Long line at security. End of the day. End of the year. People rushing to catch a flight to be home Christmas Eve.late and in a hurry. One little girl. A child with special needs. Anyone could see that. The mongloidism . The drool. But lovingly held. Held by a mother . Till they reached security. Where a guard wants to frisk them. Seperately. The wail of a child in the unfamiliar. Being isolated from the only familiar in sight. With an irate next in line telling them to hurry. At that moment euthanasia was a viable option. So that the gaurd and the irate passenger would not have to worry about doing their job or being late again. Ever.
If you have to ask you'll never know ! [L.Armstrong]... thats Louis not Lance.
Dec 25, 2016
There was a box at the foot of the neighbourhood Crib. For people to put old clothes into. Clothes they didn't fit into anymore. Clothes that were taking up more space in valuable real estate than they were worth. They caught a thief on their way back from midnight mass. Trying to steal stuff from the box. Which was filled to overflowing. The building watchman slapped him around. Then handed him over to the passing police jeep. How dare he steal from things that were meant for distribution to the poor and the underprivileged !
One little girl waiting for her daddy to come home. Home for Christmas. After being away for so long. And so far away . On an oil field in the gulf where even the mobile signal didn't reach. He called from the big town when he reached there. The first leg of his journey back . Six thousand kilometres. One helicopter, two planes and one taxi ride. He bought the biggest teddy bear the airport gift shop had. It would be bigger than her. The only place in the cab for the teddy bear was the front seat. The familiar landmarks going past in a blur. The last turn that brought him to the building gate. The cries from the window with the only lights on in the building this late. He got his bags out . She'd reached the gate. Is this the little girl I carried ? An hour later he remembered the teddy bear. Long gone with the cab. "It doesn't matter Daddy I'm to old to play with teddy bears anyway." She was right. He was wrong. The teddy bear wouldn't have been half as big as her.
Dec 19, 2016
Divali was good for business. Christmas was better. Everyone wanted their house painted. Their furniture polished. He understood surge pricing without knowing he did. But surge pricing didn't apply to old customers. Whose walls he'd painting thru weddings and first communions. Thru first wives and second. Why did the second never like the colours the first had ? Whether the first was departed or just distanced, the second always changed the colours. He knew the colours people would ask for before they did. The office goers wanted white. The shippies blue. The bankers a touch of green, when their wives allowed them. He liked painting the children's rooms the best. When their parents allowed them to choose the colour. Didn't happen often. Most times the kids were shortchanged. Old peoples colours with young persons curtains and cushions. They'd been trying to have a child for so long. So many IUI's and IVFs . Novenas and grapefruit . Both guaranteed to leave you with child. One worked. Neither of them was sure which did. Quiet joy over seeing a squiggle on an X-ray. On hearing a heartbeat within her that wasn't hers. The baby was due December. The 20th. Booties and baby dresses. Nappies and bonnets . Advice from her mother and mother in law. Eat this, don't eat that, sit like this. It's surely a boy I know. Looks at the way she's walking. When you're expecting a girl the walk is different. It's surely going to be a girl. An expectant mother only glows like that when its a girl. No they didn't want to know what it was. And the doctor didn't tell them. She came on Christmas Day. To a room the nurses had decorated. With thermocole angels and cotton snowmen. He called him to tell- him the room had to be painted. And she came home to her room . The room that he had done having worked three days nonstop. He walked home carrying ladder, empty paint tins and washed clean brushes. Smelling of turpentine and polish. Wearing the pink splotch on his shirt like the badge of honour that it was.
Every year the kids would come around . Singing carols with guitars and tambourines. Every year he scowled at them. What was there to be so happy about ? Christmas came . Christmas went. Life went on. He still had to deal with the cold. Which made his aching bones ache even more. He still had to deal with the kachrawalla and the phone walla and the postman. Demands for baksheesh were in triple digit inflation. He still had to spend money for the cousins who thought visiting him was an act of charity. He had to manage without the maid who would want Christmas Day off. The damn carollers were proclaiming peace on earth and goodwill to men. They we're singing Silent night which woke the cranky baby next door. Next year he'd pretend to not be at home. The year went slowly. Not much to do when all you have to worry about is yourself. When your only social outing is to the doctor. When the only visitor you get is the maid. The obituaries were more interesting than Modi's demonetisation. Trump or Clinton it didn't make a damn of a difference to his rapidly increasing incontinence. The month of May was just more noise. More noise of children who played noisily. Just outside his window. Couldn't their parents keep a hold on them. Divali brought even more noise. Soon it was turning cold again. A notice near the stairs told him the carollers would be visiting the road on the 22nd. 8 p.m. He closed the windows at 7.30. Had his soup and chappati and turned the lights out. Sat in his bed. Needed to go to the toilet. Couldn't put the lights on. That would give the game away .Then he'd have to put something into the carollers box. Headed to the toilet in the dark. Tripped over the bathroom mat in the dark. Cracked his head on the edge of the basin. The carollers sang for two masses on the 24th. One at midnight and an earlier one at which they outnumbered the mourners.