Meenakshi, I know you are coming to visit me.But I wish to tell you in advance that I am not sick whatever others may tell you.I am in perfect health despite my advancing years.True I tend to forget small details.In old age Alzheimer in different stages are not uncommon.But our daughter in law and our spineless son Mahesh may tell you that I am deranged.Unless I tell you the background in some detail you would not really understand my predicament and would prefer to agree with them.
It is almost five years since I am confined to my room.I am not allowed to go out except with the driver Selvaraj when he is free.I would like to sit in the park and see the children playing in the swings and slides.He would not allow me to go near them and would be holding my hand as if I were a condemned prisoner.He will scare away the kids who throng around me making funny faces.I think they want to play with me.But Selvaraj would shoo them away frightening them with some stories.He would not allow me more than 15 minutes in the park.I hate him as he is generally rough and holds my hands very tight as if I would run away.
Our daughter-in-law Kausalya is very clever.I am aware that she has no liking for me and has poisoned the mind of Mahesh against me.She tells all cock and bull stories about me.You see I hurt my finger one day while closing the window and blood came.I had no cotton or first aid kit with me.No body would come if I call as they feel I call them frequently without purpose.So I tore the blue checked shirt to tie my finger to stop the blood.How will I know that it was bought only a month back when I have dozens of same colour? She made a mountain of a mole hill on this and our son scolded me in her presence.
But I cannot forgive her for one incident.You see I do not sleep in the night as I have seen most old people die in the night when they are asleep.I remain awake so that the messenger of death will know I am fully awake and dare not come near me.Incidentally I must confide that is the secret of my long life..As I do not sleep in the night I tend to sleep in the toilet when I go there.I am unable to prevent the eyelids closing of their own.She makes much fuss of it and has removed the lock from the toilet door.
I can at least tolerate this as she does not want me to sleep in a dirty place but what do you make of this? This scary man peeps through the windows during nights.When I turn to look, he hides himself.He comes only in the nights.His dark figure, glistening white teeth, a bushy long moustache, a county cap presumably to cover his bald head are not things that make him acceptable.It is his stealth that annoys me So I hid the ink bottle in my hand and hit him hard when he appeared..That fellow screamed and there was a big furore.No one paid heed to my grouse against him or told me that he was the night security and requested to keep a watch on me.Instead they looked at me accusingly.
I overheard them talking on phone.I think they may drive me away to a place with abnormal people.They took me once and kept me there for long period..Please come early.Son says you are long dead and has hung your photo in my room..He doesn’t know you visit me often and I keep talking to you.Poor Kausalya thinks I am talking to myself while I am asleep.Let her think whatever she wants to.Do come tonight,Meenakshi and take me away with you before they take me to the despicable place.
The next morning Mahesh accompanied by Kausalya and hospital attendants entered dad’s room.He seemed fast asleep.Mahesh removed the blanket slightly and saw the old man holding his mom’s picture in tight clasp.He turned to see the empty wall.When he nudged him calling “Appa,get up.We have an appointment with doctor today” there was no response..Meenkshi had finally acceded to the old man’s request .