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A worried mom wails

Chitra Srikrishna, Jun 11 2017, 0:50 IST

Humour

My sobs grew louder as the car inched its way forward. The drive from my home to the airport was turning into a tumultuous one for all the occupants in the car. My husband and I were catching an international flight that day. It seemed unlikely to me that we would make it. My husband was clueless as to what had precipitated the sudden gush of tears. “What happened?” His puzzled tone of voice increased my ire. I snapped at him and enumerated all his ‘failings’, with lack of punctuality being at the top of the list.

Alas, my husband never stopped being an engineer. His logic would start working at even the most inopportune moment. He tried to analyse his movements from the time we had woken up that day, and how he could have finished his errands before we had gotten into the cab. “I didn’t realise that the courier would take this long!” he mused.

“All you care about is sending couriers at the last minute. Your business can wait, but my children can’t!” I wailed. The amma in me was gaining momentum and size, maybe inspired by the huge cut-out on the roadside of an iconic politician.

The cab driver, a young man who looked to be in his 20s, had been driving at a sedate pace until my outburst. The back-seat drama seemed to galvanise him into action as he stepped on the accelerator. He looked for gaps in the traffic ahead of him even while sneaking glances at me through the rear-view mirror. Perhaps he didn’t want to miss any of the excitement. But for all his new-found enthusiasm, the hometown traffic couldn’t care less, and stalled him at every juncture.

Soon the wailing was no longer confined to the insides of the car. An ambulance was trying to get through the traffic, past other drivers who were refusing to give way. Our cab driver tried to be in sync with the others when my husband intervened and instructed him to move aside.

“But sir, what about amma?” he turned to me with a panic-stricken look.

“Ambulance comes first, then all ammas,” my husband replied.

“The children will be so disappointed...” I muttered.

“What? What did you say?” My husband blinked at me. I visualised the scene with the woebegone faces of my children when they found out we had missed our flight.

“Oh, what will I tell them?”

My husband snorted in disbelief. “They’ll probably have a ball laughing at your histrionics!” When I glared at him, the unrepentant man continued. “There, there... save your energy for later. Think positively; we’ll make it!”

“You take care of the backpacks while I check in the suitcases,” my husband began to strategise.

“I will NOT race across the terminal this time!” The scary glance the driver sent my way told me that I’d probably spoken too emphatically. If he had merely speeded up earlier, now he began weaving and bobbing through the expressway as though we were being chased by the bats from hell.

“You can hurry all you want in the terminal, I’m NOT going to,” I assured my husband. Far too often in the past, we’d made nail-biting dashes across airports while trying to catch flights. It infuriated me no end that he kept his cool in such situations.

We reached the airport with my heart in my mouth. After a quick look at my stony face, the driver helped us unload our bags. He turned to my husband with a diffident look and said, “Sir, my mother wants me to get married. I think I’ll have to disappoint her. Beda, beda!”


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