Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chronicle of the Mysterious Son's Mother's Death


Yes, I have been reading Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes lately. No, I haven’t yet bought a pipe.


I always have something to say after I’m back from visiting home. No different this time. If my parents realized how eventful their lives were compared to mine, they’d probably call me ten times lesser than they normally do – in a day, that is. Which would still make it 90 calls, but I’d be grateful.


That Saturday morning, the phone woke us up at about 6:30 a.m. For some reason that makes sense on Mars, my mother won’t let me close my bedroom door at night. So when that irritatingly long, shrill ring began outside in the hall, I had no option but wake up.

My mother walked into my room looking like a million dollars, sleepwalking, fumbling steps, hair in her mouth. She lay down beside me grumbling to herself. From the familiarly long and loud “Hellooooooooooooooo?’ outside, I figured my father had received the phone.


“Salaaaaam Alaikoooooom!”



My mother sighed. I pulled a pillow over my head. But nothing could drown my dad’s excited voice.
When he goes “Salaam Alaikum”, we know there’s a louder, longer, high-pitched conversation following.

“I’ll bet you someone’s dead.” My mom muttered.

“What?”

“Someone’s dead. Probably conked off last night in his sleep.” She explained.

“Eeks! Really?!”

“Why else would anyone call this early?” she reasoned.


We both went quiet, trying to make sense of the conversation outside. Not that it took much effort, considering my father was by now unconsciously challenging Pavarotti for a duel.


“Ho? Ho? Phir? Haan…

haan… haan….

Hmm…. Hmm…

haan..

ho..

ho…

ALLALLAH!!!!!”

My mom turned around and pulled her pillow over head too.

“Told you.” She said.

When my dad dropped the phone, it was close to 7 a.m. Mom got down to making us breakfast and I sat reading the paper in the kitchen.

Outside, we could hear my dad’s fast approaching footsteps. I pulled my paper closer trying hard to look like nothing was important to me right now than the state of affairs in Waziristan.

“Rae! Come on! Come on! Get ready!” he yelled.


“Where to?” my mother volunteered.

“Qasi’s mother died!”

“Who?” she asked again.


“Qasi’s mother!!!!!!!!!”


Some quiet followed as everyone paused to contemplate the situation.


“But who is Qasi?”


My dad shifted balance, patted his own head for a moment and squinted like he normally does in deep thought. I looked over the edge of my paper to see what was happening. My mother was looking at him confusedly, my father, just looking confused.


“You don’t know him.” He said, after some deliberation.

Needless to say, I was dragged into the affair of the mysterious man’s mother’s funeral.

Once there, we ran into a bunch of relatives hovering around the place making small talk. My father’s younger brother was running around with a tray of refreshments for the guests/attendees/audience. On the ride to the venue, I was told that he was the one who had called my dad in the morning. And everyone else who landed up there. Seemed like something he enjoyed doing. The Official Announcer of Funerals.

“Chacha, who is Qasi?”, I gingerly asked, picking a paper cup from his tray.

He looked around like he was about to cross a road. Then, he gestured in the direction of an old gentleman sitting at the head of the large dining table, surrounded by friends and family.

“Him.”

“No, no… I mean.. how are we related to him?”

“How means what?”

That’s one question that doesn’t make sense, forget having an answer to it.

I wandered back to my father. He was talking to another random person I couldn’t recognize. They were discussing the deceased woman’s painful life, her young days and how she loved Qasi a lot. Someone suggested Qasi didn’t do much for her aging mother and hence she died of grief and ill health. Of course, her being ninety three years of age had nothing to do with it.

“Dad!”

“Yes?”

"Is she your aunt?”

“Who?”

“The woman who… expired.”

“Oh.. Qasi’s mother?”

“Yes.”

“No..”

“So we’re not related to them?”

“No, no, we are.. they stay here.. I used to stay there… 5 minutes away.”

“So you were neighbours?”

“No, no, more than neighbours.”

“Friends?”

“No re! Relatives!”

“How?!”

“Arrey! How means what?”

If I ever find myself making the same statement, I’m going to sue my genes.

The funeral ended, but I wasn’t allowed to see Qasi’s mother and Qasi was too busy for me to go upto him and give him my condolences. So I gave them to his wife instead who took them with a quizzical smile which told me she was wondering who the hell I was.

Event done, tired mother, bewildered me and excited father drove back home. As we got home, I asked my dad a question I could rid myself off.

“Dad? What was Qasi’s mother’s name?”

“Ameena.”

“That’s his wife’s name.”


“Oh.” He said, and embarrassed, whipped out his phone.

“SALAAAAAAM ALAIKUUUUM!!!!!!”

RIP, Qasi’s mother.

I have no clue who you are, but God keep your soul well.

I’m sure she’s up there going, “Thanks. But who the hell are you?”


8 comments:

Rae said...

sorry about the spaces - no clue whats' up with that!

Monty said...

Im glad Qasi died. Her death has at least managed to awaken your comatose blog.

Bland Spice said...

damn funny.

reminds me of so many visits back home.

Anonymous said...

Please keep going to your hometown, as something seems to ignite the best posts out of you whenever you go there. It made my afternoon. Curiously funny.Your dad has no idea how big a star he is, really. Keep em'coming!

A! (the neo) said...

Completely agree with the 'funny' opnion. Nice smiling one!

More funny that Monty got confused and killed off Qasi. (See comment above)

Rae said...

@A: Noticed.. but that's just Monty. He's too busy chewing his kill.

Monty said...

I like to add value, wherever I go.

Rajneesh said...

Ha ha ha! Crisp piece of writing girl. I realized I was smiling to myself throughout, only after being done with it. That's a good feeling. Ain't it? :)

By the way, my condolences to the all enigmatic, Qasi's Ammi.