(Disclaimer: This is a fictional account and narrated in first person to sound like an autobiographical excerpt)
(This is a continuation of Part-1)
I could hear clinging sounds from the kitchen. Mom was doing utensils.
Doing utensils or mopping floors – she performs her chores with great dedication, complete focus and an unbeatable passion. Like a dedicated sculptor.
I slid into a Neelkamal plastic chair by the kitchen entrance and was silently watching her. She threw a glance at me, raising her eyebrows enquiringly. I shrugged, conveying a 'Nothing. Just like that". She acknowledged my shrug with a nod and after adjusting her unruly hair, she shifted her focus back onto the spatula and continued scrubbing. For once, I felt she is the epitome of an untiring indian housewife.
However, there is one thing I honestly don't like about her. Her morbid obsession with nighties. Right from my birth, I have always seen her in nighties only. Her almirah has more nighties than sarees. Even dad, for whom her nightie-obsession is still a mystey, had gifted her a nightie on their wedding anniversary this year. "That's what she had asked for" I overheard him telling Krishna uncle over the phone. All my life, whenever I thought about her in my mind, or seen her in my dreams, she always shows up in a nightie. The last time I saw her dressed up in a saree was during my cousin Rajini’s wedding 8 months ago. When she is in a saree, she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. So graceful. But when she is in a nightie, doing domestic chores, she looks like a Taliban refugee.
“Amma, when will you buy me Hero Ranger amma?" I gently asked her. She is aware of my latest B-grade feat and remembers her promise very well. Until the previous day, I used to re-confirm the promise with her every now and then.
“Eat some upma Babloo.You should be very hungry. Even yesterday you didn’t eat anything except three chapathis and a banana”.
This is a universal motherhood flaw. Women think their only purpose as a mother is to feed their children. And no matter how well the children eat, they feel it inadequate. Perhaps, it’s one of their pet peeves. Incidentally, with 3 chapathis and one banana, one can easily feed atleast 10 fashion models.
“I don’t want upma Amma. Tell me when are you gonna buy me the promised Hero Ranger” I asked her with a suppressed aggression.
"Babloo, quarterly exams are no big deal ok? Get a B-grade in the final, and then we’ll see. Until then, don’t talk about hero ranger in this house" she said with a hostile glare, sticking out her index finger.
That was so unsportsmanlike of her. A shameful foul play.
Mother or father, my conscience has a zero tolerance for cheating. My sense of right and wrong is emotionally unbiased. So I got pissed off at her response.
“You are a cheater Amma. You are a chameleon!” I yelled at her and became breathless with rage.
She was silent and irritatingly unmindful of my concern. She kept hard-rubbing a stainless-steel plate with her usual passion.
My temper flared further. And when my temper flares, I have a tendency to break or destroy stuff with the closest proximity, provided it’s not mine. I jumped down in rage and forcibly kicked the plastic chair up. It was airborne for a moment and then rolled over a few feet, narrowly missing her leg.
“ABAAA!@##” I groaned loudly in pain. It was the result of a healthy palm that crash-landed on my cheek from behind. Timing-wise, it was right after I had kicked that chair. I turned around and saw a familiar man, topless, right behind me. He stood there with a half hoisted lungie, exposing his thighs. His teeth were clenched, nostrils were flaring and his hands on his hips.
I sensed an instant heat accumulation on my cheek due to the exothermic property of the slap. It also created a spinning sensation. As if I'd just got off a roller coaster. After a few seconds the heat transformed itself into a strange numbness on one side of my face.
Feeling a sudden weakness and vulnerability, with my palm still on the cheek, I looked at him. Glaring at me with reproachful eyes, he seemed he was preparing to say something.
"ROWDY RASCAL! HOW DARE YOU KICK THAT STOOL ?”
I was gasping in silence
“BLOODY IDIOT. YOU DON'T DESERVE A HERO RANGER! GET LOST IF YOU DON’T WANT TO LIVE HERE. ”
With a traumatized soul, and the numbness and warmth still fresh on my cheek, I turned around to give a quick self-sympathatic glance at mom expecting some consolation.
“ENOUGH?” she nodded, staging a cold sarcasm.
Mom’s indifference was a bolt from the blue. Words failed me. With tears in my eyes, I ran across the living room. Opened the shoe rack and hastily wore my white-blue hawaii chappal. Then I ran out the main door, down the apartment staircase, like a woman running away from her drunken boyfriend after an attempted rape.
After a few moments, silence filled the house, except the distant sound of street dogs barking at each other.