I hate it when the time difference between two blogs gets stretched to more than a week. It stifles me. For one, the thoughts that are cooking in my head desperately wait to be served. For another, my conscience which suddenly becomes proactive, nudges me, and says, "Hey hello, what happened to your panache for writing? You did begin with rave promises, did'nt you? Whatever happened to your word of honour, my ever enthusiastic, propitious lady?"
I have no excuse to offer as I have none. Does'nt my own soul know about my handicaps? Does it have to nag me everytime I am late for my blog?
Why are consciences so heartless, I ask myself.
These are hard times. Times, when even our own consciences will not spare us.
So how do you expect your mother-in-law to spare you, especially when it's her birthday and you have forgotton it? I was so clumsily lost in the mesh of my other duties that I forgot to wish my mom-in-law a 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY' on her D-day.
"This is profanity", commented Devi, when I shared my blunder with her . "You should jot it down in the first page of your favourite diary, write it on the wall, not your Facebook's, silly, or at least note it in your mobile's Reminder." Then after a contemplating pause she added, "Technology should have made you smarter."
"Et tu Devi?" "Yours is the unkindest cut of all." I said, giving an ostentatious, histrionic twist to my words, - our role play of 'Julius Caesar' at school had lingered indeed ! - at which we both fell to squeals of laughter. She then narrated to me how she too had been in the same predicament as mine, some time back . And worse.
"My mother-in-law is one who does not acquiesce in to excuses hands down. " Devi began, "You know her well. Last month I forgot her birthday. Now stop squinting at me derisively. Okay yes, all those manouvres and hints about 'technology' struck me much later. . .So what ?
The point is I FORGOT HER BIRTHDAY.
Nikhil called from Toronto that evening, to wish her. Thank God I picked up the receiver. He said, 'Hi honey, where's mom, got to wish her a quick " Happy Birthday".' It then struck me like a thunderbolt. But I hurriedly gathered my wits . I said,''Listen sweetheart, I'm planning a grand surprise for mom, so I have'nt wished her yet. I know it's already evening, but that's part of my plan . Just hold on, while I call her."
I called her.
Now I realised why she had been sulking since morning !
While she spoke I committed another sin. I eavesdropped. But I had to know the details of the burden that she was carrying in her heart. Was she lamenting? Was she bellyaching as if her convent nun stood in front of her?
"No, not yet." She was saying, "What gifts? No, no, no,...." This was all I managed to hear.
I stopped eavesdropping. Not because I was struck by remorse, but because I had to think of the grand plan I just promised Nikhil. I was at first restless. What would I plan? I was always such a lousy and lazy planner. In less than a few minutes I had begun to hear the pounding of my heart, or was it the thundering brain? I thought this, I thought that, but nothing grand occurred to my dull, feverish mind.
Finally, a feeble idea did raise its head amid the plethora of ludicrous ones. This one was feasible and might even lift her sagging bravura ! I immediately called the nearest florist and placed an order for a nice, sweetly-scented bouquet and perked him to deliver it in less than fifteen minutes time. I took a deep breath and waited. As soon as she replaced the receiver, which she did not after less than half an hour, I fell to action.
I started to sing to her her all time favourite song, "Kisi ke muskurahaton pe ho nisar, kisi ka dard mil sake to le udhar, kisi ke waste ho tere dil mein pyar, jina isi ka naam hai. "
Singing thus I did a little waltz , during which , the flower-man rang the timely bell. I heartily thanked him and paid him the additional perk, for crowning my grand surprise. Then most theatrically, like a thespian, I offered her the floral tribute. There was finally a glow on her face. She seemed happy and what more, I too felt strangely happy. We sat down beside each other. She said, "So this was your grand surprise Nikhil was talking about. But tell me Devi, how was my grand surprise? I did fool you with this sullen face that I put on me since morning. Tell me , haan, I can give Nirupa Roy a run for money, eh? I had checked your diary yesterday and I did see that you had noted down May 8th in a separate page." She had a glint in her eyes.
But mine were as round as panipuris. So she also keeps a check of my diaries? This was alarming, to say the least.
The only consolation was, for the time being my face was saved. I completed the rest of the formality by driving us to the nearest restaurant and ordering a sumptuous dinner.
"But you listen," Devi now moved closely towards me threateningly and added, " NEVER wish her a"Happy Woman's Day" in the coming years. How I thank myself for not adding WOMAN'S DAY beside that ominous 8th May !! There you wish her exuberantly and here I am doomed. Let her blissfully forget that her birthday coincides with Woman's Day.
Just as I had forgotton.