“Ah, why am I late? Well, in fact, there is a very interesting story behind that. But, do you think we have the time of that now? Oh, we do, is it? We have time for a long story, but we don’t have time for me being late by a few minutes, is it? Ok, I see how it is. Well fine, I will tell you the story.
Long, long ago before there was anything, Father time had just begun seeing Mother space. They had decided to go on a date that day. This was before they had moved in together and Father time still lived at his own place. Father time was very different then, not the busy, bossy, no-fun time we know now. He was young and relaxed. He had flowing black hair that needed a lot of care to style. And so by the time he took a nice long shower, styled his hair, picked out his outfit, and reached the venue of their date Mother space had been waiting for what seemed a very long time to her.
“You are late!” She shouted when she saw Father time. Continue reading
“No, no, no…” Kavita screamed as she opened her eyes and planted her legs on the floor with force. He feet were glad to touch the threadbare living room carpet. She could feel her fingernails digging into the varnish of the sofa. She looked at the balcony, not that she wanted to. Her neck just seemed to turn on its own. The balcony was empty. An angry orange sun was setting below the railing of the balcony. She forced herself to look away. To look at her son.
Her five-year-old son was staring at her with wide eyes. His lips were puckered up, his chin ready to quiver. He was leaning against the coffee table to support himself.
Kavita’s hand trembled as it rose towards him, “I am just afraid for him…” she told herself. She pulled Ravi into an embrace. “Did I scare you? I am sorry…” she whispered as she kissed his forehead, “Don’t be afraid.” She was not sure to whom she said that.
“The police inspector is at the door…” Ravi said in a small voice. Continue reading
Are you asking for Mother?
Well, you won’t find her here. You can search all you want.
Go look into her closet that smells of rotten berries and starch.
Raze her bed; raze it off the sickly sweet whiff that permeates from the sheets.
Take a peek inside the kitchen; you won’t witness her breaking that soft loaf of bread,
Her ample behind busying itself around the kitchen, fretting over the crumbs, a sweet song lilting off her luscious lips while her legs tiptoe in a light tread.
You won’t find her here, just like the cops didn’t.
What happened to Mother, you ask?
Oh that’s easy, she ate herself into a tizzy and then dissolved in a whirlpool of pity.
Do you think I am joking, about my own Mother?
Oh, you didn’t see what I saw?
And you didn’t do what Father did?
At first, it was the song that perished on her lips. It died, died in her tongue because she bit it enough to bleed and burn.
I yawned at the arrival terminal of the international airport, trying to open my mouth as wide as the gates. It was a Sunday morning and I was at the airport to receive Ria aunty. There should be a law about not allowing relatives to travel on Sundays. I made a mental note to start an online petition for a such a law. I half-heartedly held up the homemade sign that read “Ria aunty” in glaring pink letters, that my sister had made. You see, I hadn’t met Ria aunty. Of course my mother said I had, at a wedding when I was five. But, I don’t remember it, the most I can recall is a silk saree clad wall of fat lumbering over to pull my cheeks until they turned red and tousle my hair. There might have been a bear hug that engulfed me in a cloud of cheap perfume and almost made me faint. I decided I had repressed the memory on purpose and didn’t dwell on it further.
The flight was announced and there was the usual flurry of people exiting the airport, but there was no sign of Ria aunty. As the last people from the plane left I felt my heart lighten. Maybe Ria aunty had suffered a heart attack, ok that was harsh, maybe she had just fractured her hip, whatever the reason was she was not here and that meant one less thing to take care of for the occasion. I turned around to leave when I heard the slow creaking of a wheelchair. Two of the airport staff emerged, one pushing a mound of luggage and the other pushing a figure in a wheelchair. I bit my tongue as I realised the figure in the wheelchair was Ria aunty. She was well dressed but looked pale almost like a wax statue. I felt sad for having thought so ill of her. I promised myself to strive to be a better person. I walked towards Ria aunty. Continue reading
I was born late. I mean I stuck around mother’s womb a week or two, just to float listlessly in that rapidly constricting sack of amniotic fluid and critically analyze my life choices.
