When I went to keep the glass in the sink, I noticed there were dirty dishes in the sink. I remembered the last time Amma got angry with me for not doing the dishes.
I was angry with Amma, but still I didn’t want to create another fight. So I washed all the dishes, checked them again to make sure that the dishes were absolutely clean, so Amma won’t get a chance to pick on me.
As I walked outside Amma lifted her head up and our eyes met. I knew what she was thinking
She would have been thinking
ennu kakka malannu parakkum(pigs would fly today).
I didn’t want her to see the smile on my face, so I quickly went to Liza’s room.
I counted 18.104.22.168, I heard Amma walking to the kitchen. I slowly peeped my head out. I was right.
Amma was checking the dishes in the dish rack to see if I cleaned it well!
“clean ano?” (is it clean?) I couldn’t resist asking Amma that
She turned to look at me.
I was hoping to embarrass her, but there was no sign of embarrassment on her face.
“Oh Nina,just one time getting it done right doesn’t make it right all the time” she replied
I hated myself for trying to get it done well!
Why am I so stupid? I didn’t know the answer.
I took out all the text books from my bag. I needed to analyze my situation. I usually leave all my studies to the last week before the exam. Until now it was never a problem. Although I would be a nervous wreck by the time the study hols are over, I still would have studied enough to barely pass the exam. But this time, I would be in Dubai during my study leave. I had to study Pathology, Microbiology and Pharamacology in just 4 days! That was simple impossible. Even God himself needed 6 days to create the world!
“How did you do it?” I heard Amma asking
“Convince your father?”
“I told him, I needed help to figure out what I should specialize in”
“What does your father know about medicine?”
I hated when Amma insult Appa every time.
“What does George know about Engineering?”
“What do you mean?”
” Didn’t he tell Chechy what she should do? Didn’t he tell Liza what she should do?”
“You! Questioning Acha? Do you know anything about him? Ha! Do you know he was a rank holder”
“For what?” I thought of asking rape? incest? what did he get the rank for? But I couldn’t.
“Get lost Nina. You father is incapable of giving any advice. He doesn’t even know how to be a good husband and father and you expect him to give you guidance? You are wasting your time. Besides, did you know Acha is taking Maria to US?”
Amma shrugged her shoulder as though it is top secret
“Why is Maria going to US?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“Why did you tell me Chechy is going to US?”
“You are a jealousy pig! you just can’t be happy for your sister. Can you?”
“Amma, I am sick and tired of you telling me that I am a jealousy pig. What do I have to be jealous about? jealous because my oldest sister is going to US? Why do I have to be jealous about that?”
“Because you know, you can never go”
“Why? American’s don’t give me Visa? Only Maria gets a US visa? Why? because she is his highness George’s niece?”
“In US, They don’t need doctors from India”
“You worked there before to know that?”
“I don’t have to. Acha told me”
“Oh, Did he tell you that I can write ECFMG exam and get a license to work as a doctor in US?”
“What is ECFMG?”
“It is an entrance exam that allows foreign qualified doctors to work in US”
“What does ECFMG stand for?”
“Examination for” I tried to remember. We always used PLAB and ECFMG as acronyms. I never bothered to figure out what it stands for.
“Examination for what?”
“I can’t remember”
“Oh Nina, You don’t even know what ECFMG stands for! You can’t even string a sentence in English and you are going to write an American exam! be serious Nina”
“That is funny Amma, even George’s daughter didn’t pass the first MBBS without rewriting the exam 6 months later. But I managed to pass in the first attempt”
“nigalikkanda.. thanna nilathey neerodu” (pride goes before a fall)
“vellachattam mey linna!” I replied.
“We will see, you still have three more years to pass medicine No? I still have time” Amma nodded her head.
It was a moment I realized, my mother was waiting for me, her own daughter to fail, just so she could score a point.
I wasn’t going to give her that happiness.
If God could create the world in 6 days, I could study three subjects in 4 days. I took the books and started to study. Every few hours, I would check the page number to see how much more to go and my spirit would sink when I see how much more I have to study. But it was only temporary. I had to show Amma that her second daughter is good in studies!
I studied all through the night and finally when I could no longer keep my eyes open, I went to bed. I checked the clock, it was 4 Am. I set the alarm for 7 Am.
I woke up at 7, made myself a strong nescafe coffee and started to study. Every once in a while I cursed myself for my own stupidity. I could have enjoyed a nice holiday in Dubai if I wasn’t stupid enough to lie to Appa.
Lying is never good! I learned my lesson a tad too late.
By afternoon, my head felt heavy. I needed a break. Then I remembered tomorrow all the shops in commercial street would be closed. If I have to do any shopping, I have to do it today
“Amma” I called. She was in her room
“hmm” She replied
“What should I take for Appa?”
“What do you mean?”
“When I visit, what do I take for him? I can go and buy from commercial street”
“What for Nina? Are you crazy?” Amma came out of the room
“He gets everything there! He lives in Dubai for heaven’s sake Nina. Dubai , Nina! Why do you have to take something for him to Dubai, when everyone brings stuff fom Dubai?”
I wasn’t sure, so I asked again
“How can I go empty handed Amma?”
“Empty handed? You are visiting your father Nina. He should give you things, not the other way”
I knew Amma was right. Appa gets everything in Dubai. So there is no need to take anything with me. I was also glad that I didn’t have to waste money and buy something for Appa.