Lullaby across the oceans

As per her morning routine, she prepared strong filter coffee, poured it into the designated porcelain mug, took two biscuits from the tin and sat down to enjoy the aroma of the former and the crispness of the latter. She then took out her iPad and called her daughter living in Houston. This had become her routine for the past many years.

This time of the day suited her daughter who was a busy professional. Having finished her daily chores, she would be in a relaxed mood before hitting the bed. Their chat would hover
around international, national, regional, neighbourhood and family happenings ending with juicy gossip. Today it was a different story altogether. The daughter was not done for the day. She was sitting in front of the laptop with a frown and the whining cries of a child emanating from the background. “You look upset. What is the matter?” asked the mother. “Amma, don’t ask. My condition is pathetic. I have a presentation to make tomorrow and your favourite grandchild refuses to go to bed. She wants me to lie down beside her and tell her a story or sing a song. Where do I have the time for that?” asked the daughter. The child realising that she was the subject of this conversation, slowly walked into the camera frame with tears streaming down her chubby cheeks. She broke down seeing her grandmother’s face.

“No one loves me here Ajji. Always busy-busy. I am scared to sleep alone. When I am with you Thatha used to sing at my bedtime. Not any more,” and the child’s sobbing continued. Grandfather who was listening all along held the iPad in his hand. “Putta, I still can sing for you from here. Take the phone to your room, put it next to your pillow,” he said.  She wiped her tears and walked to her bedroom with a smile and her Thatha began to sing. “Jo Jo Sri Krishna ParamanandaJo Jo Gopiya kanda Mukunda Jo...” he sang. Purandara Dasa sang this lullaby centuries ago in a moment of devotional ecstasy to baby Krishna.

Thatha sang it soulfully. True there was a wrong note here and there, a beat missed now and then. but who cared? The soothing music reached the child nevertheless. When Tatha finished the song the daughter came on the screen. “Appa, by the time you came to the second stanza she was fast asleep. But I let you continue as it brought back my childhood days when you used to sing this lullaby at my bedtime. I enjoyed it and am very relaxed and feeling sleepy now. To hell with tomorrow’s presentation. I am going to bed!” she said, switching of her iPad.

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