Hyderabad winter has a warmth in its approach, unlike the Baltimore or New Jersey counter part. She slides her soft hand through my chin; doesn’t strangulate me. She whispers, doesn’t yell; She sings love songs, not beat war drums.
Madhavi’s parents had invited for Rudrabhishekam in their house. I forgot the engagement. It was 9,30 am when I got up this morning. I did get up twice before but thought why get up so early. In the morning hours, it is a pleasure in remaining on the bed, pushing head into the gap of two or three pillows soft, silky. I was like that during my early days. History repeats, not sure in other cases, but sure in late getting up in the morning hours.
Mohana’s reminder on landline . ‘Called you several time, your mobile is not working?’ Hurried to pick it up. Oh, no. No charge in the mobile. Had kept for charging last night, but the charger failed me. No problem. Haven’t I all these years lived without a mobile? Where is my electric shaver ? Oh, no charge in it too. No problem. Looked for the razor. No trace. No problem . No harm if participated in the Japam with hairs on the face. Rushed to bathroom, poured a dozen mugs of water over head, no soap , no cheekai powder. Have been using those daily. No damage, if skipped a day. The lessons on Crisis Management learned long ago, came to mind and I applied the theories fast. But was a total failure with Vicha. No problem. He will improve in due course. There is plenty of time. He is only 78.
Kept some rice and vegetables for Vicha in a hurry on the stove and wanted to ask him to switch off the cooker after three whistles. But where is he?
Vicha had sneaked into the ‘restroom’. While in India, for me, it is a bath cum toilet, for him it is a real ‘restroom’! The moment he enters in, switches on the heater as he needs hot water for washing too, even for a small, localized wash. Then he sits on the pot and starts singing Pattanathar or Masthan Sahib. In his peak days, he used to sing Kathakali songs too but not now. While singing K.songs, one has to move his head and limbs which is against my brother’s habits nowadays.
I knocked the door. No response. Again and again I knocked. Later he told me that he mistook my knocks for the batting sound from the front where kids were playing cricket on the street. I could hear his clapping, presumably to encourage a boy who knocked a sixer.
Rudrabhishekam would have commenced.
I called. God is great. ‘Deivam manushyaroopena’, they say. Hyderabad Viswanathan opened the door and enquired, ‘you called me Anna?’
He said something but I could not hear. My hearing aid battery was dead.. No problem. I have a box full packed by Megh. But, where is my goggle ? How to search for the batteries? I lifted my right hand to my eyes and found the area blank. No problem. I can follow the lip movement of vadhyar and follow him. But, what happened to the pressure cooker? The three whistles would have come out during the past few seconds when I pulled down the door of my aid for recharge. I rushed to the kitchen. I had not lighted the stove! . No problem.
Phone rings. . Thought it was from my cousin Cartoonist Ramki with whom I was earlier discussing about a character’s sketch and replied hurriedly, ‘I like her back more than her front’
I kept down the phone.
The phone rang again.
Now, I could hear the voice from the other end as the battery, when reconnected worked. It will be active for a few more seconds.
The Call was from Mohana!
‘Anna, while I’m waiting for you here, you are telling me about your birthday wishes!
I will call every one in USA and inform about your preference!’
Now there is a problem, a real problem.