I don’t call her Mommy, but Maa and she’s often cranky. While sometimes her actions and comments make me roll over laughing. She doesn’t particularly display a very good sense of humour, but when she exhibits one it keeps me delighted for years. I would like to narrate some incidents here:
When I was about ten years, one night while dining, she was accusing me of something I haven’t done or may be something which I had done that had offended her. She was folding the dry clothes and bed sheets standing on the doorway to the bedroom facing the dining table and shouting at me. Obviously I was sitting with a face painted with guilt, trying to be as invisible as much as possible and was wondering when she would shut up. Then a miracle happened, suddenly her accusations turned into fearful screams. It was a flying cockroach that had decided to land on her shoulder and save my night of humiliation! She dropped the accusations and the bed sheet and was rotating and scratching herself, while the screaming continued. My dreaded face suddenly turned into a victorious one, I could sense it, and I was laughing madly. My trauma was over, and it was now her turn to face some amount of embarrassment!
One day, several years ago, mom and I had a controversy over something, (we always have controversial thoughts, our choices never match) and she was so angry that she started to hit me with a very old wooden stick, kept at one corner of the door for reasons unknown to me. She hit me once on the leg and successfully I prevented the blow from harming me, the pressure was shared between my hands and the poor victimized leg of mine. But with the second blow, the stick broke into two pieces! One was in her hand while the other flew out and rested on the floor a couple of meters away. Her expression was priceless. She looked angry, puzzled, bewildered and she paused for a while to think what could be done next. Whenever I think of that face I just can’t resist myself from grinning with pride. Pride over what, I don’t know, because I cannot claim that I am so strong that the wooden stick gave way. But it was due to age, the withering age of the poor stick, little did it know that one day when it was old it would be used as a weapon against the mighty Lahari!
Recently, one day we had decided to sell off the old newspapers and plastic bottles at a store nearby which buy these stuff and send them to factories for recycling. Maa had some knee problems for which she couldn’t walk very fast, or carry heavy things. I had taken out the bags one by one and kept them at the staircase landing. We had to walk down the steps to the road and take a rickshaw. Then I went upstairs to lock the door, when I came back, what I saw :
Maa pulled up one heavy bag from its place and placed it on the first step, she turned to tell me something, and I saw the fat bag glide slowly down, before I could shout out a warning down it went “Dhap… Dhap… Dhap… Dhap…. Dhaasshhh” rhythmically, the bag rolled down and all the papers fell out of it. I didn’t know whether the situation was serious or funny. The falling was definitely funny but Maa’s knee ache was serious and that she had increased the workload by herself was even more serious. Anyways I burst out giggling, and the staircase echoed my giggles and someone downstairs opened the door to find out the cause of the sudden outburst of laughter. Then looking at the fallen bag for a moment she started laughing too. Guess what, it seemed I was waiting for a permission to laugh out even louder, and so I did.
Maa does not like pizzas much, she only tasted pizzas every time I forced her to. Just a few days ago there was some pizza advertisement in the television which said you could get the nicest Pizza there for ‘only’ Rs 50, now of course we know, there were extra added taxes… And Maa muttered while chopping vegetables on the table, “er cheye bhalo ponchas taka chibiye khawa!” (It’s better to chew on a 50 rupee note!)