Sunday, May 11, 2014

No-Nonsense Chayaisms from the 80s… The return of the prodigal



At last the eagerly anticipated day dawns…our son comes home for his holidays for the first time from the medical college hostel….
Hectic preparations have been on for weeks….Many programmes have been planned for his amusement. Dust laden cookery books come out and I frantically try to perfect my lemon soufflés and apple pie….Spring cleaning his room is back-breaking….dog-eared comics – broken compass – chewed off pencils…I ring up my friends and tell them to leave us alone for a fortnight….we want to have our son all to ourselves!
I ring up the station six times to find out train timings…Hubby goes to the car and checks air and gas…a few trips to the bathroom to make sure there is enough hot water…a peep into the kitchen to ensure the food is steaming…a final look around his room to see that it is cosy and his blow-ups are in place….
As the train steams in, we frantically search all the doorways and windows for the first glimpse of the prodigal’s face – ah! there he is! “Hi mom, Hi dad!” a bear hug…a peck on the cheek…enough to gladden a sentimental parent’s heart!
On the way home, incessant chatter about college….dead bodies…jokes on skeletons disco-ing on rooftops….accounts of ragging…complaints about food…. We just listen – avidly absorbing the sound of a much missed voice.
The room, so carefully tidied – becomes a refugee dump – out spills heaps of dirty linen….books strewn around and a couple of bones appear on the study table. Carefree whistling accompanies the blaring of music sans melody from the so-far-silent system…the bathroom is a puddle of mucky water…soap suds on the mirror and wet bath towel trailing on the stand.
“Ah! food!”….and a dash to the dining table…everything is piled on the plate and gobbled up, punctuated with m-m-m’s and ‘yummys’…the telephone tings- ‘hi yaar… a half hour conversation with an old school pal  - it goes on…guffaws and jokes and nonsense (to us!) on the phone, for hours…
“Mom, will be back soon’…the door bangs and he’s off – gallivanting with the cronies…
More days like this and all too soon we are seeing him off at the station. Bags packed with freshly laundered clothes, repaired books and even a well rinsed “bone”. A boxful of “goodies” to be shared with ravenous room-mates… A smiling face peeps out from the speeding window and a frantic wave as the train steams out…Another long wait for the next visit when I can have my son all to myself! Oh! To be a mother!!