The phone rings. Mrs. Padma Suresh picks up the cordless receiver and sees the caller ID and takes the call. It is from her daughter Shreya.
Mrs. Padma Suresh (PS): Hello, today my leg pain has returned with a fury. I just finished cooking and not able to stand also. I was better when I walked to the temple today all the way and back.
Shreya (S): Oh oh! Why…
PS: Just spoke to Lakshmi about an Ayurveda doctor. It seems his medicines are very good. Anyway I have started on the medicine given by the ortho specialist. The pain subsides for few minutes only, but. God knows if the doctor is good.
S: Give hot water massage and………
PS: Yeah, I did that yesterday before going to the jewelry shop. You know I gave my ruby necklace for repair. New one, it broke.
S: I didn’t know you bought one.
PS: Oh! Two months back. Oh yes…yesterday I ordered for a ring…4 gms. But while sweeping it hurts….. So after few days I will remove it anyway.
S: I thought you had a maid.
PS: Maids…bah! They take my life out. Give them money and suffer because of them.
S: At least you can rest a while.
PS: Maids are for lazy people. They demand too much. Rs. 400 a month for washing vessels. I could save that amount for few months and buy a jewel instead. Oh! My paining leg. I think I should see a neurologist next.
Did you finish cooking?
S: Yes yes I finished just now. I made……..
PS: What will you make? A sambar and one vegetable. Not like me. I used to make sambar or something gravy, 2 vegetables and rasam every day. We ate very well and I still cook like that. You people are lazy. Eat well so that you will have a worry-free healthy body later.
S: Children are busy with exams.
PS: Let them study, let them study. As for you, don’t waste time doing your office work. Pray every day. Are you reciting the sloka I wrote down for you last month when I came there? Recite that 24 times every day. Only then children will study.
S: They are working hard…..
PS: They may………. but how do you think you people got good marks. I used to recite the same sloka 1000 times a day. Where ever I was, whatever I was doing I went on reciting the sloka. You may have studied hard but it is the sloka which did its magic.
S: How is father?
PS: What for him? He is hale and hearty. It is me who is suffering with leg and knee pain. See my leg is swollen at the ankle. I am not able to go anywhere outside. How I used to walk to temples every day, such long distances. I used to take half an hour last year, now I think I will take even 2 hours for same distance.
S: You should have avoided all that…………..
PS: Hush! If I did not walk, I have to spend on auto rickshaw or bus or spend on petrol for car and driver salary.
S: You could have used transport, your leg would have been okay.
PS: Forget it I will be better soon. I have to become better to attend Savitha’s wedding. I am planning to wear the silk sari I bought last month. My latest. It is a beautiful orange colour sari with dark blue border. You know I bought raw silk cloth for the blouse. Quite expensive but will look beautiful and make the sari more attractive.
S: Oh good!
PS: Should ask the maid next door to do the cleaning for that day. But that woman will ask for 50 rupees. No other go, have to give her and get the work done.
PS: By the way, the priest from Vellore came. I gave him 5000 rupees donation for some puja. God knows how much he will pocket and how much will go for the puja. But I have to give for such donations so that our family health, wealth gets better.
Yesterday night, I dreamt of a cow giving birth to a calf. I think someone in our family will be blessed with a child soon.
S: Oh mother, all our families are full with 2 each. Please shift your dreamworks to some other family please.
PS: You people are always critical of whatever I say. Why did I order that ring yesterday, you know?
I saw the design in my dream and I was praying to Swami Ayyappa. Maybe the lord wants me to come to his temple at Sabarimala. That is my next venture.
S: Mom, first please make your leg alright. Then think about travel. Two days back only, you returned from Tirupati.
PS: Don’t talk in the negative to me. You are all spoil sports. Ok, shall I put the phone down.
S: I have to go to school to pick up…………
S: Oh Man! Same every day. But still have to call, otherwise I will get scolded for that too. (sigh)
Pothi.com’s Note: Shamila Janakiraman has published her collection of short stories through Pothi.com. The books is available in print and e-book formats at the links below
Also check out “Just Retired” by Amar Agarwala