The call came too early.
Vishakha groaned and rolled over, the crease on her forehead reflecting her annoyance. Varun reached over to see who it could be this early on a Sunday morning.
“Amma!” flashed the display screen. He swung his legs off the bed before he was unceremoniously pulled back into her arms. “Talk to her later,” Vishaka pouted. “Anyways, you do call her every Sunday, right? So why is she disturbing us during ‘our time?’” The nebulous thought that she called her own mother three times a day remained unsaid as he captured her lips, her tongue driving all reasoning, all arguments out of his mind and rendering his brain to a sensuous slush.
Though a part of his brain told him that his mother rarely called him and he had indeed allowed a couple of her calls go unanswered the past week, he knew this early romp on Sunday morning set their schedule for the rest of the week. This time together was at a premium particularly after the birth of little Varunika. In the early days of his marriage, his mother had begged him to make more frequent calls but her request soon petered out when it was not heeded. In the early days of pandemic, she tried again, her voice barely hiding the loneliness and yearning she had particularly after the birth of Varunika. She offered help but Vishaka wanted her own mother during the difficult time. When he wanted to invite his mother after hers left, she had pouted so endearingly that they have some ‘our time’ together that he had once again acceded to her wish.
He was afraid of rocking his marital boat. He knew his wife was like a child in many ways. He also learnt early on that she could hostile if her wishes were not acceded. His mother was never given a chance to interact with Vishaka except fleetingly. The visits were too short and too hurried to have an everlasting relationship and over the last three years, Varun was glad the minute his mother left home for he could get his cheerful wife back.
When there was another call from an unknown number, he knew that he needn’t worry about the missed call from his mother anymore. The neighbour tearfully told him that his mother had been poorly for the past few days and her mortal remains were at the hospital awaiting his arrival and paper work. The letter left behind for him read:
I was alone since the time your appa left so being alone was okay but I had dreamed of being all that my mother-in-law was not and hoped for a daughter in my daughter-in-law. I never did get a chance, did I? I am glad that you have a daughter. She will never allow her parents missed call to remain ‘unreturned’ for long. I have donated my body to the hospital.
Love and blessings