Pinggg………. the intercom went and I was jolted out of my power nap. And I leapt to pick the intercom. ‘Vellam Venno(want water)?’, asked the sweet water delivery man.
‘Venda’, (no)I said and looked at the clock. (yes, people, now I speak the second national language of Bahrain)
The clock showed 11.45 and I leapt. The father and the son would be arriving by 1.00 pm, and I had to make the meal ready. Normally cooking a meal does not take more than 30 minutes if everything was ready. But that day it was special. Special because I was making Rice, dal and gobi Manchurian. Now you can wrinkle your nose at the combination but then we are a family of weirdos and we have a list of weird combos too. So people don’t get all disgusted at SRK gobbling dahi-noodles. We at our place have even weird ideas though I am yet to try dahi noodles.
So it is dal and manchurian for us. Who does mind if there is no fuss at the dining table.
But I am told that I am a mother hen too. No, not with my son but because I gather people around me. And so when we go out I get a namaste here and a salute there, the Boss raises an eyebrow and I grin sheepishly.
‘So why did the cold store guy salute you?’
‘Err. I gave him some idlis’
‘And the other fellow?’
‘I gave him sonny’s old jeans for his son…’
And so I am called a mother hen.
I have an uncle too. Who comes in about 10 am to rummage in the dustbin just across our lane. I don’t know whether he is unsound or whether he is a runaway or has his family abandoned him. We just smile at each other and exchanges notes..on the weather etc.
But then it runs in the family- the giving I mean. My brother used to buy books which he seldom used but distributed. My mother would employ teenage girls and then teach them while doing ‘their’ work. My father in law had a cow which refused to eat unless he offered her the first morsel of his plate. My mother in law as soon as food was ready would rush to feed a blind boy (the son of a domestic help) ignoring her own hungry children.
And my better half is not better. Whenever we need a medicine, it is never at home. Because it has already been given to the newspaper boy/ the car cleaner/ carpenter etc.
And still I am called a mother hen.
By then I had finished cooking. The duo arrived and it was sometime later that the husband entered. I could see that he was thoughtful.
‘What happened?’. I asked.
‘A pair of my shoes are missing.’
Alarm bells rang. A week back I had been chatting with uncle and I had seen his broken shoes and his heels bleeding and I had rushed back home picked up a pair of shoes which had not been used for some days and had given him.
It was a Friday and we were going out in the morning. Met Uncle, he and me waved at each other. As he passed by, the hubby shouted, ‘Chor’ (thief)and then realization struck and he turned to glare at me.
I was busy explaining the features of a Volkswagen Beetle standing close by!!