling getting a bit impatient

With absolutely no qualms, she went on " Do you know who bought it..This is my son and he bought it for me..." 

"Now once u grow up, will you get a good job "..The class blissfully shouted "yes".." Will you buy your parents something like this"..the "yes" continued and she gave a pause letting the moment to sink and went again " Will you buy your parents something like this".. "Yes Mam" the chorus continued..

And suddenly it felt very strange. It slowly dawned. Maybe its not about the saree..

And slowly she looked at me "How much ever I earn, nothing like a gift from my son..I know what you must be thinking..but even if one of my student is inspired by job is done"

I went blank for a enigmatic silence followed..and ironically while there was this strange sense of emptiness, the heart felt heavier..."How much ever I earn, nothing like a gift from my son" the voice echoed ..The last time I bought something for my mom was 5 years back And I still remember the happiness on her face. That was the first time in 21 years that she got something from me. And a year had followed where she would display it across to each and every soul right from my my maid to the poor paper wallah and follow it up with a "my son bought it for me " story.  "Bliss-fullness" was the word.

In the pretext of a busy life, I somehow comfortably took for granted a lot of  wonderful people in my life. My mom was one of them. While I kept searching for love everywhere around, little did I realize it was right there..very close to me..all along till this very day.. But being the idiot I am..Kept her waiting all along..

Sometimes some of life's biggest realizations come from some of the most stupid circumstances. I had mine that day.

"Better late than never" I gave a wink and a shebaa-atleast-now-I-realised sigh. I came back home to find her peacefully couched in the living room sofa. "Ma, get up" ..Before she could resist I pulled her up while she murmered "Why da".."Now you close your eyes"..My grandma and my little brother had finally got their last confirmation on their year long analysis and gave a glance across each other while they nodded to their mind voice "GONE CASE !!"

I thrust it into her hands and asked her to open her eyes. She saw her favorite "Dairy Milk" in her palms and smiled "but why now". I gave a naughty smile and said "For every new beginning.. we should start it off with a sweet "..

"And may I know what is beginning.."

I took her close, gave her a hug and whispered "nothing ma..I love you loads..just thought I should let u know.."

Felt like heaven..

The moon shone, stars twinkled and the birds flew happily.

Now while I finally spend some time with her, As always you ppl keep smiling..Come what may !!

P.S : "even if one of my student is inspired by job is done" ..Hmm ..Aunty, your job is done :)