Best father

I waited until Aparna slept and then got up from her bed. I was beginning to get a headache and I needed to take my shower. I opened my cupboard to get change of cloths and I remembered Liza. Her classes will start in few weeks time and I really needed to get her some new cloths. Even if I don’t spend any money in July, I still won’t have enough money to buy her new dresses. What am I going to do? Would Maria give me some money? Not likely. After the way I told George off, there was no way Maria would even talk to me.
My only hope was Appa. But would he send some dresses for Liza. The answer to that was simple. No, he won’t send. Liza refused to write or speak to him since going to Chikmagalur and Appa isn’t someone who forgives easily.
May be I should visit Appa. He won’t tell me not to buy dresses for myself. I just have to buy dresses a size bigger and it would fit Liza. But how was I going to do it? My part 1 internal exams will start in three weeks. There was no way I could skip the exam and I had not prepared for the exam either.
I checked the time. It was 3.45. Appa should be home. I remembered the last time I called Appa’s home. A woman answered the phone. Her voice shook the foundation of my dream castle. I knew Appa wouldn’t be a saint. But I always had hope. I always believed one day everything would be fine. I still do. what if she picks up the phone? I didn’t want to talk to her. Why should I talk to her? My mother is my father’s legal wife and why should I talk to a woman who has no qualms about sleeping with a man who has a wife and four daughters?
But more than that I was afraid if I was betraying my mother by talking to my father’s mistress. How can a daughter do that? Which self respecting daughter would speak to her father’s mistress?
I felt so tired. I leaned on my cupboard door. I realized that my destiny was completely messed up. Here I am, I have a father, a real father, yet I couldn’t call him wihtout worrying about who is going to pick up the phone. I took the bucket and the towel and opened the door slowly and walked towards the bathroom. There was hot water in the tank, but I wanted to take a cold shower.
I closed my eyes and stood under the shower. The water was cold, almost like the water in Chengannur house.
I could see myself when I visited Chengannur house with my parents and my sisters when I was 9 years old. Liza was 5 years old. That was the first time Ammachi allowed me to draw the water from the well using the bucket. I waited so long to be allowed to draw the water from the well. Until then only Maria was allowed to draw the water and she never let me play with her.
The first time I pulled the bucket up, I only managed to get 1/4 bucket of water because most of it spilled when the bucket hit the side of the well. But it felt heavenly when I poured that cold water on my leg. It felt so good to finally grow big enough to draw the water from the well.
Liza too wanted to play with me and I didn’t want her to. I waited so long for this moment and I wanted to cherish it, not share it. But I remembered how it felt to sit on the kitchen floor and watch my oldest sister having fun and not being allowed to share that fun. So I let Liza join me and together we splashed water on each other. Eventually Appa too joined us and he started to chase us around the well with the bucket and douse us with water. I remembered the happiness on Liza’s face. I could still see the sour face of Maria, standing near the kitchen door and watching Appa and us playing and having fun. I remembered thinking, I will treat my sisters well, no matter what happens. Not like you Maria, not like the way you treat me.
I had to get new dresses for Liza. I wouldn’t let her friends laugh at her.
I took a quick shower,went back to my room, took some money and walked to the phone booth. I thought of praying. May be I should ask God for help and ask that Appa picks up the phone not his mistress. Then I thought how silly that would be. Why should God do such silly things? Shouldn’t God be more concerned about things like eradicating poverty and illness and things like that? I decided not to trouble God. Besides I knew if it has to happen, it will happen. If she picks up the phone, I will tell her to pass the phone to Appa.
I dialled the number and waited. My heart started to pound and my lungs struggled to breath. Then I heard the voice that said
I could almost feel my legs going weak.
“Hello Appa, it is me”
“Are you ok?”
“Yes, Appa”
“Do you want money?”
“No Appa. I don’t need money. I was wondering if I could visit you”
“Why Nina?” He sounded annoyed or angry.
I tried to think quickly what should I say? If I say for no particular reason, Appa would say, he isn’t going to waste the money unnecessarily.
“I need your help Appa”
“What help?”
“I was wondering what should I specialize in after MBBS. You know I need to plan it now itself”
My father said Oh. That simply means he is lost for words and I seized the chance
“Appa, you are smart when it comes to all this. Besides nobody knows me better than you. You are the best Appa in the whole wide world”
I felt sick for telling the man who abandoned me when I needed him the most that he was the best father in the whole world.
“when are you planning to come?”
“I have holidays the week after next for three weeks”
Damn it, my internals would start in three weeks time. My holidays will start only after the internals. I hoped Appa won’t know that.
“Ok. Book your ticket for next week. Is your passport still valid?”
“Yes Appa, thank you Appa”
I wanted to dance.
“Let me know the date and time of your flight. Take the Dubai flight, I will pick you up from the airport. Do you have money for the ticket?”
What does my father think? I have a money printing machine?
“No Appa”
“I will send the draft today. Anyway book your ticket”
“Thanks Appa”
“Bye Appa”
I paid the money to the booth operator and walked out. I had to sit somewhere. I walked straight to the canteen and sat down. It was unbelievable. Appa actually told me to book the ticket. He never allowed Amma to visit him and he is letting me. I had to book my tickets quickly, before he changes his mind.

second chance?

