Amma’s house slippers and the wooden moth balls that Lakshmi likes to find and play with when she is in our house greet me as I open the door. The silence hits me next. I am back home after dropping Lakshmi off. It will be the first weekend in awhile that the house is empty.
It’s been a week of mixed feelings. Amma’s last week before she leaves for Home. Sunday was the only whole day I got to spend with her before she left. It turned out to be a baking hot day and we stayed in. Amma was in her element, cooking, tidying up, helping with the gardening and even offering to iron all our washed holiday clothes. I had to draw the line somewhere. The neighbours might have wondered what sort of person I was getting my mum to tidy the garden while I tried to keep an eye on Lakshmi. Lakshmi normally likes to help us pick the fallen leaves and run around in the garden, but on this occasion, she decided that she wanted to go to the shops and off she went.
The fridge was filled with food for the week. The clothes which I couldn’t wear anymore have all been altered so that they fit me again. I’ve decluttered my wardrobe. Amma has also helped me declutter my mind. Subtle words of advice which she offered to herself was enough to help me as well.
Then the clouds set in. The heat finally got to me. The muzzy head brought on by a combination of migraine, exhaustion and dehydration came on the wrong day. I had tickets to see the musical ‘Hamilton’ on Wednesday. Tickets, I bought in January. A sold out critically acclaimed, multi award winning show which they had added more dates to. I read up the storyline and got myself ready to watch the show. The story of Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of the US of A explained through a multitude of songs as the actors danced and enacted their way through the scenes. I followed the story, but couldn’t enjoy the show like the rest of the audience as they cheered the actors after each scene. It took me another day to get rid of the fog in my head.
Two and half months, the longest I have spent with Amma since leaving home all those years ago. A summer I will cherish. The day finally came for her to leave. I hope she will change her mind and visit us often, but her heart is back home and I suppose I’m expecting too much.
“Heaven is here on this earth for people who can see it”, Dip Mukherjee, my surgical colleague, reminds me, when I tell him about the joy I get from looking after Lakshmi. “It certainly is”, I agree. She is not here to help me get through this weekend, but maybe ‘Mamma Mia, part 2’ might. I will have to brush up on my ABBA songs first. Let’s see, but first there is a wedding party to go to tonight.