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When memories are 90% good

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Respected Madam/ Sir,

Cannot switch on TV. News is worst. Cannot open newspaper. Headline is worst. Cannot open phone. WhatsApp is worstest of worst. Cannot meet friends. All talks are virus infection expiry only. So these days vipassana type silence is best policy.

This morning silently after brushing teeth Mrs. M and myself ate breakfast in total quiet. Afterwards she is seeing YouTube items on phone. I am reading superhit novel Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson.

After half hour I thought maybe I will get up and put some extensions of arms and legs and all. I went towards balcony and suddenly Mrs. M is diving in my direction as if Jonty Rhodes of South Africa. I said, “Kamalam, what you are diving in undignified manner?” She said, “You want to commit suicide or what? Please do that when I am not there to see.”

I said, “Kamalam, please have some self-control. What nonsense you are talking? Anybody will talk about suicide type shanidosham topics? Already world is full disaster.” She said, “Old man that only I am saying. Why you are even stepping outside on balcony and taking risk. What if corona is there in atmosphere? It will enter through nose. Why you want to create tension for me?”

I said, “Kamalam, why you are talking like WhatsApp forward? Just like that virus will come or what? And if virus is coming in balcony means it will come through window also no? Maybe whole house is full of virus already. What you can do? Nothing. Sit, pray, handwash nonstop. All in the hands of Guruvayoorappa.”

She said, “How you can be peaceful? Everybody is saying virus bad for elderly person with heart and sugar issues. But Kamalam whether I have any heart or sugar problem? Please relax. Let us see film on DVD.”

But Madam/ Sir, she is looking totally upset. Face fallen like three days back appalam. So I said, “Ok ok ok I won’t go to balcony.”

She said, “I am feeling very afraid. Something happens to you means? Your whole family is heart and sugar fellows. Since corona news is coming I am feeling too much tension about your health.”

I said, “Kamalam, sorry for tension.” We sat quietly in the living room for 10-15 minutes. Then I said, “Kamalam, anyway one day we have to go only no? Whether you have enjoyed life or not?” She said, “Old man, don’t make me cry.” I said, “No no what crying and all. I am thinking about last 30-35 years. It is good life. Nice pension, nice house, nice enjoyments and all we have done, children are fine, house loan finished.”

“Kamalam,” I said, “whether you are remembering first flat after marriage? One small room only is there. Scooter used for drying clothes. Kitchen is size of India Today magazine. No TV and all. Only one old radio; Murphy or Philips, I have forgotten. That also we got in wedding gift.”

Madam/ Sir like that, like that we two began to think of lifelong memories from honeymoon to children to one time total confusion holiday when Kamalam is getting on one train but I am getting on different train. We laughed and laughed like anything.

She said, “Yes, 90% are good memories only. Then what is problem? When memories are 90% good means it is right time to go.” After five minutes she said, “Let us stand in balcony and see the outside atmosphere.” So we spent two-three hours in balcony with tea and tiffin. Whether any virus is come? So far no sign. Tomorrow who knows. Just enjoy.

Yours in reminiscences,

J. Mathrubootham

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 5:15:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/when-memories-are-90-good/article31110761.ece

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