- by KParthasarathi 09 Nov 2008
“I have requested you countless times not to leave by the early morning flights. You not only trouble yourself but put everyone in the house to considerable inconvenience. I don’t know why you persist in harassing others” exploded Sumitra in anger to her husband.
Murali replied softly “Why do you have to raise your voice? Our office is into austerity drive since the last year. We are avoiding night’s halt in a starred hotel. We leave in the morning and return by the evening flight. As a senior executive, I cannot myself break the rules. How does my early morning departure affect you anyway?”
“Ha, ha.How considerate are you to others should be seen to be believed? The whole house is woken up at 3 am as if it is Deepavali night. Lights are on in the hall, kitchen and everywhere. You may plead you get up only at 4am but you should not forget you are the cause of early morning bedlam. You wake me up at 5 am asking whether I had seen your new pair of socks or spare kerchiefs. You don’t pack your things in advance and raise a hell at the eleventh hour. I am not going to put up with this anymore of this nonsense. Our child and I will go to bed at 10pm sharp bidding you bye bye. We will not wake up to see you off. Do remember not to set the alarum in our bedroom. You wake up by your own device and go out of the bedroom quietly remembering to close the door.”
“Don’t be telling lies. It is my mom who gets up early in the morning to switch on the geyser, make coffee and boil milk. Dad remains awake to wake her up as she cannot hear the alarum.She even offers to make quickly some upma or dosa. Most of the days you keep snoring loudly in deep sleep even when I leave the home for airport” contested Murali
Rajamani iyer and Kaveri were listening to the heated conversation in the adjacent hall from their room but kept quiet. They knew that it is best not to intervene in their discussions however untrue the statements hurled at each other were. Murali being a marketing man frequently went on short tours of a day or two. He always took the early morning flights. However careful and quiet one tried to be, there are bound to be noises of the doors opening, the running water, the shower and the conversations with his hard of hearing mom that is a bit raised.Iyer would hardly sleep those nights switching on the light now and then and waiting for the alarm clock to ring and Kaveri waiting for him to nudge her. They will get up at 3am, get the hot water and coffee ready and keep waiting for the clock to strike four to wake up Murali.He will not get up on time and as the clock ticked by the aged mother will be restless and the old man will be walking from one end of the hall to the other. Around 4am Kaveri will go near the door of the bedroom and call gently “Murali, Murali, it is getting late.” There would be no response for a while but iyer will hear Sumitra telling Murali in low voice that his parents are calling.
He will finally come out hurriedly around 4.20 am and get ready in a jiffy making loud noises and intermittent conversations with his parents. The TV will be on to catch the day’s news while his mom would have put the Sri Venkatesa Subrabatham on the tape recorder. When he left the house at 4.45am the house would turn very quiet like the hurricane ravaged coastal town after it had left had left.
This was the scene when Murali left this morning also. Iyer switched off all the lights and retired to bed.Kaveri had already slept. Both of them who had hardly slept would catch a few winks before the day broke open. At 6am the servant maid rang the bell and finding no response rang again. Normally Iyer would have kept the door slightly ajar and be waiting for the milk and the newspaper. But this day he was fast asleep after the sleepless night. Sumitra got up fuming at the early morning disruption to open the door. The maid asked “Where is the periyavar (old man)? Is he not well? “Sumitra replied in acerbic tone “Nothing is wrong with him. They both are still sleeping like a newly married young couple knowing well this donkey is there to do all the drudgery. It is my fate.” The maid who knew the truth kept mum. The aged couple were blissfully asleep unaware of the caustic comments of their bahu whom they loved dearly like a daughter.