“What?” Jaya seemed rattled once she heard the news. She shook her hands so hard that the chocolate top of her cone ice cream splattered on the ground. “Shit,” she said, looking at it, “I hate my hand tremor,” she said, caressing her arms, which are showing signs of trembling. “Do you know?” she asked. “Know what?” he asked back. “That too much of shocking news can kill me?” she asked. She proceeded to munch off the cone, as he starred at her silently. She looked at him with a mouthful, and suddenly remembered what they were talking about. “What were you saying again?” she asked. “Err, no, drop the idea,” he said and started walking. “You want another ice cream?” he asked. “No thanks sonny,” she replied. “One name, one name. Sonny, sunny, kiddo, baby, how many names do I have?” he asked back. Jaya just smiled. “I can call my son whatever names I want to call him with. And he starts earning by himself and the first thing he offers to buy for me is an ice cream cone,” she continued smiling. Anand looked dumbfounded. “The business isn’t going great, yet, can’t you be patient ma? You have to poke me at every chance you get,” he said. She was still smiling. “I know there is a reason for you to be spending time with me like this after a long time, so do tell me, what’s the catch?” she asked.
“No, I don’t want to tell you anything.”
“Because I don’t want to be a murderer. What I have to say is sufficient not only to kill you, but to burn you into ashes and roll you off that Ganges river,” he said, continuing to walk and reaching the car. Both of them got into the car and started driving.
“So,” Jaya opened up after five minutes of complete silence. “You want to get married?” she added. Anand was taken aback. He did not know that his mom actually remembered what he had told her just now, for a moment it seemed as if she had forgotten the statement that made her drop her ice cream in shock. “You remember?” he asked back. “I have my ways of calming myself, to accept things slowly, diversion is one of them. As you saw for yourself, I’m good at it,” she said, smiling again. “Is she crazy?” she asked.
“Yeah, like the all over you kinda type?”
“Far from it, why?”
“Because you are only 23? And it doesn’t seem to be an age where you need to run left and right to get married.”
“Maybe she is possessive, wants you to be under her control, under check, so she persuaded you to marry her so fast?” Jaya added.
“No, no, no ma. Ma, i’m your son,” he said.
“So what? So I won’t make such horrible choices.”
“I used to say the same thing when I was young son. And it was the very same me who ended up choosing your father,” she said. He sighed.
“And you don’t have to act like a good son. You did not tell me that you are in love at the first place. Now you show up, asking permission for marriage,” she took a swipe at him.
He opened his mouth to explain things, but she stopped him from saying anything.
“As I said, I need to take things slowly. I’ll ask questions, you answer,” she said.
“How long has it been?”
She starred at him for some time, without giving any sort of reactions.
“There can only be three reasons why we are having this conversation now, and you’ll get slapped by me for every one of those three reasons,” she said, and he braked so clumsily that the car jerked for a while. “Go back to home, and don’t open your mouth till we are there,” she said sternly. He looked everywhere else except at her. Slapped? It was his mistake in thinking that just because he had a cool mom who gave him plenty of freedom and guidance without nagging or ordering, she would just roll over and bless his intention to marry Geetha.
As he walked into the house, he was rubbing his cheeks lightly in anticipation for what might come. Once again, Jaya had the silent treatment to offer. She took time to settle herself, to change her clothes, and to settle herself on the sofa with the television turned on. “One- she is pregnant,” she started, while watching the television. “Two, she is an elderly woman,”
“Three, she is married?” she starred at him vociferously. “And the third one, is disgusting,” she said, as if warning him.
“Ma, it’s not the third one,” he said, took the remote and switched off the television. “It’s my life matter, don’t drag this on for 12 hours just because of your anxiety, quit fooling around with me,” he retorted.
“I might get a heart attack by the time you listen to the whole thing,” he added, and went silent.
Jaya looked at him. “Sulking?” she asked, while coming over to sit beside him. “Tell me then,” she said, with a broad smile, patting his back.
“It’s the second one,” he said.
She nodded slowly, calmly. She patted him again. “A couple of years don’t matter,” she said.
“11 years?” he asked. She clutched her chest.
“Ma!” he yelled. “I’m not dying yet you fool. But that could have easily killed me,” she said. “11? What the?” her facial reaction was one of a rainbow, full of expressions of disbelief and shock, and all Anand could do was to stare.
“She has this aura of boldness about her, an elegance, the way she carries herself,” she said, and he noticed that he had this smile on his face when he told her. His mother had crossed her legs, sitting on the sofa opposite, looking at his description. She had the whole lot of her medicines place on the glass table in front of them, including the injections that would be needed in case she succumbs to a heart attack or any mild complications due to her heart problem. “Such a drama queen,” he interrupted his own description, but this time he did not look irritated or annoyed, but was rather smiling.
He imagined everything about Geetha that appeals to him. “I like the way she makes decisions. Impulsive, yet with a reason. She never bragged about herself. She never shunned me away when she could have done so. She treated me like a man who deserves to be treated with due respect,” he explained further. She nodded. “You haven’t told me her name,” Jaya said, fiddling her fingers, looking at Anand as if she is set to judge him anytime soon. “It’s Geetha,” he said.
“And she’s 34?” she asked.
“And she’s a lawyer?” she added another question. And nodded again, and took a couple of pills and swallowed. Anand narrowed his eyes at her. “Ma..,” he warned her. She signalled him to continue. “Well, she’s good-looking and all, but above all, she is human and is ready to admit her flaws,” he added. “The fact that she is fighting Karthi’s case proves that she is non-judgemental as well,” he continued. Jaya listened to all of those descriptions intently.
Half-an-hour later, she walked into her room after her son had gone back to his house, having not told him an answer. She looked at the mirror, clenched her teeth, and let out a small shriek. “You gave me a husband who goes after every panties he could afford to, and now you gave me a son who loves someone who is old enough to be my younger sister,” she mumbled. “Iraiva,” she shrieked again, and laid on her bed. And then she called the taxi.