Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Nest is Suddenly Empty

Not been here for a long time. Not that I am lazy, but that something drastic was going on in our lives, meaning wifey's and mine. Sonny was told to pack bags and be in the Yoonited States within a week. And the desperation started: for luggage, for suits, for warm clothing, for jackets, for foreign exchange, for sundry other toiletries. And, of course, masalas and pickles. These days travelling to a foreign country involves all these.

Then his flight was cancelled and he was given accommodation in a city five-star hotel. This hotel even has a bathrobe for residents, I discovered. I have never worn a bathrobe in my life and none of the five-star hotels I lived in provided one. From the hotel room I could look straight into a slum and see life at its worst before me. Naked children running around, mothers sitting on doorways, the roofs cluttered with plastic sheets, the open gutters thick with sewage. Oh God! What would those firangs who stay at the hotel think? Do they sit in their bathrobes watching the naked children being bathed in the open? The staff at the hotel were suitably obsequious and "namaste-ed" us everywhere we went, and I didn't disappoint them, meaning, to say, I responded with a regal wave of acknowledgement. Do they know about the poverty that I saw from their window? I don't know.

And then sonny flew away and we were devastated. The nest is empty. It's as if our lives had become barren and decrepit. The house sounded strangely hollow, the buzz had ceased, his bike lay derelict, it's thrum and boom - announcing his arrival - replaced by silence. The soft patter of feet up and down the stairs was gone and we didn't know what had laid our lives bare. Wifey felt it more as he was very close to her, and she indulged her only son's every wish: his clothes immaculately washed and ironed, his food peppered with the right amount of masalas, his requests for sweets fulfilled. 

I didn't know it could be this damaging. So, I tried to make it a bit bearable for wifey, telling her a few jokes to make her laugh, and explaining what I read in the papers, now that I am nearly unemployed. We know we have to depend on each other now, for vast periods of time. So, now I realise what it would have been for my own parents. But, for my parents there was a different kind of engagement; they fought a lot. 

Now though we chat on Whatsapp quite a lot, I don't know what's going on in my son's life. He says the streets are empty in the small town in which he is based. There are no people and no animal life around. Hehe. He would have been more at home if there were a few stray dogs and cows on the roads and feverishly rushing people. I said, yes, there people live in their houses and when they go out they drive themselves. When they need something they go to a mall and pick up food and pack their refrigerators with them. No wonder all of them are so fat. But they are an ethical and industrious people. Over here men stand outside their homes in their drawstring chuddies quite a lot, to catch the wind, as they say. Over there if they want to catch the wind they go to the beach. Hm. Life's a beach. Or, so they think. 

We have to content with silent mornings, nights, and our own attempts at survival. Wifey has her school - where she is principal - and, she has mountains of work to be done there. As for me I have nothing, except this blog, perhaps, which nobody reads. 

Life goes on. Doesn't it?