Hostel was quiet when I came back. I knew everyone would have gone to attend the afternoon lectures. I looked around to see if Gangamma was around. I needed someone to lock the door from outside, so Princy or the warden won’t catch me for skipping the classes. Afternoon time is the most riskiest at the hostel. Morning time you can always say that clinics got over early, but there is no excuse for skipping afternoon lectures, not unless you are sick, but even that would require a letter from the MO.
“Gangamma” I called out.
There was no reply. ‘Where did she go?’ I wondered. She probably would have gone to get the left over rice from the mess operator. I wasn’t sure how long it would take for Gangamma to come back. As I walked towards my room, I figured, I should go and take my shower. There was no way Princy would inspect the ladies hostel bathroom! I touched my hair gently. My hair was growing long. It was the first time I had shoulder length hair. May be I should apply some oil on my hair. I wished I knew how to make the herb infused oil Ammachi makes. I missed Ammachi. I missed talking to her. I missed the smell of nilabrigandhi oil on her hair. I took the key from my pocket and was just about to open the lock, only then did I realize that the gold colour Godrej lock was missing. I took a step back and checked the door number. It was number 3 and my room number was 3. So I was at the right door.
Did my room mates forget to lock the room? How dare they? I had lots of expensive stuff in the room. My cassette tapes alone would cost a fortune. I will give Aparna and Shylaja a piece of my mind this evening. I promised myself.
I pushed the door to open. It was locked from inside.
Oh no! Did my sister come for a visit? Damn it. She would have known I skipped the morning rounds. I thought of all the possible lies I could tell as to where I went. I could tell her that I went to British Library. Then she would ask, where are the books from the library? May be I will tell her I didn’t get the book I was looking for.Then I remembered the tapes Beautiful Eyes had given me. Damn it, She would have found it! My heart started to pound. I knocked the door slowly. There was no response. I knocked again, a little more harder this time. The waiting felt like eternity, finally I heard footsteps coming closer and the sound of the latch being moved to open the door.
I was surprised to see Aparna in the room.
“You didn’t go to the class?” I asked her. Aparna was someone who attended class even when she had a fever, so I was a bit surprised to note that she skipped the afternoon lectures.
“No” She whispered and went back to lay down on her bed. That is when I realized, when she opened the door her eyes were red. I was expecting to see my oldest sister and in that confusion, Aparna’s red eyes didn’t register in my brain. But the way she whispered ‘No’ and the way she dragged her feet as she walked clearly said something was wrong, very wrong.
“Aparna” I called her name and walked towards her bed
She didn’t reply. when she noticed that I was walking towards her, she turned her head and used her hand to cover her eyes.
“Aparna, what happened?”
“Nothing Nina. Leave me alone, I have a headache” She replied
I sat down on her bed.
“Aparna, please talk to me”
“Nina, I told you I am fine, leave me alone”
“Then why were you crying?”
I don’t know what happened, all of a sudden she started to cry again. I wondered if I did something wrong?
“Aparna, what is it? Why are you crying?”
“He broke up with me”
“What? Why?”
“I don’t know Nina, I don’t know” Aparna started to howl. “What am I going to do now? What is the point of living? Why should I live? He was all I ever wanted. He is my life Nina, he is my everything”
“May be it is all a mistake”
“No Nina, he gave everything back. He returned all the cards I gave him, all the letters I wrote, everything”
“Why Aparna? What happened? Did you guys fight?”
“No, He said we are not compatible, that I would never be able to adjust to his lifestyle and religion. He said he wants to bring up his kids as Christians”

Religion? All this was because of religion? Bastard! Did he not know that she is a hindu when they started to date? How dare he tell her that she wouldn’t adjust to his religion? If there was anyone who worked hard to understand her lover’s religion, it was Aparna. She was even reading the bible. She attended all the prayer sessions with Anitha.
“What am I going to do Nina?” Aparna was looking at me. I held her hand and tried to think of what to tell her.
“Aparna, every time I was upset, my grandmother would tell me, ‘This too shall pass’.”
“No Nina, this won’t pass, there is no point in living. There is nothing to live for. He was everything that I ever wanted”
“No, Aparna, you are wrong. There is everything to live for. Few years from now, you will be a doctor, a real doctor, healing the sick. You are a very intelligent woman. Your whole life is ahead of you”
“No Nina, I can’t. I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to study. I am done” She started to cry louder
“Shh Aparna. Don’t cry” I wiped the tears from her cheeks
“Nina, my heart feels so heavy, it is hurting Nina”
I wished I could take away her pain.
“Aparna,You need to sleep. You will feel better after a good sleep”
“I can’t Nina, I just can’t”
“Oh yes you can. I will tell you what, I will get some warm milk for you from the mess. You know warm milk will make you feel sleepy” I got up
Aparna held my hand
“Nina, don’t go. Please stay here with me”
“ok” I sat down on her bed.
As I watched Aparna desperately trying to catch the evading sleep, I realised how unpredictable life is. One moment you are in love and the next moment you are out. Nobody even gives you a warning and you don’t even get a second chance. Why? Why does life has to be so cruel? Why does only the fairy tales characters get to live Happily ever after? Why not us?

I had a good holiday… and I missed my blog and all of you each day.. every day.. it feels so good to be back

Can someone Please Help me??.. my daughter is chewing my brain.. this is her question
“Mama you told me,Water freezes at 0 degrees…what would be the temperature of water at -40 degrees? Would it be -40 or 0?”