Thursday, July 16, 2009

Not a ransom

Have you seen Khubsoorat with Dina Pathak and Rekha playing roles in it. The lady of the house in the film was a no-nonsense, nose upturned type with no trace of smile in her face. Her writ ran in the house and her wishes were commands strictly obeyed. The character in our story is no different but slightly worse.Parvatham mami never took a No for an answer. Hers is a large family of five daughters and three sons. She had a few grandchildren also living in the house. Her husband Subramanian was a timid man with shifty eyes and small build. Others called him henpecked but he did not take umbrage at it.Parvatham was a big built woman with stentorian voice and when she walked one could hear the thuds of her steps. That she was disagreeable and evoked more fear than affection amongst her children and husband is a fact none disputed. She decided what dress to be bought and what dress to be worn on what occasions, what should be the daily menu giving no regard for individual preferences, what courses they should take in their colleges, what time the TV can be on and what serials can be seen by whom. The younger daughters never liked her autocratic ways and detested her habit of checking their mobiles or refusing permission to chat with friends. She was in short a terror in the house running it at her will and whims. She was a well intentioned lady though and being the only daughter in her house, pampered and spoilt, she grew to be a termagant. One gets the scenario of the house, I hope in this description.
Of late, she suffered from memory loss and would repeat the same instructions again and again. She would rebuke the servants for not carrying out her orders that had already been complied with. But she would strongly deny that she had any complaint of amnesia and none argued with her for fear of her foul mouth. It was on one such day she was not seen at the dinner table. Everyone scurried hither and thither searching for her in all rooms. She was not there. No one knew of her going out. They went out searched amongst friends and relatives but could gather no useful information
The next day they lodged a police complaint for missing person. Two or three days had elapsed with no news about her whereabouts. But there was a total metamorphosis in the atmosphere at the house. One could hear shouts, peals of laughter, happy guffaws and joyful screams with many running about without fear of reprimand. The old man was before the TV watching WWF wrestling matches nonstop alternating in between cricket and tennis. One could hear the buzz of mobiles nonstop. The dining table got totally a different fare with several items to suit individual tatstes.They took the plates and watched TV sitting on sofas that was earlier strictly forbidden. They got up late, took baths whenever it pleased them. There was a total laissez-faire or anarchy depending on the way you look at it. There was a sense of freedom though they inwardly missed the old lady and pangs of sadness were felt.
At the suggestion of the old man, an advertisement with her photo was inserted in daily. Within two days, they received a call from an old age home.
“Sir, I am the Secretary calling from ABC old age home. Three days back some people brought her here in the night. She seemed a decent looking lady. She could not answer them properly. We saw the advertisement today. We wish to send her away to you. She is threatening all and ordering the other inmates as if she owned the place. We are not running the place free. We collect 7500pm from each. We cannot keep her free here. Please come and take her immediately.”
The son who attended the call said, “Mom is safe at an old age home. She is suffering from amnesia but her old imperious ways have not left her. They want her to be taken away as they collect Rs7500 pm.”
There was some silence. One of the sons nudged by his wife spoke” Mom is not well. We had problem even when she was in full possession of faculties. Now with amnesia, I shudder. Why not allow her to continue there? We can go regularly to visit her.”
The son spoke to the secretary .We will give you a ring in five minutes. Please wait”
“We cannot wait. We can keep her with us on Rs 10000pm or we shall bring her early in the morning to leave her. Please convey the decision in five minutes,” said the Secretary.
There was another hushed conference and everyone looked at the old man after explaining that house now bore the atmosphere of a home instead of an hostel earlier and they be allowed to enjoy the freedom for some more time.
Like the Oracle, the old man finally gave his ruling.”Let it not be mistaken that we have no affection or concern for Parvatham.She loved us so much that she was willing to bear the cross of being disliked by all. But it is a fact that she trampled on the corns of everyone here. The house is wearing a joyful atmosphere now after years of stuffed feeling. She is also not physically well and needs rest. Although the secretary’s words that he would bring her here tomorrow smacks of black mail, we will not succumb to ransom threats. We would on our own accord allow her to stay in old age home for a year. Each one of you should promise to visit her frequently. Tell the Secretary accordingly and give a cheque for one year fee.”
There was great rejoicing and dancing which the old man said “This is not becoming of us. We really miss her.”


  1. Yes, such things happen :) A good story.

  2. Hi K.P,

    I enjoyed your story very much.
    Have a good day.


  3. Your story really made an interesting reading. It is well-woven with continuity of thought.

  4. Ye discipline seems unbearable but after sometime one realises its value.
    Nice one:)

  5. Doesnt seem fair..but maybe in their shoes, i would have danced as well.

    Reminds me of this tv series "everybody loves raymond" where Marie is exactly parvatham mami.

  6. I had to leave before i could complete it last weekend.Now i have completed reading it :)
    Why miss someone if you have the opportunity not to miss then.This is something i ask my friends who stays abroad and say that they miss everything thats back home :)

  7. Amazing stories. Thanks for all this lovely effort. Being a disciplined individual has its own beauty.

    Have a wonderful day.

    Ranjani Murali