TRING, TRING !!! his mobile is ringing; but his sluggish brain realises it only after several rings. Then the phone dies.
He opens his weighty eyelids with intricacy. He stares hard at the mobile screen and finds the missed-call number and suddenly his sluggishness disappears into heightened alert.
“Why does my wife have to call me at this unholy hour?” He mumbles to himself and turns his attention to the clock.
“Oops, its 11? How come? I had set an alarm for 8”, he realises he had set the alarm for 8am, but without switching on the alarm. He himself was ashamed of his Inanity.
This is how he woke last Friday and Fridays being a holiday in his part of the world, he escaped dire consequences of his notorious inanity. Of late, he had come to empathize with his father; It was true when he called him, “the laziest of all bums to have walked the planet”.
“Am I forgetting something?”, he felt a strange sensation of bewilderment. He appeared like Aamir Khan in Gajani, in the climax scenes. He scratched his head hard, yet it yielded no results. He gave up pondering.
He switched on his laptop and allowing it to boot, then sleepily walked to the loo and after emptying his bursting bladder, came back to find a popped chat window. It was His wife with an unpleasant greeting.
“Badukoose”( a Kerala way of calling someone an idiot ),
“What da, my darling, my life”, he replied.
“No, don’t talk to me, you again forgot”
“Did I? What this time now?”
“See, that’s all about you. Your responsibilities end the moment I am Pregnant, huhh. After that it’s all me, right?”
“honey, why so much fuss. What happened? You know that you shouldn’t take so much tension. God’s sake, endu patti(what happened?)
“You don’t remember?”
“Of course, I do remember, but. Tell me”
“I was supposed to have my checkups and Scans today morning and you promised to call, didn’t you?”
“Oh, I am so sorry. But you won’t believe what happened”
“No you tell me, how did it go? How was the scan? Sorry, I couldn’t sleep the whole night thinking about it.”
“Liar, you would have snored the way to morning. Everything is fine. No worries. What happened to you this morning?”
” What happened!!”His sounded puzzled.
“You said something happened.”
”Ohh, ya, my boss called me and asks me to finish that report and e-mail him urgently before 11 am. Some urgent meeting it seems. I was tied, darling. Sorry that’s why.”
”God only knows the truth. I am sure you would have forgotten the significance of this month. Already Haven’t you?”.
A momentary pause; he tries his best to recall.
“Whats so special about this month? Oh, ya, Eureka, Eureka,I remember.” He speaks with excitement.
”Valentine’s Day, Right? how can I forget. I was planning a surprise this time.” He thanks heaven that this chat happened.
” Your parent’s anniversary?” He makes a wild guess.
“I won’t tell you, find it yourself” She gets very emotional.
” I remember, I do, I think your sister’s anniversary, right?” He tries his best to sound funny.
“Arun, you should never do this to your wife, never.”
” Shalini, what happened now? Why are you making me feel so guilty and terrible? Tell it to me; you know how much I hate suspense.”
“You forgot. Seriously? I don’t believe this.”
” Now, tell me, Honey. You know all these stress, tension with recession. My memory has become week.”(Recession is indeed such an exceptional excuse).
“Tell me honey.” he begs to her, trying to cheer her; He understands how important it’s for her to be cheerful. She was 6 months pregnant.
”God, I pray to god that you should be born a woman in your next birth. It’s your wife’s birthday this month, for god’s sake.”
He is stunned. He looks at her framed photograph beside the laptop, marvelling her enigmatic smile. The Monalisa Smile.He ponders for few minutes and then calls her.
P.S: I was looking at the painting of Mona Lisa, and the reason behind that puzzling smile.What would be in her mind when the portrait was being made. What would be her thoughts. And then this story.