Your best friends wife is your friend too
A week before, my friend from the US called me and gave me the schedule.
Basically I had to receive his wife, six months kid, his in-law and their luggage (six heavy bags) at 2 AM and then put the luggage in the cloak room, take them home, feed them. Then move on to confirm the in-laws open ticket from Hyderabad to Vizag at 5:30 AM. Then take them back to the airport, get the luggage from the cloak room, check them in and call my friend to let him know that everything went fine.
Now, the ToDoListDude inside my mind got very excited with such a hectic ToDoList and started running through it repeatedly.
I woke up at 1 AM and found my allInOneSreenu blissfully sleeping on the
floor. I got maha Jealous. So I woke him up.
Make some coffee for me. We are going to the airport now. I told him
I bet he must be thinking that that must be a bad dream. For him, unfortunately it wasnt.
It went actually very well. Check out was smooth. My friends wife M, in law and the six months baby. She emerged out with a huge ear to ear smile. You look exactly the same. She exclaimed.
(She had put on some weight, to which I agreed).
No, actually I got a little bald. I bent my head to show her.
You aint seen my husband and my brother lately. They are clean. You are way better. She said.
Then the inevitable.
How is my kid?
Thank God, he looks like his father. I teased her.
I think the kid got scared or may be a mosquito bit him or may be he just felt like, but he started a marathon crying session. She got a little embarrassed.
I took them home. She admired the little Krishna on my TV. She admired the TV as an after thought. She checked out the bedroom, bathroom and the other bedroom. She pointed out to a blue checks towel and said, So, you are still using it?. I admitted.
I switched on the AC and we all sat down. The kid was still crying.
She gave him an 8ml Tylenol. His dose is 4ml. But we need to double it tonight. She thought aloud.
Suddenly the kid started laughing. Dont worry he does that occasionally. She said.
I thought I will stick to my grounds of just looking at the kid instead of trying to understand him. Apart from the kids occasional burst, it was silent and calm. There was a pause. An awkward pause.
I think the fact that she is back in India and she doesnt have to worry about the luggage and check out and check in and all this stuff, suddenly relieved her. She started talking.
A lot of stuff. How happy she felt when she discovered she was pregnant. How worried she was about her weight because of her thyroid. How the kid was delivered prematurely. On and on and on to how the kid puked on their family doctor and on and on. I wasnt even looking at her. I was thinking about the rest of the ToDoList, occasionally poking the kid around his navel.
She suddenly felt nostalgic. So, how about you? Are you still doing that? Are you still doing this? Is that still your favourite song? Remember how we used to that? Remember how we used to and on and on.
I was surprised at how much she knew about me and how much of it she still remembers.
She suddenly announced. I am so happy to see you again.
It suddenly appeared to me that, she is actually happy to see me again.
I realized that I am her friend. She cares about me and she remembers a lot about me.
To me, she is my friends wife. I dont even know her full name. To me she was a task. A payback to my friend.
I realized how hard I try to bury my past. I buried it so deep all these days. Strangely I was suddenly filled with the past. The past I thought I buried and forgot.
I remembered how her husband was excited the first time he called her from the US. (Match was settled after a photo exchange). The pre marriage excitement. Arrival of the couple. How we teased her all night. The number of weekend trips we all went out. How I used to pull her hair or unclip her clip from the hair or pull her chunni. Movies we all went to. I can just go on and make this paragraph as big as possible. It was a full three and half years.
Now it makes sense. But I never realized that. To me she was always my friends wife.
I just stayed calm looking at the kid.
Its better for us to get some sleep. I need to get up early to confirm the ticket. I said.
No, no, lets talk. Its been such a long time. I dont know when we are going to meet again. She said.
But the ToDoListDude already took over me. No, certainly not. Its better for you too to get some sleep.
I will sleep in the hall. I will go and confirm the ticket. I will wake you up at 8 AM. We can leave at 9:15 after the breakfast. I said.
She reluctantly agreed. I tried to get some sleep. But suddenly there was a power cut. With the mosquitoes buzzing around, I slipped into the past again. Power came back after ten minutes.
But inside the bedroom, they need to switch on the AC manually (AC is connected to a stabilizer) . I wondered if she can figure that out. She didnt. I could listen to them fiddling with the switches and getting clueless about why the AC was not on.
Welcome to India. I thoughtfully left them to chance and slipped back to my trance.