I am busy ~ Chapter 3


 Previous Parts: Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2

  Chapter 3 : The Divine Intervention

Kanaka was completely shaken up. It wasn’t daily that Subbiah left house like that vowing never to return and then come back in the dead of night with mystery writ on his face. For days together an uncomfortable silence hung around them in the house, not that they used to talk much before. But this was not the usual “I mind my own work, you mind yours” silence. This was more of “I am too muddled up to speak” silence. 

The possibility of this incident repeating itself scared her more. What if he left the house again never to come back, was the question that haunted her day and night rendering her sleepless. Even God’s sanctuary could not give peace to her disturbed mind. She was scared of discussing this with her kids, if he overheard her she would surely be inviting his wrath. And right now, his wrath seemed deadlier than anything else. She had never feared him so much till now. She had all the reasons to. 

Subbiah was so unlike himself, his appetite was lost just like that omnipresent smile on his face.  More often than not he just kept staring at his room window as if expecting it to bring him some answers. Having been married for so long, she had never seen him so upset till date and that was a major concern for her. Gathering all her wits together she still could not comprehend a solution. Worst still, she couldn’t discuss this with anyone else around. That would ensure they would become the laughing stock of the whole town. God was her only respite, she prayed hard day and night seeking His help in this matter. Her temple ritual kept getting longer and longer as she spent hours involved in a monologue with Him, she believed He was her only savior. She felt He was testing her but it wasn’t long before her test was over. 

Subbiah's room window

Save her, He did as she had passed His test with flying colours. That weekend when their son called as always, she was alone at home. Due to day light saving he had called a bit earlier than his usual hour and Subbiah was out at that time on some errand. She grabbed that opportunity and briefed him about everything. He heard his mother very patiently and immediately suggested their moving abroad with him. It was a golden opportunity he couldn’t let go off. Initially she was reluctant, but he pestered stating that even if not permanently they should at least consider it for some time. Apart from being a welcome change, it might also help him in talking to his father about this and change his perspective. She liked the preposition. But before hanging up she made him promise to call the next day as well and speak to his father, convincing him to apply for passports and to never mention this conversation to him ever. 

Mother’s promise.” she added defiantly before disconnecting the call. 

That night when Subbiah came home and inquired about his son's weekly call, she very confidently said, “He didn’t call. Must be busy. Might call tomorrow. He anyways calls either on Saturday or Sunday depending on his schedule.” Unlike the usual times, Subbiah didn’t argue or try to reason it with her. He accepted what she said meekly, making her look at him with concern. 

The next day in between her hectic daily routine she kept staring at the phone with a deep longing. She even kept checking if it was working properly by listening to the dial tone, time and again. Subbiah noticed all this from the corner of the room where he was busy with the newspaper, his Sunday ritual. The whole world was at his feet on that day in the form of various pages as he spent hours trying to read all that he could and travel the world through his eyes. After ignoring it for a couple of times, he couldn’t control himself, “Why are you behaving like this? This is not the first time he is going to call us. He will call whenever he can. The phone is working absolutely fine. Go and get some rest if your work is over. I am sitting here, will call you in case his call comes.” She nodded her head, unable to retort and was about to turn to re-enter the kitchen when the shrill ring of the phone cut through the air making her jump out of her skin. Before Subbiah could react she had already leapt and answered the call. 

 “Hellooo?” 

“Ya… I am fine. How have you been? How are the kids? Summer holidays must be on right now.” 

After some more nondescript conversation she handed over the phone to Subbiah and pretended to leave the room, but hid behind the pillar to overhear whatever they spoke. Subbiah didn’t like eaves dropping. He was of the opinion that there are better things to be done in the world than to listen to others’ conversations. “Hmm…” was the oft repeated word in the entire conversation. Nothing new, this was Subbiah’s style. Even after having retired he still had not got over his official conversational style where communication was bare minimum and more need-based. But this also meant the conversation was going on fine, nothing to worry or panic she concluded. 

After what seemed like ages she finally heard what she wanted to, “Okay I will atleast apply for the passport and then take it forward from there.” Unknown to Subbiah by now already a dozen coconuts, a plethora of sweets by kilos and some thousands of lamps had been pledged to the Lord in return for this favour and by every passing minute the bribe just kept increasing. 

The bribe to the Lord
After all it wasn’t daily that the Lord relented and said, “YES!”

She finally breathed a sigh of relief when she heard him say, " I am busy but I will try to find time to complete the formalities. Don't worry!" She now knew everything would be back to normal, soon.

~ To be continued

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