Monday, April 18, 2011

The inconsequential ding

Wts up?

About time, Abhijeet thought. He was growing weary of the unfamiliar portal. He was the kind who preferred phone calls to mind numbing Internet chatter. But he had long since realised this was the first step to getting to know her and thus had resorted to it. And hence, he had decided to dedicate an entire evening to chat with her.

He cracked his knuckles while he waited for her response. He took a long swig from the half consumed cola bottle and looked to his left. Aai was busy washing the lunch boxes for the next day. He frowned at the sight and deciphered what it meant - the maid had decided to do a bunk again. 

The doorbell rang, but the door wasn't locked. Baba walked in, shutting and bolting the door behind him as he entered. He carefully replaced his chappals on the shoe rack. A pair of sneakers strewn on the floor haphazardly caught his eye. He mumbled to himself as he picked them up gingerly and stuffed them in the rack.

Abhijeet watched Baba's antics all along. He loved Baba for simple man he was. He was nearly fifteen years older than Aai, but that hadn't prevented him from treating her like a queen. Abhijeet was proud testimony of their unconditional love. Baba ruffled Abhijeet's hair when he passed him, saying softly to himself: Sirjee is studying. We'll disturb him later.

Abhijeet felt a pang of guilt. Nevertheless, he maximised the chat screen. His heart fell. Still no reply.

u der? 

Now Baba had changed to his baniyan-lungi and reached the kitchen. Abhijeet silently watched as he wrestled the dish wash brush out of Aai's hand.

'Nai Shubha! Main karoonga!' he said forcefully. Aai knew better than to argue when her husband raised his voice. She smiled gratefully and stood by the kitchen door, watching him work.

Abhijeet was virtually beaming now. He wondered why he hadn't noticed these diminutive gestures of affection before. 

Aai began to complain about how the maid hadn't turned up for the third time in the week. Ungrateful minx, she called her. Baba chuckled. Aai, motivated by Baba, cursed her more. Aai's intense dislike for the maid seemed to amuse Baba more and more and his laughter grew louder. Abhijeet was thoroughly enjoying himself now.

And then Baba choked. And tears filled his eyes. The laughter turned into uncontrollable coughing. Aai rushed to where Baba stood and stroked his back. Abhijeet flew off his chair, looking worried. 

But the cough was gone as soon as it had come. Baba panted and heaved, gripping Aai's arm firmly. He looked up to see a worried Abhijeet standing rooted to his spot in the hall. He lips curled into a faint smile.

'Nalayak!' he said. 'Thought I'd die laughing at your Aai's poor joke?'

Aai playfully hit Baba, her flushed face lit with relief. Abhijeet joined his father in the laughter. 


Abhijeet looked down at the monitor to see his chat window flashing.

Hiee Abhi!!!
Wt u upto?

Sanya had finally replied. Abhijeet stared hard at the monitor. And he looked back into the kitchen. Now Aai and Baba were hunched together, washing the boxes. 

Earlier that evening, he'd decided to dedicate the evening to Sanya. Someone whom he merely shared with a 'Hi-Bye' relationship. Ironically, here were two people who had dedicated their lives to him and not once had it crossed his mind that he must act, feel or give mutually in return the very same.

He smiled as he typed out a hasty goodbye to Sanya and hardly felt guilty. After all, it was an inconsequential ding.


Specially dedicated to Anna and Amma, the superheroes in my life :)