Yesterday at the dinner table.
It’s September 21st. It’s already the 22nd back home. I am reminiscing about that terrible night 19 years ago. The night since when a phone call from India always made me assume the worst. Because that night a phone call did convey the worst. My father was no more.
“Remember? It was around this time when the phone call came,” I tell my husband.
“You took the call in the bedroom. I was in the living room watching TV. And having dinner. I was surprised you closed the door as you spoke. You never do that. I assumed it was because the TV volume was too loud. I was watching ‘There’s Something About Mary’. I always change channels if ever it came on TV after that night.”
“When you were done with the call I asked you what it was about. You said it was a call from work. You were probably coming to grips with what you had just heard and wondering how you were going to tell me.”
He just nods again. There is a faraway look on his face. I know he can never forget that night either.
“You waited till I was done with dinner. It was rice and fried smelt. I could never eat smelt for years after that. After I was done and washed my hands, you slowly broke the news to me. What you told me sounded like the most improbable combination of words ever. It took me a while to compose them into a coherent thought. And even more time for that thought to sink in. Seems like yesterday. And they say Time heals.”
He doesn’t say anything. Silently takes my hand in his and holds it tight. I am grateful for his understanding and unspoken show of support.
I am getting pretty emotional here. I am sure it is the same for him too.
Then he speaks. “Avalkkippo padam onnum illa. Alle?” (Not many movies with her these days, huh? ) Seeing the startled look on my face, he clarifies in all earnestness. “Cameron Diaz.”
I don’t even have the heart to be mad at him.
PS: He is the most thoughtful, sensitive and understanding guy I’ve ever met. But sometimes, just sometimes, that rogue Y chromosome just gets the better of him. So I let it go.
PPS: I honestly did not get mad at him.