You know what is the time? Do you know? You want to know? I will tell you. It is 3 o’clock in the morning. Do you know what other retired persons are doing at 3 o’clock in the morning? Putting snores like Kumbhakarna. Karr karr karr.
What Mr. Mathrubootham is doing? Roaming around house like ghost in horror film.
In my whole life till today I have not seen 3 o’clock except during one train journey to Ujjain for official work of bank branch inspection. I think Jaipur Express. Long back maybe 1990. I got on train from Chennai. Did friendly talks with nearby passengers and then after dinner I climbed into upper berth. Then I put all belongings into bag including spectacles and wristwatch and locked it tightly. Why to take risk. Nearby passengers and all friendship is there but sometimes day-time Raja Harishchandra is night-time Charles Sobhraj. Then I strongly put head on the bag, put slippers on top of ceiling fan cover, and went to sleep.
Madam/ Sir, upper berth sleep on train is special sleep. You can never enjoy it anywhere else in the whole world. You can purchase five-star mansion house in Poes Gardens, put full AC, and purchase Kurl-On luxury mattress. Then also you cannot enjoy sleep like upper berth in Indian Railways. Thinking itself sleep is coming. Left right left right shaking of bogey. Brrrrrrr sound of ceiling fan. But shall I tell you what is the best thing about train sleep, Madam/ Sir? Noise itself.
It is perfect. If too much noise means no sleep. Too much quiet means you cannot snore, other people will ask uncle, it is nose or moped. Train noise is exact amount of noise for good snoring sleep.
So I am sleeping comfortably on Jaipur Express. Train is moving. Sleep is proceeding. Then after halting in Warangal suddenly I feel strange sensation next to me. I thought, “Oh my god, some dacoit is taking my items.” I turned around and one child is in the upper berth next to me. I said, “Hello who are you boy?” Whether some junior dacoit trainee?
He just looked as if I am Krur Singh from Chandrakanta programme.
I said, “What nonsense.” Then suddenly one other head came up and said, “Oh my god, so sorry sir. Due to darkness I thought upper berth is empty and told my son you sleep quietly till passenger is boarding. Very sorry, I will withdraw the boy now itself.”
But Madam/ Sir, whether anybody can just wake up at 3 o’clock and then immediately sleep again? Whole night was waste.
Ok, Jaipur Express old story. What happened today? Same child problem only. Dr. Shankaramenon’s daughter is gone to hospital for delivery purposes. So he said, “Mrs. Mathrubootham, whether we can leave elder child four-year-old girl in your custody.” Kamalam said, “Of course no problem, it will be nice to have one child in the house after decades and decades.”
Madam/ Sir, child is ok. Eating quietly, reading books quietly, watching TV quietly. Sleeping in other bedroom quietly. And then at 3 o’clock? Suddenly child is coming and saying, “Kamalam aunty, can I sleep in your bed, I am feeling afraid.” Kamalam said, “Of course, please lie down next to me.” I thought ok four-year child only no? What she can take hectares of bed.
Instead this child is moving like Nadia Comăneci in the night. One leg this direction, one hand this direction, other leg other direction.
So now I have left the bedroom and I am walking up and down the house like ghost. Outside one dog is barking.
Yours in exasperation,