Which pretty much set my life’s precedent for the next thirty-five years. I don’t remember a single day at school when I wasn’t late. And I can’t forget my graduation day where my shame faced dad had to go up there on the stage and collect my certificate. I mean it wasn’t really my fault; I had to stop the traffic outside my college to let a family to turtles cross the road.
Or the fateful day I almost got married. I turned up after the guests had left and found my fiancé, Dan, busy doggy styling the wedding planner. Well, all I have to say is that when celebrating your Bachelorette the night before your wedding, never start a bar brawl with another woman who had come for her own Bachelorette. It is like a gang war between two families of hyenas; too much screaming, manic laughter and too little punches.
My only consolation was that I had messed up her nose as bad as she’d messed up my marriage.
But that’s not what this story is about. Definitely not about my life choices when I was alive. This is a story about what happened when I died, and died late at that.
You see I had just turned thirty-five when I walked in late to the altar of our summer wedding, and found out that all the prospects of a happy marriage had upped and left, but not before sampling the hors d’oeuvres.
The last ten years flashed before my eyes as I stood staring at the empty church. Every single bad date I had ever had, belched at me, and all those credit card receipts for premium membership of dating services, danced naked before my eyes.
The thought of having to go back to the Tinders and Ashley Madisons of the world; and having to sign up again, made me groan so hard that my heart stopped several beats. The next thing I remember was standing in room #13 of Chicago general hospital, and watching a hot doctor with an ass straight out of heaven, resuscitating me.
“I thought Labradors are the best therapy animals “, I said as I stirred a cup of tea that I had made for my visitor; one that I did not quite enjoy a visit from. Not because he wasn’t easy on the eye, it was because every single time he walked through the threshold of my door, he carried bad, terrible, unsavoury and in this case, positively damning news.
“Labradors are on the brink of extinction, Thanks to another breed of cannibalistic canines, who deemed Labradors, a delicacy.” He spat out, and if looks could kill, they would’ve; but thanks to my completely oblivious attention span, I was busy trying to throw a badminton racquet at my seven year old, who had suddenly decided it would be fun to slide down the railing and not take the steps.
“Mom, where’s my Loreal ultra soft moisturising tick and flea shampoo?” Screamed my fourteen years old daughter, from her room.
“It is in your bathroom, right next to your fur conditioner, that cost me my monthly salary and the perfume, that made me want to give up my first born.” I shouted back as I sipped my tea.
“Can you come and give it to me, please?” She said.
I swear to God, if I hadn’t turned almost vegan a year ago, I would’ve eaten my own progeny. Forget Labradors, nothing tastes better than chewing your own flesh and blood.
Norman stood outside his mother’s room. He sighed and balanced the tray in his hand, he had made all her favorites, pancakes, sunny-side up eggs, and freshly squeezed orange juice. He knocked on the door.
“Come in” his mother’s hoarse voice shouted.
Norman entered the room and placed the tray on his mother’s bed, across her lap.
“About damn time. What is this breakfast or brunch?” Mother hissed at him, “ I thought you had forgotten about me.”
“Sorry mother, I had to go out to get the oranges, we ran out of them.”
“This is why I tried all my life to teach you discipline. God knows I tried. You used to be better when I could get out of bed and whoop your sorry ass.” Mother took a sip of the orange juice, “ and you still cannot choose ripe oranges. What am I going to do with you?”
Norman stared at his feet. He had to hold both his hands to keep them from shivering. His mouth was dry. He tried to lick his lips but there was no moisture in his mouth. Breakfast was the best time to tell mother. She would only grow grumpier through the day. And he had been wanting to say this for a while now.
“Mother…” he whispered. She did not hear him and continued eating the pancakes.
“Mother, I have decided to leave,” he said as if testing her hearing. Continue reading