When someone visits their mother’s home, they expect everything to remain the same. It’s a bittersweet pleasure to walk though the rooms where you grew up, to touch the scarred furniture and breathe in peace and familiarity. I almost forgot, one would also expect the parents to essentially remain the same, baring a few signs of aging. Preferably still lucid and intelligent, too.
After a nostalgic evening with all the trimmings of food and memories and a peaceful slumber, I woke up to bright sunshine, looking forward to yet another VDay. As I stood in the kitchen, contemplating the degree of my laziness in preparing the coffee, my mom bustled in and waved me off with “Go, sleep for some more time or watch T.V, I’ll get you the coffee”.
I stood there with tears of gratitude in my eyes at the thought of how wonderful she was… How caring she was… how insane she was! My mom, my sane, sensible mom, had the kitchen window open, and was leaning over the counter-top, peering out and talking to- Nobody!
Her actions would make sense if our kitchen window faced the home of a neighbor, in which case I would assume she was talking to someone. But unless the straight-laced employees in the two floor bank next to my home plundered the contents of the vaults, sold the building and someone else built a 4 floor home, there was no one to talk to!
But then she wasn’t talking, was she? She was cooing and hiccupping. It sounded like a cross between scared rats and crazy birds.
“Amma…” I asked, hesitantly, in case I set her off, flapping through the window.
“Amma, what are you doing?”
Now I was getting desperate. "MOM?!"
“Do you see that food?” she says, pointing to the ledge. “It’s still there!”
At which point I lean over the counter, just like her and peep out. And sure enough, (thank God!) there is some dried bread and weird looking brown strips there.
“What is that?”
“It’s the food I left out. That stupid squirrel is still not eating! I made the ‘puris’ especially for him! Poor thing! I don’t know where he is!”
Here I thought the puris were on my honor!