*Is this a memoir?Yes and No-because the inspirer is not just one but many and it was mixed with fiction.Anyway thanks to them :)
I was rushing to office. There were a few interviews scheduled to begin at 9.30. It was already 9.05 - but that’s fine, I had almost reached. My cell phone rang. “Hi Sita, this is Seema aunty. I had called to say that Riya’s marriage is fixed. The guy is a doctor! ”. “That’s good, Congrats Aunty, I’ll call you back. I am on the way to office”.
Time went on so fast. Hours were rushing by. It was lunch time already. I called her back and she started exactly from where she had paused. “The guy is a doctor! They belong to the family of the Bishop Gregorius Stanislavious”. Bishop who? Seema Aunty became restless “Don’t you know?” I googled in my memory. There is not even a rare chance of myself remembering the religious matters. Did I read that name somewhere? “Oh ya, the one who passed away last month. I had read in the newspaper.”
“Stupid girl, earlier he was the Bishop of Kottayam and now got transferred to Germany. He is my hubby’s uncle’s cousin’s brother-in-law.” She had managed to collect a brief life history and a family tree of the family-less Bishop. Had she used the same memory power during her childhood, she would have passed her graduation. How am I supposed to know about the Bishop of somewhere who got transferred to elsewhere? After all what does this Bishop has to do with the marriage? God knows. There was another call waiting on my cell phone. “Aunty I am getting an official call. I’ll call you back”. “Ok”, she said trying to hide the unhappiness due to me disrupting her ‘prestigious’ conversation.
I was done with the official call. Should I call her back? I was not at all interested to know more about the Bishop, what he did and what he did not do. But if I don’t call her back she will start off with her melodrama. The victim would be my mom. “Your daughter doesn’t even have time to talk … you big big people seem to be sooo busy…” the sarcasm would go on and on and on. She always had the inferiority complex about her lazy husband who was religiously followed by their lazy daughter in being score-less, grade-less, graduation-less and finally jobless. But they were immensely rich, which might have helped her to ‘buy’ a doctor for her daughter.
I decided to test my patience. “Hi Seema Aunty, I am so sorry. I had certain urgent ...” She didn’t even bother to listen. “Sita, and the guy… he studied in Trivandrum Medical College and then did PG from JIPMER and now practicing in Lakeshore hospital.” Now that almost made the life history of the guy. The Bishop is set free now. “The wedding is on January 10th. Make sure that you reach here at least 2 days before”.
A few days later I was taking a nap on a lazy weekend. I woke up hearing some loud voices from the living room. Who was that? Oh no! Seema Aunty! “Riya’s guy had 58th rank in Medical entrance. He got that without any coaching. The KIMS hospital people keep on requesting him to join them. They are offering 2 lacs per month and 50% share of OP. They want him to work there at least for 3-4 days a week. But now itself he has 3 hospitals to visit. How would he manage all these? ” So her worry is about his time. I thought she was worried about the patients in all those hospitals who said that they wanted to catch one last sight of “Riya’s guy” before they breathed their last.No, she hasn’t stopped. “His sister is a scientist. Government job! And she goes to office only at 11 and comes back by 4. She sits ‘simbly’ and gets 60K salary”. I couldn’t take any more. I switched on the music player in my cell phone and forced the ear-piece deep into my ears as if it would pierce my ear drum.
Days passed. Seema aunty’s phone calls and visits made me forcefully by-heart “Riya’s guy’s” where-abouts. Whatever be the crap, if you keep on hearing the same thing again and again, it gets deep into your brain and would never go out unless you get an amnesia. Damn it!
Later on, I took a lot of care, to save myself from the invasions by Seema aunty. If at all I knew that she is coming home, I would run away to wherever possible. I wanted to save myself from the Bishop stories, Doctor’s adventures and much more. But I was not successful always.
Once, neighbor’s kid 4 year old Bittu came home with his class assignments. Quite often he comes to me with sheets of chart paper, glue, papers, pencils and what not! He spreads it over my dining table and eagerly waits for me. And I am mandatorily supposed to work on it!
I was busy cutting the chart paper when I heard the calling bell. Seema Aunty again!!
Oh God! Why me always?
She started her narration about the doc, his sis and the other stories..It went on in an infinite loop.
“We were on the way to the meet the wedding card person. He has made a terrible mistake in the sample card printed. He missed out the doctor.”
“Whom did he add instead of the doctor? I remember a movie in which the bride groom married the wrong girl, due to some confusion”.I was training myself with lessons on sarcasm. (Defensive mechanism you know..) Seema Aunty didn’t like it. She clarified in a stern voice “The card people forgot to add ‘Dr.’ in front of the guy’s name”.
Oh what a big mistake! It is such a big loss to the humanity, I thought but kept my mouth shut.
I had started to develop a ‘doctor phobia’. I tried concentrating on Bittu’s assignment. But Bittu was concentrating on Aunty’s enlightening talk. After some time he left the dining room and placed himself on a sofa next to Seema Aunty. I could not make out what had inspired Bittu. Just like the enlightened Buddha who left his Kingdom, he left his assignments and sat beside Aunty trying to follow every word that she uttered. What is the little Buddha upto? What phenomenon is this? Can the Doctor or the Scientist or the Bishop explain?
I tried to immerse myself into the little kingdom full of chart papers, sketch pens and glue. Now the responsibility was only mine to make something meaningful out of it.
Suddenly Bittu shouted. “Sita Didi what comes after 16?”
“Didi this Aunty is saying the same thing again and again. I counted. But my Ma’m has taught only till 16.What will I do now?”
A very genuine doubt. But I knew that it was not the time to teach him numbers. I had to rush to the scene as if I were a fire fighter who had to evacuate people from a house on fire. I caught Bittu by his hand and dragged him to the dining room.
Seema Aunty was fuming behind us and my helpless mom stood beside her trying to hide her laughter. I remembered the Tom & Jerry series-Tom with his head reddened and fumes coming out of his ears. Oh, Bishop Gregorius Stanislavious, please pray to god to save my mom from those flames and fumes. Because you are the doctor guy’s someone’s someone!