Right from the day I could remember, my father had worked and lived in a different city. Then he kinda moved to a different world. Yeah, I know. Life is a box of chocolates - if you are diabetic. So, it had been we kids and our mother always. Initially we lived with our mother. And now she lives with us - one son at
a time. She isn't the dominating type. But she has idiosyncrasies that can annoy people. Somebody has to tell her that if one is seventy years old and has two hundred book covers worth Bournvita packet tin foil, then it is time to let go. The government has to put a wealth tax on such people. Maybe, then they will give back to the society, or the landfill. Hoarding is a habit of people born in famished India of fifties, I think.
'Not really.' My wife tells from the back of my shoulder and points to the pile of old visiting cards.
'They are my index cards. I jot my ideas, lines.' I say.
'If you are forty and..', she stops midway. The hanging sentence can be a comment on my potential or inventory. I wait expectantly to hear her pronounce the judgement.
'I am just saying..', she starts again.
A line crystallizes in the back of my head - When they want to come out and just say they invariably prefix 'I am just saying'. I know it needs work. But it is promising. I take out the visiting card.
'See! I am telling you something and you are not even listening. Just like your mother!' Her sound hits the high decibels. I note that down too - 'her sound hits the high decibels' part. There is an uncomfortable silence in the house.
'There is so much clutter! Visiting cards, receipts, bills, bank statements all because they are empty on one side...',
She starts after fifteen minutes.
'I will throw some stuff out.' I offer.
'I will make us some tea.' She gets up and goes to kitchen.
I think we have made our peace unless it turns out that we had made just tea. I take out my visiting card again.
'She definitely has good qualities too. But I am just saying...', She starts as she gives me the tea.
But we miss her. Just like her presence was felt in the increase of tin foil packets at home, her absence is felt too. T.shirts go from clothesline to collar bone missing the cupboard completely. Water bottles are empty when you are thirsty. Phone bills remain pretty much the same though. She calls us more often than we do.
'It is not her birthday!' My consience objects as I finish the post.
'I will change it. How about - Happy birth month, Mom?' I ask
'It's not her birth month either.' My conscience says.
'Will you let me finish my post? How do you know it anyway?' I shout.
'I don't know for sure. But the odds are pretty low - one over three sixty five and one over twelve.'
'Okay!Okay. I sold out my mom for a post. I had not posted anything for long.' I say.
'You had made two posts last week. That's more than what you have done last month.' Blogger counters.
I am trapped. I decide to come clean. I take a deep breath.
'Do you see the title?', I ask.
'Well.. It's provoking. Some may even say it's cute' My ego joins the conversation.
'Yeah! I have lots of visiting cards. And two three cute lines in each of them!'
'So?' Blogger questions.
'Don't you see? They don't come together. They don't make a post. They just fill up visiting cards and my wife is complaining of clutter! I am forty and...', I try to cry and fail. It is a biological disadvantage of being man.
'I even thought of tweeting away some of them, I am just saying.' I said.
'You cheated on me!' Blogger is furious.
'I came back to you. Didn't I? I even found a style of writing! String of pearls - connect cute lines in a perfunctory narrative.' I said.
'Well they are more like string of shit.' Blogger is still miffed.
'It's OK. I will work on it. For now, I just want a string of something. That's all.' I said.
That and some more visiting cards.