Since my mother got the Jio simcard, she has been ringing up all the surviving relatives in my clan. Thankgod Jio hasn’t incorporated Ouija board services yet, or my goddamn fossilized ancestors would have been tossing and turning in their graves, describing to my mother the weather of the heavens. I thought I was saved, but then, Vodafone fucked my ass by exempting roaming charges for incoming calls. The two stupid decisions taken by business monsters in the AC chambers of their high towers screwed up my day. My mother called.
“Happy Diwali, again! “She squealed.
“Maa, you called seventeen minutes ago! “I said, trying my best to sound pleased.
“Are you bored? Is there a girl in your life? Is this why you so desperately wanted to get to Delhi? ”
Well, kind of. But you don’t say that to my mother.
“No. I was just saying that it’s been…”
“Your father got girlfriends in Bangalore, by the way. ”
Ah! Here she goes again! Do all kids have to act like marriage counsellors for their parents?
“Are you sure they are not just MALE colleagues, like the last time?”
“Last time was a mistake, okay. How was I supposed to know Harpreet was a man? I mean it’s not like they have gender-based names. But I saw it this time with my own eyes. A lady. That. Old. Bitch. ”
“Language, Maa! ”
“Sorry. But she’s goddamn old. And she is no pretty. Wears that Potteryboy type glasses. ”
“Harry Potter. “I corrected.
“Stop being a fusspot! “She was irked, “They are planning a reunion. I feel like running away with a driver or something. ”
“What! “A scream escaped my throat. My father is a gold medalist, but to be honest, he’s too dumb to have an extramarital affair. My mother is great at exaggerating. All because of goddamn tv soaps. If I was made the prime minister, I’d lock those soap writers in Tihad.
“Don’t you think I’m better? “She asked, as if on the verge of tears.
“Yes. Absolutely. That bitch shall be burnt in hell. We’ll do something. ”
“Yes. And don’t insult a woman. ”
“Sorry. “I said, rolling my eyes.
“What happened? ”
“Nothing. I was in the kitchen and he was in the study, immersed in files, like always. I texted him, thrice, to get me a few newspapers from the shelf. He didn’t. So I went there, found him smiling at his phone. That smile, I tell you, I hadn’t seen that for decades. I took his phone and there was this girl, Anuradha. I was so shattered. It’s his time to have pension or something, not an affair. ”
“Calm down, maa! Now, what did he say? Who’s she? ”
“A college friend. And they’re having a reunion. God! Somebody give me rat-poison! ”
“Hold on! Maybe he’s telling you the truth. Maybe she really is a college friend. Maybe it’s really just a reunion where they have tea and Marie gold and discuss their child-insurance-plans. ”
“Really? Is that possible? ”
“I don’t know. Your father is acting weird these days. He was looking all around the house for the pen that lay in his pocket all that time. ”
“What does that prove? “I asked, horrified.
“That he’s having an affair? ”
“Do they sell you cocaine in yoga classes ?”
“Now don’t go technical with me son. What’s a cocaine?”
“Nothing. Look, you have to trust your husband. I mean it has been twenty years now. ”
“Why don’t you just take my side and accept that….”
“Okay. Okay. Okay. Can I talk to my father? ”
She took an eternity to reply.
“Okay. But don’t switch sides. You’re in my team. ”
We are not playing soccer here, Maa, I wanted to say. I didn’t.
“Hey. “My father said. He is so generous and sweet. A goddamn lamppost can have an affair, but not him.
“You got a girlfriend. ”
“At my age, all you get is hypertension, son. I used to, but they weren’t half as pretty as your mother. “He spoke the last sentence in whispers.
“Okay. This Anuradha. ”
“Oh my God! How far has your mother exaggerated? ”
“Miles and Miles. ”
“We are having a college reunion. Dozens of us. Okay? And I was talking to her in a group chat! ”
I believed him.
“What’s the thing with pen? Are you okay? ”
“I wasn’t in the best of my moods. I had just finshed wiping every single jar till they were glossing like your Nanaji’s head. Your mother makes me do that. That’s not why I piled up degrees. ”
General information :- we have around 200 Jars.
“Did you talk to him? “My mother asked an hour later.
“Yes. “I said.
“Well, you’ll have to arrange a driver I guess. “I exhaled. She was quiet for half a minute, her silence like the prelude of a Tsunami.
“I have another plan. “She said.
And so I rolled my eyes and listened to the most flawless plan in the history of mankind, wondering if my mother was an undercover agent in 1940s.
Damn the Jio!