Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Home care service...

It was one of a very normal day when the sun rose to its usual brightness, the morning rush on the roads was usual and the life's routine followed Kannan with work from the morning. Breakfast was on the go and did not take time to enjoy it, as time and tide waited for no man and Kannan was no exception. The rut caught everyone and it had a pet name - "Life". With his usual calls, meeting and appointments, Kannan sailed through the first half of the day and was at a Lunch meeting. The Clients shook hands after the lunch was over and it seemed the lunch was more important than the meeting. At least some of the clients give more importance to the food than the work. Kannan walked to the parking lot, where the car was parked and the sun was at its peak and heating up the day before moving out for a set. Kannan got inside the preheated car... which was more an oven by then.

Somehow got the car started and the blast of a/c cooled the interiors slowly but steadily. Kannan switched the radio to listen to some songs which would cut the boredom of the drive in the hot sun... and it started playing like a soothing cool wind from the speakers in the car in Shankar Mahadevan's voice

"Main kabhi batlaata nahin... par andhere se darta hoon main maa..."

His drive was not lonely anymore as his memories took the back seat and started taking him on the journey back to his childhood. Kannan was so scared of the darkness and could never face it. Amma knew about this and told Appa one night

"Kannan is so scared of the darkness.... I feel, he should sleep with us here and not in the other room"

Appa smiled and said "He is growing up to a man... a man whom the world would be proud of....He is my son"

The discussion was short and did not reach Kannan's ears, but reached his life from the next day. Appa would come by the last train in the night around 10 and walk back home. As soon as he reaches with the song on his lips and a smile on the face of the satisfaction of being back with his world, his family. He handed the keys to Kannan and said to his ten year old "man"...

"So you will lock the gates from today" handling him the responsibility and the cure to his fear.

Kannan found it really hard to step into the darkness of the night. The whole surrounding was drenched in the darkness he feared. He had not seen the Harry Potter Series to learn to fight the dark as even J. K. Rowling had not thought about the book then. Kannan saw a hundred dark images following him with every step into the night towards his seat of responsibility the lock on the gate just 20 feet away from the doorstep where he was standing. It was almost impossible for him to walk the distance and lock the gate. The initial days he could hear the heart beat and it kept increasing as he locked the gates. He would run back with all the speed he had in his adrenalin back to his safe haven. Days became weeks and weeks became months. The little boy was learning to live his fears till the day he turned back to see those dark images following him and .... There were none. Just darkness of the night. Kannan smiled to himself.... Appa's act of making him lock the gates gave him the strength to fight the fears. He was a bit bolder than the previous night. But the strength the ten year old boy gathered made Appa proud and Amma more worried later in his teens as he would be gone in his bike late in the night with no fear to tread the night.

The thoughts brought a smile to Kannan's face and the song to a close....

"Tujhko sab hai pata.... hain na maaa...." and it faded. Kannan quickly switched the Radio Off and dialed the number from his phone... the number he remembered so well... And the picture flashed on his phone

"Dialing Amma..." with a picture of her smiling though to him

"Kanna.... was just thinking of you... how did you know" Amma started with no pause with all her excitement
"Where are you" replied Kannan calmly with love in his voice for his dear Amma
"I am at Coimbatore... came here to drop Vijayam Aunty. She has rented out a house in a place for the old. The food is so nice, the area is so good, so calm, and there is a temple nearby and ... and..." Amma's excitement was like that of a kid who had seen a toy of her choice
"Hmmm ..." Kannan continued listening to her
"I think I should ask Appa to take a house here and come and settle here"... Amma said
It sent a thousand daggers to the heart of Kannan. Have I left them so lonely that they have to check for options for the old. Have I not cared for them enough. The moments Amma was concerned that Kannan was afraid of something, the confidence in Appa's voice when he told someone Kannan would do it, the proud moments, the togetherness, the love.... all took shape of daggers and reminded Kannan of the loneliness they are exposed to
"Amma ... " called Kannan stopping her narrative about the garden and the river near the facility
"Do you like to stay in a place like that?" Kannan asked with all the pain hidden in his heart
"There is help on beck and call... we are getting old and its easy with a car we can visit the city too" the voice faded with the realization that her words had hurt her son somewhere.
"Just asked ..."Kannan said quickly and changed the topic. "So when is the return"
Amma smiled and replied "Back home this evening"

The call ended but the train of thoughts did not stop. Kannan finished his days work and kept thinking about the day’s events, more about the call. 

A few days passed and Kannan sent a message to Amma
"Sending a person home today to take care of you both. He cooks well and will do the cleaning as well. He will take care of you and knows driving as well. I have told him about all that you need. Even the long drives on weekends to temples... Love Kannan"

Amma's phone buzzed and she saw the message from her son. After reading it she turned to Appa and said

"I don’t know who Kannan is sending. He should have asked. Will he stay here... how can he..." the list of questions as usual started one after the other to Appa. Appa was silent and was used to the endless list of questions. Amma's worries knew no bounds. She was trying to find a reason in her mind to send the person off, as she would not be comfortable with a third person at home all the time. 

"He has not even said when the person would be coming... I have to go to the temple... then have to visit Venki... he had called" Amma was saying this when the bell rang. She stopped and walked towards the door with all the apprehension about the person who Kannan had sent. She opened the door 

"Home Service for cooking and cleaning and taking care of you...." said her smiling son Kannan.

The hug and the tears spoke volumes of the decision he had taken to be with them for good taking care of them from then on...Appa smiled as if he knew... he knew his son so well....

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