The rush hour traffic gets under way. I try to guess the mode of transport from the whooshing noises they make. Some pass with the least racket, while others create pandemonium in their wake. I look up the Oscar news first, or rather the dresses on the red carpet. The pretty floor length dresses elegantly draped around gym sculpted figures are a sight for sore eyes. The gentle rustling of leaves as Alfonza sweeps the driveway adds to the background sounds.
The phone starts ringing. I get there before Amma. “Is this mami?”. I don’t recognise the voice. It’s a cousin asking Amma for a loan. People who would never have dared when Achan was alive are now getting brave and hassling Amma. Family members who have succumbed to spelling mistakes during their life’s journey. That is how Sobhana chechi described it the other day. I wish it was that simple. If only things could be erased away that easily.
I don’t have much time to delve into the news stories this morning. Syam will be here soon. He arrives on time and we are on our way. Amma is joining us for part of the trip. She needs to stop at the bank. I check out the nearby store. A store selling all sorts of knickknacks. I wasn’t planning on buying anything but by the time Amma comes out, I have selected a few items and she pays for it.
Next stop my niece’s family. Little Parvathy is fast asleep. She is six months older than Lakshmi. We wait for her to wake up and try on amma’s new dress that she’s stitched for her. It fits perfectly. Amma is happy that she has recognised her. It’s been a few months since she last saw her during her Canadian visit.
We drop Amma off at Kottiyam and continue our trip on the National highway to Trivandrum. On the way we make a little detour for another visit. I still make it to Sreekaryam in plenty of time. It gives me ample time to sit and chat with Sobha. She shows me the sarees she has been embroidering. All beautifully and professionally done to a very high standard. I tuck into her homemade wine and the cake she has made for her eldest daughter’s birthday. We are still a bit early for our meeting with the boys at Trivandrum club and decide to meet up with another friend on the way.
We pass ‘Oolanpara’ on the way, a place synonymous with the psychiatric institute it houses, which has been there since before my parents were born. Sarala’s children and mum are at home. By five o’clock we reach the club. Sasi, Sajeev and Jayraj are waiting for us. Jayraj has travelled all the way from Ernakulam to meet us.
I drove past my old school, St Jude, this morning on my way to Kollam. We reminisce about our younger days. They tell me things I didn’t know and I them. We have a fun evening and I believe Sobha was glad she came as well. Vinu and Shalina brought little Madhav to the restaurant.
As I drop Sobha off at her home, a temple procession goes past complete with a dressed up elephant in tow. A perfect ending to a perfect day. A day with no spelling mistakes. It has been another day in my life to treasure.